Several updates were released for Microsoft 365 Business Premium in 2020 that significantly improve cybersecurity for users of one of the world’s most popular software suites, which consequently makes it one of the most targeted. However, even many longtime customers of what used to be called Office 365 have a hard time keeping up with these sorts of releases, and are consequently either missing out on everything they could get from their subscription or paying for more than they need. SWK Technologies is a Gold Microsoft Partner and best positioned to help you fully understand the ins and outs of every M365 plan, allowing you to better choose which provides the best value return for your needs.
In this article, we will cover what exactly is Microsoft 365 for Business, what users get from the new updates to Business Premium and what other packages offer. For more information and feature by feature comparisons of each plan, watch SWK’s webinar, Security, Simplicity, and Value: Discovering the Microsoft 365 Plan for You.
What is Microsoft 365 Business Premium?
Microsoft 365 Business Premium is the highest tier of the four plans available under Microsoft 365 for Business, with the greatest number of features and consequently also the largest per user cost. Most importantly on the former point, it has the most extensive security updates of any plan before the Enterprise tier packages, which rise significantly in cost and are geared towards considerably larger user counts. M365 Business Premium is designed to fit best for organizations with fewer than 300 employees and that have “low to medium” IT requirements – SMBs and midmarket companies going through growth, digital transformation or facing scalability challenges.
What is Microsoft 365 for Business?
To clarify, Microsoft 365 for Business is the official title of the plan category marketed to organizations to differentiate it from the “for home” Personal and Family plans meant for consumer use. As previously mentioned, there are four tiers:
- Microsoft 365 Business Basic
- Microsoft 365 Business Standard
- Microsoft 365 Business Premium
- Microsoft 365 Apps for Business
Basic and Apps are the most limited in scope and available features, with the former lacking access to Exchange email and desktop versions of the Office 365 applications, while the latter only includes those apps (as the name indicates) and OneDrive for cloud storage.
Microsoft 365 Business Premium VS Microsoft 365 Business Standard
Despite the lower per user pricing and similar language used by Microsoft to describe the features, the key differences between each tier give Premium users several advantages over those of Standard. The cybersecurity updates highlighted at the beginning of this article greatly expanded the cyber defense capabilities of Microsoft 365 Business Premium, allowing your organization to significantly improve your network security down to the individual user level.
Microsoft 365 for Business VS Microsoft 365 Enterprise
Microsoft 365 Enterprise is the next step above the four Microsoft for Business plans, designed – as the product name invokes – for companies starting at over 300 users and more, and that require business productivity software features at a much greater scale. It is important to note that the Enterprise plan offers both more of and even better versions of the cybersecurity updates included with Microsoft 365 Business Premium, but also at a considerably higher cost that reflects the larger IT requirements of those organizations.
Microsoft 365 Cybersecurity Updates
Microsoft has extensively upgraded and expanded the security features in the M365 platform over the past year, in order to aid customers adapt to the evolving cybersecurity crisis. These include extensions for the Microsoft Defender tool, cloud app protections, data privacy compliance automation, and a new consolidated overview of every device connected to your network. Microsoft 365 Business Premium users receive the greatest number of enhancements outside of the more expensive Enterprise licenses, making this plan one of the most secure options for mid-sized companies with a sizeable number of employees working from home.
Device Management Console
One of the biggest cybersecurity updates for Microsoft 365 for Business was the deployment of several tools dedicated to protecting devices in your network, including a consolidated admin console that can oversee and managed both desktop and mobile devices. Business Premium was specifically designed with BYOD (bring your own device) policies in mind, helping organizations that have pivoted to increased telecommuting better secure disparate endpoints.
Microsoft Defender Updates and Integrations
Microsoft Defender gained several improvements in Windows 10, and the M365 Business Premium plan comes equipped with specific tools and integrations under the Defender umbrella such as Microsoft Defender Antivirus and Microsoft Defender Exploit Guard.
App Protection and OneDrive Cybersecurity Updates
In keeping with the BYOD cybersecurity focus, Microsoft 365 for Business has received several enhancements designed to improve mobile/cloud app security. Leveraging Intune App Protection, OneDrive usage and storage updates, the device management console and more, administrators in Business Premium will be able to directly manage Office 365 applications in use on multiple devices, and the data they are accessing and storing.
Azure Information Protection (AIP) and Data Privacy Compliance
Azure Information Protection (AIP) is a tool available for Microsoft 365 subscriptions that allows admins to carefully manage and protect sensitive data, including personally identifiable information (PII). This is especially important for users with strict data privacy requirements, such as those regulated by the EU’s GDPR.
Why Cybersecurity in Microsoft 365 Business Premium Matters
To reiterate on what should be a clear trend by this point, Microsoft 365 Business Premium greatly increases your ability to protect your Office 365 apps and data on any device located anywhere. This may seem like a simple solution, but its deployment is gargantuan in scope – Windows programs are the most popular by usage on the planet, and the remote work pivots during the 2020 pandemic greatly expanded security perimeters across M365’s collective cloud networks. This plan helps with the burden of managing all of those disparate endpoints and the potential vulnerabilities they bring to your systems.
Finding the Right Microsoft Partner for Microsoft 365 Migration
Microsoft recommends that users wishing to migrate to Microsoft 365 Business Premium engage a managed service partner like SWK Technologies, for several reasons. The biggest is that an experienced IT provider is best equipped to understand both the technical requirements and the intricacies of your system that could be overlooked in day to day management. Whether you have an in-house network support team or one overworked employee fulfilling that role unofficially, SWK has multiple flexible options for supporting your IT infrastructure, including your Microsoft 365 subscription.
Discover the Best M365 Plan for You
There are many M365 plans to choose from, including the multiple Business tiers like Premium, Enterprise packages, and multiple industry-specific bundles built for narrower vertical needs. SWK is here to help you sift through the overwhelming information hurdles and empower you to track down the subscription that delivers the best value – watch our webinar with Solutions Architect Rachael Wade to learn.
Register here to watch our webinar, Security, Simplicity, and Value: Discovering the Microsoft 365 Plan for You, and narrow which M365 provides the best ROI for your business.