Microsoft also offers most of their applications on an individual basis so they can be purchased standalone or in addition to a plan.

Part 1 of our two part blog will cover:

  • Office Online
  • Home
  • Business

There are a huge range of plans in the Office 365 space and this can be daunting when trying to decide if a move to the cloud is the right decision for your business. The first step to deciding which plan is right for you is understanding the levels of plans available. The major levels are:

  • Office Online
  • Home
  • Business
  • Enterprise
  • Education
  • Not for Profit

Office Online (Free)

Office Online is a free version offered by Microsoft and provides online access from any device with a web browser to the following products:

  • Microsoft email address & Outlook application with calendar and contacts
  • Limited Office applications – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote
  • OneDrive (5GB)

This is a great option for basic word processing and spreadsheets but you will not be able to download and install a desktop version of the application to work offline or take advantage of the full range of features available in the product.


The range of products in this level are designed for personal (home) use of the Microsoft suite of products and email. These products do not give you access to business grade applications and infrastructure and is suited to users who require business application processing at home and access to Microsoft email addresses. The biggest consideration to make in the Home line of subscriptions is how many users you will have.


Office 365 Personal is for individuals and provides the following products with the ability to install them on 1 PC or Mac, 1 phone and 1 tablet. The subscription comes with:

  • A Microsoft email address & Outlook application with calendar and contacts
  • Office Suite – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access (PC only)
  • OneDrive (1TB)
  • Skype for Business (including 60 minutes Skype credits per month)
  • Publisher


Office 365 Home is best suited for households of up to 5 users with the ability to install the products on 5 PCs or Macs, 5 phones and 5 tablets. A Family subscription will also allow you to setup 5 user accounts. The subscription comes with:

  • A Microsoft email address and Outlook application with calendar and contacts (5 users)
  • Office Suite – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access (PC only)
  • OneDrive – 1TB of storage per user
  • Skype for Business including 60 minutes Skype credits per month per user
  • Microsoft Publisher


The business line of subscriptions is tailored to provide more robust features of the home subscriptions (with more storage and collaboration capabilities) and provide enterprise grade infrastructure for small businesses.

Traditionally the products and services supplied in the Essentials and Premium packages required businesses to have their own server hardware and space as well as the expertise to setup some infrastructure. Once setup was complete there would remain the need to maintain and update these systems on your own server infrastructure on a regular basis to stay compliant and protected. This is no longer the case with everything being able to be run in the cloud and now Microsoft takes care of all these requirements on your behalf at a very reasonable price.


Office 365 Business Essentials is targeted at organisations that require enterprise grade infrastructure but not the local desktop installations of the Office Suite. This is suited for businesses who already have traditional (on premise) licences of the suite or work predominantly with a ‘mobile workforce’ and therefore only require online access to the applications.

Skype for Business comes with advanced feature such as online meetings allowing for an Instant Messaging, Audio and Video conference for up to 250 people. Products include:

  • Microsoft Exchange with a custom domain e.g.
  • Online only Office Suite which includes Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Access
  • OneDrive for Business with 1TB of storage per user or unlimited storage with 5+ users
  • SharePoint
  • Skype for Business
  • Other applications (that are not yet available) included:
  • Exchange Online Protection (antispam)


Dubbed Office 365 Business but we’ll refer to it as Basic, this subscription is targeted at businesses that require access to the Office Suite of applications and shared storage but not the enterprise infrastructure like Exchange and SharePoint that are offered in Essentials. Each licence will get the following:

  • Microsoft email address
  • Online and installed Office Suite – Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access
  • OneDrive for Business (1 TB per user, unlimited with 5+ users)
  • Publisher
  • Sway – a product to produce interactive reports


Office 365 Business Premium is a combination of both Office 365 Business and Office 365 Business Essentials. This subscription is perfect for a business looking to move to what would be considered the highest tier for a business of up to 300 users.

It provides all the key features to create a business environment that also has the ability to interact outside of their organisation through the use of SharePoint and Yammer and locally installed application suites to increase user productivity and collaboration.

With a premium subscription, you get the following:

  • Microsoft Exchange (custom domain e.g.
  • Online and installed Office Suite – Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access
  • OneDrive for Business (1 TB per user, unlimited with 5+ users)
  • SharePoint
  • Skype for Business
  • Other applications
  • Exchange Online Protection

Microsoft offers a discounted rate for the purchase of licenses on an annual subscription as opposed to monthly. Note that only some plans offer a monthly commitment, most are annual. As you can see, things can get complicated quickly but it certainly pays to be more selective with plans or speak to the experts when moving to Office 365.

Continue reading with part two – Enterprise, Education and Not for Profit here

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