Microsoft Apr 10, 2019

Top 3 – How to choose the right Office 365 licence.

Microsoft 365 is described as a platform that offers companies of all sizes the power of cloud productivity and helps save time and money while freeing up valuable resources. They offer customers many options. We explain how to choose the right licence for your company.

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Before Microsoft Office 365, companies often racked up huge costs for hardware and software in addition to maintenance of their IT infrastructures—especially for special IT teams, backup servers and cool rooms, as well as introducing solutions like e-mail systems, document storage, and management or communication.


The decision to introduce Office 365 in a company can have significant effects on finances. According to the Forrester Consulting study, "The Total Economic Impact™ of Microsoft Office 365 Enterprise Customers" enterprises have achieved various measurable benefits after changing from local models to Office 365—including avoiding new infrastructure costs, efficient IT management and higher employee productivity. The return on investment over a period of three years was 162%.


Today, plans are available for SMEs, corporations, educational institutions, and public sector organisations. Depending on the selected Office 365 suite, employees are equipped with trusted Microsoft Office Applications (Excel, PowerPoint, Word) and can collaborate on documents, chat with team members, send and receive e-mails, and delegate tasks and monitor their status.


This diversity affords a high degree of flexibility. However, enterprise decision-makers might be asking themselves what they have to consider in selecting an Office 365 suite for their enterprise. The three most important criteria are listed below:


E-mail security.

A study conducted by F-Secure comes to the conclusion that in 2018, cybercrime largely relied on spam to spread malware. Around three quarters of spam messages were linked to malicious URLs, while the rest spread malicious code in the form of attachments. The consequences of these attacks can be far-reaching and range from data loss and work downtime to financial losses and reputational damage.


It’s therefore advisable to add Advanced Threat Protection to your Office 365 plan. With these additional features, users clicking on links leading to a malicious URL are informed that access has been blocked due to security risks. E-mail attachments are tested in a virtual environment and only opened if evaluated to be safe. These are only two examples of Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection security features.


Current licence inventory.

Full, from software assurance and add-on USLs—these are three types of user subscription licences (USLs). Depending on the licence model selected as well as purchase preferences, enterprises can be able to choose between two different options.


If companies have not purchased Microsoft productivity solutions in the past, a Full USL is the right choice. Full USL can also be the right licence option for customers who have purchased a Microsoft productivity solution without Software Assurance.


Compared to the Full USL, USLs from software assurance are available at a reduced price. They are developed to support customers with active software assurance when moving from their local infrastructure to the cloud. The fundamental underlying qualified licences, as well as other criteria, have to have already been purchased.


The last option, add-on USL, is for customers that are interested in testing cloud solutions, but at the same time want to keep their existing infrastructure or are only planning a partial move to the cloud. Add-on USLs secure enterprises with the benefits of Office 365 while the customer only pays part of the price of their selected plan. In this case, too, qualified licences needs to have already been purchased, along with other criteria.


Additional plans.

Office 365 suites are tailored to enterprises of all shapes and sizes. Ideally, the chosen plan will 100% match the business requirements of the company. In the commercial area, Exchange Online Archiving is available with Office 365 Enterprise E3 and E5 plans. It offers powerful features to support enterprises in managing and storing e-mails. E3 and E5 plans also come with additional features that result in a higher price. How to proceed, if the company has purchase Business Essentials or Business Premium plans? In such cases, online Exchange archiving can simply be added to these plans.


There is a multitude of combinations that can achieve a financially meaningful constellation of features, tailored to specific business requirements. If you need support in choosing or optimising your licence structure, don’t delay—contact us today.

Renata Ana Avlas
IT Consultant