Microsoft 365 Versions Comparisons
Microsoft Office 365 is a subscription-based package of Microsoft applications and services and the best part is that the packages are broken down into multiple Business or Enterprise plans. Each business plan contains a selection of applications and services that can be purchased as a monthly or annual subscription.
If you find that the package that you’ve purchased doesn’t suit your needs, you can easily upgrade your license at any time or switch to another package at the end of your subscription.
Here are the Microsoft Office 365 versions which are explained in depth in this post (or you can jump right to a handy Microsoft 365 Business and Enterprise comparison tables).
- Microsoft 365 Business Basic
- Microsoft 365 Apps for Business
- Microsoft 365 Business Standard
- Microsoft 365 Business Premium
- Microsoft 365 E3
- Microsoft 365 E5
- Microsoft 365 F3
Microsoft Office 365 packages are not one-size-fits-all Every business has different needs. For example, Crocs, O2 and Volvo will all use Office 365 for different reasons. This would also apply to an up-and-coming agency that wouldn’t need the biggest plans available. For this reason, Microsoft Office 365 is scalable for each company’s needs – even non-profit organisations!
Let’s get into the specific plans…
Microsoft 365 Business Basic
With Microsoft 365 Business Basic, users can gain access to a handful of familiar services such as Microsoft Exchange, OneDrive, SharePoint and Microsoft Teams. That’s not all. While you won’t have access to the full services, businesses can also access the web versions of Microsoft apps, including Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.
As all data and files are stored online, the Business package allows users to share and collaborate on these files with anyone in real time, regardless of where they are. As Microsoft Office 365 is subscription-based, you will always be using the latest versions whenever it’s released by Microsoft.
The Microsoft Office 365 Business Basic package costs £4.50 per user per month on an annual commitment.
Microsoft 365 Business Basic Key Features
Office Suite – You receive full access to the latest versions of popular Microsoft 365 apps. These include Microsoft Exchange, OneDrive for Business, SharePoint and Microsoft Teams.
Compatibility – A Business Basic plan means that you can access the Microsoft 365 experience online as well on a mobile device. It is also compatible with Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8.1, and the two most recent versions of macOS.
File Storage and Sharing – This Business plan features OneDrive for Business and gives users 1TB of personal cloud storage which can be accessed from anywhere and syncs with their PC or Mac for offline access.
Email and Calendars – Get a business-class email with Outlook, including a 50 GB mailbox per user, and send attachments of up to 150 MB.
Who Are Microsoft 365 Business Basic Good For?
If your organisation employs less than 300 staff members and you need a professional email address, healthy storage space and the ability to conduct online meetings, then Microsoft 365 Business Basic is the plan for you. If you’re after full access to additional Microsoft 365 applications, then consider upgrading to a different plan.
Microsoft 365 Apps for Business
With Microsoft 365 Apps for Business, users in your organisation will always have the latest versions of the most popular Microsoft 365 applications. These include Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Word, Publisher (PC Only)] and Access (PC Only). Additionally, your business will also have access to OneDrive service, for all your sharing needs.
The Office 365 Business Premium plan costs £7.90 per user, per month on an annual commitment.
Microsoft 365 Apps for Business Key Features
Microsoft Applications – Unlike the Microsoft 365 Business Basic Plan, this business plan provides access only to the latest versions of Microsoft 365 Applications and not services – hence the name. Microsoft Teams is not included.
File Storage and Sharing – As this plan still features OneDrive, each user will still receive 1TB of personal cloud storage which can be accessed from anywhere and that syncs with their PC or Mac for offline access.
Who Are Microsoft 365 Apps for Business Good For?
Again, if your company has less than 300 employees and you want a range of Microsoft Office applications and storage – then this one is for you. If you require essential Microsoft services to expand your collaborating capabilities, then we recommend upgrading to a Microsoft 365 Business Standard Plan.
Microsoft 365 Business Standard
Microsoft 365 Business Standard is a very popular plan, as it contains all the applications found in the Microsoft 365 Apps for Business plan as well as provides additional access to a handful of collaborative services. The price does reflect the additional services, however, it’s the perfect selection for an organisation that requires teamwork and collaboration.
The Microsoft 365 Business Standard costs £9.40 per user, per month on an annual commitment.
Microsoft 365 Business Standard Key Features
Applications and services suite – The Microsoft 365 Business Standard plan features pretty much everything that both the Microsoft 365 Business Basic and Microsoft 365 Apps for business have to offer.
File Storage and Sharing – Again, as this plan still features OneDrive, users will still receive 1TB of personal cloud storage which can be accessed from anywhere and that syncs with their PC or Mac for offline access.
Security – The additional benefit of the Microsoft 365 Business Standard plan is that it helps to protect your email against spam, malware and known threats with Exchange Online Protection.
Workflow automation – Build automated workflows between apps and services to get notifications, synchronize files, collect data, and more with Microsoft Power Automate – No coding is required!
Who Is Microsoft 365 Business Standard Good For?
The Microsoft 365 Business Standard Plan comes with all the trimmings for a collaborative working environment. This will include the ability to store company data, co-author documentation and conduct meetings over Microsoft Teams.
If your users are perfectly happy with Web versions of applications or don’t need all the workplace trimming, then we recommend downgrading to either the Microsoft 365 Business Basic or Microsoft 365 Apps for business.
If you find that you need additional security as well as permissions control, then we recommend upgrading to a Microsoft 365 Business Premium Plan.
Microsoft 365 Business Premium
is exactly what it says on the tin. It contains all the applications and services found in the Microsoft 365 Business Standard Plan with additional security services – perfect for a security-focused business.
The Microsoft 365 Business Premium costs £16.60 per user, per month on an annual commitment.
Microsoft 365 Business Premium Key Features
Applications and Services – Again, this plan includes all the services in the Microsoft 365 Business Standard Plan with additional and comprehensive security. These include Intune, Microsoft Defender, Azure Information Protection, Azure AD Premium P1 and Azure Virtual Desktop.
Security – All additional security services help to safeguard against viruses, spam, unsafe attachments, suspicious links and phishing attacks, as well as to protect and encrypt sensitive data. This plan also safeguards against password loss or theft because it includes advanced multifactor authentication.
Compatibility – All users must be running Windows 11 or Windows 10 Pro* on their desktops for the service to manage their PCs.
Who are Microsoft 365 Business Premium Good For?
The Microsoft 365 Business Premium Plan will be most beneficial for businesses with less than 300 employees that need to protect their sensitive data. Including those in the Legal and Financial sectors and in government organisations. However, as cybersecurity is becoming an important part of all businesses, it’s something to consider even if you don’t manage sensitive information. If your business manages all data in the Cloud, then the extra security cannot hurt and will better protect your business and its users.
If you feel that you don’t need to invest in the additional security services that Microsoft has to offer, then we recommend staying with the Microsoft 365 Business Standard Plan. Alternatively, take a look at the table below to compare.
|Microsoft 365 Business Basic||Microsoft 365 Apps for business||Microsoft 365 Business Standard||Microsoft 365 Business Premium|
|Price – per user per month||Annual – £4.50||Annual – £7.90||Annual – £9.40||Annual – £16.60|
|Top Key Features|
Office apps on the web, File Storage & Sharing and Exchange services
|Standard applications, Storage and Professional digital storytelling||Favourite M365 applications, storage, security, and workflow automation||Best-in-class apps and services, full cloud environment, comprehensive security|
|Good Fit For…||Organisations: 300 employees or less that need healthy storage space|
Organisations: 300 employees or less looking to access a variety of Microsoft applications
|Organisations: 300 employees looking to manage the organisation in one location.|
Organisations: 300 employees or less with a need for the full suite of M365 service as well as protection against cyber threats.
If your business has more than 300 employees, then we recommend looking at the Enterprise Plans.
Microsoft 365 E3
The focus of Enterprise plans is to empower workforces with the latest collaboration services. This plan gives your IT team the control and flexibility you need to run your business. This plan helps teams to accomplish more and much faster. It also allows you to combine Microsoft 365 with existing investments and mix and match services for different users. So, if you fancy reducing your IT overhead and hassles while staying in control, consider the Microsoft 365 E3 plan.
The Microsoft 365 E3 plan costs £31.70 per user, per month on an annual commitment.
Microsoft 365 E3 Key Features
While you’ll receive the majority of applications and services of Microsoft 365 Business Standard, there are select features dedicated to Enterprise plans. This includes Windows 11 Enterprise E3, Microsoft Endpoint Manager, certain add-on features and the ability to have an unlimited number of users, as opposed to the maximum 300 in Business plans.
Applications and Services – Additional services include Windows 11 Enterprise E3, Yammer, Lists, Sway, Microsoft Stream, Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager, Windows Autopilot and more.
Security – Gain access to additional security services such as Device Guard, Microsoft Intune, Microsoft Defender Antivirus, Microsoft Defender Credential Guard, BitLocker, Microsoft Security and Compliance Centre, Windows Autopatch and more.
Who Is Microsoft 365 E3 Good For?
Whilst it’s more expensive, it has more dedicated features, so it’s tailored to large organisations with more than 300 employees. With more employees, there’s more risk of insider threats and, therefore, offers additional security features to ensure that your business is protected from the inside and out.
Microsoft 365 E5
The Microsoft 365 E5 is much more advanced than the Enterprise E1 plan. The E5 plan features Power BI Pro, Call control and advanced compliance and advanced IT controls that are suited to large organisations.
The Microsoft 365 E5 plan costs £48.10 per user, per month on an annual commitment.
Microsoft 365 E5 Key Features
The Enterprise E5 plan is similar to the E3 plan, but you receive a lot more for your money. This includes the full Office suite, which is available to install on your desktop, as well as an in-built phone system and even more security features.
Power Bi Pro – enables a data-rich workplace to effectively visualise finding and distributing this data to the rest of the organisation.
Phone System and Audio Conferencing – enable call control and PBX capabilities in the cloud with Microsoft Teams as well as the ability to conduct meetings with up to 250 people.
Security – better protect user identity and reduce the risk of cyber threats with Microsoft Defender for Identity, Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps, Microsoft Defender for Endpoint and Insider Risk Management.
Who Is Microsoft 365 E5 Good For?
Microsoft 365 E5 is packed with high-level features. This means that it’s targeted at large organisations with over 300 employees. It offers all the E3 plan features and so much more. The emphasis of this plan is on data visualisation, meeting compliance needs and securing user identity.
To compare all enterprise plans at a glance, take a look at the below table:
|Microsoft 365 E3||Microsoft 365 E5|
|Price per user per month||Annual – £31.70||Annual – £48.10|
|Top Key Features|
M365 Apps, Email and Calendar, device and app management, social and intranet, files and content, work Management and security management.
|All Microsoft 365 E3 features as well as Meeting and Voice, advanced analytics, identity and access management, information protection, security management and compliance management|
|Good Fit For…||Organisations: 300 employees or more that need best-in-class productivity apps with core security and compliance capabilities.|
Organisations: 300 employees or more looking for the best-in-class productivity apps with advanced security, compliance, voice, and analytical capabilities.
Microsoft 365 F3
Microsoft 365 F3, formally known as Microsoft 365 F1 is designed to empower your frontline workforce with Productivity and collaboration applications to achieve more. As these users are the backbone of your organisation, they require simple, intuitive and secure solutions to help define the customer experience.
The Microsoft 365 F3 plan costs £6.00 per user, per month on an annual commitment.
Microsoft 365 F3 Key Features
Application and services – Utilise Microsoft Office web and mobile versions including Word, Excel PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Microsoft Teams, Windows 11 and Microsoft Endpoint Manager, yammer and Microsoft Exchange.
Security – Protect data, user identity and credentials using Credential Guard, Device Guard, Microsoft Defender Antivirus, Windows Information Protection, Windows Defender Application Guard, BitLocker and BitLocker to Go and Microsoft Secure Score.
Automation – Make a repetitive task easy with workflow automation and Microsoft Graph API
Storage – Includes 2GB of mailbox space and 2GB OneDrive storage per user.
Who Are Microsoft 365 F3 Good For?
Microsoft 365 F3 is packed with high-level features designed for the Frontline Workforce such as customer service, manufacturing, distribution, healthcare and emergency services.
Microsoft 365 for Non-profit Organisations
To help all non-profit organisations to achieve their goals, they have access to the following Microsoft 365 plans at a special cost:
Microsoft 365 Business Basic – Free
Microsoft 365 Business Standard – £2.30 per user, per month
Microsoft 365 Business Premium – £4.10 per user, per month
Microsoft 365 E3 – £7.90 per user per month
Microsoft 365 E5 – £19.00 per user per month
While there are many plans from which to choose, the plus side is that each plan still contains popular applications that many businesses thrive off. This is what makes the wide range of Microsoft 365 plans unique. The biggest difference of all is their security features and therefore, we would always recommend that businesses opt in for a business premium package. Additionally, we would recommend that Enterprises go for the E5 package. However, review your options beforehand when selecting the plan that’s perfect for your business, or discuss Microsoft 365 options with an expert who can help guide you on the right path. You don’t want to be paying extra for features that you don’t need, but you also don’t want to miss out on vital aspects of Microsoft 365 either, by taking the cheaper option.