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

Microsoft 365 has established itself as a crucial tool for modern businesses, influencing how they manage, share, and communicate their work. This comprehensive solution encompasses a range of applications and services, including the widely recognized Office suite and enterprise-level collaboration and communication tools.

Choosing the right version of Microsoft 365 can be challenging. Should you opt for the comprehensive Microsoft 365 Business Premium, or is Microsoft 365 Business Standard more suitable for your needs?

This article will provide a closer examination of the key differences between these Microsoft offerings and highlight the factors to consider before subscribing to one for your organization.


What Is Microsoft 365 For Business?

It's important to understand that Microsoft 365 Business Standard and Premium are both subsets of the larger Microsoft 365 solution.

Microsoft 365 is an all-in-one solution that combines Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security to support businesses of all sizes in being productive, collaborative, and secure.

While there are several different versions of Microsoft 365 available, Business Standard and Premium are the most popular among small to medium-sized businesses. These versions are priced through a subscription model and can be purchased on a monthly or yearly basis.


An Overview of Microsoft 365 Business Standard

Microsoft 365 Business Standard (or Business Basic if you prefer web and mobile versions only) is a balanced solution in terms of cost and features.

It includes the widely recognized Office 365 applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, as well as collaboration tools like Skype for Business and SharePoint.

This subscription is suitable for small to medium-sized businesses that require a robust set of productivity, collaboration, and security tools, but do not need the advanced enterprise-level features included in Microsoft 365 Business Premium.

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


Office apps

  • The popular productivity suite, Office 365, is part of Microsoft 365 Business Standard. This subscription provides access to the latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote for Windows or Mac, as well as Access and Publisher for PC only (features may vary).


1 TB of storage per user

  • Each user is allotted 1 TB of storage space on the cloud-based OneDrive application, as part of Microsoft 365 Business Standard. This feature enables you to store, share, and edit files from virtually anywhere and on any device with access to Microsoft 365.


Intranet and team sites

  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard also includes SharePoint and Teams, two essential tools for small businesses. SharePoint provides a centralized intranet site where your team can access crucial documents, exchange ideas, and collaborate on projects.
  • Teams is a chat-based application that facilitates communication and collaboration among employees. Teams can be created for different departments or projects, each with its own chat thread, calendar, and file storage for easy organization and accessibility.


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 several 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 several 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 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 Power Apps and Flow. Power Apps is a low-code application development platform that lets you quickly create custom apps.
  • Power Automate is a cloud-based service that helps you automate workflows and processes across a wide range of applications and services. With Power Automate, you can create triggers that automatically start a workflow when an event occurs, and act based on conditions that you define.


Workflow integration and automation

  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard includes many 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 synchronize 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 the features in Standard, plus many 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 many 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 several 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 share many of the same core features, including subscription-based access to Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Skype for Business, along with business email and calendaring, file storage and sharing, video conferencing, and team collaboration tools.
  • However, Microsoft 365 Business Premium serves as an upgraded version of the Standard offering, with additional applications, security features, and device management capabilities. The full list of premium-exclusive tools can be viewed on Microsoft's website for a detailed comparison.


To summarize, the main differences between the two subscriptions can be outlined as follows:

Conditional Access

  • Conditional access in Microsoft 365 is a feature that allows businesses to secure sensitive information by controlling who can access it. It helps ensure that only authorized users can access company files and data, such as financial records, by restricting access based on factors such as audience, time, and location.
  • Conditional access policies are rules that dictate the conditions under which a user can access a resource. For example, a payroll manager may be required to complete multi-factor authentication before accessing the payroll application.
  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard offers basic conditional access features, such as device control, while Microsoft 365 Business Premium offers more advanced features such as Information Rights Management and Advanced Threat Protection. With Business Premium, businesses have greater control over who sees what, providing an additional layer of security to their information.


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 can deliver on this front, 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.