Microsoft 365 pricing changes – are you on the right license?

Microsoft 365’s commercial price plans are going up. If your business uses Microsoft or Office 365, depending on the license you have, this means March 2022 might see your costs go up by about 15%.

But are you sure you’re on the right Microsoft pricing plan in the first place?

Because the pricing plans Microsoft offers for its Office 365 and Microsoft 365 packages are complicated. In fact, they’re downright confusing. Bewildering. Confounding, on occasion.

This means that this upcoming price increase is a great excuse to check whether you’re paying more for the functionality you need than you should be – or if there might be a better license for your business out there.

New Microsoft 365 pricing coming in March 2022

Scheduled for 1st March 2022, all Microsoft 365 and Office 365 customers (except if you’re on Microsoft 365 E5 and Frontline SKUs) should expect to see their bill go up by around 15%.

This will vary slightly by plan (the exact figures for UK businesses aren’t yet confirmed), but that’s the average of the US figures. You’re only exempt if you’re an educational or non-profit organisation or consumer.

Microsoft hasn’t upped the cost of 365 for the ten years since its launch (barring updating the price in the UK when the pound sank in value a few years ago). But now the company wants to get back some of the investments it’s made in the new services and applications 365 now offers – Teams prominently among them.

More Microsoft 365 changes – the New Commerce Experience

Even Microsoft seems to have realised that its pricing plans are baffling, even befuddling (OK, we’ll stop) for the average consumer. This was the case for Microsoft Azure too, so the company launched the New Commerce Experience to simplify licensing management back in 2019.

As of January 2022, the New Commerce Experience will also optionally apply to the following (it will be required from March 2022):

  • Microsoft 365
  • Dynamics 365
  • Power Platform

With the New Commerce Experience, you have the choice of monthly, annual, and three-year term commitments. You can also combine them as needed – useful if you have different staff levels at different times of year.

It’s definitely worth considering how this is going to affect your organisation moving forwards.

Which Microsoft 365 licensing plan should I buy?

Microsoft and Office 365 might be massive time-savers, productivity-maximisers, and IT security boosters for businesses. But making sure you’re on the right Microsoft 365 licensing plan is a challenge in and of itself.

Problems normally arise when an organisation has several different licenses for different plans or products and ends up paying for the same thing twice. Or they may deliberately buy a certain type of license just to get a specific security app or feature they already have access to through another product.

Two of the most popular options for businesses that cover most bases are:

1) Microsoft 365 Business Premium

If you currently use Office 365 E3 and you have under 300 employees, it’s time to switch to Microsoft 365 Business Premium. If not, you’re paying the same amount to get less stuff.

Business Premium comes with a bunch of additional security features (taken from Microsoft 365 F3 and also including Microsoft Defender for Office) as well as Windows 10 Pro licensing for the same price as Office 365 E3.

You can also add the Azure AD P2 add-on to Business Premium for increased cybersecurity measures that include:

  • Forced automatic password changes for breached accounts
  • Required MFA challenges for high-risk users
  • User Risk Profiling for things like stolen credentials and anomalous behaviour

2) Microsoft 365 E3

If your organisation doesn’t need VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol, phone calls over the internet rather than landlines) or Power BI, you probably want to be on Microsoft 365 E3 – possibly with the Microsoft 365 E5 Security add-on (what used to be known as Identity Threat Protection).

The E3 price plan is the first level where you have access to Windows Virtual Desktop from non-Windows 10 Pro devices. Adding the E5 security add-on gives you five SKUs that include everything most organisations need for enterprise-level cybersecurity:

  • Azure AD P2
  • Microsoft Cloud App Security
  • Microsoft Defender for Identity (this used to be called Azure ATP)
  • Microsoft Defender for Endpoint (previously Microsoft Defender ATP)
  • Microsoft Defender for Office 365 (previously Office ATP P2)

What do I need to do next?

If you’re asking yourself a bunch of questions like “I already own X, so do I need Y?” or “I have X and only want Y from Z – what’s the best way to get it?”, the easiest solution is to get in touch with your Managed Service Provider.

If they’re anything like Dial A Geek, they’ll be able to assess the best licensing choice for your business and even create an IT roadmap so you know you’re still going to be on the right license as your business grows.

But at the very least, the upcoming changes to Microsoft 365 and Office 365 pricing is a great reminder to reassess what license you’re on if you want to be getting the best value from the pricing plan you’re on.

In need of Microsoft 365 Consultancy?

Let’s talk. Dial A Geek advises and supports nearly 1000 businesses in and around Bristol with their IT infrastructure.

Set up a cost and commitment-free chat with Chief Geek Gildas Jones today. Let’s go over what your business needs from 365 and how we can make sure you’re getting it.