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By Mark Skelton, Technical Services Director

In the expansive world of Microsoft 365, choosing between Business Standard and Business Premium isn’t just about business size or budgets, or essentials versus extras. There are other factors you should consider too. This brief guide is aimed at helping you make the right choice for your business.

Productivity Apps: Working smarter, not harder

For productivity, Microsoft 365 Business Standard offers a solid set of tools that can help businesses of all sizes get work done. The Standard plan includes all of the core Office applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook), as well as OneDrive for Business for file storage, and SharePoint Online for document collaboration. Microsoft 365 Business Standard also has Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft 365 Business Premium takes productivity a bit further with additional features such as Power BI, which enables data analysis for better decision-making, and Stream, a video conferencing and recording platform. The Business Premium plan also adds more collaboration features to Teams such as Advanced Calling, which allows businesses to make and receive phone calls from anywhere in the world. Additionally, Microsoft 365 Business Premium includes External sharing, so employees are able to share files and documents with external guests, even if they don’t have a Microsoft 365 account.

Power BI

Security: Getting the fundamentals or getting enhanced defence

Microsoft 365 Business Standard provides a foundational level of security, with Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) adding a layer of protection and Data Loss Prevention (DLP) preventing inadvertent leaks of sensitive information. Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) streamlines identity and access management, ensuring a secure Single Sign-On (SSO) experience.

Business Premium, on the other hand, offers far more robust security with advanced security features that include:

  • Microsoft Defender for Office 365 – provides real-time protection against advanced threats.
  • Entra ID Premium P1 –introduces conditional access, password protection, and identity protection, bolstering your security measures.
  • eDiscovery Premium –crucial for legal and regulatory demands, facilitating swift data searches for GDPR compliance.
  • Intune mobile device management – ensures meticulous security for both corporate and personal devices, addressing the stringent requirements of mid-sized enterprises.
  • Defender for Business – increases protection against sophisticated ransomware attacks with next-generation antivirus, endpoint detection, and response. It works on all key platforms including Windows, MacOS, Android and iOS.

Regulatory Compliance: Tailoring to your trade

It’s important to consider the nature of your business when making your Microsoft 365 licence choice. Companies in less regulated industries may believe that the foundational security levels of Microsoft 365 Business Standard are enough. However, if your business operates in a highly regulated sector where advanced security features are imperative for compliance, Business Premium is a must. Whatever your company’s sector or size, though, Business Premium  can be a strategic ally for data loss prevention and encryption.


Pricing: Getting the best value for money

Budget will undoubtedly play a big role in your Microsoft 365 licencing decision. It’s worth noting that businesses can save around 15% on licencing fees if you opt for the annual billing option. This option is ideal for companies that can commit to a year of service upfront.

Businesses can also mix and match Standard and Premium plans, depending on the specific needs of their employees. For example, employees who handle sensitive data or require advanced security features may be assigned premium licences, while for others a standard licence will still give them a productive and secure working environment.

Navigating nuances for your business

The choice between Microsoft 365 Business Standard and Microsoft 365 Business Premium is nuanced and dependent on your specific business context. While both plans offer core productivity tools, Microsoft 365 Business Premium boasts stronger security, more robust device management, and enhanced data protection compared to Business Standard. Think of it as securing your business with advanced firewalls, vigilant guards, and locked safes, compared to the standard locks on your doors. This extra layer of defence is crucial for businesses concerned about cyberattacks, data leaks, and protecting sensitive information. The best plan depends on your specific needs and security priorities.

If you’d like to discuss the best Microsoft licence option for your company, then get in touch.






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