Which Office 365 Subscription Plan is Best for Your Organization?

Office 365 is an excellent option for many reasons; not only does it bring security to your network, it also has a variety of applications and services that were specifically designed to help employees collaborate more effectively. Plus, since Office 365 is a subscription service, you get access to the latest version of Office and online apps for as long as you subscribe. 

But how do you know which subscription plan is best for your organization? Office 365 offers several options for several industries, and even different levels of each product to help organizations get only what they need.

Below a closer look at the available Office 365 subscriptions plans.


Enterprise offers the most options and differences between each package. While they can seem similar to the Business packages, the biggest difference is that Enterprise is made to handle a larger amount of users; Business packages can only handle a maximum of 300 users. All of the Enterprise packages include around the clock phone and web support, and an unlimited number of users.

Office 365 Enterprise E1

There are no downloadable applications, just the web versions of Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint for Enterprise E1. Services include Exchange, OneDrive, SharePoint, Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, and Yammer. Like the other package options, Enterprise E1 offers a 50 GB mailbox for email hosting, but all of the Enterprise packages include a custom email domain address. It also offers 1 terabyte (TB) of OneDrive storage for storing and sharing files. Manual retention and deletion policies, and manual classifications make organization easy, as well as the ability to search with Delve. There is no free trial available for E1 as it is the least expensive of the Enterprise packages.

Office 365 Enterprise E3

The mid-level package includes the same services as E1, but with the applications Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access, and Publisher for both web and download use. E3 has a 100 GB mailbox, unlimited storage and sharing on OneDrive, and can host video conferences for up to 250 people at one time on Skype for Business. One license for E3 will support 5 phones, tablets, or PCs per user, with the exception of the Publisher and Access applications that can only be used on PC. There is a free trial version available.

Office 365 Enterprise E5

Enterprise E5 has all the same applications and services as E3, with the additional service of Power BI Pro. E5 offers more mailbox protection against suspicious links and attachments with Exchange Online Advanced Threat Protection, and also gives you control on how much access support can have to personal applications with Customer Lockbox. It also comes with advanced personal and organizational analysis with MyAnalytics and Power BI Pro, and Advanced Data Governance which automatically classifies, and imports and exports files for users. There is also a free trial version available.


ProPlus carries as many applications as applications as the more advanced versions, but does not include business email in the package. It only offers OneDrive and Skype for Business as services. It also has 1 TB of file storage and sharing, and one license can be used on up to 5 phones, tablets, or PCs per user. ProPlus can host an unlimited number of users, and can use FastTrack to easily deploy Office 365 at no additional costs.


Business offers packages similar to Enterprise but on a smaller business budget and for fewer users. The more advanced packages offer free trial versions, and all packages have two different pricing options – annually or monthly. All of these packages come with 24/7 customer support, can host a maximum of 300 users, and are all licensed for commercial use.

Office 365 Business Essentials

Business Essentials is the least expensive option for businesses. It does not come with any downloadable applications, only the web versions of Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint; however, it does come with business-class email. Business Essentials does offer Exchange, SharePoint, OneDrive, Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, and Yammer as services. It hosts a 50 GB mailbox with custom email domain address, as well as 1 TB of OneDrive Storage. 

Office 365 Business

Business offers a free trial before purchasing, but business - class email is not included. Applications Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Access for PC only. Both web and downloads are available for the applications. OneDrive is the only service included in Business, with 1 TB of storage and file sharing available. One license can be used on up to 5 phones, tablets, or PCs per user. 

Office 365 Business Premium

Business Premium offers the same applications with many more services, including Exchange, SharePoint, OneDrive, Skype for Business, Teams, and Yammer. Microsoft Teams lets users create a hub to boost teamwork, as with SharePoint, which lets users create an engaging site for easy communication. You can also manage your business better with Microsoft Invoicing, Bookings, MileIQ, and Business Center while nurturing customer relationships with Connections, Listings, and Outlook Customer Manager.


Government plans are designed to have Office 365 fit their needs, all while meeting U.S. regulations for security. This means that each package has similar versions of applications and services, but all at different ranges to best suite what each branch is looking for. Government branches can rest easy knowing that all storage used for Office 365 is on a separate government cloud community, following all U.S. compliance and security standards.

Office 365 Community G1

Community G1 is the first option available for the Government packages. No downloadable applications are available, but the web versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and a few others are ready to use. It includes services of Exchange, OneDrive, SharePoint, and Skype for Business. These services benefit users by offering unlimited online meetings, IMs, and video conferencing with Skype for Business. Also, use SharePoint to create a company intranet to have better communication with teams and organizations by creating pages with easy access to information and documents that all might need. Community G1 also gives 1 terabyte (TB) of OneDrive storage and sharing, as well as a 50 gigabytes (GB) mailbox for emails, contacts and calendars.

Office 365 Community G3

Community G3 has all the same services as Community G1 but more application options, as the next option will have the same capabilities of Community G3 plus more. Applications include both web and desktop versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access. The last two applications, Publisher and Access, can only be used on PC, not mobile devices. Community G3 also offers unlimited OneDrive sharing and storage, a 100 GB mailbox, and personalized searches using Office Graph which allows you to search across all of Office 365. There is also protection for rights management and data loss for emails and files that falls within government security requirements.

Office 365 Community G5

Community G5 has all the same services and applications as G1 and G3, but many more advanced capabilities available. G5 hosts eDiscovery to do searches by codes, and also with Predictive Coding and Text Analytics. Security is more extensive, with Exchange Advanced Threat Protection to protect against suspicious links and attachments sent in emails.

The biggest thing that sets the Government plan apart from all the others is that it comes with four guarantees:

  • Guaranteed 99.9% up-time and a financially backed service level agreement
  • IT-level web support and 24/7 phone support for critical issues
  • Active Directory integration to easily manage user credentials and permissions
  • World-class data security


Office 365 made special applications and services just for their education packages. These packages include features ideal for schools, both students and faculty, such as being able to sustain an unlimited number of users. Also there is a service called Microsoft Teams, a digital hub that creates collaborative conversations, content, and applications all users can access. All of the Education packages can accommodate an unlimited number of users; perfect for staff, students, and schools.

Office 365 A1

Office 365 A1offers only OneNote as a desktop applications. Other online only applications include Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint can be accessed and used. A1 offers many of the same services used by businesses and government: Exchange, OneDrive, SharePoint, Skype for Business, and Teams. They also offer many that are especially beneficial for schools like Sway, Forms, Stream, Flow, PowerApps, and School Data Sync. There are many services specifically for educational purposes, like Forms that cam create self-grading quizzes and Sway that creates digital story-telling and more engaging activities for students. This is the only option for the Education packages that is free to both faculty and students.

Office 365 A3

A3 has the all the same services and applications available for online use and download. Applications and services can be used on up to 5 phones, PCs, and tablets per purchase, with the exception of the Publisher and Access applications that can only be used on PC. These services also give users the option to develop their own applications without having to write extensive amounts of code. Email is stored with unlimited In-Place archiving and a 100 GB mailbox.

Office 365 A5

All applications and services are the same as A3, with the addition of Power BI Pro as a service. Power BI Pro in tandem with MyAnalytics can help with advanced personal and organizational analytics. Users can also set parameters as to how support teams can access certain things, like your mailbox, and even use Advanced Threat Protection to watch out for dangerous links and attachments in emails.

Some Closing Thoughts

If your goal is to create an environment where employees can utilize highly reliable platforms for exchanging ideas, having conversations, collaborating, and doing their best work, then Office 365 may be an ideal solution. Hopefully the information above gives you the answers you were looking for to help you choose the right Office 365 subscription plan for you organization.

If you would like additional information, consider downloading our eBook: "Office 365: Tools for the Modern Workplace" for a detailed description of nearly twenty of the most useful non-traditional services, apps, and features of Office 365, including Delve, Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, Sway, Yammer, and more.

Categories: Microsoft, Office 365
Rate this article:
No rating

NH Learning SolutionsDebra Novara

Other posts by NH Learning Solutions

Contact author
Please login or register to post comments.

Theme picker

Contact author


Blog Search