Zenotec Blog

Microsoft 365 Business Standard vs. Business Premium: Which is right for you?

For businesses across Ireland, the right communication, collaboration and productivity tools can make all the difference.

Whilst there are many solutions on the market, none are as ubiquitous as Microsoft 365 (M365). Microsoft 365 includes everything you need as a business to improve security, stay productive and collaborate and communicate from anywhere, on any device.

Whilst many people may think of Microsoft 365 as the standard office applications you use on a day-to-day basis, such as Word, PowerPoint and Excel, a Microsoft 365 license includes so much more. However, there are different Microsoft 365 subscriptions with different features to meet business needs.

There’s no need to understand the intricacies of Microsoft subscriptions, as we’re here to manage that for you, but it is good to understand which one is right for you. In this article we’ll delve into the features and benefits of the two most common Microsoft 365 licenses, and some of the new AI solutions from Microsoft to help you answer the question ‘Which is right for my business?’.

Microsoft 365 Business Standard Features

Microsoft 365 Business Standard does what it says in the name, it includes all the ‘standard’ features a business needs to be productive. From office applications to basic security features, Business Standard includes:

Office Applications

Microsoft 365 Business Standard includes all the standard office applications that can be used either on a browser or as a desktop application. These applications are always up to date and receive all the latest features and functionality as they are released.

These applications include Outlook for emails and calendars, Word for text editing, Excel for spreadsheets and data analysis, PowerPoint for creating presentations, OneNote for note taking and Access for design and page layouts.


With SharePoint, you can quickly and easily create intranets and team sites. These can be used as a shared space to inform your organisation and share content, knowledge and processes. Some common use cases for SharePoint sites include department document libraries, company intranets and knowledgebases.

SharePoint sites can even be set up to share with other companies, so you can create an environment for working together with key stakeholders for suppliers and customers in B2B businesses.


OneDrive is a cloud storage solution that allows employees to edit and share documents, photos, files and more from anywhere, on any device. With Microsoft 365 Business Standard, each user receives 1TB of storage as standard, which should give them more than enough space to securely store all necessary files.

Files, such as PowerPoint presentations, Word Documents and Excel Spreadsheets, that are stored in OneDrive or SharePoint can be edited by multiple people at the same time, without the need for version control.


Microsoft Teams is the all-in-one solution for instant messaging, audio and video calls, collaboration and more. Over the past 4 years, Teams has integrated more and more of the Microsoft 365 ecosystem and now be used to view SharePoint sites, work on documents and organise your calendar, without leaving the app.


Microsoft Loop is a relatively new addition to Microsoft 365 Business Standard, being released in November of 2023. Loop is a co-creation app that allows teams and employees to bring together all the components of a project together in one place to collaborate across applications and devices.

Loop aims to help teams think, plan and create together, whilst connecting to other Microsoft services.

Power Automate

Power Automate is a powerful low-code automation solution that allows non-technical users to create simple automated workflows between applications and services. These workflows can synchronise files, collect data and do nearly anything you can imagine.

Multiple Device Usage

Many employees use their phones or tablets for work purposes, and with Microsoft 365 Business Standard, employees can use native applications on their devices. This includes Android and iOS devices, and all the standard office applications, Outlook and Teams.

Basic Identity and Access Management

Microsoft 365 Business Standard includes ‘Entra ID Free’. Entra ID is Microsoft’s identity and access management (IAM) solution that helps protect and manage users’ identities and access to files and systems. Some of the features of Entra ID Free include multi-factor authentication (MFA), single-sign-on (SaaS) and passwordless authentication.

These features cover a baseline of basic security hygiene to reduce the likelihood of a successful cyberattack on a company.

Microsoft 365 Business Premium Features & Benefits

As Business Standard includes all the features a business needs to be productive, Microsoft 365 Business Premium takes it to the next level with advanced security features for businesses looking to take their security posture seriously.

All Business Standard Features

All previously mentioned features are also available in Business Premium.

Advanced Identity and Access Management

Whereas Business Standard includes Entra ID Free, Business Premium gives businesses access to Entra ID Plan 1. This is packed full of advanced features designed to protect users’ identities and manage their access. Some of the powerful features include:

Conditional Access

Conditional Access is a security feature that allows organizations to define and enforce policies that control access to their resources based on specific conditions. Essentially, it’s an “if-then” scenario: if a user meets certain criteria, then they are granted or denied access to applications and services. For example, if a user tries to access a file from a new device and a new location, then they will be prompted to perform multifactor authentication.

Self-Service Password Reset

Forgetting passwords is common in all businesses, and without self-service password resets, employees may need to wait anywhere from 10 minutes to over an hour to get their password reset. With Entra ID Plan 1, users can reset their password themselves, so they are back to work quickly, without significant downtime.

Windows Autopilot

Windows Autopilot is a suite of technologies from Microsoft that simplifies the setup and pre-configuration of new Windows devices, making them ready for productive use without IT intervention. It enables the transformation of a new device into a business-ready state by applying settings, and policies, and installing apps, all through cloud-based services. This process not only reduces the time IT departments spend on device deployment but also minimises the need for infrastructure maintenance, streamlining the entire device lifecycle.

Mobile Device Management

Microsoft Intune is a Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Mobile Application Management (MAM) solution, included within Microsoft 365 Business Premium.

Mobile Device Management within Microsoft Intune is a comprehensive solution that allows organisations to manage and secure their devices, including laptops, tablets, mobile phones, and wearables. Intune provides a cloud-based service that enables IT providers and admins to control devices through policies, including security policies, to ensure the safety of devices and the data they access. It supports a variety of devices across platforms such as Android, iOS/iPadOS, macOS, and Windows.

With Intune, organisations can manage both organisation-owned and personal devices, enforce rules, configure device features, and protect data with app protection policies. For personal devices, Intune allows for enrolment in the organisation’s device management services or the application of app protection policies that focus on securing app data.

Mobile Application Management

Mobile Application Management (MAM) within Microsoft Intune focuses on managing and securing apps on both company-owned and personal devices. MAM in Intune is designed to protect organisational data at the application level, including custom apps and store apps.

With Intune, IT admins can publish, push, configure, secure, monitor, and update mobile apps for their users. Intune’s MAM capabilities are particularly beneficial for personal or BYOD devices, as they enable the deployment of app configuration profiles and app protection policies without enrolling the device in Intune.

This ensures that sensitive data within apps, such as Outlook or Microsoft Teams, is protected even on personal devices. Intune supports a wide range of app types across various platforms and allows for specific app configurations to comply with corporate policies.

Endpoint Detection and Response

Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) solutions focus on securing endpoints - such as desktops, laptops, and mobile devices - from malicious activities. The solution is part of Microsoft Defender for Business in Business Premium.
An EDR solution is constantly scanning endpoints for signs of malicious or strange activities, and when one is detected, it will automatically respond to stop the threat or alert a security professional. These solutions can form a significant part of your endpoint security strategy, protecting one of the most vulnerable parts of your IT infrastructure.

Next-Generation Antivirus Protection

Simple antivirus is no longer enough to keep cyberattacks at bay. Defender for Business includes next-generation antivirus protection. This solution takes antivirus to the next step with behaviour-based protection with always-on scanning, cloud-delivered near-instant protection, and dedicated protection and product updates.

Next-generation antivirus protection is great at catching and blocking emerging threats, as modern malware constantly mutates to evade detection.

Vulnerability Management

In order for a business or IT provider to know how to fix vulnerabilities, first they need to discover and prioritise all vulnerabilities. This process is possible to do manually but is extremely time-consuming and cost prohibitive. Vulnerability in Defender for Business automatically discovers devices, assesses and prioritises vulnerabilities and provides continuous monitoring.

Copilot for Microsoft 365

Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 is an AI-powered productivity tool that can be integrated with everyday Microsoft 365 apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, and more. It utilises large language models (LLMs) and content in Microsoft Graph to provide real-time intelligent assistance, enhancing the creativity, productivity, and skills of users.

Copilot revolutionises collaboration by seamlessly connecting all your Microsoft applications. It facilitates real-time co-authoring, ensuring team members stay in sync even when out of the office. The tool also streamlines document management by providing feedback on shared documents and suggesting relevant content.

Whilst Copilot for Microsoft 365 is a standalone product, and not included in Business Standard or Business Premium, it is strongly recommended that organisations that are looking to adopt Copilot make use of the security features available as part of a Business Premium subscription.

Which is right for your business?

Microsoft 365 Business Standard includes all the standard features a business needs to be productive, such as office applications, basic security features, SharePoint, OneDrive, Teams, and Loop. It is a good option for businesses that need the basic tools for communication, collaboration, and productivity.

On the other hand, Microsoft 365 Business Premium takes it to the next level with advanced security features for businesses looking to take their security posture seriously. It includes all the features of Business Standard, plus advanced identity and access management, mobile device management, endpoint detection and response, next-generation antivirus protection, and vulnerability management.

In summary, the choice between Business Standard and Business Premium depends on the specific needs of the organisation. Business Standard is a good option for businesses that need the basic tools for communication, collaboration, and productivity, while Business Premium is a better option for businesses that need advanced security features. However, with the increased cyber risk that small and medium-sized businesses are facing in Ireland, many are turning to Business Premium to secure their workforces, especially if they are looking to make the most of the generative AI opportunity with Copilot for Microsoft 365.

How We Can Help

All Microsoft 365 licenses are packed full of features to improve productivity, assist with communication and collaboration and keep your business secure. However, unlocking the power of these subscriptions can be difficult for businesses without specialist knowledge. That’s where Zenotec is here to help.

We can walk you through the options and design a solution that meets your needs and risk appetite as a business. If you want to find out more, contact us.