Today I will tell you about something that challenges many companies as they switch to the cloud – understanding Office 365 licensing options.
This article will give you a broad overview of this topic, based on the most frequently used options. Note that all information can change subject to Microsoft updates and agreements.
Because we work mostly with enterprises, this is what we’ll focus on. Let’s get to it!
All Office licenses are subscriptions. It works exactly as in the case of cell phone licenses. You can use them as long as you want to and pay as you go.
To make a long story short, you can buy Office 365 in a couple of licensing programs such as:
Check out this article for details of the most popular options.
Remember that choosing the right agreement is not only about the proper license of payment terms. It is also about additional financing for your cloud deployment. There are funds like the Digital Partner of Record or Office 365 adoption funds. We won’t cover them here, but feel free to get in touch if you’d like to know more.
There are three main types of Office 365 licenses:
In each suite, there are numerous services and features. Let’s go through them briefly.
Most plans have basic security features such as multi-factor authentication capabilities.
Now we’re clear on the features, let’s see what Office 365 Business suites hide inside.
We have three plans here:
Now, let’s take a look at the Enterprise plans.
There are three main enterprise plans:
For employees using primarily mobile devices, e.g. people working directly with customers, there are Frontline Worker Plans available.
Remember that Exchange Kiosk provides only a small 2GB Mailbox that can be accessed by a browser or POP3 protocol, which means no real synchronization with Outlook.
Additionally, F3 options give access to Power Apps and automation tools. Microsoft 365 F3 also includes advanced security features.
There are a couple of questions that customers often ask.
What is the difference between Microsoft 365 Business and Microsoft 365 Apps?
The Apps suite is a limited option that doesn’t include Exchange email or Teams. It is fine if you only need Office client to work with your files. Depending on your plan, Business suites also have more advanced analytics and security features.
Is the Office client the only difference between E1 and E3?
Of course not. There are much more security options in E3 such as email and documents encryption and DLP. You have better control over your inboxes, mail flow, and data analytics. E3 gives you access to on-premises enterprise licenses where E1 offers only a standard license.
Which plan is the best for me?
Always start with the users. Are there less than 300? Then Business suites are likely best. More than that? Go for Enterprise. As for which particular plan to choose – it always depends on your business need. Talk to your people, find out what they use daily, and let that inform your choice.
How best to choose?
Start with a business need or a problem. Then, try to solve it with the cloud. If you do it the other way around – start with cloud features and try to find a need for them – you will fail. It won’t be a spectacular fail, though – you probably just won’t get a budget for the project.
What do others choose most frequently?
The usual mix of plans we recommend is E1 + E3 or E1 + E5. That’s right – you can mix and match if you need to.
This is just a snapshot of the options available when it comes to buying Office 365.
In essence, the more expensive the plan, the more options you have for collaboration, data analytics, and security. But this is really an understatement. It can be difficult to figure out exactly what you need.
Don’t worry though – we can help you choose the right plan. Let us know what you’d like to achieve and we’ll use our experience to recommend the best option for your business. We can also help you implement the services and train your people to make the best use of them. Contact us and let’s find you the right plan.
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