Microsoft 365 Business Essentials, dubbed the “100% online” version of Office 365 for Business, is Microsoft’s most basic suite of business productivity tools designed for small to midsize businesses with 300 or fewer users.

But how can this tool help you transform your business into a truly mobile, modern workplace? We’re here to tell you why Microsoft 365 Business Essentials, is well, essential for doing so!

What is Office 365 for Business?

Office 365 is a subscription software service that provides access to the Microsoft Office products and applications you’re likely already familiar with (such as Word, PowerPoint, and Excel). Office 365 also includes online productivity services, robust security features, web conferencing capabilities, hosted email, online file storage and sharing, and much more.

Office 365 is available as a monthly or yearly subscription and is priced per user, but it isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. There are various plans with features and capabilities designed to meet the specific needs of different users. For example, you can choose between Office 365 Home or Business. Office 365 Home is designed for households or individual users. Meanwhile, Office 365 for Business is designed to meet the needs of companies in our modern digital age, with different plans with features geared for use by:

  • Small and medium-sized businesses
  • Enterprises
  • Firstline workers
  • Education
  • Government organizations
  • Non-profit organizations

Comparing Office 365 for Business Plans

Office 365 for Business is available in three tiers: Business Essentials, Business, and Business Premium. Depending on the tier you choose, you will have access to different features and capabilities. But, no matter which plan you decide on, there are many valuable benefits of using Office 365 for Business including:

  • Reliable access to the tools, files, and applications you need to work remotely or on-the-go with ease
  • Streamlined communication and virtual collaboration through access to Microsoft Teams
  • Reduced long-term software expenses
  • Advanced security features to keep your confidential business and consumer data secure
  • File storage and sharing capabilities
  • Reporting features and dashboards that result in valuable data insights

To learn more about the various Office 365 for Business plans and determine which is right for your business, check out our blog: Comparing Microsoft Office 365 Pricing and Plans for Business!

What is Included in Microsoft 365 Business Essentials?

While there are three different tiers of Office 365 for Business available, today, we are here to talk about the most basic option: Microsoft 365 Business Essentials.

Each user can install Microsoft 365 Business Essentials on up to five phones and five tablets, making it an ideal plan for those who often work remotely or on-the-go. However, there is no access to Office desktop applications with this version, making this plan the 100% “online” tier of Office 365 for Business. This means you will need internet access to use the web-based versions of Office 365 apps.

Here is some general information on what is included with Microsoft 365 Business Essentials:

  • Price: $5.00 per month per user (with an annual commitment)
  • Office apps included: None
  • Services included: Exchange, OneDrive, SharePoint, and Microsoft Teams

Some additional features of Microsoft 365 Business Essentials that can add value to your business include:

  • Collaboration tools including Skype for Business, Team Sites, Microsoft Teams, Yammer, and Planner
  • Email hosting with 50 GB mailbox
  • 1 TB of OneDrive storage per user for file storage and sharing
  • 24/7 phone and online support through Microsoft
  • More than 1,000 security and privacy controls, including the ability to control who and when someone has access to your business information with security groups and custom permissions
  • The ability to access and sync files on a PC, Mac, and mobile devices
  • And more!

The bottom line? Microsoft 365 Business Essentials is best for businesses that need access to business email and other services, but already have an existing investment in Office desktop programs since they are not included in this tier.

Managing Office 365 for Business in Your Organization

Office 365 for Business comes equipped with a management dashboard that administrators can use to manage licenses, subscriptions, features, and security all in one place. However, this dashboard can easily appear overwhelming, especially for someone who is new to Office 365.

For this reason, it's crucial that your business has at least one (or ideally, a few) skilled Office 365 administrators who can manage users and configure security options properly.

Pro tip? Whether your business is large or small, it can be difficult to dedicate the right resources to having an in-house IT staff—and finding professionals in this field with the proper training takes major time, effort, and money. So, it’s often worth outsourcing this management task to a managed service provider so you can get the most out of your software.

But, even if you do outsource this task to a managed service provider, at a minimum, every administrator in your own organization should know the following entry points for effective Office 365 management:

  • Office 365 portal. Through the Office 365 portal, any user can access web-based services and also manage installations of Office desktop apps (but since the Office 365 Business Essentials plan does not include Office desktop apps, this particular part only applies to the other two tiers).
  • Office 365 Admin Center. Users who have also been assigned as administrators can use the admin center for managing users and groups, licenses, billing, and configuration options. Those who have not been assigned administrator roles won’t be able to access or change this information, eliminating security and privacy concerns.

Ready to Implement Microsoft 365 Business Essentials?

Now that you know a little bit more about Microsoft 365 Business Essentials and have had the chance to compare different plans, you may be thinking this tier is the right option for you. Now, the next step is implementation—and at Protected Trust, we want to make this process as simple as possible for you!

We can help your business get the most out of Microsoft Surface devices, Office 365 for Business, and Microsoft Teams so you can experience a truly modern workplace. Once we develop a custom implementation plan for your business, we’ll work together to actually execute that plan. The result is a successful Office 365 for Business implementation and the ability to get the most out of your software throughout the day-to-day, meaning a positive return on investment!

Got more questions or ready to get started? One of the experts at Protected Trust would be happy to help—book a meeting with us to discuss.