Microsoft 365 (Formerly Office 365) : Which Version is Best For Me?

Picking the best version of Office for your business can be overwhelming. Microsoft 365 (formerly known as Office 365) and Office 2019 offer pros and cons that can difficult to see when browsing on Microsoft’s website. The plans offered by Microsoft 365 can also be overwhelming to look at if you do not entirely understand all the features that come with it. Let’s dive deeper into what each package offers so that you can make the most accurate decision!

Microsoft 365: Business Standard

Hands down the best option if your business needs access to all the applications Microsoft has to offer. Microsoft 365 is a cloud-based subscription service, with yearly or monthly renewal times. Microsoft also pushes continual updates to all the applications on Office 365, ensuring you have the latest, fastest, and most secure builds of Office applications, at all times. If you encounter issues with any updates or applications, Office 365 comes equipped with Customer Support features to assist.

For businesses, Microsoft365 comes equipped with features such as:

  • Teams (cloud-based chat platform for your company)
  • Exchange (email)
  • One Drive (cloud-based storage)
  • SharePoint (similar to one-drive but offers more in-depth customization)

Many of these applications are must-haves for businesses, but these added features come with a price.

While the Microsoft 365 subscription begins with a $5/month fee, this package only comes with access to Teams, Exchange, One Drive, and SharePoint. For full access to all application (Word, Powerpoint, Excel, Access, etc.) Microsoft 365 requires a monthly payment of $12.50. It is important to note that while Microsoft 365 does offer support for Windows and Mac OS, Access and Publisher are PC applications only. If you are a Mac user, you will have to resort to these applications’ web versions, if needed.

However, with so many applications built into Microsoft 365, there is the likely-hood that you may wind up paying for features you never use. There is also the possibility that Microsoft’s services may be down at some point, possibly preventing specific applications from functioning correctly.

Microsoft 365: Business Premium

For businesses that need more security and management opportunities for their workflow, Business Premium may be the option for you. This plan comes with all the features of Business Standard, but also includes:

  • Intune – A program that allows for mobile device management, giving you the ability to decide how your businesses’ mobile devices (tablets, laptops, phones) are used.
  • Azure Information Protection – A program that assists in protecting sensitive information such as emails and files. This process can be defined using labels and handled automatically, manually, or a mixture of the two.

Benefits and Drawbacks from Microsoft 365 Business vs. Microsoft 365 Home vs. Office 2019

When choosing the best version of Office for your company, it is essential to weigh all your options.

Microsoft 365 Business has multiple great programs that any business can stand to benefit from having. Its multiple plans allow companies to make informed decisions on what they want and gives them the ability to upgrade or downgrade. Furthermore, the business applications (Teams, One Drive, Exchange, and SharePoint) offer businesses with more in-depth customization options and a chat platform.

Microsoft365 Family may look promising to some companies that are looking for a cheaper option. Microsoft 365 Family may be best for smaller businesses that do not need access to Teams or have their storage solutions. Office 365 Family comes equipped with all the base application Microsoft 365 Business Standard has (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Access, OneNote, Outlook, and Publisher). However, as stated, it leaves out Teams, OneDrive, Exchange, and SharePoint. Possibly the biggest, and only, advantage Office 365 Family has is the pricing, allowing for six (6) individual users under the same license.

Microsoft 2019 is another great platform, but only for companies that are just starting. The primary reason is pricing differences. Microsoft 2019 costs one payment of $150, giving access to the most popular apps (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook). However, that is about where the benefits end. Office 2019 is not regularly updated with patches and bug fixes; instead, only security updates are pushed out.