Microsoft 365 for Business (formerly Office 365) is a staple for businesses across the globe, and for a good reason. From schools to offices, Microsoft 365 has the applications necessary for every walk of life. Microsoft recently rebranded their suite of products and changed the name from Office 365 to Microsoft 365 for Business. While this might be confusing and indicate some major changes to applications and pricing, rest assured that nothing significant has changed. It still retains the same features, pricing, or products but is wrapped up in a shiny new package.

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What’s Changed Then?

Thankfully, the name changes are easy to follow. Office 365 Business Essentials became Microsoft Business Basic. Office 365 Business Premium became Microsoft 365 Business Standard. Microsoft 365 Business became Microsoft 365 Business Premium. Office 365 Business and Office 365 ProPlus both became Microsoft 365 Apps.

What Isn’t Changing?

Nothing is changing in regards to the applications and use but there are a few packages that are remaining exactly the same. The packages that will not be changing names are Office 365 for Enterprise, Office 365 for Firstline Workers, Office 365 for Education, and Office 365 for Government.

What’s Included in The Plans?

The products, features, and pricing of these Microsoft 365 packages have not changed, but let’s just run through them again. All of these packages include 24/7 phone support from Microsoft for critical issues. These prices are accurate as of July 28, 2020, and are charged on an annual subscription basis.

Microsoft 365 Business Basic is the cheapest of the packages and at the lowest end of the spectrum at $5/user/month. This option is best for businesses that need secure remote solutions. The cloud services included are Teams, Exchange, OneDrive, and SharePoint with an allotted personal storage of 1TB. Keep in mind that this package has no native desktop app. Instead, users are limited to web and mobile versions. The following packages do have the desktop apps included, which explains their higher prices.

Microsoft 365 Business Standard checks in at a reasonable $12.50/user/month. This is best for businesses that need remote work and collaboration tools. The cloud services and storage are the same as Microsoft 365 Business Basic but includes access to desktop apps.

Microsoft 365 Business Premium comes in at $20/user/month. This package is best for businesses that need secure work solutions. The secure cloud services include everything in Standard plus Intune (a management solution for mobile device and operating system management) as well as Azure Information Protection.

Microsoft 365 Apps is the second cheapest package at $8.25/user/month. The only secure cloud service included is OneDrive, as this package is best for businesses that just need storage and the productivity office apps. What this means is that this package does not include Teams, SharePoint, or Exchange.

How do I Choose?

This can be a complicated question with a relatively straightforward answer. The first question you have to ask is, ‘What does my company need?’ Do you need office apps and will the web app suffice or do you need desktop apps. There's no wrong answer here but if you do need desktop applications, you'll need to head for the middle ground of Microsoft 365 Business Standard. And finally, you should think about security and whether or not you'll need Intune and Azure Information Protection?

Another question you should ask is, ‘How many people  in my business need  access?’ If it’s over 300 people, luckily for you, there's yet another solution that we can talk about. All of the Microsoft 365 Business packages are for small to medium size companies with less than 300 people. Once you outgrow the Microsoft 365 Business package, you'll have to look at the Enterprise Packages. If you still aren’t sure about what package would be best for your company, Microsoft has you covered. They have a great comparison chart to help you find the right plan for your business.

Download Our Microsoft Cloud Service Provider Brochure

Finding the right business package for your SMB can seem confusing. If you have to weigh the price vs. the utility, always go for utility. If you're still unsure, Secure Data would be happy to help make the choice less confusing. We are a certified Microsoft Cloud Service Provider which gives you access to our upgraded SLA's at no additional charge. You can download our Microsoft CSP brochure above or read more here to learn more about the benefits of having a CSP on record.