• Keven Oates, Jr.

How to choose a Microsoft 365 Business Plan

Recently, Office 365 became Microsoft 365, and the popular “Business” plans became “Business Basic”, Business Standard”, and “Business Premium”. For those starting a new business or switching to Microsoft 365- determining which plan you need can be confusing.

Essentially, there are three main differences between the plans:

• Desktop Applications

• Advanced Security Functions (including device management)

• Price

Business Basic is the cheapest of the bunch at $5/user/month. What you lose in this price range is the desktop versions of the office apps. That being said, I’m typing this on the web version of Word, and I have been happy with all the web apps I’ve used so far.

It also includes SharePoint and 1tb of OneDrive storage, making this a great platform for cloud-based collaboration within your company.

Business Standard includes everything in Business Basic, plus the desktop versions of the office apps. This plan is great if you have an on-prem file server, or if you have employees that prefer to have the desktop version. This plan also includes some additional tools to manage appointments and track mileage. This plan costs $12.50/user/month.

Business Premium includes everything from Business Standard, plus it includes advanced security and PC and mobile device management. As an IT guy, there are some things I really love about this plan. I like the ability to manage PCs with Intune and make sure they are secure. I like the ability to remotely wipe data from lost devices, and I LOVE the way you can really restrict and control what data is downloaded and shared. This plan also includes better email protection and email archiving.

So, what are the problems with this plan? Well for one, it comes in at $20/user/month. This is a full 4x the cost of business basic; and while there is so much great security potential, it is a sophisticated system, and you do need to have a good working IT knowledge to set it up.

A perfect use case for this plan is a medium sized business that has an internal IT department, gives out company devices, and works with data that is very sensitive but not highly regulated like finance or HIPAA.

If you do not have internal IT, it may be a better option to find a good outsourced company that you trust; and work with them to find the best solutions for you. For almost all of these features there are 3rd party solutions can give you similar (or in some cases better) functionality.

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