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Simplifying Microsoft Business License Options

Updated: Mar 8

The Microsoft 365 Ecosystem provides unparalleled value for Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) regarding productivity, collaboration, endpoint management, and security. Various licensing types determine feature availability, underscoring the importance of grasping licensing basics as they shape a company's tech foundation.

This is the first of three posts on Microsoft business licensing options in this powerful ecosystem. In this post, we will review the core licensing of the Microsoft 365 options. Microsoft Business Basic, Business Essentials, Business Standard, and Business Premium are subscription-based plans offering different features and services to SMBs.

F-series licensing and Enterprise licensing are key options for the SMB space covered in this series's second and third posts.

Microsoft 365 – Basic, Essentials, Standard or Premium?

  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic: The most basic plan, offering core services like email, file storage and sharing, and access to web versions of Office apps.

  • Business Essentials: A step up from Business Basic, providing additional services such as Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, and Yammer. It is slightly more per user per month, making it suitable for teams requiring extra collaboration and communication tools.

  • Business Standard: Includes all features of Business Essentials, desktop versions of Office apps, and extra tools for managing business tasks.

  • Business Premium: Also known as "The Hero SKU," it is economically designed for SMBs and combines multiple capabilities. It offers:

    • access to a range of productivity and collaboration tools, including Microsoft Office applications, cloud-based email, and file storage;

    • advanced security features, such as Microsoft Defender for Business, which protects against sophisticated threats, and device management capabilities to help safeguard business data and assets across devices;

    • device management in Microsoft 365 Business Premium provides SMBs various benefits over traditional server options. With device management, SMBs can easily manage and secure their devices, including PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones, from a single location. This ensures that all devices are up to date, compliant with company policies, and protected against threats and includes the potential for improved economics. Unlike traditional servers, cloud-based solutions eliminate the need for significant investments in hardware, software, and IT personnel to manage and maintain the infrastructure. This offers cost and time savings for SMBs.

  • Microsoft 365 F-series and Enterprise Licensing – a peek into two and three of the series, given they fuel the SMB space in important ways.

    • The F-series is scoped to the needs of frontline workers. These licensing options provide businesses in the SMB space with options to include field forces recognizing the emphasis on collaboration and communication.

    • Microsoft's Enterprise licensing series layers in the highest levels of security across the available options. Additionally, businesses with over 300 users will need to select licensing from this level for employees 301+, balancing the needs of the business with appropriate licensing levels.


If you're considering a Microsoft licensing plan for your business, contact F1 Cloud Solutions. Our IT solution professionals in Northern Virginia is well-equipped to assist you in selecting the perfect plan that aligns with your specific requirements and budget. 

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