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Microsoft 365 Standard vs. Premium

What are the Differences Between Microsoft 365 Business Standard vs. Premium

Microsoft 365 has become a tool that is pivotal to modern businesses, playing an integral role in how they document, share and communicate their work. It encompasses a wide range of applications and services, from the well-known Office suite to enterprise-level collaboration and communication tools.

Deciding which version of Microsoft 365 to subscribe to can be tricky - do you go for the comprehensive and all-encompassing Microsoft 365 Business Premium, or is Microsoft 365 Business Standard a better fit for your needs?

In this article, we'll be taking a closer look at the main differences between these Microsoft dynamics, and what you should be cognizant of prior to deciding on a subscription for your organization.


What Is Microsoft 365 For Business?

In aiming to discern which subscription is right for you, it's important to first understand that Microsoft 365 Business Standard and Premium are each subsets of the greater Microsoft 365 product.

Microsoft 365 is a comprehensive and integrated solution that includes Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security. It's designed to empower businesses of all sizes to be productive, collaborative and secure.

While Microsoft 365 comes in a number of different versions - with various applications, services, and tools included - Business Standard and Premium are the two most popular among small- to medium-sized businesses.

They're priced through a subscription-based system, and are available for purchase on a monthly or yearly basis.


An Overview Of Microsoft 365 Business Standard

Microsoft 365 Business Standard - or Business Basic if you’re only web and mobile versions - is the middle-of-the-road solution in terms of pricing and features.

This version includes all the Office 365 applications that have become household names - including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook - as well as other collaboration tools like Skype for Business and SharePoint.

The subscription is ideal for small- to medium-sized businesses that need a robust set of productivity, collaboration, and security tools - but don't require the more advanced enterprise-level features included in Microsoft 365 Business Premium.

Some of the key applications and services included in Microsoft 365 Business Standard are:


Office apps

The most widely used productivity suite in the world, Office 365 is included as part of Microsoft 365 Business Standard. You'll have access to the latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote (features vary) for Windows or Mac, as well as Access and Publisher (PC only).


1 TB of storage per user

Each user gets 1 TB of storage space on Microsoft's cloud-based OneDrive application. This allows you to store, share and edit files from virtually anywhere, across any device you use to access Microsoft 365.


Intranet and team sites

Microsoft 365 Business Standard includes SharePoint and Teams, two essential applications for small businesses. SharePoint provides you with an intranet site - a central hub where your team can access important documents, share ideas and collaborate on projects.

Teams is a chat-based application that makes it easy for employees to communicate and work together on files and tasks. You can create different teams for different departments or projects, and each team comes with its own chat thread, calendar, and file storage.


Business-class email and calendaring

Each user gets a business-class email account with a 50 GB mailbox and support for custom domains. Send attachments of up to 150 MB, and take advantage of features like shared calendars, contacts, and tasks.


Advanced Security And Compliance

Microsoft 365 Business Standard includes a number of features to help you protect your business data, including mobile device management, advanced threat protection, and information rights management. You'll also be able to access compliance reports and set up data retention policies.


Professional digital storytelling tools

The standard subscription gives you access to a number of tools that can be easily used to create interactive, engaging web-based reports, newsletters, presentations, trainings, and more.


Intelligent discovery and search capabilities

The included Office 365 search features make it easy to find the information you need, when you need it. You can search for specific content or expertise across all of your organization's data sources, including Delve, SharePoint and Office apps.


Collaboration and connection

Microsoft 365 Business Standard includes a number of features to help you connect and collaborate with employees, customers, and partners. Through Teams and other tools, you can hold HD video meetings with up to 250 people, share your screen, and use digital whiteboards to brainstorm ideas.


Mobile and web app development

If you need to develop custom apps for your business, Microsoft 365 Business Standard includes access to PowerApps and Flow. PowerApps is a low-code application development platform that lets you quickly create custom apps.

Flow is a cloud-based service that helps you automate workflows and processes across a wide range of applications and services. With Flow, you can create triggers that automatically start a workflow when an event occurs, and take action based on conditions that you define.


Workflow integration and automation

Microsoft 365 Business Standard includes a number of tools to help you automate workflows and processes. With Power Automate, you can create flows that automatically start a workflow when an event occurs. You can also use Microsoft's pre-built connectors to connect to a wide range of applications and services, or build your own custom connectors.


Functionality across multiple devices

You can access Microsoft 365 Business Standard from virtually anywhere, across any device. The mobile apps for iOS and Android let you stay productive even when you're on the go. And with the included Office 365 applications, you can work on your documents offline and sync your changes when you're back online.


An Overview Of Microsoft 365 Business Premium

Microsoft 365 Business Premium is the top-tier subscription for small businesses. It includes all of the features in Standard, plus a number of additional features for security, productivity, and collaboration.


Office apps

With Microsoft 365 Business Premium, not only do you get Microsoft Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, Excel and other Office products, but you also enjoy advanced features and regular updates.


1 TB of cloud storage per user

With OneDrive for Business, each user gets 1 TB of cloud storage to store, share, and sync their files. They can also access their files from any device, even when they're offline.


Email and calendaring

Microsoft 365 Business Premium includes Outlook, which gives each user a 50 GB mailbox and access to a number of features, including shared calendars, email groups, and personalization options. It further allows you to send a number of file types and attachments, in sizes of up to 150 MB.


Collaborate with instant messaging and online meetings

With Microsoft 365 Business Premium, you can hold online meetings with audio and video conferencing for up to 250 people. You can also use the included Skype for Business service to chat with co-workers in real-time, even if they're not on the same network.


Streamline appointment scheduling with customers and partners

The Microsoft Bookings app lets you easily schedule and manage appointments with customers and partners. With it, you can create custom appointment types, set up automatic reminders, and track customer payments, all through a simple and user-friendly platform.


Defend against cyberthreats

Microsoft 365 Business Premium includes a number of tools to help protect your business from cyberthreats. With Microsoft Defender, you can identify and defend against malicious emails, links, and files.


Manage mobile devices, tablets, and computers

Microsoft Intune for Business lets you manage and secure mobile devices, tablets, and PCs from a single console. With it, you can set up device policies, remotely wipe data, and enforce security compliance. This feature is ideal for businesses that have a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy.


Enable secure remote access and protect identity

With Azure Active Directory, you can enable secure remote access for your employees, and protect your business from identity theft and data breaches. With Single Sign-On (SSO), you can also simplify the process of logging in to multiple applications and services.


Help protect business data with backups

Businesses today rely heavily on data, so it's important to have a robust backup and disaster recovery solution in place. With Microsoft 365 Business Premium, you can back up your data to the cloud and restore it quickly if needed. You can also encrypt sensitive emails, as well as restrict the forwarding and copying of confidential business information through Azure Information Protection.


Get enterprise-grade endpoint security with Microsoft Defender for Business

A new addition to Microsoft 365 Business Premium, you can now get Microsoft Defender for Business to help protect your business against malware and other threats. With it, you can monitor endpoint activity, deploy security policies, and run security scans remotely. It works with Windows, Android, macOS and iOS devices, and provides next-level antivirus, endpoint detection and response, as well as threat hunting capabilities.

Comparing The Two

Microsoft 365 Business Standard and Premium are similar in the way that they share the base features of the Standard plan. This means that they are both subscription-based, include the core applications of Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Skype for Business. They also come with business email and calendaring, file storage and sharing, video conferencing, and team collaboration tools.

What makes them different however is the fact that Microsoft 365 Business Premium serves as an upgraded form of the offering of features available in Standard, with additional apps, security features, and device management capabilities.

The complete list of which tools are available exclusively to premium is extensive, but available for view on Microsoft's website if you want to review every difference in detail.

In more simple terms though, the two subscriptions can be differentiated through these three main points.


Conditional Access

Conditional access is the process of ensuring that only authorized users have access to certain information. Companies of any size are sure to have files that are too sensitive for all employees to see (and, much worse, edit).

For example, the majority of your workers have no business viewing your company's financial records or data. However, without the appropriate controls, anyone could access those files.

Conditional access allows you to restrict files and folders to the correct audience, time, and location.

Microsoft 365 Business Standard only offers basic conditional access features. You can, for example, control what device employees use to access work data.

However, if you want more granular control over who sees what, you'll need Microsoft 365 Business Premium. With this subscription, you get Information Rights Management and Advanced Threat Protection.


Access To Intune

Intune is a feature that might be easy to overlook if you're not a tech specialist. However, when utilized to its maximum potential, the power and productivity of this service are truly remarkable.

Intune is Microsoft's mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management (MAM) solution. With it, you can restrict what can and cannot be done (and installed) on company devices. This ability does not just apply to Windows PCs, but also to smart phones and tablets.

You can also use Intune to restrict how individuals' personal devices interact with your network. Microsoft Intune can keep organizational data separate from a user's personal information, even on the same device.

This tool is only available in Premium subscriptions, so if you want to manage and monitor users' mobile devices, you'll need to upgrade from Standard.


Mobile Device Management (MDM) Capabilities

There are now more mobile devices (laptops, tablets, and smartphones) connecting to your business network than ever before. Whether they're company-issued or BYOD, these devices can easily pose a security risk and create a device management problem for your company.

Microsoft's mobile device management (MDM) solutions make it much simpler to handle these dynamics. With them, you can choose what services employees can and cannot access from their personal devices, and Microsoft's Advanced Threat Protection software ensures the security of corporate data when accessed using apps like Teams or Outlook.

You can also deploy corporate-wide IT policies and then apply them across company-owned devices.

Some businesses use this strategy in restricting users from installing applications on company-owned devices unless authorized by IT. Others go the extra mile and enable remote wipe on their company computers, preventing things like a misplaced laptop from becoming a security risk.

Mobile Device Management also allows you to restrict usage to specific applications (such as Teams and email) or require personal devices to be enrolled within company systems for users who want full access on their device.

While both of subscriptions are able to deliver on this front to some degree, Microsoft 365 Business Premium offers a more comprehensive ability to execute MDM through its exclusive combination of data loss prevention policies (DLP), Azure Information Protection and Exchange Online abilities.


The Verdict: Which One Should You Choose?

Microsoft 365 Business Standard vs. Premium is a great debate for small businesses. While both versions offer an impressive array of features, there are some key differences that could make one more advantageous for your business than the other.

At the end of the day, your choice between these two Microsoft 365 Business subscriptions will come down to what you need from your investment.

If you're a small business with relatively simple needs, Microsoft 365 Business Standard might be all you require. It offers a reasonable set of features at a lower price point than its counterpart.

On the other hand, if you have more complex needs or want granular control over how users interact with your network and data, Microsoft 365 Business Premium is the way to go. It provides all the features of Standard, plus some added extras that give you more power and flexibility.

No matter what you choose, both subscription options offer a fantastic set of productivity-enhancing tools for small businesses.