Microsoft 365 Licensing - What's best for your business

M365 Business


Microsoft 365 licensing can look very confusing from the outset. Understanding what you need for your business and finding the information on what each level of licensing actually gives you can be quite a challenge. Combine that with a recent rebranding from Office 365 to Microsoft 365 and renaming all the license levels , there is a lot of confusion around.

The license options for small businesses can broadly be broken down into 3 options:


Microsoft 365 Business Basic (£3.80 user/month)

As the name suggests, this is the basic license. It provides you with email, online storage and access to MS Teams. It doesn't provide you with access to the desktop apps. With this license you can't use Excel, Word, PowerPoint or Outlook on your desktop. However, you do get access to the web versions of the Office apps.

This license is probably most useful for someone in your team who needs access to email primarily working on a Mobile or Tablet. You want to be able to share files to them, primarily for read only purposes.


Microsoft 365 Business Standard (£9.40 user/month)

The standard offering has all the features of the basic version, plus access the desktop applications. This means that this license is suitable for someone using a laptop or desktop computer and accessing your files and data to edit.

If you're getting started and just bringing on a couple of members of staff, this license level probably suits you best.


Microsoft 365 Business Premium (£15.10 user/month)

The premium license has all the features of the basic and standard licenses but adds additional features including the ability to manage devices, laptops, mobiles tablets. It also includes advanced threat protection which helps protect your business from spam and malware threats.


We generally recommend a premium license. That said, it probably only suites businesses who have an IT partner on board to manage the additional features.

You can mix and match your licenses. We have a few clients who give basic licenses to staff members who don't need the desktop apps and primarily only use email, whilst the rest of their staff use standard or premium licenses.

It's worth mentioning you can also get an Exchange Online license. This is just email and nothing else. The license is £3 user/month. We generally don't advise clients to go down this road as the cost difference with the basic license is minimal. We often find users who just have email do occasionally need access to shared files or other services. However, it is an option if you have users who only need an email address.

We always happy to chat with anyone about their Microsoft 365 licensing options. Why not book a free consultation here, or give us a call if you have any questions on 01252 918 990.

If you're interested in reading more you can see our article here about how combining Microsoft 365 with Windows 10 Pro can add value to your business.