From a business owner’s perspective, doing more with less is an attractive principle. Microsoft recognizes that need for small/medium businesses and combines a comprehensive suite of services, layered with multiple security features, into their Business Premium offering. With more than 70 different capabilities, Business Premium keeps people and assets productive and safe.
Here are just some of the features included:
- Microsoft 365 Suite: includes core applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, as well as email, online storage, and collaboration tools (Teams, Sharepoint, and OneDrive). With Office 365, your employees can access the tools they need to get their work done from anywhere, on any device.
- Azure Active Directory (Azure AD): This service allows you to manage user identities and access to your organization’s resources (IAM – reference this article), including applications and services in the cloud. Azure AD and IAM give you control of who has access to what. Go even further in your security profile and set up multi-factor authentication and single-sign-on.
- Microsoft Teams: This collaboration platform lets your employees communicate and collaborate in real-time, from anywhere. Teams provides chat rooms, intelligent group/team configuration for identifying or classifying information, audio and video calls, conference rooms, file shares, and more – all in one place. Teams can also be hooked into your existing phone service, adding Teams-based capabilities to your standard dial-tone.
From a user perspective, the above features allow for non-stop, any-place productivity. From a business owner and technology manager perspective, Microsoft goes deeper in the stack and provides critical management and security tools.
- Intune allows remote configuration, monitoring, and management of people and assets in your environment.
- Microsoft Defender provides email and spam protection as well as end-point detection and remediation (EDR) – keeping inboxes and assets safe.
- Azure Information Protection allows you to control transmission of sensitive information across communications.
Microsoft limits the quantity of Business Premium licenses allowed within your account; there are a maximum of 300 licenses allowed per tenant. This isn’t much of an issue with small and medium businesses. If you are bigger than that, the E3 and E5 licenses provide a nearly equivalent toolset. Everything mentioned above is included in a single license fee.
Not included in the licenses are a few add-ons that can increase cloud storage, augment communications and security, and provide virtual desktops. These features bolt in seamlessly utilizing Azure AD as the management platform. Unfortunately, Microsoft licensing isn’t for the weak-of-heart. There are classes, certifications, and continuing education curriculum created to understand the Microsoft license model. Their latest model, NCE (learn more about NCE) commits licenses on an annual basis, but allows for monthly licenses at a higher cost.
IMS recommends not trying to do this on your own; you just don’t have to. For the same licensing cost, you get so much more working with a managed services provider (MSP). IMS brings decades of relevant industry experience and expertise to your business. As a Microsoft Modern Work partner, IMS specializes in helping businesses use Microsoft tools to augment their workforce; and quite often saving money by consolidating services under one licenses.
If you are curious how IMS can help you, start with a Cloud Assessment and we’ll review your current needs, licensing, and any Azure deployments across 6 factors: for architecture, design, cost efficient, best practices, security, and compliancy.