How to Choose the Right Office 365 Plan for Your Small Business
Over the years, Microsoft Office (desktop versions) armed with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, has become the bedrock of several different small businesses across the globe.
In recent years, Microsoft has introduced a vast array of new applications and tools, and bundled them with traditional MS Office apps, creating a cloud-based solution called Office 365.
Using Office 365 for small businesses makes sense as it offers real-time collaboration, increased data security, and remote device management. The relatively reasonable Office 365 small business pricing also makes it a viable option for small firms that can’t afford to invest in enterprise-level IT infrastructure.
However, as they all have a similar name, selecting the right Office 365 plan can be a little confusing. We will help you understand the varying features of four of Microsoft’s Office 365 plans, and help you choose the right one.
Read on to know more.
1. Office 365 Business Essentials
Price: $5.00 per user per month (annual commitment)
As the cheapest Office 365 small business plan, it includes only Web-based and mobile versions of Microsoft apps and services. Although you won’t get desktop versions of PowerPoint, Word, Excel, and Outlook, you will get Access and OneNote.
You can use real-time co-authoring and sharing of documents online. You also get access to Exchange for email, OneDrive, and Skype for Business. OneDrive comes with 1TB file storage and sharing capabilities, which gets updated across your synced devices.
Apart from Skype and SharePoint, this package offers collaboration tools like Teams for intra-office connectivity and sharing, as well as Yammer, which is like a social media tool for your business. You can manage security and privacy controls of when what, and who can share your business files. However, as it offers only Web versions of the core apps, this plan is suitable for small businesses with excellent internet connectivity.
2. Office 365 Business
Price: $8.25 per user per month (annual commitment)
This one is slightly more expensive than the Office 365 Business Essentials plan. It comes with Web-based and downloadable Microsoft desktop apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and desktop versions of Outlook, Publisher, and Access. You also get access to the 1TB of OneDrive file storage with sharing capabilities.
However, you don’t get access to online services like Exchange, Teams, and SharePoint. As you don’t have access to a business-class email hosting with 50 GB mailbox, you can use your existing email through Outlook (desktop version). But, you can’t set up a customized business email domain. Also, you don’t get the advantage of Exchange Online Protection to keep your email safe from malware, phishing, and spam.
You can use the free version of Teams, if necessary. It comes with unlimited chat messages and search capabilities. You also get 10 GB of team file storage plus 2 GB personal storage per person in this version. Alternatively, you can buy the paid version of Teams or switch to a higher Office 365 small business plan.
Although you get OneDrive, there’s no SharePoint access, which can be a letdown for many businesses as it offers more features than OneDrive. For example, you can create dashboards to share your company news and announcements in SharePoint. Still, the package is suitable for small businesses that rely heavily on the core desktop apps by Microsoft.
3. Office 365 Business Premium
Price: $12.50 per user per month (annual commitment)
This Office 365 small business plan is the perfect blend of all the desktop apps and Web services offered by Microsoft. So, you get access to Web and desktop versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote for Windows and Mac computers, plus PC-only versions of Access and Publisher. You can install these on up to five computers.
With a business-class email hosting having 50 GB mailbox, you can set up customized business-class email for your company, which you can use on phones, tablets, desktops, and the Web.
You can use Teams to set up online meetings, plan your schedule, and in-team file sharing. It also comes with Microsoft Bookings, an online appointment scheduling service, which allows your customers to schedule and manage appointments with you. With MileIQ, you can keep a real-time and accurate track of your work. Usually, slightly larger companies with a pressing need for real-time collaboration can use this Office 365 small business plan.
4. Microsoft 365 Business
Price: $20.00 per user per month (annual commitment)
The most expensive of Office 365 small business plans, it offers a combination of all the features of Business Premium plus Advanced Threat Protection and mobile device management. The increased IT security offers relatively better access control for your employees and customers. You can set up and edit all access controls through a single admin account.
You get the always-up-to-date desktop and Web versions of Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote for Windows or Mac computers, plus PC-only versions of Access and Publisher. You can schedule your work with Teams and keep track of your progress using MileIQ. Most importantly, you get access to cutting-edge business IT security.
The advanced security features include protection against ransomware, phishing, and advanced malware attacks coming through email attachments and links. You can also remotely wipe all the data from stolen devices to keep your business secure.
You can set and edit device access controls remotely as well. For example, you can prevent your employees from copying office files to their personal email accounts and device storage. You also get access to Invoicing, which is an app that helps you create professional invoices. The app also syncs with QuickBooks.
As you can see, each Office 365 small business plan comes with a unique set of features. So, choosing the right one is going to be a little challenging. Although the tips in this post can help, you have to make the final decision based on your current and future business requirements. On the bright side, you can always upgrade or downgrade to a plan of your choice as per your needs anytime. We offer managed Office 365 services for businesses across the globe. Feel free to discuss your needs.