Microsoft Office has been around for many years now. It has been providing tools for word processing, emails, presentations, spreadsheets, etc., which have become the core components of any office worker’s or private user’s life. The established and widely known suite of office tools, Microsoft 365 is perfect for beginners as well as experienced users. With all the features that are included in this program, it’s difficult to find another one with its capabilities. But on the other hand, Microsoft has launched various versions for mobile devices and desktops which makes it quite difficult for users to compare all the offerings and choose a package that’s right for them. 

Let’s take a look at some of the main differences between each plan, as well as free alternatives for installation and use via your browser. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about how to pick the right Microsoft 365 version for your business.

Microsoft 365: All you need to know

Microsoft 365 buying guide
Source: Pexels

Why do you need Microsoft 365?

Microsoft 365 comes with a lot of benefits for productivity and collaboration. Whether you’re looking to save time and money on your business or just need some help getting things done, these plans will be able to make life easier for everything. Here are some of their benefits:

Enhanced ProductivityIt provides a list of productivity and collaboration tools, including:   Microsoft TeamsOne Drive for BusinessSharePointOutlook EmailWord, Excel, PowerPointYammerAnd more.
FlexibilityCloud subscriptions allow users to access files across a range of devices from any location.
Teamwork and CommunicationsIt allows to host online meetings and video calls with Teams, chat to collaborate easily, and to share content or files easily using SharePoint.
Email and CalendarIt allows you to host 50 GB mailbox with a custom domain, manage your calendar and meetings from anywhere. You can receive reminders easily on the go.
ReliableMicrosoft guarantees a 99.9% uptime for all their services.
Security and ControlFive layers of security and monitoring to keep your information safe. You can control who can access it with customizable permissions, password policies, and more.
PrivacyMicrosoft and ZNetLive are committed to keeping your data safe.
Automatic UpdatesYou’ll get access to all the new features and updates for free with your subscription.
IT SupportZNetLive support team is available 24/7 by phone or online for critical issues.

How do you get Microsoft 365 on your device?

Long ago, the only way to get Microsoft Office was by buying a CD-ROM and then installing it on your device. But these days, laptops don’t even have disk drives anymore. However, most come with pre-installed Microsoft Office that comes as a complimentary product at the time of purchase.

Sadly, many laptop sellers don’t provide genuine licenses to the users, and this can be exploited due to security vulnerabilities. Hence, if you want to use Microsoft 365 specifically, then you should have official software installed with a proper license. This is essential for efficiency and security reasons.

There are mainly two ways you can get Microsoft 365. You can either buy the product outright or sign up for a monthly subscription service with which you can get access every month at no extra cost.

Which Microsoft 365 licensing plan should you buy?

There are several licensing plans available, from business, enterprise, personal, home to student use. We’ll cover every plan here. You can choose the one that best meets your needs.

Microsoft 365: Personal vs Family

Check out the table below to learn about all the important features of these plans:

FeatureMicrosoft 365 PersonalMicrosoft 365 Family
Recommended forIndividual users only for home/non-commercial use.Best for families or mainstream consumers.
PriceMail to sales@znetlive.comMail to sales@znetlive.com
One-month trialNoYes
Users1Up to 6
Supported DevicesFor PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android phones & tabletsFor PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android phones & tablets
Word, Excel, PowerPointPremium1Premium1
Outlook email & calendarPremium1Premium1
Outlook storage quota50 GB50 GB
Cloud Storage1 TBUp to 6 TB, with 1 TB per person
Skype60 minutes per month Skype calls for 1 user60 minutes per month Skype calls to mobiles and landlines
Family safety mobile appPremium
Microsoft EditorAdvanced grammar and styleAdvanced grammar and style
Microsoft Teams premium chat, call and planning appYesYes
SecurityIncludes ransomware file recovery and email phishing detection.Includes ransomware file recovery and email phishing detection

Office 365 Education

The educational version of Microsoft 365, called Office 365 Education was created with the needs and wants for students in mind as well as university faculty or staff who work closely together on projects throughout their careers. Check out the table below to learn about all the important features of these plans:

PlanFeatureStudentsTeacher, Faculty, & Staff
Office 365 A1Recommended forAcademic organizations where the student, faculty or staff don’t have access to any Office 365 services. Mainly for infrequent users of Microsoft 365, projects, and secondary accounts in school.
 PriceFree (one-time purchase)Free (one-time purchase)
 Apps IncludedOutlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNoteOutlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote
 Services IncludedMicrosoft Exchange, OneDrive, SharePoint, Teams, Sway, Forms, Stream, Power Automate, Power Apps, School Data Sync, Visio, YammerMicrosoft Exchange, OneDrive, SharePoint, Teams, Sway, Forms, Stream, Power Automate, Power Apps, School Data Sync, Visio, Yammer
 Outlook storage quota50 GB50 GB
 SecurityRights management, data loss prevention, encryption.
 UsersUnlimited
 
Office 365 A3Recommended forAcademic organizations willing to manage the devices of their students, faculty, and staff. Great for users who require audio conferencing for a learning event or meeting or Power BI for analytics.
 PriceMail to sales@znetlive.comMail to sales@znetlive.com
 Apps IncludedOutlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Publisher (PC only), Access (PC only)Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Publisher (PC only), Access (PC only)
 Services IncludedExchange, OneDrive, SharePoint, Teams, Sway, Forms, Stream, Power Automate, Power Apps, School Data Sync, Bookings, Visio, YammerExchange, OneDrive, SharePoint, Teams (up to 10,000 people), Sway, Forms, Stream, Power Automate, Power Apps, School Data Sync, Bookings, Visio, Yammer
 Outlook storage quota50 GB50 GB
 Supported DevicesFor PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android phones & tablets – up to 5 devices per userFor PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android phones & tablets – up to 5 devices per user
 SecurityRights management, data loss prevention, encryption, Office 365 Cloud App Security
 UsersUnlimited
 Advanced Personal AnalyticsMicrosoft Viva Insights
 
Office 365 A5Recommended forThose who need intensive security management, advanced compliance, additional analytics tools, audio and video conferencing.
 PriceMail to sales@znetlive.comMail to sales@znetlive.com
 Apps IncludedOutlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Publisher (PC only), Access (PC only)Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Publisher (PC only), Access (PC only)
 Services IncludedExchange, OneDrive, SharePoint, Teams, Sway, Forms, Stream, Power Automate, Power Apps, School Data Sync, Bookings, Power BI, Visio, YammerExchange, OneDrive, SharePoint, Teams, Sway, Forms, Stream, Power Automate, Power Apps, School Data Sync, Bookings, Power BI, Visio, Yammer
 Outlook storage quota50 GB100 GB
 Supported DevicesFor PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android phones & tablets – up to 5 devices per userFor PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android phones & tablets – up to 5 devices per user
 SecurityRights management, data loss prevention, encryption, Office 365 Cloud App Security
 UsersUnlimited
 Advanced Personal AnalyticsMicrosoft Viva Insights and Power BI Pro

Office Home & Student 2021: One-time purchase

The Microsoft Office Home & Student 2021 package is perfect for those who want to save money and not be tied down by a subscription. You give up automatic updates, but you don’t have to worry about paying monthly fees or being tied into a long-term contract every year. Check out the table below to learn about all the important features offered in this plan:

FeatureMicrosoft Office Home & Student 2021
Recommended forStudents and families who want to get classic Office apps1 including Word, Excel and PowerPoint for Windows 11 or 10.
PriceMail to sales@znetlive.com
One-month trialNo
UsageOne PC or Mac
Supported Operating SystemsWindows 10, Windows 11, macOS
Word, Excel, PowerPointClassic 2021 version1
Outlook email & calendar
Outlook storage quota
Cloud Storage
Support60 days free support
Microsoft TeamsYes

Microsoft 365 for Business

Microsoft 365 for Business offers a complete solution that brings together the best-in-class productivity of Microsoft’s widely used office applications, advanced security capabilities and device management tools.

Microsoft offers four different business plans to fit any organization’s needs. They are:

  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic
  • Microsoft 365 Apps for Business
  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium

Microsoft 365 is the perfect solution for any small sized business that needs some extra features and support. The limit on a single license is 300 users so if your company needs more users, then an enterprise plan may be best suited.

Let’s take a look at the features and pricing of Microsoft 365 plans for businesses.

FeatureMicrosoft 365 Business BasicMicrosoft 365 Apps for BusinessMicrosoft 365 Business StandardMicrosoft 365 Business Premium
Recommended forSmall businesses who require basic Office apps (online version only) and limited features. Good for infrequent users.Small businesses or freelancers who are already subscribed to an email service and don’t want hybrid capabilities in M365. Small to mid-sized businesses who require a suite of essential features with the ability to purchase more services via add-ons.Small and mid-sized businesses who require good mail storage, advanced security and data management.
Price97 INR/user/month490 INR/user/month516 INR/user/month1,230 INR/user/month
One-month trialNoNoYesYes
Payment TermsPer user per month on Annual BillingPer user per month on Annual BillingPer user per month on Annual BillingPer user per month on Annual Billing
License UsageUp to 300 usersUp to 300 usersUp to 300 usersUp to 300 users
Supported DevicesFor PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android phones & tabletsFor PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android phones & tabletsFor PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android phones & tabletsFor PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android phones & tablets
Apps & services includedWord, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams, Outlook, Exchange (domain version only), OneDrive, SharePoint (domain version only)Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, Access (PC only), Publisher (PC only), OutlookWord, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams, Outlook, OneDrive, SharePoint, Exchange, Access (PC only), Publisher (PC Only)Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams, Outlook, OneDrive, SharePoint, Exchange, Intune, Azure Information Protection, Access (PC only), Publisher (PC Only)
Outlook storage quota50 GB50 GB50 GB
Cloud Storage1 TB per person1 TB per person1 TB per person1 TB per person
Security: Exchange Online ProtectionYesYesYes
Security and privacy controlsOver 1000Over 1000Over 1000Over 1000
Allowed to create password policy?YesYesYesYes
Security: Defender for businessAvailable as add-onAvailable as add-onYes
Allowed to use your own custom domain?YesYesYes
TeamsYesYesYes
99.9% uptimeYesYesYesYes
Licensed for commercial useYesYesYesYes
Each user can install the Office apps on up to 5 PCs or Macs?YesYesYes

Microsoft 365 Enterprise

The Microsoft 365 enterprise plan is designed for larger organizations that want to manage their Cloud PCs with the help of tools like Endpoint Manager and integrate it seamlessly into other services such as Azure Active Directory or Defender Antivirus.

Let’s take a look at the features and pricing of Microsoft 365 plans for enterprises.

FeatureMicrosoft 365 E3Microsoft 365 E5 without Audio ConferencingMicrosoft 365 F3
Recommended for?Medium to large organizations who require data analytics, advanced security, email and calendar management services.Organizations who are looking for the perfect solution that provides complete protection, intelligent data classification, advanced analytics, and complete user monitoring.Smalls businesses or individuals who require Office Online services, basic collaborative and work management tools.
Price2,200 INR/user/month3,500 INR/user/month490 INR/user/month on Annual Billing
Supported DevicesFor PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android phones & tabletsFor PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android phones & tabletsFor PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android phones & tablets
Users300+300+300+
Apps & services included (can be used on up to 5 devices)PowerPoint, Word, Excel, OneNote, Publisher (PC only), Access (PC only), SharePoint, Yammer, Viva Connections, OneDrive, Streams, Sway, Lists, Forms, Visio, Planner, Power Apps, Power Automate, Power Virtual Agent, To Do   (desktop & web)PowerPoint, Word, Excel, OneNote, Publisher (PC only), Access (PC only), SharePoint, Yammer, Viva Connections, OneDrive, Streams, Sway, Lists, Forms, Visio, Planner, Power Apps, Power Automate, Power Virtual Agent, To Do     (desktop & web)PowerPoint, Word, Excel, OneNote, Publisher (PC only), Access (PC only), SharePoint, Yammer, Viva Connections, OneDrive, Streams, Sway, Lists, Forms, Visio, Planner, Power Apps, Power Automate, Power Virtual Agent, To Do
(web only)
Email & Calendar100 GB100 GB2 GB
Cloud Storage1 TB per person1 TB per person2 GB per person
TeamsYes (partially available)YesYes (partially available)
SecurityYes (encryption, threat protection, identity and access management, endpoint and app management)Yes (advanced encryption, threat protection, identity and access management, endpoint and app management, information protection, insider risk management, retention policies)Yes (encryption, threat protection, identity and access management, endpoint and app management)
Advanced AnalyticsPartially availableYes
99.9% uptime?YesYesYes
Licensed for commercial useYesYesYes

Office 365 Enterprise

Let’s take a look at the features and pricing of Office 365 plans for enterprises.

FeatureOffice 365 E3Office 365 E5 without Audio ConferencingOffice 365 E1
Recommended for?Medium to large organizations who require data analytics, advanced security, email and calendar management services.Organizations who are looking for the perfect solution that provides complete protection, intelligent data classification, advanced analytics, and complete user monitoring.Smalls businesses or individuals who require Office Online services, basic collaborative and work management tools.
Price1,285 INR/user/month2,127 INR/user/month559 INR/user/month
Supported DevicesFor PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android phones & tabletsFor PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android phones & tabletsFor PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android phones & tablets
Users300+300+300+
Apps & services included (can be used on up to 5 devices)Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, SharePoint, Yammer, Stream, Power Apps, Forms, To Do, Power Virtual, Power Automate, My Analytics, Teams, Delve, ExchangeWord, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, SharePoint, Yammer, Stream, Power Apps, Forms, To Do, Power Virtual, Power Automate, My Analytics, Teams, Delve, Exchange, Power BI ProWord, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, SharePoint, Yammer, Stream, Power Apps, Forms, To Do, Power Virtual, Power Automate, My Analytics, Teams, Delve, Exchange  
Email & Calendar100 GB100 GB50 GB
Cloud Storage1-5+ TB per person1-5+ TB per person1 TB per person
TeamsYesYesYes
SecurityYes (device & app management, identity & access management, threat protection, information management, advanced security features)Yes (device & app management, identity & access management, threat protection, information management, advanced security features – Microsoft 365 advanced security features included)Yes (device & app management – Microsoft Graph API only, identity & access management)
Advanced AnalyticsPartially available (My Analytics)Yes (My Analytics, Power BI Pro)Partially available (My Analytics)
99.9% uptime?YesYesYes
Licensed for commercial useYesYesYes

Conclusion:

So, which M365 plan would be the best for you? It’s hard to say as there are so many options available, and it completely depends on your preference. If you want more information on these options, let us know in the comments below or take a look at Microsoft 365 plans or mail to sales@znetlive.com.

Note:

1. The Classic 2021 version of Microsoft Office 365 will not receive any future updates or new features. However, the Premium 365 plan allows you to upgrade your installed apps whenever an update is released.



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