What is the difference between Microsoft 365 and Office 365?

24th September 2019

I’m going to hazard a guess that most people reading this article won’t have heard of Microsoft 365 and you would be forgiven for thinking it’s the same thing as Office 365, or indeed a typing error.

There are some similarities that we’ll cover, but in terms of them being the same thing, certainly not.


What is Office 365?

Office 365 is your email and office suite of applications. So, if for example you have what’s called a business premium license, you’ll have Outlook for email management and also applications like Word, Excel, Powerpoint etc, plus some new ones such as ‘Teams’ which we covered in a previous issue. This is far more advanced than when you used to have a CD to install an ‘offline’ version of office on your computer, as Office 365 is cloud based and paid for by subscription. This means you can login from anywhere and on any machine, to access everything and not be dependant on a single device.

There are various levels of license that you can choose from in Office 365 and subscription cost is reflected with the one that best suits your needs. If for example you didn’t want the suite of office applications but just wanted to take advantage of the cloud hosted email functionality, you can simply opt for an Exchange Online license which is about a third of the price of Business Premium.


What is Microsoft 365?

The easiest way to understand Microsoft 365, is to split it into 3 sections. It consists of:

– Windows 10 Professional

– Office 365

– Enterprise Mobility & Security

By now we will all know what Windows 10 is and the features it offers. What you might not know is it’s the safest and most secure Windows ever, coming bundled with BitLocker and Windows Defender.

You’ll also know what Office 365 is from the previous section. This is exactly the same and comes with a Business Premium License (there is also an Enterprise version, but we’ll just focus on the SME market for this example).

Enterprise Mobility & Security is a suite of tools that provide added layers of protection for your data. You get benefits like identity management and mobile device management. It’s also far easier to manage both personal and work devices, to ensure that sensitive data is protected whilst away from the office. You can also add things such as multi-factor authentication and rights management to login to your Office 365 account and ensure the correct people are accessing documents when they’re being shared.


– Microsoft 365 comes ready packaged with Advanced Threat Protection, safe attachment and safe links protection.


– You can protect your work files on devices by restricting mobile access or functions such as copy and paste or downloading attachments on non- company devices. You can also selectively wipe business data from mobile devices if they are lost or stolen, brilliant if you use employees’ personal devices and need to be able to just wipe company data.


– Advanced features in Microsoft 365 Business are available to help you protect your business against cyber-threats and safeguard sensitive information.


Which One Should You Choose?

As you can see, the two options are vastly different on the whole and it really depends on a few factors, as to which one is for you.

Let’s say you’re currently on Windows 7 and are considering upgrading to Windows 10 (smart decision, as Windows 7 is soon going to become unsupported) you will need to ensure you have the Windows 7 ‘Pro’ version installed and not ‘home’.

There is also a cost difference to consider. Office 365 Business Premium is £9.40 per month, per user. Microsoft 365 is £15.10 per month, per user. If you have a need to upgrade to Windows 10 and are already using a Business Premium Office 365 license, it makes sense to switch over to Microsoft 365 and essentially pay an extra £5.70 per month for Windows 10 and also benefit from the extra security that Microsoft 365 gives you, rather than stick to a slightly less secure environment and pay roughly £180 for owning Windows 10 outright.

Whichever package is going to be right for you, depends on your needs and what is currently in place already. Certainly Microsoft 365 has its benefits, plus you’ll always have the most up to date versions and never need to worry about using unsupported Microsoft business software again, but it won’t be for everyone and we hope this article helps in some way, towards choosing the best package for you and your business.