Microsoft 365 For Business: Picking The Right Plan

May 26th, 2022 | Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 is Microsoft’s modern solution for business productivity, communication, collaboration, and security. There are multiple tiers of Microsoft 365 For Business, intended to suit the diverse needs of different businesses. This article will give you an overview of the 4 Microsoft 365 subscription tiers and help you determine which is right for your organization.

Microsoft 365 For Business Plans

There are 4 Microsoft 365 For Business plans – Microsoft 365 Apps, Business Basic, Business Standard, and Business Premium.

Microsoft 365 Apps For Business

This plan is exactly what it sounds like. It provides you only with Microsoft’s core productivity applications, but limited-to-none collaboration and communication capabilities. An example that will illustrate what this plan is about – you will get access to the Outlook desktop application, but you won’t get email hosting or storage.

Recommendation: This plan is not recommended for any business as it only provides you with a few productivity applications and nothing else. This plan would require you to piecemeal it with other services to have a fully-functional channel for productivity, collaboration, and communication which is rarely the ideal option.

Cost: $8.25 per user/per month (up to 300 users)

Included Applications:

Microsoft 365 Apps For Business Included Applications

Business Basic

Microsoft 365 Business Basic provides bare-bones collaboration and communication capabilities to your organization. You can have host a single email domain (with limited storage), chat, video conference, and get cloud-based file storage. Business Basic gives you access to the web version of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. The web version of those applications are pared down and have less features than the application version.

Recommendation: Business Basic is acceptable for a home-based or hobby business that only desires email hosting and file storage. This tier is not recommended for any professional organization as it offers limited productivity and security functionality.

Cost: $6 per user/per month (up to 300 users)

Included Services:

Business Basic

Business Standard

Microsoft 365 Business Standard can be thought of as a combination of the two previous plans – the applications you need to work supported by the services that enable effective communication and collaboration both internally and externally. Business Standard includes some additional productivity features beyond what the lower-tier plans offer like being able to work across multiple devices and some basic automation features. The area where this plan falls short is in it’s security capabilities.

Recommendation: Business Standard will give you everything you need to work efficiently, but not securely. Business that are just starting out or that have an extremely limited IT footprint (work only with SaaS tools) may consider Business Standard as a good starting out point. In today’s cyber threat landscape, business with any security obligations or that work with valuable data need security features beyond what is included with this plan.

Cost: $12.50 per user/per month (up to 300 users)

Included Applications & Services:

Microsoft 365 Business Standard included applications and services

Business Premium

Business Premium’s tagline, “One solution to run your business securely from anywhere”, sums up it’s value nicely. You’re getting everything from the previous tiers, plus a whole host of advanced security tools and features such as Mobile Device Management (MDM), Azure Active Directory P1, and Microsoft Defender. Business Premium is the priciest Microsoft 365 plan, but it is made palatable by being the best value. Prior to Business Premium, you would have to spend around $40 per user/per month to get the same level of functionality that this plan offers.

Recommendation: This tier is our go-to recommendation for our clients. When properly implemented and managed, Business Premium can drastically boost your productivity while giving you the ability to effectively protect your data and the data of your clients, partners, and employees. Any business that values security needs a Business Premium subscription.

Learn More: Microsoft 365 Business Standard vs. Business Premium

Cost: $22 per user/per month (up to 300 users)

Included Applications & Services:

Microsoft 365 Business Premium Apps and services

Side-By-Side Microsoft For Business Plan Comparison

Microsoft 365 busines licenses

Can I Change My Microsoft 365 Plan?

If you have an active Microsoft 365 subscription you have some flexibility to change your plan during the 12-month term. You are able to upgrade your licenses to a higher tier plan and add new licenses.

You do not have the ability to downgrade your plan or remove licenses in the middle of the term. It is critical that your IT team manages your Microsoft 365 licenses effectively so that everyone on your team has the subscription tier that they need and you aren’t wasting money on unnecessary licenses.

Get Microsoft 365 For Your Business

Microsoft 365 For Business is not something you can use effectively right out of the box. A proper Microsoft 365 implementation requires extensive planning and setup so that your Microsoft 365 is configured to function in your IT environment and support your operational requirements. As a Microsoft Gold Partner, we regularly implement Microsoft 365 and help our clients get more value from their M365 subscription.

If you’re considering a Microsoft 365 project, please fill out the form on our projects page and we’ll answer any questions you may have about Microsoft 365 and get your implementation started on the right track.