Updated on September 25, 2023

In today’s fast-paced workplace environment, technology needs to be robust yet flexible. Microsoft 365 is designed to help you achieve more with innovative Office apps, intelligent cloud services, and world-class security. With numerous apps aimed to improve business and working cohesively together, it is the leading productivity suite for many enterprises.


What is Microsoft 365?

Recently Microsoft Office 365 was rebranded as Microsoft 365 to include many new additions to the productivity suite including Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Stream, Microsoft Forms, and more. This rebranding is all part of a strategy to help organizations boost productivity and continue their path to cloud service adoption.

Microsoft 365 is a subscription service that provides users with the basic productivity applications necessary to get work done in the modern enterprise. It combines the applications you already know such as the traditional Microsoft Office suite, Outlook, SharePoint, OneNote, and OneDrive just to name a few, adding Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams as the main communication and collaboration tools.

Periodic Table of Microsoft 365


Microsoft lets you find the right service to fit your needs. Whether you are looking for the entire suite, or just the apps, there’s a solution right for you.

Microsoft 365 Business Basic (formerly Office 365 Business Essentials)

  • Best for businesses that need Microsoft Teams and cloud storage. Desktop versions of Office apps not included.
  • $5.00 per user per month (annual commitment)

Microsoft 365 Business Standard (formerly Office 365 Business Premium)

  • Best for businesses that need Office apps across devices plus business email, cloud file storage, and online meetings and chat.
  • $12.50 per user per month (annual commitment)

Microsoft 365 Business Premium (formerly Microsoft 365 Business)

  • Best for businesses that need everything included in Business Standard plus advanced cyberthreat protection and device management.
  • $20.00 per user per month (annual commitment)

Microsoft 365 Apps (formerly Office 365 Business)

  • Best for businesses that need Office apps across devices and cloud file storage. Business email and Microsoft Teams not included.
  • $8.25 per user per month (annual commitment)


What are the Key Benefits of Microsoft 365?


  • With Microsoft 365, you have the flexibility to scale your business as you grow in a few clicks since it is a subscription-based service that you typically pay on a month-to-month basis.


  • One of the greatest benefits of Microsoft 365 is the ability to work from anywhere and from any device as long as you have internet connectivity. You will find it useful if your company has multiple locations and/or remote employees.

Effortless Collaboration

  • Microsoft 365 enables your team to contribute and edit the same version of a document avoiding multiple copies and getting real-time changes. Additionally, with multi-party HD video, shared calendar, and team chat, your team will always be up to date.

Advanced Security

  • Microsoft 365 offers numerous built-in security features to keep your organization’s data safe such as email encryption, data loss prevention, mobile device management, and advanced threat analytics (ATA).


Why should you use Microsoft 365?

Workplace collaboration and communication are key components of productivity in the modern workplace. Not only does Microsoft 365 improve personal productivity in the workplace, it also leads to organizational productivity.

Empower your users with the most innovative personal productivity experiences.

  • Enable teamwork and simply workflows using Microsoft Teams to collaborate, meet, call and connect to all your business apps
  • Stay productive on the go, no matter where you are
  • Get more done with AI-enabled tools

Drive business growth and increase efficiency with boosted organizational productivity.

  • Harness organizational knowledge by turning data into insight
  • Manage all your endpoints to gain visibility across connected devices
  • Protect your business with elevated security, managing risk, and meeting compliance standards using the Microsoft cloud.

Adopting cloud-based technology can improve your employees’ ability to collaborate using secure apps they already know and love. Plus, it can help keep your data and system secure.

At Softlanding we help organizations with all components of Microsoft 365: Exchange, SharePoint, Skype for Business, Teams, etc. We take the complexity out of deploying and migrating to Microsoft 365 to ensure a smooth transition to the cloud. For more information on how to implement Microsoft 365 within your organization, contact us!


A Deeper Dive into Microsoft 365

Microsoft Office is still available as a one-time purchase for anyone who wants access to the apps mentioned above. But there are many reasons to consider Microsoft 365, which is structured as a monthly subscription plan but comes with several perks that you won’t get with Office as a stand-alone product.

Microsoft 365 vs. Office 365

Why did the company change the package name from Office 365 to Microsoft 365? Apparently, this was a branding decision and designed to differentiate the subscription service from the traditional Office packages. Clearly, Microsoft thought Office was too similar to Office 365 and may be showing confusion in prospects’ minds. Now, the new naming convention reflects the company’s strategy of providing a single complete productivity platform for all its customers.

Are There Any Differences?

Apart from the name, there are certain differences, although there are no wholesale changes. Microsoft 365 will still contain the same applications and subscription options that Office 365 offered before. However, the company does offer some new subscription plans, detailed below, which should meet the needs of any business.

How Does Office 2019/2021 Compare with Microsoft 365?

If you’ve been used to using Office 2019 or 2021, you’ll want to know how these products compare with Microsoft 365.

Firstly, it’s important to remember that the basic Office 2019 or Office 2021 products are stand-alone versions that you simply purchase once and own for life. Also, the note-taking app OneNote was bundled into Office 2021.

However, Office 2019 will only run on Windows 10 and macOS and is not automatically updated. This means that if you want access to the newest version, you must purchase Office again when the company releases an upgrade. Still, some smaller companies may only need access to the basic apps on one device with the more “traditional” user experience.

By contrast, Microsoft 365 will be automatically updated whenever needed and will have the most up-to-date and modern productivity tools with the latest core features. You can also access certain other web-based services or apps like Stream and Sway. In addition, Microsoft offers a variety of subscription plans to cater to businesses, enterprises, educational establishments, and nonprofits.

Access as much cloud storage space as you like through OneDrive. When you subscribe at the entry-level, you will get up to 1 TB of free storage, which equates to more than 300,000 images or over 1 million documents. And with a single subscription, you can use these apps on PCs, Macs, or tablets, whether you use Windows, iPad, or Android. You can also subscribe monthly or annually and open Microsoft 365 on up to 5 different devices.

What’s the Difference Between Microsoft 365 Business Basic, Standard, and Premium?

There is a range of Microsoft 365 plans for businesses of all sizes, from Basic up to Enterprise E5.

Plans for Small and Medium Businesses

For small and medium businesses or those organizations with up to 300 users, consider the following:

  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic. This includes Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Teams, and all the familiar Office Apps — Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard. This package will include all the features of Business Basic but also comes with security features like Microsoft Identity Manager and Advanced Threat Protection.
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium. This is an upgrade on Business Standard and has device management tools like Windows Autopilot and Intune.

Visit Microsoft 365 business products for more details.

Plans for Frontline Workers

Microsoft realizes that some staff members will often work directly with customers or the general public on their tablets or phones and need to be as productive as possible. So, Microsoft 365 has two separate plans for these frontline workers:

  • Microsoft 365 F1 includes all the features found in Microsoft 365 Business Basic but also has task management and shift management tools like Kaizala and StaffHub.
  • Microsoft 365 F3 is an upgrade on F1. It’s got advanced security and compliance tools, with Azure Information Protection and Advanced Threat Protection.

As with the business plans, the frontline worker plans are meant for companies with up to 300 users.

Office 365 Plans at the Enterprise Level

At the enterprise level, you can find two plans for organizations with unlimited users. However, for some reason, Microsoft has decided to retain the Office designator when describing the available plans.

  • Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise. This is the enterprise edition of all the office apps, with cloud-based file storage and sharing. However, it does not include access to business email.
  • Office 365 E1. E1 builds on the above package and includes business services like email, file storage and sharing, meetings, and IM. In addition, it allows access to Office on the web but does not include Office apps.
  • Office 365 E3. E3 uses Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise and Office 365 E1 as a base and then adds advanced security and compliance tools — Windows Hello for Business, Azure Information Protection, and Advanced Threat Protection.
  • Office 365 E5. E5 upgrades the E3 plan by adding reporting, analytics, and compliance tools like Cloud App and Power BI Pro.

Softlanding Helps Businesses Implement Microsoft 365

If you’d like to explore your options and get help from an experienced IT company that provides professional and managed IT services, get in touch with Softlanding..

Written By:

Caroline Blivet

As Softlanding's Marketing Lead, Caroline and is responsible for driving lead generation, developing a go-to-market strategy and, delivering marketing campaigns. Outside of work, Caroline enjoys hiking the beautiful trails of British Columbia.

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