We’re all familiar with Microsoft 365, the suite of cloud-based productivity apps that give you all the tools you need for work. However, beyond Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other Microsoft apps, there are more options available to businesses and organizations. Microsoft 365 for Enterprise has become the world’s go-to solution for transformational change and business activity. This enterprise-level software provides powerful security and compliance capabilities, data analysis tools, and more.

Enterprise software solutions can offer greater peace of mind in ensuring that you’re not falling foul of any regulations around data protection and cybersecurity. With Microsoft 365 E3 or E5, your organization will have access to collaborative tools that can be shared by a widely distributed workforce across the globe. But what is the difference between Microsoft E3 vs E5? Below, we’ll explore what each of these enterprise-grade software packages can offer, in addition to comparing the two.

What are Microsoft E3 and E5?

With both Microsoft E3 and Microsoft E5, you and your workforce have access to the most critical Microsoft applications for business. These include Access, Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint, Publisher, and Word. Your organization also benefits from Microsoft Bookings, Exchange, and Outlook for team collaboration and communication.

Both solutions also offer device and app management and security services, allowing you to secure your employees’ devices across all platforms. With Microsoft E3 and E5, you’ll benefit from secure cloud storage with OneDrive, in addition to powerful content creation and data management apps like Forms, Lists, Stream, Sway, and Video.

With either solution, you’ll be able to utilize work management and security management tools, ensuring that your business remains productive and protected against cybersecurity threats.

However, there are differences between Microsoft 365 E3 vs E5. Read on for more information on the distinctions between these two enterprise products.

The differences between Microsoft E3 vs E5

As noted above, a Microsoft E3 plan offers a suite of productivity apps with support and work management capabilities. These allow you to encourage collaboration across teams, manage your customer and business relations, and ensure that sensitive data is properly protected.

E3 subscribers also have access to optional add-on packages that can be set up for groups of users. These include Microsoft 365 E5 Security, Microsoft Viva Learning, Microsoft Viva Topics, and Windows 365.

With Microsoft 365 E5, you gain access to the same range of apps and services as found in the E3 plan. However, this plan includes more comprehensive security, compliance, and analytical tools, in addition to voice and video capabilities. Some of the additional features and services included in Microsoft 365 E5 are:

  • Audio conferencing
  • Azure Active Directory Premium 1 and 2
  • Azure Information Protection Plan 2
  • Insider Risk Management
  • Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps, Endpoint, Identity, and Office 365
  • PBX Phone System (cloud-based, integrated with Microsoft Teams)
  • Power BI Pro Licenses

Much like Microsoft E3, your E5 plan comes with optional add-on enhancements. These include Microsoft Viva Topics, Microsoft Viva Insights, SharePoint Syntex, and Windows 365.

Microsoft E3 vs E5: Pricing

The sticker price for Microsoft E3 is CAD $47.90 per month, per user. For Microsoft E5, this rises to CAD $73 per month, per user. Organizations looking to bulk-purchase a combination of enterprise or SMB licenses are often able to secure a discount.


What add-ons are available for Microsoft 365 E3 and E5?

Above, we talked about optional enhancements that can be used with both E3 and E5. Below, you’ll find more information about the add-on services available for each subscription.

Microsoft 365 E5 Security

This security package guards against cybersecurity threats to your organization and includes protection against phishing and zero-day vulnerabilities with two subscription plans. The first plan offers real-time threat detection, attachment scanning, phishing protection, and safe links. The second plan offers all of the above, in addition to simulation training, compromised user detection, and automated investigation and response (AIR).

Microsoft Viva Learning

Microsoft Viva Learning plugs straight into your existing Microsoft Teams platform. It provides business-oriented content libraries for organization-wide employee training, including LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft 365 Training, and Microsoft Learn. There’s also support for select third-party training libraries. Integration with Teams helps to facilitate collaboration across your workforce, and it makes learning a natural part of the workday.

Microsoft Viva Topics

Microsoft Viva Topics also integrates with Teams to unify business content across your various apps and teams. It’s an AI-driven knowledge management system that can locate, organize, and present content where it’s needed. Content is organized into related schemas, including projects, products, and customers. Artificial intelligence searches for topics and compiles information on them. This might be a brief description, a list of people collaborating on the piece, or websites, resources, and pages that relate to the topic at hand.

Windows 365

Windows 365 comprises Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security (EM+S). With EM+S, your business can manage its data across all devices, business and personal. For organizations concerned about data security, EM+S ensures complete control over corporate data and apps without concern of breaching employee privacy or security. Features include single sign-on for every application, file and data encryption, and remote management software. Advanced threat analytics ensure that you can detect and respond to cybersecurity threats more quickly.

Strengthen your organization’s collaboration, productivity, and security

Now, you understand the differences between Microsoft 365 E3 and E5. Both solutions will help you to create a more collaborative, productive workforce, without compromising your security or compliance obligations. However, E5 is the most comprehensive and feature-rich option currently available. But what are the first steps in choosing and implementing a new software service in your organization?

Softlanding is an IT services provider that can help you to get started. We’re a trusted Microsoft partner with experience in deploying enterprise-level solutions across businesses of varying sizes. We’re also part of the Microsoft FastTrack program, which ensures you’ll have access to expert guidance at no additional cost.

Get in touch with Softlanding for a free consultation about how we can help you and your organization.

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Softlanding is a long-established IT services provider of transformation, professional services and managed IT services that helps organizations boost innovation and drive business value. We are a multi-award-winning Microsoft Gold Partner with 13 Gold Competencies and we use our experience and expertise to be a trusted advisor to our clients. Headquartered in Vancouver, BC, we have staff and offices in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary to serve clients across Canada.

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