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Decision: Microsoft 365 Apps for Business or Enterprise

Business and Enterprise are words used interchangeably in everyday life, except for Microsoft Apps. That’s because there are clear differences between Microsoft 365 Apps for Business and Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise.

In this article, you’ll find an in-depth exploration of each plan. Ultimately, you’ll have a clear picture of which version best suits you and your Business (or Enterprise). You’ll also discover what infrastructure you should put in place to ensure everything is secure. 

Two versions of Microsoft 365 Apps, three types of plans

Within the two options of Business and Enterprise, there are three tiers. 

This means you actually have a choice of six plans. 

Microsoft 365 Apps for Business Plans

Microsoft 365 Apps for Business was formerly known as Office 365 Business. That was until Microsoft embarked on a rebrand in early 2020. The company said the changes were made to represent ‘our vision for the future of Microsoft productivity tools – an integrated set of apps and services that puts artificial intelligence (AI) and other cutting-edge innovations to work for you.’ 

Today, these changes mean you can choose from Basic (formerly Office 365 Business Essentials), Standard (formerly Office 365 Business), and Premium (formerly Office 365 Business Premium).

microsoft 365 apps for business plans

Microsoft Apps for Enterprise Plans

Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise also changed its name and was previously known as Office 365 ProPlus. 

You’ll now find three tiers. Microsoft 365 F3 is the entry-level tier, then Microsoft 365 E3, and finally Microsoft 365 E5. People often refer to them as F3, E3, and E5 licenses. 

microsoft 365 apps for enterprise tiers and licenses

Microsoft 365 Business vs. Enterprise: Exploring the familiar Microsoft 365 apps 

Some Microsoft apps, tools, and features are included across all three tiers in both Business and Enterprise. 

Others are partly included, with caps on usage or limits on the types of devices. So first, let’s examine some of the more familiar offerings:

Office apps

All three tiers in Business and Enterprise come with web versions of Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. Users can have these apps available on up to 5 phones and five tablets (iOS and Android). 

However, only Standard and Premium (Business) and E3 and E5 (Enterprise Office 365) also include desktop versions. Access and Publisher are only available on desktop, so if you need either of these apps, you’ll need a plan that isn’t Basic or F3.

M365 Apps for Business and Enterprise

Email and calendar

The three tiers within Microsoft 365 Apps for Business (Basic, Standard, Premium) offer users a 50GB mailbox. There’s also Exchange for business-class email on the phone, tablet, desktop, and web. 

Users can also manage appointments using a shared calendar. Features include scheduling, availability, and reminders. Admins also benefit from anywhere access to set up new emails, restore deleted accounts, and create custom scripts. 

For Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise, E3 and E5 tiers come with a 100GB mailbox, Outlook desktop client, email archiving, Microsoft Bookings, online booking, and scheduling app. 

The F3 tier comes with a 2GB mailbox, Outlook is web-only, and there’s also no integration for Outlook or voicemail.

Email and calendar for M365 Business and Enterprise plans

File storage and sharing

Each Microsoft 365 Apps for Business tier includes 1TB OneDrive cloud storage. OneDrive and SharePoint files are accessible and synced across devices. There are also options for external sharing and sharing permissions to help manage security. 

More significant differences are between Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise tiers. The F3 tier comes with 2GB OneDrive personal storage. However, E3 and E5 plans come with 1TB OneDrive cloud storage plus 10GB storage per license. There’s also unlimited OneDrive personal storage, external sharing capabilities, plus sharing permissions for security.

File storage and sharing for M365 Business and Enterprise plans


Naturally, both plans include access to Microsoft Teams. 

You can host online meetings and video calls and chat through mobile or desktop with colleagues. Files and apps are available, so online collaboration is a breeze. However, Microsoft 365 Apps for Business has a limit of 300 users. Plus, if you want to host webinars, you’ll need Standard or Premium. 

Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise offers teamwork tools for an unlimited number of users. Also, its top two tiers (E3 and F5) include live event and webinar functionality, with attendee registration, email confirmation, and reporting. E3 and F5 also include a phone system and audio conferencing.

Microsoft Teams for Business and Enterprise plans

Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise vs Business: Exploring the next-generation apps

So far, we’ve looked at some of the more common Microsoft Office 365 features. For example, file sharing storage. Now let’s examine some areas where Business and Enterprise have a more precise separation.


The Business plan includes Exchange Online Protection for guarding email against spam, malware, and known threats. There are also 1,000+ security and privacy controls, security groups, custom permissions, and password reset policies. 

However, only the Premium tier of Microsoft 365 for Business offers what Microsoft classifies as Advanced Security. This covers zero-day threats, ransomware, and other sophisticated forms of malware that can significantly impact day-to-day operations. The Premium tier also offers security policies that can be applied to iOS, Android, and Windows PCs. 

There’s also a setup wizard configuring security features and settings and options to automatically deploy Office apps to Windows 10 PCs. However, these device management tools are only available with Microsoft 365 Business Premium. 

For Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise, you’ll find a host of advanced security features. These include:

Endpoint and app management

All Enterprise plans give you Mobile Device Management, Microsoft Endpoint Manager, Endpoint Analytics, and shared computer activation for Microsoft 365 Apps. These apps are built to help you measure employee productivity and customer experience – two areas where many modern businesses compete to gain an advantage.

Threat protection

A similarly comprehensive threat protection list is available to all Enterprise users. These include Microsoft Defender Antimalware, Microsoft Defender Firewall, Microsoft Defender Exploit Guard, BitLocker, and Windows Information Protection. Given how security threats have evolved from the perimeter to end-users, these forms of advanced defense solutions have become business-critical.

Identity and access management

The rise in remote working and dispersed organizations is well documented. That’s why it’s never been more important to make sure only the right people have the proper access at the right time. That’s also why Microsoft 365 Enterprise Apps offers Self Service Password Reset, Advanced Security Reports, Multi-factor Authentication, and Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics.

Information protection

Only E5 offers Machine Learning-based sensitivity labels, Advanced Office Message Encryption, Endpoint DLP. Also, only E5 offers the full suite of retention policies, including Machine Learning-based retention.

Information governance

You have multiple options for applying sensitivity labels for specialized governance, although Machine Learning is only available with E5. Encryption is available in all Enterprise plans, although Advanced Office Message Encryption is limited to E5.

Insider risk management

These features are mostly only available in the E5 plan of Microsoft 365 Enterprise Apps. For example, Communication Compliance, Customer Lockbox, Information Barriers, and Privileged Access Management.

M365 security Apps for Business and Enterprise plans

Microsoft 365 Apps: Knowledge, insights, and content

We’ve discussed the features and benefits of each plan. However, the third element to factor in is your long-term strategy. 

Check out how Microsoft describes its Business and Enterprise plans. The words offer a clue into the potential use cases. They also may help you decide from a strategic angle and what you want to achieve with Microsoft 365 apps. 

Here’s the heading for Business: “Pick the right productivity solution for your business.” Notice its focus on productivity. 

And here’s the heading for Enterprise: “Transform your enterprise with Microsoft 365.” Notice its focus on transformation. 

Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise includes a range of apps for workplace transformation. 

Microsoft Graph API helps you unlock insights within your data. You can analyze users’ productivity, uncover collaboration patterns, and even build intelligent apps. 

Tier E5 gives you access to Power BI Pro. This self-service tool enables you to build real-time visualizations of enterprise performance. You can then use these insights to inform your strategic decisions. What’s more, all Enterprise plans include Power Apps and Power Automate for Microsoft 365. Users can build applications and automated workflows to transform their business processes.

Cloud-based considerations

The rise of cloud computing partly drove Microsoft’s decision to rebrand Office 365 apps as Microsoft 365 apps. Indeed, the press release refers to a vision of being ‘the world’s productivity cloud.’ So naturally, the cloud should also figure highly in any security considerations. 

The apps are available for desktop and browser. Of course, the cloud is a crucial way to gain a competitive advantage, particularly for early M365 adopters. With potentially up to 15 devices per user to manage, this presents many endpoint security challenges, particularly when your business is scaling and hiring more employees. 

While offering these cloud-based options is essential, putting specific security systems in place is equally essential. To ensure smooth remote management and specialized governance, look at the following:


If you have 300+ users, you’ll need an Enterprise plan. Also, consider how often you have to deploy the hardware. Perhaps if your business is growing and you’re taking on new team members who need devices that you may need to manage remotely.


Will employees always have access to a reliable and fast internet connection? If not, they may need desktop versions of Microsoft Apps. Bear in mind these aren’t available in Microsoft 365 Business Basic and Microsoft 365 Enterprise F3.

Audits and compliance

The rise in data-related directives is constantly asking new questions for those tasked with ensuring cloud-based compliance. Mainly if you’re operating in regions where privacy is a key concern. Only E5 offers Office 365 Cloud App Security and Microsoft Cloud App Security. Basic Audit is available in all Enterprise plans. However, for advanced auditing and advanced eDiscovery, you’d need the E5 tier.

How to have advanced security without Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise

You may want the advanced security capabilities of Microsoft, but not want to invest resources in maintaining and monitoring everything. After all, there’s always the risk of over-provisioning. Plus, you may not wish to get locked into Enterprise-level pricing. 

Of course, all plans come with phone and web-based online support and a 99.9% uptime guarantee. However, you’ll need to decide if this level of security is enough and whether you want to spend time troubleshooting. 

For example, take one of Microsoft’s most advanced security add-ons – Microsoft Defender for Identity (formerly Azure Advanced Threat Protection). It offers a suite of features for identifying attacks, including learning-based analytics that monitor user behavior and entity behavior. It’s a crucial tool when defending your infrastructure in hybrid environments, where your security is only as strong as your weakest link. And also, only available with Microsoft 365 E5. 

Microsoft for Business offers protection for ‘known’ threats. However, modern cyber threats often have to deal with unknown or emerging threats too. 

Fortunately, there’s another way.

Introducing Syskit Point

Enabling collaboration while enabling security is an ongoing challenge for IT admins. Especially with pressure coming in from multiple angles. 

You’ve got employees’ needs and expectations around hybrid, remote, and flexible work. There’s the wider industry, where new competitors and cyber threats continue to evolve and emerge. And there are also your customers, now used to 24/7 connectivity and on-demand self-service. 

With so many angles to deal with, you need one central point for your app security and governance. In other words, you need Syskit Point. Here are six ways Syskit Point supports you: 


Detect unauthorized changes, permissions, and sharing so you can act on potentially suspicious and malicious activity. 


Schedule periodic access reviews so only the right people have the proper access to the correct files.


Enjoy a single pane view of your Microsoft Office 365 environment and ownership, spanning Teams, OneDrive, SharePoint, and more.


Syskit Point includes Microsoft 365 provisioning features to keep usage and creation efficient and secure. You can customize approval flows and processes and apply relevant governance policies.

Office 365 provisioning


Get in-depth analytics that show user activities, interaction, and more.


Manage policy governance from one central location. Auditors can simplify and automate reporting, while admins can control and ensure security and compliance.

Book a free demo to explore what Syskit can do for your business (or enterprise).

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