Choosing the Right Microsoft 365 Licensing Level and Type for Your Business

Microsoft 365 offers a range of licensing options tailored to meet the diverse needs of businesses of all sizes and industries. From small startups to large enterprises, selecting the right licensing level and type is crucial for maximising productivity, collaboration, and security while optimising IT spend. In this article, we’ll explore the factors to consider when choosing the most suitable Microsoft 365 licensing level and type for your organisation. 

Understanding Microsoft 365 Licencing Levels

Microsoft 365 is available in several licensing types and levels, each offering a different set of features, capabilities, and pricing options. The key licensing levels include: 

Microsoft Business Licences

Microsoft 365 Business Basic: Designed for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), Microsoft 365 Business Basic provides essential productivity tools such as Exchange Online for email, OneDrive for file storage and sharing, and Microsoft Teams for collaboration. 

Microsoft 365 Business Standard: Building upon the features of Business Basic, Microsoft 365 Business Standard adds desktop versions of Office applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook) and enhanced security and compliance features. 

Microsoft 365 Business Premium: The most comprehensive offering for SMBs, Microsoft 365 Business Premium includes all the features of Business Standard along with advanced security and device management capabilities, such as Microsoft Intune and Azure Information Protection. 

Things to note: 

  • There limitations on the maximum number of licenses 
  • Licenses are designed to be used by SMB’s and have appropriate limitations on some aspects over enterprise licenses 
  • Typically the Business licenses are not as feature rich or provide the same enterprise level options 

Microsoft 365 Enterprise Licence

Microsoft 365 Enterprise: Designed for larger organisations with complex IT requirements, Microsoft 365 Enterprise offers a range of plans tailored to different business needs, including E3, E5, and F1 plans. These plans provide advanced security, compliance, and analytics features, as well as support for hybrid and on-premises deployments. 

Factors to Consider When Choosing Licensing

When selecting the appropriate Microsoft 365 licensing level and type for your business, consider the following factors: 

Business Size and Budget: Evaluate your organisation’s size, growth projections, and budgetary constraints to determine the most cost-effective licensing option that meets your current and future needs. 

Feature Requirements: Assess your business requirements for productivity, collaboration, security, and compliance features to identify the licensing level and type that provides the necessary functionality and capabilities. 

User Roles and Access Needs: Consider the roles and responsibilities of your users, as well as their access requirements to Microsoft 365 services and applications, to determine whether user-based or device-based licensing is more suitable. 

Compliance and Regulatory Considerations: Ensure that your chosen licensing option aligns with industry regulations, data protection laws, and compliance requirements relevant to your business, such as GDPR, HIPAA, or ISO standards. 

Scalability and Flexibility: Choose a licensing option that offers scalability and flexibility to accommodate changes in your organisation’s size, structure, and technology landscape over time, allowing you to easily add or remove licenses as needed.

Licencing Terms

Microsoft 365 licenses are available in monthly, yearly or three year subscription with varying degrees of discount available from the highest cost term being monthly. It is also important to note the implications that are applied to each subscription type for the chosen period on what you can upgrade and when you have the opportunity to downgrade or reduce licenses count. 

Selecting the right Microsoft 365 licensing level and type is a critical decision that can impact your organisation’s productivity, security, and overall success. By carefully evaluating your business requirements, considering key factors, and choosing the most suitable licensing option, you can ensure that your organisation maximises the value of Microsoft 365 while optimising costs and resources.