Microsoft recently introduced a new product called Microsoft 365, centered around making business more productive and more secure. While it’s not going to be for every business, it’s a natural fit for many businesses – especially if you’re already using (or looking to move to) Office 365 or Windows 10.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Microsoft 365 is a bundle of already existing products for businesses.
Microsoft 365 is a bundle of commonly used business products from Microsoft. While the bundle is new, the products aren’t. Microsoft 365 combines Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) into one license.
There are a few different license options. The same programs are included in each, but the versions of each differ between licenses (more details below).
2. There are plan options for small businesses and enterprises.
There are a few plan options:
Designed for small businesses, Microsoft 365 Business includes Office 365 Business Premium, Windows 10 Enterprise, and elements of Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS). You do not get the full EMS experience with the Business license but will get some key elements like mobile device management.
Designed for businesses with regulatory compliance needs and enterprise organizations, Microsoft 365 Enterprise is available in two plans: Microsoft 365 E3 and Microsoft 365 E5. It includes Office 365 Enterprise E3/E5, Windows 10 Enterprise Bits, and EMS. You DO get the full EMS experience with the both the Enterprise plans, with small differences between the EMS and Azure Active Directory functionality between E3 and E5.
Microsoft 365 E5 includes several additional features like PSTN Conferencing and Cloud PBX, Security apps like Advanced Threat Protection and Office 365 Threat Intelligence, Power BI Pro.
(Edit: Microsoft announced new plans at the 2017 Ignite conference including plans for frontline workers and education)
You cannot substitute out other versions of the included products. However, these products are all available as separate products. For example, if you want Windows 10 Enterprise, Office 365 Enterprise E1, and a full EMS license, you can buy them all as separate licenses but cannot buy them under the umbrella of Microsoft 365.
3. It’s a monthly, per user licensing model, starting at $20/user/month.
Microsoft 365 is billed on monthly, per user fee. Like Office 365, you can mix and match plans and change plans at any time.
Microsoft 365 Business is $20/user/month. Microsoft 365 Enterprise is $34/user/month for E3 and $61.10/user/month for E5. There are no discounts for education, government or non-profit organizations.
Please note: this is the license cost only. Because of the nature of the products included, it’s not going to be a flip of the switch for most businesses. Depending on the set up you have now, how you purchase your licenses, and how tech savvy you are, there may be additional costs associated with setup and migration.
4. It’s compatible with most Office 365 add-ons.
Most of the add-ons available for Office 365 are compatible with Microsoft 365, which is good news for businesses who want additional security and business intelligence features. These add-ons are available (some are already included in Microsoft 365 Enterprise):
- Advanced Threat Protection
- Advanced Security Management
- Customer Lockbox
- Advanced eDiscovery
- PowerBI Pro
- PSTN Conferencing
- Additional archiving and storage
There are, however, some features and add-ons that cannot be used with Microsoft 365 Business licenses. If you need these features, you’ll need to get a Microsoft 365 Enterprise account (or the appropriate Office 365 or Windows 10 license):
- Cloud PBX
- PSTN Calling
- Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection
5. It’s available now.
Microsoft 365 Enterprise licenses are available to purchase now. Microsoft 365 Business is available in Public Preview.
Public Preview means you can get the full licenses, but there will still be some rough edges and the occasional hiccup. If that’s not something you’re willing to deal with (understandably so), you’re better off using the Enterprise version or waiting until it has reached General Availability (likely in late 2017, but no official date has been announced yet).
(Edit 11/2/2017: Microsoft 365 Business has reached General Availibility and is availible for purchase.)
If you’re interested in buying the licenses, your best bet is to work with a Microsoft Partner like PTG. A partner can help you choose and purchase the best license to fit your needs (even if your needs mean buying the individual components separately) and help you implement them in your organization.