Written by: Daniel Haurey on 11/18/22

Microsoft excels at many things, but simplified packaging and pricing are not one of them. For many businesses, selecting the right Microsoft 365 plan can be confusing and overwhelming. We’re here to help. 

Within that brand, there are four offerings: Home, Business, Enterprise, and Education. For this purpose, let’s take away home and education options, and focus on the two packages built for business use, comparing Microsoft 365 Business vs. Enterprise.

Within those packages are three additional levels that offer stacks of Microsoft 365 apps at a corresponding monthly, per-user cost. At a high level, the main differences revolve around cascading levels of administrative control, group policy capabilities, advanced security features, cloud services, and scalability. As you delve deeper into the comparison of Microsoft 365 Business vs. Microsoft 365 Enterprise and each of the plans, you will need to consider several differentiators—including price. 

10 Considerations Before You Pick the Right Plan

Microsoft 365 is one of the most popular office software suites worldwide. 

With more than 879,800 companies in the US using the office suite software, and more than one million companies worldwide, Microsoft has various software suites to accommodate specific business needs. 

To help sift through the extensive options available, businesses should carefully consider: 

Size: This first question is straightforward: Does your organization have more than 300 users? If yes, you’ll need to consider that scalability within the Microsoft 365 business plans, even the top-tier option, is capped at 300 users. That will lead you directly to the Microsoft 365 Enterprise packages.

Accessibility: Does your organization need local desktop versions of Microsoft 365 apps—Microsoft tools such as Word, PowerPoint, and Excel that are usable offline? If your business has many employees who work remotely, travel often, or don’t always have access to a stable internet connection, the need for local desktop installations of Microsoft 365 apps will be crucial. That rules out Enterprise F3 or Business Basic plans, which don’t include desktop application licenses. All other options include access to apps across all devices–mobile, web, and desktop. 

Advanced Applications: Does your organization need more than the basic Office applications? If all you really need is access to online Office apps such as Word, OneDrive, and Excel, but don’t need device management, advanced security, or full collaboration tools, you can likely manage your needs within the Microsoft 365 business basic plan. However, if you are interested in next-tier services such as business email and collaboration tools such as Bookings, you need to look at higher tiers. 

Compliance: Highly regulated industries have specific requirements for information and device security, such as finance and healthcare. If your organization is one of those or works with those verticals, you likely have privacy, security, or compliance requirements that will rule out certain Microsoft 365 options. You may also need advanced security and compliance controls in place if you have a global footprint. If so, you will need to evaluate higher-tier plans with advanced compliance controls, such as Business Premium. However, if sophisticated compliance tools are required, the Microsoft 365 Enterprise E5 plan may be the best fit. That package includes risk-based conditional access control, stronger behavioral detection and alerting capabilities, better audit tools, and other advanced analytics functionality.

Network Complexity: Is your business in high-growth mode? If so, you may want to consider Business Premium and the Enterprise versions of Microsoft 365, which offer device deployment and management capabilities that make it significantly easier to control devices. All three options—Business Premium, E3, and E5—allow for group policies, access control, and even remote wipe of devices. Those options can be key if you are planning on a dispersed office arrangement, have employees that travel often or for extended periods of time, or have device loss/theft issues. 

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Security: All businesses need to be concerned with security, but some are more high-profile targets than others. If you need advanced threat protection, that simplifies the choice between Microsoft 365 business vs. enterprise. Only the E3 and E5 Enterprise plans provide more sophisticated security options for your organization. However, Microsoft Defender for Business, an endpoint security solution, is included with Microsoft 365 Business Premium. If your company size is less than 300 employees, this cost-effective product can help protect against some cybersecurity threats.  

Mobile device management: In today’s world of flex workspaces, it’s inevitable that personal and mobile devices will be accessing your company’s network, data, and apps. With Microsoft 365 Business Premium, you’ll receive Intune as part of the cloud services included in the subscription plan. Intune is a cloud-based mobile device and app management tool that allows you to monitor devices, assess user experience and protect both data and employees. Intune is also available in both the Microsoft 365 E3 and E5 packages.

Azure Information Protection: Are you concerned about challenges such as securing intellectual property, document visibility, and control of your data within collaboration tools? Then you will want to ensure your Microsoft 365 option includes Azure Information Protection. AIP provides high levels of document security within shared spaces and is only available in Microsoft 365 Business Premium and the two Enterprise options, E3 and E5. 

Collaboration: If your organization thrives on collaboration, then you’ll want to explore those options that include apps such as Forms, Lists, and Bookings to drive communication internally and with other organizations. Starting with Microsoft 365 for Business Standard, collaboration tools are available in both business and enterprise versions. If adding voice is a must, then you’ll want to consider the Microsoft 365 Enterprise E5 plan.

Price: When comparing the options available between Microsoft 365 for Business vs. Enterprise, at some point, price plays a role. When you compare the six options, it breaks down like this: 

Microsoft 365 Business Basic vs. Standard vs. Premium Pricing

  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic costs $6 per user per month with an annual commitment. Perfect for small businesses that need easy remote solutions.
  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard costs $12.50 per user per month with an annual commitment. Layers on full collaboration tools, as well as business email and security.
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium costs $22 per user per month with an annual commitment. The broadest set of applications, security, compliance, and device management.  

Microsoft 365 Enterprise E3 + E5 + F3 Pricing

  • Microsoft 365 Enterprise E3 costs $36 per user per month with an annual commitment. Combines productivity apps with core security and compliance capabilities.
  • Microsoft 365 Enterprise E5 costs $57 per user per month with an annual commitment. Layer on advanced security, compliance, voice, and analytical capabilities.
  • Microsoft 365 Enterprise F3 costs $8 per user per month with an annual commitment. Formerly Microsoft 365 F1, empowers the frontline workforce with productivity apps and cloud services.

For more relevant information, visit the following related blogs:

Find the Perfect Microsoft 365 Plan With Exigent Technologies

When it comes to selecting the right options between Microsoft 365 for Business vs. Enterprise, take time to think through your current business needs, future needs, security, and the employee experience you want to foster. From there, a trusted technology provider can help you understand the need for more advanced functionality and help to manage your deployment. 

With more than 300 years of combined experience, Exigent Technologies brings proven expertise to every engagement. As a Microsoft Partner, we excel in helping organizations maximize their Microsoft 365 applications, systems, users, and processes. 

For more information regarding our services, contact us today.


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