Understanding Microsoft applications and platforms, and which is best for you.

No matter the size of your organization, large or small, chances are you depend on Microsoft software for your day to day productivity; but when it’s time to upgrade, could you confidently determine what’s right for your business?

Simply put, the options can be overwhelming. Not to mention, deciding whether you want to operate in the cloud and pay a monthly recurring subscription or stay on-premise and pay a one-time fee.  And if that’s not all, you’ll also need to determine which features you want or need, from applications to additional security to device management and capabilities.  All of these choices can seem even more difficult to make.

Never fear; the experts at Locknet® Managed IT are here to help demystify the many Microsoft options on the market today. More, we'll delve into the various platforms, their capabilities and the other options available to you. So, let's get started!

Understanding Microsoft platforms on the market today

So, what exactly are the options available to you from Microsoft, to enhance your workplace productivity?

With similar names and differing versions of each product; Microsoft Office 2019, Office 365 and Microsoft 365, it can be easy to get confused about the differences between these offerings. In addition to the products, Microsoft licensing can, in fact, be just as challenging. Yet, helping customers navigate these matters is what we do at Locknet® Managed IT. So, here's a high-level overview of Microsoft Office 2019, Office 365 and Microsoft 365 features and their differentiators.

Let's take a look.

Microsoft offers several different packages aimed at its business customers, through the Office 365 subscription services. With each subscription service, you will get the security updates you need as well as the latest features and ongoing tech support, all included. The downside is that you may wind up paying ongoing for features you don't really need or want. Office 2019 is quite different, as you will see; a one-time fee you pay up front provides the basics for a single computer.

  • Office 365 Business Essentials - Cost: $5/month per user

    This is the least expensive option of the bunch but doesn't provide desktop versions of office applications like PowerPoint, Word, Excel, Access, Outlook or OneNote. However, you have access to web versions of most of these. If your business has high-speed internet and your team is adept at web-based work, it may be a good choice for you.
  • Office 365 Business - Cost: $8.25/month per user

    This is the flip side of Essentials - instead of mostly web-based applications, Office 365 provides desktop versions of these applications, including Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Access. But while you can use this platform to run your current email, it is not hosted through this platform. You will also have access to OneDrive but not SharePoint, so you will not have the SharePoint dashboard features you might like, such as company news and announcements. Industry experts believe Office 365 can be good for small businesses who just want access to the core Microsoft applications.
  • Office 365 Business Premium - Cost: $12.50/month per user

    If you want a hybrid of Office 365's access to desktop versions of applications as well as the web-based services provided through the Microsoft Business Essentials package, this may be the right solution for you. You will also have access to apps that can be handy for small to medium sized businesses which take appointments, such as appointment scheduling through Microsoft Bookings and collaboration through Microsoft Teams. Unlike Office 365 Business edition, this platform comes with hosted email.
  • Microsoft 365 Business - Cost: $20/month per user

    This is the meatiest offering, including all of the 365 Business Premium features and some additional apps, but more importantly it includes advanced security features and device management capability. This platform includes an automatic upgrade to Windows 10 with Windows Defender and security updates. Security includes mobile device management as well as protections from ransomware, phishing and data leaks. Whether your organization has an IT department or not, the security features of 365 Business may be an attractive option.
    • There are three Microsoft 365 options:
      1. Microsoft 365 Business, which is built for businesses with 300 or fewer users
      2. Microsoft 365 Enterprise E3, intended for larger organizations in need of more robust security and device management capability
      3. Microsoft 365 Enterprise E5 designed with additional threat protection such as Microsoft Defender, Office 365 Advanced and Azure Advanced Threat Protection.
  • Office 2019 - One-time fee

    Unlike the Microsoft subscription offerings with a monthly fee per user, Office 2019 is a one-time purchase. With Office 2019, you make a single payment to have the Office apps on a single PC or Mac, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. Upgrades are not included, unlike the subscription offerings, so when it's time to upgrade, you will pay full price to do so. While prices vary, the Office 2019 Home & Business option costs about $250, while Office 2019 Professional costs about $440.


Tips for when it’s time to upgrade your Microsoft platform

When it's time to upgrade, it's important to weigh platform functionality as well as your business needs. How to upgrade also hinges on your comfort with Cloud technology, according to our experts at Locknet® Managed IT. Here's their recommended approach.

  • If you’re not ready to move into the Cloud, Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system and Office 2019 are the latest on-premise versions to consider.
  • If you are ready to move into the Cloud, Office 365 and Microsoft 365 are great options that include greater flexibility as well as added business tools and features, such as Microsoft Teams, the latest and greatest chat-based collaboration tool.
Your Microsoft strategy starts here

Not sure which Microsoft product is best for your business? A Locknet Account Executive in your area can help. Call 844-365-4968 today or contact us online to see how we can help you develop your Microsoft strategy.

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