Still using Microsoft 365 Business Basic? Here are three reasons your business should upgrade today

Microsoft 365 subscriptions offer businesses a compelling collection of services that empower communication, collaboration, efficiency and productivity. But there are many Microsoft 365 plans. Selecting the subscription that best matches your organization’s specific needs can prove confusing, especially when you may not be familiar with all the company’s subscriptions, a particular plan’s components, each available feature or the best way to incorporate components within your business’ daily operations and workflows. 

Microsoft 365 Business Basic is a natural entry point

Companies gravitate to using Microsoft 365 Business Basic for several reasons. The plan is inexpensive and serves as an excellent introduction to Microsoft 365 services. At just six-dollars-per-user-per-month when paid annually, the annual cost is a bargain, as businesses receive much in return. 

Just what do firms gain in exchange? The subscription provides chat, file sharing, collaboration and conference and meetings features in the form of Microsoft Teams. SharePoint—the platform that enables creating and maintaining internal portals for storing, organizing and sharing news and information—is another included component. Business-grade email, using your organization’s own domain name, and calendaring services are additional capabilities. 

A Microsoft 365 Business Basic plan also includes web and mobile versions of the popular and essentially industry-standard Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote apps. With 1TB of OneDrive file storage per user, file sharing and synchronization, standard anti-spam and email threat protections, basic user administration tools and robust technical support, it’s no surprise numerous businesses rely upon the basic subscription and its corresponding features. 

The plan is a worthy solution for many. However, some businesses will benefit from using alternative Microsoft 365 offerings. Three compelling reasons justify upgrading. 

1. Some users require the desktop versions of popular Office suite applications

A significant benefit of the Microsoft 365 Business Standard (which costs $12.50-per-user-per-month when billed annually) and Microsoft 365 Business Premium ($22-per-user-per-month billed annually) subscriptions, and one of the reasons organizations likely determine such upgrades are warranted, is those plans extend subscribers the ability to use the desktop versions (in addition to the web and mobile versions) of Microsoft’s popular Office productivity tools that include Access, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher and Word. 

All those applications are available for Windows PCs and most (with the exceptions of Access and Publisher) Mac users can employ, too. While users are increasingly becoming dependent upon smartphones and tablets, many continue to prefer or require the ease and functionality the full-fledged desktop editions deliver. With the correct plan, access to those apps (along with new versions as they are released) is assured. 

In some cases, when only desktop apps and online file storage are required, organizations might consider the Microsoft 365 Apps for Business plan. That option, priced at just $8.25-per-user-per-month when paid annually, provides access to the desktop versions of those productivity apps, while also including 1TB of cloud storage per user. However, the apps-only plan omits the Teams and SharePoint features many small and midsize businesses have become dependent upon, so the Microsoft 365 Business Standard option may prove best. 

2. Different users can employ different subscriptions

Another reason to consider upgrading Microsoft 365 plans is the fact organizations are not locked in to using a single solution. Companies have a choice, and the software behemoth’s licensing is flexible. 

Many business owners and managers are surprised to learn they can deploy different Microsoft 365 plans within their organization. There’s no requirement every user purchase or receive the same Microsoft 365 subscription. Instead, firms can license a variety of Microsoft plans and assign the corresponding plans to individual users as needed. 

Sales representatives might only need the capabilities the basic plan provides. But the company’s accountants and executive staff might require full desktop versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint. In such cases, your company could purchase Microsoft 365 Business Basic plans for the sales team and Microsoft 365 Business Premium subscriptions for its accounting and executive staff members. 

Better yet, licenses can be reassigned. If an employee changes positions and, commensurately, responsibilities, or should someone leave the organization, the corresponding accounts can be reallocated. There’s no need to purchase additional licenses when a user leaves the organization or purchase a duplicate license for an individual’s replacement. 

3. There’s an ever-increasing need for advanced cyberthreat protections

Increasingly, protecting systems, users and data from unauthorized access, compromise and corruption is a key concern for businesses of all sizes. The US Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), which is the operational leader for coordinating national cybersecurity efforts, recommends numerous IT best practices. While the essential fundamentals are numerous, firms do not have to manage all the corresponding responsibilities themselves. Providers such as Microsoft can help, which is another reason to consider upgrading from the company’s basic business plan. 

The Microsoft 365 Business Premium plan integrates advanced cyberthreat protections directly within a Microsoft 365 subscription. Whereas some plans include basic security and compliance controls—including spam and email malware protections, standard password policy enforcement, security groups and custom permissions—the premium offering adds enterprise-grade endpoint security, a critical consideration for any SMB. The premium option also includes protection against more sophisticated email and phishing attacks, threats that are becoming more persistent and adept, thanks in part to malicious actors’ incorporation of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies to assist their criminal efforts. 

Other cybersecurity safeguards extended within the premium plan are less dramatic but equally important. The premium version, for example, includes the ability to restrict copying or saving organization information using unauthorized programs. The plan also offers more advanced security policies and conditional app access to further tighten permissions and prevent unauthorized use. 

A quick review of Microsoft’s offerings can pay handsome dividends

For an incremental investment, your firm may well be able to add powerful new productivity enhancements. Reviewing and understanding Microsoft’s extensive menu of packages and offerings is a key step for businesses seeking to discover and leverage newfound efficiencies and capabilities that may be lying just outside their reach. 

Fortunately, Microsoft’s working to simplify making sense of its many subscriptions and pricing models. Check out the chart on the company’s website. Or, should you have more questions or need more assistance, call Louisville Geek at 502-897-7577 or email [email protected]. Put our extensive experience administering our own Microsoft 365 subscriptions and those of clients to work for you.