Continue Working, No Matter What Happens
One of the core business solutions for any company looking to move to the cloud is Microsoft 365 (previously called Microsoft Office 365).
Microsoft 365 isn’t just cloud hosted software and email – it also encompasses cloud file storage, security, business automation and collaboration amongst many other features. Depending on the licence chosen, 365 includes local software, browser based Office Online and Mobile based Office Apps to enable access to all of your centrally stored office software and documents from anywhere. Packages also include HD video conferencing & instant messaging via Microsoft Teams (previously Skype for Business) and Power Automate (a service that helps you create automated workflows between your apps and services), amongst many other software packages.
As with the majority of cloud services you will always be running the latest versions of all the included software. This has the added benefit of keeping your systems and data safer from security holes in older software.
There are varying packages for 365 but the majority of SMB’s will opt for Business Standard as it includes desktop Office applications as well as Hosted Exchange email.
At this point, it is probably worth mentioning that in April of 2020, Microsoft changed the name of some of it’s main licenses and offerings, just to confuse everyone!
Here is a short explanation of the changes….
Office 365 Business Essentials will become Microsoft 365 Business Basic.
Office 365 Business Premium will become Microsoft 365 Business Standard.
Microsoft 365 Business will become Microsoft 365 Business Premium.
Office 365 Business and Office 365 ProPlus will both become Microsoft 365 Apps.
Where necessary we will use the “for business” and “for enterprise” labels to distinguish between the two.
Please see below for Microsoft 365 Business feature comparison:
So you can see from the above the 3 main packages for SME businesses.
The most cost-effective option is ‘Business Basic’ which is designed for those who perhaps already have volume licences of Office and don’t need upgraded software. This is also suitable for remote workers who have their own laptop with Office installed. It also has Hosted Exchange email included so would not be used in conjunction with an on-site email server. Teams and Yammer social network are also included. The main omission though is that it does not come with Office desktop applications or the full mobile apps.
The next option is ‘Business Standard’ which has the same features as basic, but also includes all the desktop, online and mobile office software for up to 5 devices. This is the most popular package as it combines the 2 tiers for just a small additional monthly fee, and has all of the features SME businesses are looking for. When businesses decide to move to 365 it is usually because they want to decommission their old on-site email server (or hosted webmail emails) and move to the cloud, combined with upgrading all users to the latest Office suite.
‘Business Premium’ is the highest tier package, it includes all of the features of the lower tiers but with additional security features such as Advanced Threat Protection for email & SharePoint, and Mobile Device Management via Intune. These extra features can be added separately to each of the lower ties if required.
There is also ‘Exchange Online’ licencing available, this gives you a 50GB Hosted Mailbox in the same 365 tenant, but none of the other software features. This is ideal for those just looking to move email to Microsoft 365 with the lowest monthly costs and no requirement for the other features.
It is important to note that with 365 you can mix and match the different packages so perhaps for example a company might want 10 users on Business Basic as they are working from laptops in the field and have their own Office licences, and the other 30 users need the full, latest Office suite on their desktop PC’s so would have Business Standard or Premium. This enables you to keep costs at a minimum whilst still upgrading all users and email to the 365 platform.
All packages come with 1TB SharePoint Online storage & 1TB OneDrive for Business storage for every user (please see https://www.tecwork.co.uk/sharepoint-online/ for details on SharePoint & OneDrive).