Microsoft 365, not to be confused with Office 365, is Microsoft’s latest offering to enhance IT resellers end user’s productivity, collaboration and security even farther. First offered in 2017, Microsoft 365 builds on the popular Office 365 suite with ideal functionality for supporting startups and enterprise operations alike. Since then, major updates have only strengthened its appeal as a comprehensive IT system solution.
If you’re reselling Office 365 and/or cloud services such as Microsoft CSP, you should strongly consider offering Microsoft 365 as well. Here, we detail what makes Microsoft 365 such an impactful package, laying out its key strengths and explaining how its licensing works.
What does Microsoft 365 include?
In essence, Microsoft 365 integrates elements from three huge business platforms: Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security. Consequently, it can do the following:
- Provide a stable foundation for each machine.
- Offer a massive range of productivity options.
- Secure company data and device access.
Compared to sourcing the platforms individually, this approach is cheaper and easier to handle, with everything under one umbrella (and all the features made accessible through unifying hubs). This makes it a compelling prospect for any company trying to maximise efficiency.
And because Microsoft 365 includes all the features of Office 365 Business Premium (such asMicrosoft Teams), it’s the perfect upgrade for anyone already invested in the Office ecosystem.
What are the main features?
Microsoft 365 is a wide-reaching service that brings a lot to the table. To fully explain why resellers should be offering it, let’s go into more detail about its main advantages:
- Office 365 suite. Access to the full Office 365 suite is included in Microsoft 365.
- Microsoft Teams. Microsoft’s latest collaboration and productivity application comes as standard with all Microsoft 365 licenses.
- Improved security management. Added in an early 2019 update, the Microsoft 365 security center provides a centralised hub that grants easy access to all the security features of the attached license. From one view, you can set policies, and check malware scans, risk, scores, and app permissions.
- Windows 10 upgrades. Many businesses paying for Office 365 don’t get the best returns because they’re still running on obsolete software. With Windows 7 support ending in January 2020, it’s time to upgrade, and Windows 10 Pro/Enterprise — easily rolled out using Windows Autopilot — is included in the cost of Microsoft 365.
- Enterprise scalability. Due to the licensing tiers that we’ll look at next, Microsoft 365 can easily be scaled up as required — even allowing unlimited enterprise users. Pick up the licences you require, and assign them to your users based on need.
How the licensing works
To suit differing requirements, there are three licensing tiers for Microsoft 365:
- Microsoft 365 B. This tier is aimed squarely at non-enterprise businesses, and covers all the essentials needed for a company to get its hardware set up and run its daily operations: Windows 10 and deployment software, the full Office 365 suite, and basic user, information and device protection.
- Microsoft 365 E3. This enterprise-level tier includes mostly everything from the B tier but steps up security (adding biometric and credential checking), adds on-premise threat detection, guards against data loss, and offers legal services (legal hold and eDiscovery).
- Microsoft 365 E5. Enterprise-level businesses that need to max out their functionality can go for this top tier. It builds on the E3 tier with advanced threat protection, sophisticated cloud networks security, and broad additions to Office 365 that range from the Power BI Pro analytics service to a Customer Lockbox that keeps customer data secure (even from Microsoft Engineers).
Businesses that want some of the advanced features from the E5 tier, but don’t want to pay for all of them, have the option to extend the E3 tier with two clearly-named security add-ons:
- Identity & Threat Protection.
- Information Protection & Compliance.
Paying for the E3 tier along with these two add-ons is cheaper than paying for the full E5 tier, so any company that doesn’t need any of the other E5 tier features will want to try this tactic.
How to present Microsoft 365 to clients
We’ve run through the nature, features, and licensing tiers of this suite, detailing its formal value — but if you’re going to resell it, you need to know how to present it to clients. Why should the average business consider investing so heavily in Microsoft 365? Here are the key points:
For existing Office 365 users, it offers a cut-price expansion into greater operational functionality and security. It’s possible to pay separately for the Windows 10 upgrade path and the Enterprise Mobility + Security platform, but it’s significantly cheaper to take this route.
For clients yet to invest in Microsoft software, it’s an industry-leading business package that can enhance communication and productivity through unifying tools and services. If you need tools, you’ll end up paying for them somehow — by getting them all through one platform, you can keep costs down, raise convenience, and make support vastly easier.
Security is a core strength of Microsoft 365, and the cost of security attacks keeps going up. Accenture’s Ninth Annual Cost of Cybercrime Study found that the average company spent $2.6m dealing with malware outbreaks during the year — that’s for treatment, not prevention.
Since getting Microsoft 365 E5 for everyone in a company with 1000 employees wouldn’t come close to costing $2.6m after a year, the value proposition is strong on that basis alone.