Microsoft 365 Business Standard vs. Premium: Which option is best for your business needs?

Tue 23rd Aug 2022 | Cloud Computing, IT Outsourcing, Microsoft 365, Remote Working

The Microsoft 365 suite is an amalgamation of MS applications, Windows 10 (or 11 if you were brave enough to make the switch) and Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility and Security packages to help protect your business and mission-critical customer data against all manner of nasty cyberthreats.

Microsoft are well known as the titans of digital productivity, communication, collaboration, apps with connected security features.

Businesses with fewer than 300 employees have four available licensing options when deploying Microsoft 365:

  1. Microsoft 365 Apps
  2. Business Basic
  3. Business Standard
  4. Business Premium

Microsoft 365 Apps and Business Basic are the best value options available for those essential digital needs, but are lacking more of the sought after features and configurability of cyber-protection when compared to the Business Standard & Premium.

Today we’re going to explore the differences between Microsoft 365 Business Standard and Microsoft 365 Business Premium, and highlight the best value features for the investment you’re looking to make.

In the Blue Corner: Microsoft 365 Business Standard

Microsoft’s 365 Business edition grants you a ‘Standard license’ which includes Windows 10 or 11, with access to your favourite apps across the most common devices (home PC, smart phone and that tiny work laptop you have).

This includes the household names of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

You’ll also have access to Microsoft Teams, OneDrive, SharePoint and Exchange – the perfect tools when collaborating with co-workers and pretty much essential if you need to communicate on a daily basis.

Those of you carrying the battle-standard for ‘Business Standard’ are protected with standard security and compliance features such as 1 TB of secure cloud storage per user and additional protection against spam and viruses.

There are also a few lesser known names, though less security-oriented, included with Business Standard:

1. Microsoft Forms
2. Lists and Bookings – helpful for optimising your internal processes

And in the Red Corner: Microsoft 365 Business Premium

Microsoft 365 Business Premium is the big hitter for enterprises with a workforce no greater than 300. This hard-hitting application extravaganza has Business Standard matched in all areas and has many vital additions to boast. Business Premium will defend your business against advanced cyber threats with sophisticated phishing and ransomware protection which are among some of the most common forms of cyber threats faced by businesses.

Microsoft Intune

Not iTunes. Intune.

Microsoft Intune is part of the Enterprise Mobility & Security suite offering highly-configurable mobile device management for orgs where employees may be using personal devices to access work-related apps and data.

Configuring specific security policies to exert control over employee application usage offers businesses the ability to prevent company emails from being sent to anybody outside your organisation, for example.

Another key offering is the ability for end-user to isolate organisation data from employees’ personal data – a win-win for both sides involved.

Intune helps to minimise risks associated with shadow IT, instances where employees will be using their own smartphones or tablets, and has the capability to provide streamlined updates for users and patch management for IT managers who are seeking to provide secure managed IT services all while keeping on top of day-to-day operations.

Day-to-day working now looks completely different to a few years ago – hybrid working, WFH and remote working are now commonplace throughout companies in the UK. It has never been more important for managers in charge of IT infrastructure and security to be able to rapidly tackle potential or escalating threats by managing the health of employee devices which is the key selling point of Intune.

Without having infrastructure like this in place, IT managers and teams have less control and awareness over potential cyber threats – and proactiveness in tackling threats before they escalate and get out of hand is why Intune gets our vote of confidence.

Azure Information Protection

Azure Information Protection (AIP) is a cloud-based service that allows businesses to discover, classify, and protect documents and emails by applying sensitivity labels of the content – allowing end-users to understand which information requires the most care when handling it.

Trinity can take the reins with a whole range of Microsoft cloud products like Azure – we’re a Microsoft cloud solutions provider who excels at the rollout and operation of cloud platforms like these. If you’ve got this far into our article and feel like Intune and Azure Information Protection are a bit beyond your scope don’t hesitate to get in touch to see how we’re able to help with these and a whole range of Microsoft’s products.

In essence, Azure offers clearer visibility over where data and information are being distributed and used. The key benefit of this visibility is that it prevents illicit modification and distribution of data, so, should you have any worries about your data going walkabout, Azure solves the risk of users who are not unauthorised being able to view sensitive information and content.

This boasts a range of benefits, but we’d say it’s mainly compliance, adhering to data protection regulations and compliance standards for whichever industry you may be operating in.

Microsoft Defender for Business – Now Available on Business Premium

Microsoft Defender for Business leverages AI to automatically analyse cyber threats across Microsoft 365 apps and provides a handy overview within a single dashboard.

The key features of Defender for Business are:

  1. Simplified client configuration
  2. Threat and vulnerability dashboard
  3. Next-generation protection
  4. Endpoint detection and response

IT managers and staff deploying this security service will notice how simple it makes onboarding new devices – an easy-to-use interface with good instructions makes rolling out Defender across multiple devices extremely straightforward.

With an easy-to-deploy and use security system and a reporting dashboard that can be set up in an afternoon –this round clearly goes to Business Premium.

Which contender is right for your business?

The key differences between our two contenders comes down to security features.

While Business Standard can hold its own for a few rounds, it may be best suited to productivity at home. Whereas Premium is made for large organisations where personal devices get used for professional means – and the potential damage that could be done to a larger organisation means that you need critical IT infrastructure and security that can be managed and deployed quickly to neutralise threats.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t consider Premium if you’re working from home, it’s more that price may be an issue if you’re self-employed. If, however, you are a WFH employee there’s a good chance your employer may require you to install Business Premium as part of their own cyber-security efforts.

Be mindful that the security offered in Microsoft 365 Business Standard is more basic and you won’t have anything to fall back on should you succumb to a dodgy email click or phishing scam – however, if you’re security-savvy and can spot a phishing scam from a mile off, Business Standard may still fit your needs.

For productivity and day-to-day meetings, Business Standard may meet most of your needs, but for all-encompassing security, configurability and protection against the trickiest of cyber threats, Microsoft 365 Business Premium should be your go-to choice.

How we can help you with Microsoft 365

Trinity Managed Services are Microsoft Cloud Solution Providers (CSP) with a wealth of experience in managing and deploying full-stack 365 solutions. Our managed IT services include setting up and supporting your chosen Microsoft 365 service across your business’s IT network.

Take a look at our managed IT services, including a full IT system assessment, security system design and implementation, as well as ongoing support to ensure that your IT network supports your team to work together from anywhere, anytime, securely and efficiently.

Contact us today on 0330 055 28 33 or email info@trinityms.co.uk for more information on our managed IT services.

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