IT Support &
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Microsoft 365 vs. Office 365: What’s the difference?


Microsoft 365 vs Office 365With two such similar names, it is easy to see how people confuse Microsoft 365 and Office 365. Many people think they are the same thing and use the terms interchangeably. There are however fundamental differences which we explore in this blog.

Before we go any further, we’ll take each solution in turn.

What is Office 365?

In short, Office 365 is a Cloud service based on a monthly subscription. It gives you access to your email via Outlook and Office suite of products, including Word, PowerPoint and Excel.

With Office 365, you can access Office applications on tablets, phones and PCs. You also get 1TB of personal file storage, as well as business class email and calendars. In addition, you can use Skype for Business for instant messaging and video calling, and Microsoft Teams for collaboration.

Different plans cater for different sized businesses and varying levels of productivity and collaboration tools. Business Premium suits companies with less than 300 users, whilst larger businesses should opt for an Enterprise plan.

What is Microsoft 365?

Microsoft 365 is a bundle of 3 distinct services. These include;

  • Office 365
  • Windows 10
  • Enterprise Mobility + Security (EM+S)

All the features of Office 365 are included within Microsoft 365. In addition, Microsoft 365 provides your operating system, Windows 10, and security tools. For example, device management protects company data across personal and company owned devices.

Similar to Office 365, Microsoft 365 has two plans positioned at different segments of the market. Microsoft 365 Business targets the SMB market with up to 300 users, whilst Microsoft 365 Enterprise targets larger companies.

What are the additional features of Microsoft 365?

As outlined previously, Microsoft 365 comprises Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security.

Windows 10 is Microsoft’s latest operating system, coined as the ‘safest Windows ever’. It comes complete with BitLocker and Windows Defender Anti-Virus, as well as the digital assistant, Cortana, and the new browser, Microsoft Edge.

Enterprise Mobility + Security is a suite of mobility and security tools that provide added layers of protection for your data. Tools like identity management and mobile device management make it easier to manage personal and work devices. Unlike Office 365, Microsoft 365 comes with a single console to manage users and devices. Moreover, you can add things like multi-factor authentication and rights management to control access of documents being shared.

Additional security only available in Microsoft 365 Business:

  • Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection
    A cloud-based email filtering service that protects your organization against unknown malware and viruses by providing zero-day protection. It includes attachment and URL scanning, as well as anti-phishing capabilities.
  • Azure Information Protection
    Provides better control and security over email, documents and sensitive data shared outside your company. In short, it allows you to classify, label and protect data based on its sensitivity.
  • Intune
    Provides mobile device management, enabling you to secure mobile devices and protect company information. You can set device policies (such as requiring a password) and application policies, as well as remove corporate data whilst keeping personal data intact.

Benefits of using Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 offers several benefits to businesses. In summary;

  1. Enhanced security: A range of security tools to keep your data safe and secure across devices.
  2. Improved collaboration: Employees can access the documents they need with SharePoint and OneDrive and communicate together via Microsoft Teams.
  3. Cost Savings: The bundled services offer better value than buying the component parts individually. They also eliminate hardware expenditure, negating the need for on-premise servers and additional data storage. Moreover, as a subscription model, automatic updates for all software products are included in the price.
  4. Greater Productivity: Employees can easily share information, stay in contact, and work together on any project. With data stored in the cloud, employees can work anywhere, anytime.
  5. Simplified device management: With a single IT console, you can simplify the set-up and management of employee devices and services.

Which option is right for your business?

Office 365 is often an entry point that leads onto Microsoft 365. The latter is designed to help secure company data while empowering employees to be at their most productive, regardless of location.

If you are considering Office 365, it is worthwhile seeing whether Microsoft 365 would be a more beneficial option. If you need to upgrade your operating system to Windows 10 or are concerned with data security and GDPR, the bundled package may prove a more cost-effective option.


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