Microsoft 365 Business Frequently Asked Questions

General

What is Microsoft 365 Business?

Microsoft 365 is an integrated solution that brings together best-in-class productivity tools, security and device management capabilities for small to medium-sized businesses.

A holistic set of business productivity and collaboration tools

  • Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, and Access
  • Exchange, OneDrive, Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, SharePoint
  • Business apps from Office (Bookings, Outlook Customer Manager, MileIQ1, Microsoft Listings1, Microsoft Connections1, Microsoft Invoicing1)

Enterprise-grade device management and security capabilities

  • App protection for Office mobile apps
  • Device management for Windows 10 PCs
  • Consistent security configuration across devices
  • Protection of company data across devices
  • Windows Defender, always-on and up-to-date

Simplified device deployment and user setup

  • Single admin console to setup and manage users and devices
  • Auto-installation of Office apps on Windows 10 PCs
  • Always up-to-date Office + Windows 10
  • Streamlined deployment of PCs with Windows AutoPilot

Who should consider adopting Microsoft 365 Business?

Microsoft 365 Business was built for small and medium-sized customers that have little to no IT resources on staff and want best-in-class productivity and collaboration capabilities of Office 365 together with device management and security solutions that safeguard business data. The Microsoft 365 Business customer is ready to move their IT operations to the cloud and is interested in maintaining a proactive stance to help protect data on both company and employee-owned devices.

How can I get Microsoft 365 Business for my business?

Microsoft 365 Business may be purchased through a Microsoft Partner or directly from Microsoft. In choosing whether to purchase directly from Microsoft or via a Microsoft Partner, you should consider your on-staff capability and desire to maintain an IT infrastructure. A Microsoft Partner can help you deploy and manage your IT infrastructure including Microsoft solutions.

How much does Microsoft 365 Business cost?

Microsoft 365 Business is offered at USD$20.00 user/month based on an annual contract if purchased directly from Microsoft. When purchased through a Microsoft Partner, pricing can vary based on the services the partner provides and their pricing model for Microsoft 365 Business. There are no planned pricing discounts for government, education or non-profit organizations.

Is there a cap to how many Microsoft 365 Business seats a customer can have?

Microsoft 365 Business was designed for small to medium sized businesses with low to medium IT complexity requirements. Customers may purchase up to 300 Microsoft 365 Business licenses for their organization. Customers can mix and match cloud subscriptions; as a result, depending on their organization’s IT requirements, customers may add Microsoft 365 Enterprise licenses to the same account.

When considering an environment consisting of multiple subscription types, customers should work with their trusted IT advisors to determine how best to manage and secure the various subscriptions as Microsoft 365 Business and Microsoft 365 Enterprise use different capabilities to secure and manage applications and data.

Can I combine Microsoft 365 Business with other Microsoft subscription offerings?

Yes, customers can combine their Microsoft 365 Business subscriptions with plans and add-ons from Azure, Dynamics 365, Enterprise Mobility + Security, and Office 365.

Is everyone in my business required to have a Microsoft 365 Business subscription?

No, not everyone needs a Microsoft 365 Business subscription, although the security and management benefits are available only to those users with devices managed with a Microsoft 365 Business subscription.

Standardizing an IT environment serves to help reduce maintenance and security costs over time and is a state that businesses should strive to attain. However, we recognize that some small and medium size customers update their software primarily when they upgrade their hardware, over an extended period. Businesses can deploy Microsoft 365 Business to part of their organization, but for best protection of sensitive business data and consistent collaboration experiences, deployment to all users is recommended.

How can I know if the hardware and software I run today is compatible with Microsoft 365 Business?

If the hardware you run today runs Windows 7 Pro or later, it likely meets the minimum requirements for Microsoft 365 Business. Certain Windows 10 features such as Cortana, Windows Hello and multitouch require specific hardware that is only available on newer PCs. See the Windows 10 Pro system requirements for additional details.

Existing desktop (Win32) application compatibility is strong in Windows 10, with most existing applications working without any changes. Customers and their trusted IT advisors should read the recommended application testing process for Windows 10 compatibility and review the Office system requirements to ensure a smooth transition to Microsoft 365 Business.

What is Windows 10 Business?

Windows 10 Business is a set of cloud-services and device management capabilities that complement Windows 10 Pro and enable the centralized management and security controls of Microsoft 365 Business. Windows 10 Business also comes with Windows AutoPilot, a service that streamlines the deployment of new Windows 10 PCs. If you have devices that are licensed for Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 Professional, Microsoft 365 Business provides an upgrade to Windows 10 Pro which is the prerequisite for deploying Windows 10 Business.

How does Microsoft 365 Business help support our Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy?

Many employees prefer to use their own mobile phones or tablets to access personal and work information rather than carrying multiple devices for each purpose. The use of personal devices for work, while commonplace, increases the risk that business information could end up in the wrong hands. Many competing mobile data protection solutions require users to switch to a specific mode on their device or use another complex mechanism that users may find intrusive and therefore avoid using.

Microsoft 365 Business offers customers a simple but powerful means of enabling employees to use their personal devices for work while providing the business with the ability to prevent those devices from accessing, retaining and/or sharing business information. More specifically:

  • App Protection for Office mobile apps helps protect Office data, including email, calendar, contacts, and documents on iOS and Android mobile devices, by enforcing policies such as automatically deleting business data after a prescribed amount of time of not connecting to the service, requiring that information is stored only to OneDrive for Business, requiring a PIN/fingerprint verification to access Office apps, and preventing company data from being copied from an Office app into personal apps.
  • Device Management for Windows 10 PCs allows businesses to choose to set and enforce capabilities such as Windows Defender protection for malware, automatic updates, and turning off screens after a prescribed amount of time. In addition, lost or stolen Windows 10 devices can be completely wiped of business applications and data through the Admin center.

How does Microsoft 365 Business help protect PCs in my organization from malicious attacks?

PCs managed with Microsoft 365 Business are protected with Windows Defender, which is the No. 1 antivirus feature on Windows 10, protecting more computers against viruses, malware, spyware, and other threats than any other solution. With Microsoft 365 Business, businesses can ensure Windows Defender protection is running and always up to date on all their Windows 10 devices

What's the difference between Office 365 Business Premium, Microsoft 365 Business and Microsoft 365 Enterprise?

Microsoft has a variety of productivity and security management offerings that small to medium-sized customers may consider when upgrading their desktop and device infrastructure, each bringing increasingly powerful features and functionality.

Office 365 Business Premium delivers best-in-class productivity with Office 365 apps and services but does not include the application protection and device management capabilities of Microsoft 365 Business.

Microsoft 365 Business combines Office 365 apps and services with mobile application management and Windows 10 Pro to enable remote management and help protect devices against viruses and malware. It includes a simplified management console through which device and data policies may be administered. Many small to medium-sized businesses can be best served with Microsoft 365 Business, although those in highly regulated industries may require more advanced functionality provided by Microsoft 365 Enterprise plans (E3 and E5).

Microsoft 365 Enterprise is a set of licensing plans that offer increased levels of mobility and security management over Microsoft 365 Business and are designed for enterprise customers and those customers that are required or regulated to provide the highest level of protection for their data. In addition, Microsoft 365 Business plans provide additional functionality including business intelligence and analytics tools.

Can I switch my Office 365 plan to Microsoft 365 Business?

Yes, customers may switch their plans from a qualifying Office 365 plan to Microsoft 365 Business. Depending on the customer’s current plan there may be a decrease or increase in monthly charges.

In what regions is Microsoft 365 Business available?

The Microsoft 365 Business will be available to all partners and customers where Office 365 is available. See the list of Office 365 international availability for languages, countries and regions.

Is there a Microsoft 365 Business trial I may use to evaluate the offer?

A Microsoft 365 Business trial will be available later this year both for direct customers and for CSPs.

What should customers and partners know before running Microsoft 365 Business within their organization?

Customers that wish to experience the complete capabilities of Microsoft 365 Business must be running Windows 7, 8.1 or 10 Pro2 on their existing desktops. Customers who use on-premises Active Directory to enable login to PCs will switch devices over cloud identity and management as part of their deployment. Existing Windows 10 Pro PCs should be running Creators Update if they have not already done so.

Deployment

What should customers consider when planning a Microsoft 365 Business deployment?

The most direct path to a successful Microsoft 365 Business deployment is to engage with a Microsoft Partner. They have extensive training and experience with a wide variety of customer scenarios and are best equipped to understand your environment and needs. Customers that have experienced IT on staff can use the Microsoft 365 Business Getting Started to assist them in their Microsoft 365 Business deployment.

Does Microsoft 365 Business include the full capabilities of Microsoft Intune?

Microsoft 365 Business includes a robust set of mobile app management capabilities powered by Microsoft’s MDM solution (Microsoft Intune). These are a subset of features, specifically chosen to meet the needs of SMBs and organized to be easily managed via a simplified administration experience. If a company requires the full capabilities of Intune, they can purchase a qualifying plan separately.

Does Azure Active Directory P1 come with Microsoft 365 Business?

Microsoft 365 Business is built on technology from across Microsoft and while it shares some features with Azure Active Directory, it is not a full version. The security and management policies created in Microsoft 365 Business rely on some Azure functionality but does not include all features (e.g. selfservice features, conditional access features, and reporting). Customers may choose to purchase Azure Active Directory Premium as an add-on to Microsoft 365 Business.

Does Microsoft 365 Business allow customers to manage Macs?

The security and management capabilities of Microsoft 365 Business pertain to iOS and Android mobile and tablet devices, and Windows PCs.

What is Windows AutoPilot?

Windows AutoPilot is a service that streamlines the deployment of new Windows 10 PCs. This process can be done when the end-user logs on to Microsoft 365 Business for the first time—without IT ever touching the device—by leveraging centralized management controls of Microsoft 365 Business. You can also use Windows AutoPilot for existing PCs that are running Windows 10 Professional Creators Update (or later) and have been factory reset. Details about Windows AutoPilot can be found in this June blog post.

Compatibility

Can I add Office 365 add-ons to Microsoft 365 Business?

All the add-ons that can be added to Office 365 Business Premium can be added to Microsoft 365 Business. This means that you can purchase Advanced Threat Protection, Office 365 Cloud App Security, Advanced Compliance, Threat Intelligence, MyAnalytics, PowerBI Pro, and Audio Conferencing.

Can I add Phone System and Calling Plans to Microsoft 365 Business?

No, Phone System and Calling Plan are reserved for customers who have more advanced needs. Customers who require these capabilities should look at Microsoft 365 Enterprise offerings.

Can Microsoft 365 Business customers use Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection?

No, customers that require Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection need either Windows 10 Enterprise E5 or Microsoft 365 Enterprise E5.

Can I use Windows Information Protection with Microsoft 365 Business?

Yes, Windows Information Protection (WIP) is a feature of Windows 10 Pro and helps businesses prevent accidental leaks by restricting user and app access to business files based on policies you define. Your business data is protected no matter where it lives on your devices—without affecting your user experience. Microsoft 365 Business includes controls to ensure Windows Information Protection is properly configured and automatically deployed to end-user devices.

Can customers use Microsoft 365 Business with on-premises Active Directory?

To realize the full value of Windows 10, Windows 10 PCs need to be joined to Azure Active Directory. You may use Microsoft 365 Business with Windows 10 devices joined to on-premises Active Directory but it is not recommended because you won’t be able to enforce policies from the Microsoft 365 Business Admin console.

Can customers create hosted Windows 10 VMs with a Microsoft 365 Business subscription?

No, customers that require virtualization should purchase Windows 10 Enterprise or a Microsoft 365 Enterprise subscription.

Partner opportunity

Where can I learn more about the opportunities and benefits in becoming a Microsoft Partner?

IT service providers that are not already Microsoft partners can learn more about the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider program at https://partners.office.com/microsoft365business.

Where can I learn how to sell Microsoft 365 Business?

Partners now selling Office 365 can use the same consultative selling methods to sell Microsoft 365 Business. In addition, we are introducing more resources and training for your sales team to understand the customers’ existing desktop environment, Active Directory reliance, mobility and security needs to effectively communicate the full value of Microsoft 365 Business in a way that is relevant to the customer. Find these resources on the Office Partner portal at http://partners.office.com/microsoft365business.

How can Microsoft 365 Business help partners increase the profitability?

Microsoft 365 Business will help partners reduce costs through greater operational efficiencies and enhance revenue through the sale of additional services. The Forrester Research, Microsoft 365 Business Total Economic Impact (TEI) Study, June 2017 (https://partners.office.com/TEIBusiness), demonstrates that Microsoft 365 Business will have positive impact on partner profitability.

In the TEI study partners reported that with Microsoft 365 Business they expect:

  • 20%-point increase in [one-time] deployment and advisory services revenue
  • 10%-point increase in attach rate of managed services
  • 8%-point increase in consulting and [ongoing] managed services profit margins (from lower costs)

What resources are available to partners to sell, deploy and support Microsoft 365 Business?

Microsoft provides a wide selection of resources for CSP partners to market, sell, and support Microsoft 365 Business. They can be found at https://partners.office.com/microsoft365business.

What up-sell opportunities does Microsoft 365 Business give partners?

Microsoft 365 Business allows partners to maintain their trusted advisor position with customers, by creating a solid and secure platform upon which to sell additional services and to upgrade existing products and services. Microsoft 365 Business provides an opportunity to have an upgrade discussion with customers now using Exchange Server, Exchange Online or Office 365 Business Essentials. Partners may also gain additional revenue from increased managed services and/or peruser support fees.

With the new Windows AutoPilot feature included in Microsoft 365 Business, partners who have been reluctant to sell new Windows devices due to deployment logistics and costs will find this opportunity much more attractive. Customers who are confident in the security of their on-premise and mobile devices are also more likely to invest in additional services, such as Dynamics 365.

Should partners sell Microsoft 365 Business over other plans from Microsoft?

A Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider should always sell the plan that best suits its customer business needs and budget. For example, if a customer must comply with privacy and security regulations, a CSP may sell Microsoft 365 Business plus any add-ons that help the customer meet its requirements or may suggest the advanced security and management provided by Microsoft 365 Business E SKUs.

Some of my customers have devices that are not genuine; will Microsoft 365 Business make these devices genuine?

Microsoft 365 Business does not make an otherwise non-genuine version of Windows, genuine. Microsoft 365 Business does provide an upgrade benefit allowing those customers running genuine Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 Pro to upgrade to the most recent, genuine version of Windows 10 Pro.

What support is available to CSP partners for the Microsoft 365 Business Preview?

The same support channels available to CSP partners today (premier support and advanced support program) have been trained on Microsoft 365 Business and are ready to provide partners with support.

What is the GDPR and how does Microsoft 365 Business help customers with their compliance obligations?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a comprehensive new privacy law that gives residents of the European Union (EU) greater control over their “personal data” and requires organizations to maintain the integrity of that personal data. The GDPR requires organizations that control, or process personal data tied to EU residents to only use third-party data processors that meet the GDPR’s requirements for personal data processing. In March 2017, Microsoft made available contractual guarantees that provide these assurances. Customers that have questions about how Microsoft can help them meet their additional GDPR obligations should learn about the advanced compliance and security capabilities available as add-ons (e.g. Azure Information Protection) and in other Suites (e.g. Microsoft 365 Enterprise E5). To learn more, visit www.microsoft.com/gdpr.

Footnotes

1 Available in US, UK, and Canada.
2 Devices running Windows 7 or 8.1 Pro are eligible for an upgrade to Windows 10 Pro within the Microsoft 365 Business preview.