Choosing the Right Microsoft 365 Enterprise Plan for Your Organization

Microsoft 365 Enterprise Plan

When it comes to selecting the best Microsoft 365 enterprise plan, organizations must weigh their needs in office applications, device management, security features, and budget constraints. Microsoft offers several enterprise plans, each tailored to different business sizes and requirements. Below, I’ll break down the most popular Microsoft 365 enterprise plans: E1, E3, and E5, and discuss what each has to offer from various perspectives including apps, management, security, and pricing.

1. Microsoft 365 E1 Plan

Ideal for: Businesses looking for basic online services and great for remote teams who need cloud-based access without the need for desktop Office apps.
  • Office Apps: Includes access to online versions of Office apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, but does not include desktop versions of these apps. It also includes OneNote, SharePoint, and OneDrive.
  • Device Management: Comes with basic device management capabilities through Microsoft Intune, allowing for the management of mobile devices and some degree of application management.
  • Security: Offers standard security features such as basic threat protection and Exchange Online Protection, which provides basic security for your email environment against spam and malware.
  • Pricing: Typically starts at around $8 per user/month (annual commitment).

2. Microsoft 365 E3 Plan

Ideal for: Larger businesses that need more comprehensive tools and security features along with desktop and online Office applications.
  • Office Apps: Includes everything in E1, plus full access to Office desktop apps including Publisher and Access. Each user can install the Office apps on up to five PCs or Macs, five tablets, and five smartphones.
  • Device Management: Enhanced device management capabilities through Microsoft Endpoint Manager, which includes both Intune and Configuration Manager, providing deeper control over devices and apps.
  • Security: Advanced security features including Microsoft Defender for Office 365, which protects against advanced threats like phishing and zero-day malware. It also includes legal hold, data loss prevention (DLP), and encryption.
  • Pricing: Generally available at around $32 per user/month (annual commitment).

3. Microsoft 365 E5 Plan

Ideal for: Large enterprises requiring top-of-the-line compliance solutions, advanced security, and analytics capabilities.
  • Office Apps: Includes all the features of the E3 plan, plus advanced analytics tools like Power BI Pro, which helps in creating comprehensive reports and analytics.
  • Device Management: Same device management features as E3 but adds advanced analytics and reporting features to help IT administrators better manage the environment.
  • Security: Contains the most robust security features available in Microsoft 365 plans. This includes advanced threat protection with Microsoft Defender for Endpoint, advanced compliance solutions, and Microsoft Defender for Identity which monitors and protects identity-based activities.
  • Pricing: This is the most expensive option, typically starting around $57 per user/month (annual commitment).


Selecting the right Microsoft 365 enterprise plan depends largely on your organization’s size, security requirements, budget, and how your employees work. Here’s a quick guide to help you decide:
  • Go for E1 if: You are a small to medium-sized business with remote workers who rely mostly on cloud services and do not require desktop Office applications.
  • Opt for E3 if: You need robust productivity tools both online and offline, along with enhanced security and device management capabilities.
  • Choose E5 if: Your enterprise requires the highest level of security, compliance, and analytics, and can benefit from the most advanced features Microsoft offers.

Remember, the right plan not only provides the tools needed by your workforce but also aligns with your IT infrastructure and business strategy. For more personalized advice, consider consulting with a Microsoft licensing expert or a digital transformation specialist.

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