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Small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) are the backbone of the global economy. But keeping pace with evolving technology can be a challenge. As your SMB grows, you need robust cloud solutions for productivity, security, and collaboration – without the complexity and cost of enterprise plans.

SMBs face unique challenges in the cloud. You need robust features for productivity and security, but complex enterprise plans can be overwhelming and costly.

Choosing the right cloud solution for your SMB is crucial. While Microsoft 365 has traditionally catered to large enterprises, Microsoft 365 Business Premium is a game-changer for SMBs. Let’s break down the key differences between Business Premium and the classic M365 E3 plan to empower you to make the perfect choice.

Understanding your needs: Business Premium vs. E3

Before diving into plans, consider your core needs: How many users require access now and how do you anticipate your team scaling in the next few years? Do you have industry-specific compliance regulations

or handle sensitive data? Do you need advanced analytics or business intelligence tools for data-driven decision-making? How much in-house IT support do you have available?

  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium: Streamlined productivity and security for small and medium businesses.
  • Microsoft 365 E3: Comprehensive solution for Enterprises with advanced security and compliance needs.

Key Benefits of M365 Business Premium and E3

Feature Microsoft 365 Business Premium Microsoft 365 E3
Applications Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Teams, OneDrive, SharePoint, Exchange, ClipChamp, Microsoft Loop Same a Business Premium Plus: Microsoft Publisher, Microsoft Access, Microsoft Bookings, Microsoft Stream, Microsoft Forms, Sway Power Apps, Power Automate, Microsoft Planner, Microsoft To Do, Viva Engage, Viva Insights, Microsoft Lists, Visio, Windows
User Capacity Up to 300 Users Unlimited Users
Email & Storage 50 GB mailbox, 1 TB OneDrive 100 GB mailbox, 5 TB OneDrive
Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Basic DLP rules Advanced DLP policies
Mobile Device Management (MDM) Basic device management with conditional access Advanced MDM with Intune
eDiscovery Limited eDiscovery capabilities Robust eDiscovery tools
Compliance Meets basic compliance needs More comprehensive compliance features for stricter regulations
Security Microsoft Entra ID, Intune, Defender for Business, Microsoft Purview Advanced Threat Protection (ATP), Intune, Cloud App Security
Pricing More affordable per-user cost Higher per-user cost
Management Simplified admin center Granular user and device management

A closer look at M365 Business Premium and E3:

  • Users & storage: Business Premium caters to small and medium businesses with a user limit of 300. E3 scales infinitely for larger enterprises. E3 also offers a more generous mailbox storage and attachment size.
  • Compliance & security: Business Premium offers baseline data protection and email security. However, E3 steps up the game with robust DLP policies, advanced mobile device management, and comprehensive eDiscovery tools for legal and regulatory requirements. Additionally, E3 boasts a wider range of security features and allows for the addition of advanced security licenses for even stricter protection.
  • Management: Business Premium boasts a user-friendly admin center, perfect for businesses with limited IT resources. E3 offers a more powerful admin center with greater control, but it requires a more experienced IT team to navigate its complexities.
  • Price: Here’s where Business Premium shines. It provides a cost-effective solution for core productivity needs. E3 comes at a higher price point but offers the bells and whistles for larger organizations with stricter security and compliance demands.

It is important to note that Microsoft Teams is no longer bundled with M365 E3 (or Office 365 E3). And Copilot for Microsoft 365 is an add-on for both Business Premium and Microsoft Enterprise licenses. 

How Business Premium can empower an SMB

Imagine a mid-sized architecture firm with 75 employees spread across two locations. They use a mix of desktops, laptops, and tablets to access design software and collaborate on project documents. Security is paramount, as they handle sensitive client data. Their limited IT staff struggles to manage a complex on-premises infrastructure.

Microsoft 365 Business Premium offers the perfect solution. The firm can leverage the intuitive Admin Console for streamlined user and device management. Business Premium’s robust security features safeguard client data, while collaboration tools like Teams and OneDrive enable seamless project coordination across locations and devices. This empowers the firm to focus on design excellence while minimizing IT headaches.

Is M365 Business Premium right for you?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer:

  • For small and medium businesses (under 300 users):Microsoft 365 Business Premium is the clear winner. It delivers robust productivity tools, strong baseline security with Defender, and a user-friendly admin console at a competitive price point.
  • For large enterprises (over 300 users):Microsoft 365 E3 offers the muscle you need. With features like advanced threat protection, Intune for mobile device management, and robust compliance tools, E3 empowers you to manage a larger user base and meet stricter data security regulations.

Cost considerations

It’s worth noting that despite, Microsoft 365 Business Premium being the most expensive compared to other Business tiers, the comprehensive features and advanced security justify the investment for your SMB. The key lies in understanding your client’s specific requirements.

By working with a trusted partner, you can effectively guide your clients toward the Microsoft 365 solution that best suits their productivity, safeguards their data and adheres to their compliance regulations. This helps build trust, increases customer retention and positions your business for further added-value.

Next Steps: Accelerate your business growth

Microsoft 365 empowers your SMB to thrive in the cloud.  Selecting the ideal Microsoft 365 plan can empower your SMB to thrive in today’s competitive landscape. Business Premium offers a perfect balance of features, security, and affordability for growing teams. However, if you have complex needs or require advanced functionalities like eDiscovery or Power BI, exploring Microsoft 365 E3 might be necessary.

If you’re looking for an experienced partner you’ve come to the right place!

It’s time to embrace the future of SMB technology and unlock your business’s full potential with expert assistance. Still unsure? We can help you choose the ideal plan and ensure a smooth cloud migration. Contact us today!

Written by The Sherweb Team Collaborators @ Sherweb