Microsoft 365 Business Premium Review

Microsoft 365 Business Premium is essentially the most feature-rich email hosting provider we have examined, which stands to motive seeing as the way it’s been round such a very long time. The service makes area and electronic mail setup straightforward for any sized enterprise and has a lot of migration and importing instruments if you happen to’re coming from one other platform.

Local and internet variations of the total Microsoft Office suite are included, in addition to entry to Microsoft’s extra superior instruments like SharePoint and Intune for system administration. You can even buy all kinds of add-on companies, resembling Microsoft 365 Business Voice, and these choices can be found from Microsoft or its massive associate ecosystem. It could also be costlier, however for its characteristic record alone, it is an apparent Editors’ Choice winner.

Microsoft 365 Business Premium Pricing

The service begins at $20 per person monthly. That can add up shortly for bigger organizations, however as talked about its encyclopedic record of options makes the cash worthwhile. Business Premium additionally has beneficiant bedrock options at that worth, which embrace 50GB of electronic mail internet hosting and 1TB of Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage along with area internet hosting. That’s a wonderful total record, although our different Editors’ Choice choose, Google Workspace Business Standard, leads the pack with a whopping 2TB of mailbox storage.

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More engaging to most companies, particularly within the new and distributed hybrid work mannequin, is that you just get an Office 365 subscription as a part of the package deal for each person which incorporates Microsoft Teams and SharePoint Online internet hosting. What you will not get is the perpetual on-prem license model of Office, which Microsoft not too long ago dubbed Office LTSC.

You will, nonetheless, get a bundled Intune subscription, which handles system administration, so you can implement {hardware} insurance policies for dwelling BYOD eventualities, which is one thing no different electronic mail internet hosting competitor affords proper now.

You’ll additionally get two types of extra safety. First is Microsoft Azure Information Protection (AIP). This is a content material classification app that permits you to tag paperwork with totally different classifications and assign various ranges of safety and entry to them based mostly on these tags. The second safety measure is Microsoft Defender for 365. It’s a 365-optimized model of the Microsoft Defender Security platform that gives antivirus and malware safety to knowledge and endpoints. Microsoft hasn’t pulled any punches, and you’ll strive the service free for one month by visiting the corporate’s web site. For the cash, the Business Premium tier will possible be the most well-liked buy for many companies.

However, if all that’s too wealthy or pointless for you, there are lower-cost choices. A Microsoft 365 Business Basic version is simply $5 per person monthly and consists of Microsoft Teams, however relegates customers to the online and cell variations of the Office apps with no desktop variations included. The subsequent most cost-effective is Microsoft 365 Apps, which is able to run you $8.25 per person monthly however consists of solely the Office Premium apps (desktop and internet) and OneDrive storage. Collaboration with Microsoft Teams and SharePoint just isn’t a part of this tier.

Finally, the Microsoft 365 Business Standard tier ought to work for a lot of smaller retailers. This begins at $12.50 per person monthly and consists of all the things within the Premium model apart from Azure Information Protection, Defender, and Intune. While the costs are listed as per-user-per-month, all tiers require an annual dedication.

Compared to our different Editors’ Choice winner, Google Workspace Business Standard, Microsoft 365 Business Premium is definitely extra expensive, particularly since Google offers such huge mailbox storage for simply $12 per person monthly for its Standard tier. However, Google’s bundled apps aren’t practically as complete as Microsoft’s, particularly for knowledge, person, and system administration. It could price extra, however Microsoft 365 remains to be the extra highly effective platform.

Microsoft 365 Business Premium setup wizard

Setting Up Business Premium

As with any electronic mail internet hosting service, getting arrange is usually the toughest half. However, Microsoft has accomplished a pleasant job of chopping via the historically cumbersome components as a result of it makes use of a guided setup course of. It walks you thru the entire main steps, resembling downloading Office to each shopper, including your area identify (together with the choice emigrate from one other host), organising Teams, after which enabling knowledge loss prevention (DLP), which protects in opposition to anybody leaking your delicate knowledge.  As a last step, you possibly can configure safety for cell app customers by enabling knowledge encryption and implementing issues resembling re-authentication after a sure variety of minutes.

Since the copy of Office you put in is already pre-linked along with your account, there is not a lot in the way in which of setup past working the installer and, on uncommon events, offering your log-in particulars.  I actually favored that you are able to do this for as much as 5 gadgets per person.  In at present’s world, it is not unusual to have a desktop, laptop computer, and a number of other cell gadgets, so having a license that covers all of them just isn’t solely handy however saves cash, too.

Managing customers is simple, too.  Once you add a person, you may be on the hook for a further per-user-per-month cost, however past placing in some fundamental data and setting an preliminary password, there is not a lot else to do.

If you want extra granular management of your surroundings, as most bigger companies will, there is a useful admin heart. This is the place you may fine-tune settings like menace administration, mail stream guidelines, system insurance policies, and related IT chores. Another good contact is that Microsoft 365 Business Premium already has normal greatest practices configured in terms of safety and person administration. That means most small and midsized companies (SMBs) can merely arrange and go, figuring out the service will cowl their fundamental IT wants out of the field.

If you want extra or one thing totally different, you possibly can all the time change issues within the admin heart. While this a part of the service is unquestionably supposed for IT professionals, the admin heart could be very properly organized. I might shortly discover what I used to be in search of and entry the suitable administration instruments.

Microsoft 365 Business Premium app selection screen

While PCMag offers a deep dive on Microsoft 365’s Office suite instruments, an electronic mail internet hosting evaluate would not be full with out electronic mail and collaboration instruments. These are extra vital than ever now that we’re all transferring towards the brand new hybrid normal.

Collaboration in Microsoft 365 Business Premium is basically about Microsoft Office mixed with Teams, OneDrive, and SharePoint.  If you’ve got used these apps individually, you may love how they work collectively right here. As far as the e-mail shopper goes, the center of the person expertise is, in fact, Microsoft Outlook.

Most customers have some expertise with Outlook on the desktop, however with 365 Business, the actually thrilling stuff is occurring within the internet shopper. A current addition, Microsoft Editor, is Microsoft’s reply to Grammarly. It works throughout all of the apps within the Office suite, however solely on the net facet. There’s one other useful characteristic that permits you to shortly add information associated to a dialog thread with out having to go and seek for the thread. Currently, this solely works on OneDrive paperwork, nevertheless it’s good to have if you happen to occur to be utilizing the online shopper.

If we’ve got a gripe with Microsoft 365, right here it’s: An internet shopper ought to work throughout any browser, however Microsoft has actually solely centered on Windows and macOS. If you try to use a Microsoft 365 Office internet app by way of a Linux browser, you may virtually definitely expertise compatibility issues. Yes, the apps are usable total, however you get a a lot smoother expertise on the 2 business working methods. Hopefully, it will change now that Microsoft is working to raised combine Linux with Windows.

Even contemplating solely the business working methods, macOS remains to be noticeably behind Windows in terms of how Outlook capabilities. Organization and superior options are positively lagging, which actually should not be the case anymore. Microsoft has additionally centered extra on advancing its internet model of Office than the desktop equivalents.

For instance, other than the Edit characteristic talked about above, Redmond has made a really handy change to the calendar. If you’ve got needed to schedule a video conference through the pandemic, you’ve got in all probability needed to do it for a bigger variety of individuals than normal, which suggests sifting via a protracted record of schedules till you discover an open slot that works for everybody—sometimes two or three months after you needed to have the assembly. Outlook can now try this grunt give you the results you want, utilizing synthetic intelligence (AI) to advocate occasions that may work greatest based mostly on everybody’s availability.  If somebody cannot make it, there is a structured solution to counsel alternate occasions. That’s nice, nevertheless it solely works within the Outlook internet shopper, not the desktop model.

Microsoft 365 Business Premium Outlook Online interface

Integration with Microsoft Teams is a given, however nonetheless vital. There’s a one-button possibility so as to add a Teams assembly to any assembly occasion.  It’s price noting that invitees needn’t have the Teams shopper to attend, although that does give one of the best expertise.

SharePoint is one other Microsoft 365 element that is in all probability underutilized by most clients as a result of getting it up and working may be overwhelming. But if you happen to want a centralized location to prepare, plan, and collaborate on paperwork with change administration enabled, that is the way in which to do it. It’s additionally acquired process and workflow administration, so it may be a bit tough to resolve the place to begin, and you could want IT’s assist, however as soon as you’ve got acquired a plan for utilizing SharePoint, different performance will develop organically.

Microsoft 365 Business Premium Outlook scheduling helper

Administration and Security

Microsoft does job with each safety and privateness.  Two-factor authentication is pervasive and there are a number of information safety options beneath that. In the admin heart, you possibly can arrange DLP insurance policies that take a look at knowledge and robotically classify what they acknowledge—making a rule, for instance, that classifies a file as personal each time the DLP coverage finds a Social Security quantity in it. You can even specify operations like auto-encrypting a doc or proscribing entry and person rights.

On the e-mail facet, there’s Microsoft 365 Message Encryption and Exchange Online Archiving. The former provides encryption and entry rights to your emails so solely the supposed recipient is ready to view them. It’s included with Microsoft 365, nevertheless it’ll work throughout Gmail and different electronic mail methods as properly.

Exchange Online Archiving lets directors set electronic mail archiving and retention insurance policies. You can designate emails of a particular age to be robotically deleted or saved securely within the cloud, and you are able to do it based mostly on content material insurance policies. For instance, a healthcare group might robotically delete most older emails, whereas securely archiving solely these it wanted to go a future HIPAA audit. While no service is bulletproof in terms of safety, Microsoft places up a terrific struggle.

This all occurs within the admin heart, however this view affords extra than simply safety. You’ll come right here to handle gadgets and add, delete, or modify person identities. There’s additionally a pleasant dashboard proper up entrance the place the system will provide you with a warning to any issues or urgent wants related along with your account. Service downtime, a safety concern, person issues, DLP queries—it will all be surfaced right here together with the instruments you may want to handle issues. Finally, IT directors that transfer round quite a bit can even get entry to the admin heart by way of a Microsoft 365 cell app, out there on each iOS and Android. The app offers immediate visibility into any alert, although you may want entry to the total internet admin app to handle extra advanced issues.

Microsoft 365 Compliance Manager

If sustaining regulatory compliance is a part of your job, know that Microsoft has knowledge facilities distributed throughout the U.S. and Northern Europe. All of them have undergone SOC auditing and achieved SOC 1 Type2, SOC 2, and SOC 3 compliance standing. And if you happen to’ve acquired a HIPPA Business Associate Agreement (BAA) in place, the service will cowl HIPAA for you, too.

There’s a for much longer record of laws that Microsoft 365 helps, however the extra vital information facilities across the Compliance Manager. This is a workflow-oriented danger evaluation software that may aid you handle all of the nitty-gritty particulars of no matter regulation you might want to assist. Once you’ve got set it up, that’ll embrace issues like knowledge controls and retention, safety insurance policies, and audit trails, to call a number of.

Compliance Manager consistently scans these parameters and provides you an total Compliance Score in your dashboard. Any issues are surfaced as alerts, and you’ll drill down into them for an in depth rationalization and the Compliance Manager’s advice for fixing it. This can be one thing of a bear to arrange, however as soon as you’ve got acquired it working, it may well drastically lighten your IT compliance load.

Third-Party App Integration

Microsoft used to win this class palms down, however Google Workspace and different electronic mail internet hosting gamers are catching up quick. Still, for the second, we’re giving Microsoft an edge right here attributable to a associate system that is not solely large however very mature.

Sure, you may discover the standard names like Workspace, Slack, Trello, and Zapier on the record, however there’s a complete library of different apps and integrations you possibly can bolt-on for particular sorts of duties, workloads, or vertical enterprise wants. That library is so huge largely as a result of Microsoft has historically pushed its growth instruments exhausting and made them out there virtually totally free to anybody constructing Windows-compatible software program. That created a cheerful developer base that even at present few different firms can match.

The Gold Standard

Overall, Microsoft 365 Business Premium is the selection to beat within the electronic mail internet hosting class. Even with the large advances made by Google, Microsoft’s providing nonetheless has considerably higher options and its web-to-desktop expertise is unequalled. Its instruments allow you to do all the things from managing electronic mail to collaborating throughout groups utilizing messaging, doc sharing, and voice or video conferencing.

Even strictly from an electronic mail internet hosting perspective, Microsoft 365 stays a number one contender. Setup, person importing and administration, and a granular degree of information safety, loss prevention, and compliance administration all are available a mix you simply cannot discover elsewhere. Yes, it is costlier than its rivals, however you actually get what you pay for: an exceptionally well-rounded and safe end-to-end enterprise productiveness answer that is a simple choose for our Editors’ Choice award.

Microsoft 365 Business Premium


  • Generous cloud storage

  • Full suite of productiveness instruments with a lot of add-ons

  • Desktop functions assist Windows and macOS

  • Long record of administration and safety companies


  • Linux customers are nonetheless second-class residents

  • MacOS Outlook shopper nonetheless behind the Windows model

  • Some new options are web-only

The Bottom Line

It’s expensive, however Microsoft 365’s mixture of area internet hosting, straightforward administration, safety, and its industry-leading productiveness suite retains it on the prime of the e-mail internet hosting heap.

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