Are Office 365 and Microsoft 365 different?

There is often a mixup between the two products as the names are similar and people are unsure if this is just a renaming of the suite or if it is different. To keep things simple it is better to say that Office 365 is a component of Microsoft 365.

Microsoft 365 is made up of Office 365Windows 10 Enterprise and EMS(Enterprise Mobility + Security). While these offerings can be found separately and added to your base Office 365 bundle the Microsoft 365 has much better pricing.

Office 365 is made up of :

Office 365, Exchange, Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Notes, Publisher, OneDrive, Teams, etc…

Office 365 is the Office suite and email offered as a Cloud service within a subscription model. There are several Office 365 plans that fit different business requirements and I wouldn’t go into too many details as you can see the different offers detailed out here. Office 365 will get you up and running especially if you are a small business and need the basic tools to work.

What Microsoft 365 will add though, is valuable especially if you are a medium or large business/enterprise. The advanced security features and the device management capabilities will assist you in centrally managing your IT infrastructure in a more efficient manner.

The Advanced Security Features that you will get can be outlined as follows:

  • Help protect against sophisticated threats hidden in email attachments and links, and get cutting-edge defenses against zero-day threats, ransomware, and other advanced malware attempts with Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection
  • Remotely wipe company data from lost or stolen devices with Selective Wipe from Intune
  • Restrict the copying or saving of company information to unauthorized apps and locations with App protection for Office mobile apps
  • Control who has access to company information by applying restrictions like Do not Copy and Do Not Forward with Information Rights Management
  • Apply policies that provide pre-breach threat resistance in Windows 10 with Windows Defender Exploit Guard
  • Enforce malware protection to help keep your Windows 10 devices safe from viruses, spyware, and other malicious software with Windows Defender
  • Enable unlimited cloud archive and long-term preservation policies to ensure you never lose an email with Exchange Online Archiving

In our experience, the first point has become essential if you want to drastically dimish phishing or spoofing attacks in the mail that you receive. We have had quite a few complaints from customers who did not take this option and who are readily adding it now. You will find that the most important defense mechanisms aren’t present in the base Office 365 package.

You also gain huge insight and control over the information your company/organization shares internally and externally. The use of policies to limit what can and can not be disclosed has become essential in a world where data has become a commodity. The auditing features and log tracking will allow you to verify your conformity with GDPR regulations and make sure that no data is leaking.

With regards to the Device management, the following added features will appear:

  • Configure security features and settings on Windows 10 PCs and mobile devices running iOS or Android® with an easy-to-use setup wizard
  • Use simplified controls to manage policies applied to Windows 10 PCs
  • Automatically deploy the Office apps to Windows 10 PCs
  • Configure your PCs to automatically install Office and Windows 10 updates
  • Apply security policies to protect business data on all your devices, including iOS, Android®, and Windows PCs with Mobile Device Management from Intune

The ease of deployment (OS and applications), inventorying of the machines you own, the MDM functionalities are only a few of the great features you are handed over. Many of our customers work remotely in various countries and being able to have insight into what they are using and assisting them in various tasks is made possible with this component. You can have a new machine up and running much more easily and quickly.

To resume, in most cases we recommend going for the Microsoft 365 offering rather than the Office 365. Trying to block unwanted or dangerous emails, tedious deployment of applications or simply centralizing information on your IT infrastructure is largely simplified. In the medium, to long term, it is often more cost effective to go down this road as you will be saving on support hours from your IT department.

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