With the rise of remote and hybrid work arrangements, many small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are now using Microsoft 365 to support such work setups.
What is Microsoft 365?
Microsoft 365 is a comprehensive cloud platform that features web versions of popular productivity software like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Unlike Office 2021, which has a perpetual license, Microsoft 365 follows a subscription model where you pay a monthly or yearly fee to access all the apps that are included in your plan.
You can choose from a variety of Microsoft 365 business plans:
- Microsoft 365 Business Basic – $3.00 user/month
- Microsoft 365 Apps for business – $8.25 user/month
- Microsoft 365 Business Standard – $10.00 user/month
- Microsoft 365 Business Premium – $22.00 user/month
How can SMBs benefit from using Microsoft 365?
Microsoft 365 offers plenty of benefits to SMBs:
1. There’s no heavy upfront cost
To use Office 2021 and older Office perpetual license products, you need to pay a single, upfront fee for one PC or Mac. The Office Home and Business 2021 product costs $249.99, which can be a hefty one-time investment, especially if you have multiple computers.
In contrast, with any Microsoft 365 business plan, you can spread out the cost of your investment by paying a monthly or yearly fee.
2. Users can access Microsoft 365 using their mobile devices
Office 2021 and older versions can be installed only on PCs and Macs. On the other hand, Microsoft 365 apps can also run on mobile devices like tablets and smartphones. This means you can use these apps from any location with any internet-connected device, which opens up possibilities for remote or hybrid working. You can even access Microsoft 365 on multiple devices simultaneously.
3. Microsoft 365 better supports collaboration
Before Microsoft 365, collaborative projects were done by sending emails back and forth. But with Microsoft 365, you can easily create documents, share them with other users, and even work on these documents simultaneously. This makes it easy for your team to work on shared projects together. You can even assign tasks to each user from within the app itself.
4. Users always get access to the latest version of apps and features
Office 2021 comes with a fixed set of features. You won't get any new features unless you upgrade to future Office versions, which you have to purchase again at full price.
But with Microsoft 365, you always have access to the latest version of all apps and the newest features as well as security and maintenance updates at no additional cost. Microsoft continuously pushes out new updates and features. This means you'll always have the latest tech innovations at your disposal, which helps your business keep its competitive edge.
5. Users gain access to more applications
A Microsoft 365 business plan subscription gives you access to apps and services that are not available in Office 2021, such as:
- OneDrive – provides you access to your files from any internet-connected device
- Bookings – allows you to schedule meetings, appointments, and other events
- Planner – helps you manage tasks and projects
- Forms – lets you create surveys and quizzes
- Exchange – offers a platform for managing email, calendar, and contacts
- SharePoint – enables you to easily develop a website for your business
6. Microsoft 365 has advanced security and compliance features and functionalities
Microsoft 365's data centers are protected by state-of-the-art security, making them extremely difficult to breach directly. The platform comes with data loss prevention, multifactor authentication, encryption, and anti-phishing protection. Moreover, a Microsoft 365 subscription gives you access to the Microsoft 365 Security Center, which is a centralized hub where you can monitor and manage security across your Microsoft user accounts, data, devices, apps, and infrastructure.
Microsoft 365 also offers Microsoft Compliance Manager. This solution makes it easy for you to take inventory of risks to your data, stay up to date with relevant compliance regulations, and report to auditors.
7. Microsoft 365 comes with round-the-clock support
Office 2021 only comes with five years of support. After this period, it will no longer get security patches and updates. Microsoft 365 business plans, on the other hand, come with 24/7 phone and email support for as long as you have an active subscription. This means you can easily get help whenever you need it.
Microsoft 365 is a great choice for SMBs looking to stay productive and secure in today's ever-changing work environment. With its low upfront cost and comprehensive suite of features, it's easy to see why Microsoft 365 is the preferred choice for many businesses.
Ready to get started with Microsoft 365? Let the IT experts of NetQuest help you with deploying and managing it. Get in touch with us today.