Microsoft Office 365 101


There’s lots of confusion by clients around Office365 (O365), partly because Microsoft has renamed it Microsoft365 (M365), with different plans and different prices. We hope to enlighten you if you aren’t sure, in this Microsoft Office 365 101 post.

There’s no easy answer to “what is Microsoft365” as it is a huge number of services, depending on which plan you purchase.

At the very minimum, you should buy M365 licenses with email capability. Luckily, this is most of them, but it’s worth making sure. The reason for this is to make sure you aren’t ‘hosting’ email on your own premises.

Email Servers – get rid of them

There are still companies and organisations out there who have their own ’email server’ such as Small Business System 2008 (SBS2008) or similar. Not only is systems like SBS2008 no longer supported by Microsoft (and therefore open to security and reliability issues), it takes time and money to maintain email on your own server.

Simply put, get your email offsite, and currently M365 is the king in the marketplace. There’s reasons that they it is the main player; it’s reliable, and depending on what license you buy, you can get a whole lot of integrated systems included with your monthly subscription.


For example, most subscriptions come with SharePoint capability, which even at a very base level means a free intranet for your staff. SharePoint can deliver file-sharing features, meaning you have your files safely and securely saved in the Microsoft cloud, and you then get benefits like multi-user collaboration on documents, and versioning – all included along with a raft of other features.

Honestly, your best bet if you are interested is to contact someone and discuss your needs, then you will have an idea of which subscription plan you will need.

An example of this is Microsoft Office, which has been the default office application for decades. Some M365 plans come with Microsoft Office for your laptop/desktop, and some don’t. But buying a license that includes Office means your users will always be on the latest version – this makes your users safer and happier that they are on the latest version.

The previous way of purchasing Office was to buy it outright, meaning a huge lump of cash spent every 3-5 years when it was time to upgrade. There are few organisations doing this now, for that very reason.

Another Purchasing Option – CSP

If you chat to someone about buying Microsoft365, you may want to look at a CSP reseller. Buying from a CSP reseller means that you get the 12-month discounted rate for M365, but you can delete subscriptions if you want to. If you buy direct from Microsoft and pay for a year to get the discount, you can’t reduce your licenses within that 12 months, if you need to.

Many companies have been stung by this, and end up stuck with x amount of licenses until the next renewal. In this respect, buying from a CSP reseller such as Icon IT is a better move. It also means less invoices, as your CSP reseller can customise your monthly invoices to suit your accounting practices, for example, separating off an invoice that’s billed in arrears (like Azure, Microsoft’s cloud-based servers) to ones that are in advance.

While we hope we have helped you understand this topic more clearly, sometimes even a Microsoft Office 365 101 article isn’t enough. So we’re happy to come and discuss Microsoft 365 with you, with no obligation to buy from us.

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