Microsoft 365 Business New Licensing Subscriptions are making IT professional shake their heads right now.  Microsoft’s desire to rebrand everything every six months or so, is a never ending rotation of names for products that just didn’t quite work out in their mind.  Remember the phone system, Microsoft Lync?  The name change in favor of Skype for Business.  Remember Skype for Business from the last sentence?  Yeah, that changed too.  It is now integrated into Teams.

Move over Office 365, it all begins with Microsoft 365 Business…

The latest name to reach it’s demise is a big one because it covers quite a large suite of products.  We all have come to know the Microsoft Office 365 as a place for email and desktop office subscription software but that has been replaced with the name Microsoft 365 Business (fill in the blank – see illustration below).   Office 365 capabilities are so much more than the legacy branding portrays and therefore, it was a nightmare to comprehend or articulate to the client what exactly they are getting.  With the introduction of the new branding, Microsoft may finally get the naming of their monthly recurring licensed products right, once and for all.  Microsoft 365 Business New Licensing Subscriptions branding are focused on cloud based security!

Note: All Office 365 migrated plans to Microsoft 365 will become available for customers on April 21, 2020

Microsoft 365 Business New Licensing Subscriptions


Microsoft Office 365 is a subset of an umbrella of Microsoft 365 Business New SaaS licensed products or it was.  RIP Office 365…  well sorta.  The licensing requires a lot of reading or hand puppets for any laymen or IT pro to fully grasp.  The best way we have found to illustrate how businesses should gain an understanding on how best they can utilize Microsoft 365 licensing for all their business needs is through a series of elegant charts and graphs.  Our first chart on the left illustrates the core features of Microsoft 365 with the big red horizontal arrows.  The arrows indicate what most businesses predominantly use the Microsoft suite of products for if they are concerned about cloud security.   The confusing part is Microsoft used to call a lot of their cloud security suite offerings “Office 365″… fill in the blank.

  • Office 365 Service is just for desktop suite of apps, Exchange, Teams, Sharepoint, OneDrive, and some other less commonly known apps.
  • Microsoft 365 is Office 365 services plus all the cool security features of utilizing Azure Active Directory at its core.  This is not to be confused with on-premise traditional old school Active Directory or LDAP.

Microsoft 365 Business Licenses – Subscriptions

These are all Office products related licenses.   The Business Premium contains is where all IT professional want you to be.

  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic (formerly Office 365 Business Essentials)
    • Meh, could have stuck with Essentials instead of opting for “Basic”
  • Microsoft 365 Business  Standard (formerly Office 365 Business Premium)Microsoft 365 Business New Licensing
    • This makes senses because it’s the most commonly used product out there.
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium (formerly Microsoft 365 Business – companies less than 300 users)
    • Select this subscription gives you Intune and Azure AD P1!
      • This subscription make more sense for Managed Service Providers or internal IT that should be concerned about device management and security.  We all want to upgrade the security of these mobile devices by managing their security.  Business Premium does that.  It will also now include full E3 capabilities.

Less Commonly Used M365 Licenses – Subscriptions

  • Microsoft 365 Apps for Business (formerly Office 365 for Business)
    • Holy hell, this wording makes so much more sense!  High five Microsoft!
  • Microsoft 365  Apps for Business (formerly Office 365 ProPlus)
    • Same sentiment here.

IT Pros – Get down to Business

Already know the gist because you are trained professional?  You can proceed with purchasing plans here:

For the rest of us…

Still learning about Microsoft 365 Business New Licensing?  I have highlighted the most commonly used (legacy names) plans with arrows in the chart below.


What Office 365 plan names aren’t changing?
A. The following Office 365 plans will have no changes.  THE NAMES DON’T CHANGE BECAUSE THEY HAVE LIMITED CLOUD SECURITY FEATURES.  The organization purchases the product mainly for Exchange, Teams, and Sharepoint.

  • Office 365 for Enterprise
    • Office 365 E1
    • Office 365 E3
    • Office 365 E5
  • Office 365 for Firstline Workers
    • Office 365 F1
  • Office 365 for Education
    • Office 365 A1
    • Office 365 A3
    • Office 365 A5
  • Office 365 for Government
    • Office 365 G1
    • Office 365 G3
    • Office 365 G5


Microsoft 365 Business New Licensing Subscriptions



Pretty easy way of understanding the licenses, right??!!?  Unfortunately, there’s a lot more to learn.

1. Business plans include business hours support for all non-critical issues, 24/7 phone support from Microsoft, and a 300 seat cap limit for all Business plans
2. Enterprise plans include 24/7 phone support from Microsoft for all issues and has an unlimited seat cap
3. Includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, Access
4. Core Office mobile apps include: Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote
5. Limited to devices with integrated screens 10.1” diagonally or less
6. Cannot be administrators. No site mailbox. No personal site. F1 users unable to create forms.
7. Microsoft Teams: 1:1 A/V calls supported, Meetings right limited to join only, no create/initiate. Includes Skype for Business Plan 1 capabilities.
8. Does not include desktop sync
9. Microsoft will provide an initial 5 TB of OneDrive storage per user. Customers who want additional OneDrive storage can request it as needed by contacting Microsoft support. Subscriptions for fewer than five users receive 1 TB OneDrive storage per user.
10. Cannot be administrators
11. Limited to consumption only.
12. Does not include Forms Pro capabilities.
13. Does not include Custom connectors, integration of on-premises data through the on-premises data gateway, or custom HTTP actions using the HTTP connector
14. Consumption only (no publishing or sharing)
15. Sway is not currently available for Government Community Cloud (GCC) customers and customers in certain geographies. Some legacy Office 365 plans that are no longer in market as of August 2015 may also not have access to Sway.
16. Requires adding Business Apps (Free) subscription via the Admin Portal
17. Invoicing, Business Center & MileIQ available only in the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom
18. Also included with Exchange Online, OneDrive for Business, SharePoint Online, and Skype for Business standalone plans
19. Not available in CSP
20. Includes Advanced eDiscovery, Customer Lockbox, Advanced Data Governance, Service Encryption with Customer Key, Office 365 Privileged Access Management, DLP for Teams Chat and Channel Conversations, Information Barriers, Advanced Message Encryption, Data Investigations, and Supervision policies
21. Does not include virtualization rights, downgrade rights and other version/edition rights
22. Limited to Self-service password reset for hybrid Azure, Azure Multi-factor Authentication, and Conditional Access

Identification Management

Fancy way of saying how are you logging (authenticated) into your business environment.  Microsoft introduced in Windows 10…

  • “On-Premise Active Directory synchronization for single sign on” for Windows 10 login and other operating systems such Mac OS.  Utilizing your email address for Windows 10 login, is called identification management.
  • Modern IT performs Identification Management in the cloud.  Basically, you have this option if you subscribe to Microsoft 365 suite of products.

Yay, we can utilize the same centralized credentials for your email as your Windows 10 login!!  This on the go, mobile lifestyle, where identification management is one step closer towards introducing Mobile Device Management AKA MDM.  “Modern IT” embraces MDM.   BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) management can now be reined in now.   Traditional IT for an organization was never built to for the wild, wild west of the wireless devices lurking everywhere is unfortunately a huge liability until the MDM market matured.

Upgrading Office 365 to Microsoft 365 “Business”

Disclaimer:  That title above was written before the release of  the new Microsoft 365 branding.  Let’s refresh your brain.

  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic
    • Formerly Office 365 Business Essentials
  • Microsoft 365 Business  Standard
    • Formerly Office 365 Business Premium
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium
    • Formerly Microsoft 365 Business

Unfortunately, the license will cost more once you have more than just basic identification management enabled for all devices.  Where chart 1 “O365 Plan Comparison” introduces some basic features highlighted of how most small businesses utilize Office 365, slide two illustrates a more complete view of Microsoft 365 umbrella.  Chart two illustrates the natural upgrade course to Microsoft 365 Business Premium for obtaining these MDM ” Mobile Device Management” security features.

Enabling Cool Security Features

At the end of the day, we want our devices to not only authenticate (Identification Management) users into the network and perform cool features like expediting Windows setup and configuration through Autopilot but we now get to wipe the device when they leave abruptly or secure the device against theft through data encryption when the device gets into the wrong hands.   Not to mention, there’s some cool scripting capabilities. However, what the organization may think is ideal for one Business Premium license user, may not be ideal for all users.  Enterprise plan (e5) will offer more security and flexibility needed for quality IT management and support.   While Microsoft 365 Business Basic may be all you need for say like a subcontractor.

Purchase plans here but make sure you read up on EMS before pulling the trigger:

Microsoft 365 Business Premium

Microsoft 365 Business is now called Microsoft 365 Business Premium.  See below how Microsoft 365 Business Premium gets you Intune security featured in the EMS plan?

Note:  You may have noticed Office 365 Enterprise E3 and E5 in the illustration below.  THE “OFFICE 365” NAME REMAINS BECAUSE THEY HAVE LIMITED CLOUD SECURITY FEATURES.  Services like Exchange, Teams, and Sharepoint but no enhanced security features.  These services under the name of “Office 365” are for business that may not need EMS because traditional IT is being utilized.  IE local hosted Active Directory Domain Controller or maybe they are utilizing a competing product like MaaS 360.

Note: Need to update illustrations below due to Microsoft new branding release in April 2020. Microsoft 365 Business New Licensing Subscriptions is better, I swear.  Below is a work in progress but still very much relevant.

Office 365, Microsoft “Business”, & Enterprise Licensing









Note: You can add additional E3 or E5 licenses for specific machines or devices on the network.

Here is where things may get muddled.  Microsoft 365 Business may get you some paired down version of EMS as illustrated above but Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) but you will soon find out your IT administrator needs those features.

Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS)

Microsoft 365 Business is  a bundle.  The Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) is a la carte.  EMS includes Azure Active Directory, Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics, and Intune.  Want to skip past Microsoft 365 Business New Licensing Subscriptions and look at the some a la carte options?

The Intune in EMS does not provide as many security and management features as Intune for E3 and E5.   Those “Enterprise plan” features are illustrated  in slide 3 in the E3 package.  For my IT team, Azure Active Directory Premium P1 (AAD P1) is the big thing that stands out where “Business” and “Office 365” plans simply do not offer this feature.

AutoElevate in E3 and E5

There’s an issue with basic management of a user’s desktop permissions in Microsoft 365 Business that is tolerable for an under 10 user environments but quickly becomes unbearable for larger user environments.  AutoElevate will solve this more elegantly for management of admin rights on machines. AzureAD lets you define a group of users who are local admins on systems without being global admins. But this doesn’t actually work without AAD Premium P1 (part of M365 E3); the setting exists in Business but does nothing.   Basically, we encourage our clients to upgrade to E3 or E5 after 10 users.

Note:  What does and does not work above is changing with the rebrand Microsoft 365 Business Premium.  Microsoft 365 Business New Licensing Subscriptions will improve your understanding of their product line.  I will update these illustrations when I have a chance.

Office 365, Microsoft “Business”, & Enterprise Licensing










E3 is pretty cool, right??!?!   E5 illustrated in slide 4 features are even better but then price becomes a concern.  And that’s where you need a rocket scientist to understand whether you are wasting licenses applying users to one plan vs another.

Office 365, Microsoft “Business”, & Enterprise Licensing










Need more in depth articles on Microsoft 365 E3 and E5 services?  See links below…

Office 365 E3/E5


Windows 10 E3 / E5

More illustrations on slide 5 for just how much value Microsoft 365 E3 vs Microsoft 365 E5 brings to the table.  Azure AD Premium 2 and a phone “Voice” system sticks out for me.   You can setup a Grasshopper like phone system in Teams now.  Simply download the Teams phone app and starting making phone calls.











Yes, you get the whole desktop suite subscription with E3 and E5 as illustrated in slide 6.

I already have Office 365.  How does it integrate with modern IT security services like Enterprise Mobility + Security ?

Microsoft Intune, included with Enterprise Mobility + Security, lets you manage Office 365 mobile apps so you can maintain the rich, productive Office user experience while Intune helps keep your corporate data secure. Additionally, Azure Active Directory, used by Office 365, enhances Enterprise Mobility + Security by including features like self-service password reset, group membership, and advanced machine learning-based security and usage reporting.

For more information, read this post on the Enterprise Mobility + Security blog.

Office 365 Microsoft “Business” & Enterprise Licensing












More Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) features on display in slide 7.  Again, the features in Azure Active Directory Premium 2 a strong selling point for many individuals who are trying to secure and manage the 10 plus user’s environment.

Office 365 Microsoft “Business” & Enterprise Licensing











  • Slide 8
    • Windows 10 Enterprise E3 and E5
      • Do I need to upgrade W10 computer to Enterprise for managing things like Bitlocker, etc or can my W10 computer remain Pro but gain these features in slide 7?
        • They can remain the same.

Office 365 Microsoft “Business” & Enterprise Licensing










  • Slide 9
    • This slide completely confused me. What am I getting here?  Is some sort of a la carte alternative to the slide O365 plan comparison?


Office 365 Microsoft “Business” & Enterprise Licensing










More appealing reasons to go with E3 on slide 10.

Note: Microsoft 365 Business New Licensing Subscriptions makes utilizing Microsoft 365 Business Premium just as appealing as the separate E3 package.


Office 365 Microsoft “Business” & Enterprise Licensing











More appealing reasons to with E5 on slide 11

More appealing reasons to with E5 on slide 11










More Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) features on display in slide 12

Office 365 Microsoft “Business” & Enterprise Licensing









Microsoft 365 Business New Licensing Subscriptions explained Summary

“Business” is now Microsoft 365 Business Premium. It has full E3 capabilities!  These full blown legacy Office 365 charts should help you going forward.  I will try to update the above information as it continue to filter in.


Azure AD:




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