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Microsoft 365 Business Premium vs E3, and the Powerful Tool in Both That Will Transform Your IT

OK, you’ve decided upon Microsoft 365 and the Azure cloud for your business. Well done! We think you’ve made s great choice!

Now that you’ve chosen Microsoft 365, it’s time to pick a plan. There are many to choose from and Alltek tend to manage Microsoft 365 Business Premium and Microsoft 365 E3 (enterprise) licenses: Other plans like Business Standard and E5 have their advantages, but we find that considering Microsoft 365 Business Premium vs E3 gives businesses the best package of features that are crucial for any organisation.

In this blog, we’ll go over the differences between Business Premium and Microsoft’s first enterprise offering. You may of course find that neither offering is for you, opting for the less expensive Business Standard plan, or the immersive E5 plan.

Please bear in mind, for the purposes of this blog, all references to “E3” are specific to Microsoft 365 E3. This plan is different from the legacy E3 offering, known as “Microsoft Office E3.”

If you have any questions about any of the MS plans or want to speak to our tech experts about which M365 package will most benefit your business. Call us Freephone on 0808 1557908.

What is Microsoft 365?

Microsoft 365 is Microsoft’s subscription productivity suite that can tie all of your favourite Microsoft Office applications together with world-class cloud capabilities and air-tight security.

M365 comes packaged with numerous different plans for home, business and enterprise. With varying prices and features, Microsoft gives you options for what package fits your situation the best.

What is Azure cloud?

Azure is Microsoft’s cloud computing platform that was released in 2010, solving problems including storage, computation and analysis of data through virtualization.

Azure offers solutions like Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and Platform as a Service (PaaS).

Cloud Services allow businesses to reduce their overhead by suppressing storage costs, while also centralizing data for better file sharing and bolstering backup and disaster recovery efforts.

What is Microsoft 365 Business Premium?

This is M365’s top offering for small to medium-sized businesses, an upgrade on its Business Basic and Business Standard offerings.

It comes with a 50 GB mailbox storage limit and a 1 TB storage limit in OneDrive. Only 300 Business Premium licenses can be assigned to a company before it must begin purchasing enterprise plans.

What is Microsoft 365 E3?

Microsoft 365 E3 is M365’s initial enterprise plan, coming in as the second-most loaded plan feature-wise behind E5.

This comes with unlimited mailbox and OneDrive storage. There is no cap to how many company users can be on E3 plans. It also comes with some of the top security features available.

Why Business Premium and E3? – Microsoft Intune

Alltek spotlights Microsoft 365 Business Premium and Microsoft 365 E3 as favoured M365 plans, because they provide so many features that make your cloud experience a better one.

The key feature that makes these plans elite is Microsoft Intune, which controls access for mobile devices, including smartphones, tablets and laptops. It also allows managers to set additional security measures on non-company devices and limits on what remote workers can access.

So why does that make Intune a gamechanger?

Well, anyone who has had to set up a new computer or smartphone has likely had to spend hours customising their settings, restoring files, and remembering their passwords.

Those days are long gone with Intune, which allows you to create a default image for deployment. When you set up a new computer, Intune allows you to hit the ground running without wasted time.

Paired together with Azure Active Directory, Intune eliminates the need to run your own server and with top-shelf identity management and endpoint management in the cloud, Intune and Azure AD makes on premise identity and endpoint management redundant.

With no hassle and no server, Intune saves time and money that you can allocate elsewhere. If you already have a server, Intune and Azure AD are still compatible with your environment. Also with Azure sync, you can marry your on-premise and cloud servers to create a hybrid setup, the ultimate option for your IT.

Why Business Premium and E3? – What else?

As well as InTune, there are other features available in both Microsoft 365 Business Premium and Microsoft 365 E3 that make them stand above the less-expensive plans.

Both plans come with Microsoft’s best-in-class communication hub, MS Teams, as well as SharePoint Online and Planner.

Both Business Premium and E3 come with Litigation Hold and eDiscovery, which are important features that protect your business from losing data that is critical to any legal proceedings. Although, Business Premium may run into storage issues if Litigation Hold is used to freeze too much data.eal value you get with Microsoft 365 E3’s price increase is its extra security features, which are expansive. E3 comes with Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics (ATA), Credential Guard, App Locker, Windows Information Protection (WIP), and the full version of Azure Active Directory.

E3 also comes with the ability to encrypt emails with the click of a button. This ensures that sensitive information is opened by the intended receiving party, who must log in with a Microsoft or business account.

Microsoft 365 Business Premium only comes with Microsoft Defender for Office 365 (formerly known as Advanced Threat Protection).

So, let’s quickly go over just what you get with these features.

The headliner here is ATA, which is a tool that analyses the traffic coming in and out of your network, diagnosing the behaviour of entities within your organisation. By learning the behaviour of users and other parties accessing your data, ATA can accurately detect and alert you in the case that anything is suspicious.

Credential guard uses virtualised security to keep login credentials hidden from all software, except for programs that need them. This additional security stores data in an isolated area to reduce the chances of credential theft.

AppLocker allows managers to control which files and applications your users have access to, including executable files and installer files. This protects you internally, as user error is a leading cause of cybersecurity breaches.

Speaking of user error, Windows Information Protection prevents the accidental leak of data by employees through email, social media, and similar apps. WIP alerts users that their action will share or disclose work information before the action is confirmed. This protection becomes more crucial as employees remain remote.

Also with WIP, businesses can preserve an archive after an employee leaves, while still deactivating their license.

All these features are tied together with the full version of Azure Active Directory, here you can monitor and govern your company’s entire cloud environment. The full version allows for additional features like group access management, advanced security reports, multi-factor authentication with conditional access, and more.

Business Premium’s Microsoft Defender is a cloud-based email filter that identifies malicious links and attachments before they enter your environment. Defender also identifies malicious files and links in SharePoint, OneDrive, and Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Defender is enough to protect your business overall and is a good first step in securing your cloud. If you want the most protection Microsoft can offer, that will require one of their enterprise plans.

E3 and its advanced security features allow organisations to carefully balance which employees have access to perform which tasks, creating a streamlined, safe cloud environment.

Everything else

If you are not as worried about your security, consider some of the other features of Microsoft 365 E3 that you may miss out on with Microsoft 365 Business Premium.

A big bonus of E3 is the ability to access the Microsoft Office suite via a remote desktop, meaning you can deploy its productivity apps to shared computers in your company.

The ability to activate shared computers remotely also comes with E3. With remote desktop services, every user on your shared computer can continue to work on their files.

Also exclusive to enterprise plans is Azure rights management, which protects data that is shared externally. When protected files are emailed to another company, the protection stays on the file. Like Litigation Hold and eDiscovery, Azure rights management is imperative for compliance and may be required.

E3 further solidifies your compliance with data loss prevention (DLP). If your business handles sensitive, proprietary, or customer data, DLP can identify and protect it from being shared. Using “deep content analysis” and data-matching through keywords, DLP will display a pop-up notification that warns users before sharing flagged data.

Other enterprise-only features include Excel PowerPivot, and Power Query, as well as Info path, an application for distributing and submitting electronic forms. In-place archiving for Exchange is also limited to enterprise.

These are just some of the additional features of E3, with more that are currently present and more that will be added over time. If you think any of these features may be something you need, make sure to contact us before deciding.

In Conclusion

MS365 Business Premium gives your business everything it needs to operate and grow. That’s why we recommend it to our customers.

Safety and security are a must for modern companies, however and if your business is handling sensitive data or has stringent compliance regulations – Microsoft 365 E3 may be your best option.

Making this choice may not be an easy task. If you are a business larger than 300 employees, it may be a decision that is made for you.

Either way, take time to make the best decision for your company, securing the features that will keep your business buzzing


If you have any extra questions about which M365 plan to choose, give us a call today at 0808 1557908.

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