Microsoft 365 E3 vs E5 Compared

Microsoft 365 is one of the most popular - if not the most popular - productivity solutions used by organisations worldwide.

Helping organisations from SMB’s to Enterprises, charities to commercial, Microsoft 365 is available in many different licensing subscriptions and this article has been written to help you compare the different Enterprise options.

Note: This article was originally published 1 April 2018 but has been updated to reflect product naming changes and licensing updates and keep the content accurate and current.

What is Microsoft 365?

Microsoft 365 combines Office 365, Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) providing selected offerings of each suite into three different packages: Business, E3 and E5. These combinations, give organisations access to a range of powerful productivity and security solutions and at a more cost-effective price than purchasing these products separately.

The Enterprise versions correlate nicely to their relevant suite versions:

  • Microsoft 365 E3 = The E3 version of Office 365, EMS and Windows 10
  • Microsoft 365 E5 = The E5 version of Office 365, EMS and Windows 10

Microsoft 365 Business, however, is a little more confusing and is available in: Business Basic, Business Standard and Business Premium. In this article, we are focusing on the Enterprise additions but recommend the Microsoft Business comparison webpage to compare features, or the M365 Business Plan chooser to walk you through guided questions.

Microsoft 365 UK pricing

As of September 2023, UK ERP pricing is:

  • Microsoft 365 E3 costs £39.72 per user per month when bought on a monthly commitment or £397.20 on an annual commitment
  • Microsoft 365 E5 costs £62.88 per user per month when bought on a monthly commitment or £628.80 on an annual commitment

It’s worth noting that Microsoft 365 Business has a maximum of 300 users and there is no limit or minimum for Enterprise – and you can also mix and match Business and Enterprise licences.

Please note, pricing is subject to change.

Microsoft 365 E3 Vs E5

Security & Compliance Add-ons

As well as being able to purchase different Microsoft 365 versions, there are security and compliance add-ons available to enhance your base licensing functionality. These can only be added onto Microsoft 365 E3 and are aimed at companies that want to gain the advanced security and compliance tools within Microsoft 365 E5, but are not ready to make the leap in cost or do not require the Telephony and Power BI Pro licences included in E5. The two add-ons are:

  • Microsoft 365 E5 Security
    £9.00 per user per month (ERP) – This includes all the solutions in Microsoft 365 Defender – Microsoft Defender for Endpoint, Cloud Apps, Identity & Office 365 – and Azure AD P2. By adding these solutions to Microsoft 365 you can benefit from advanced security and identity & protection tools to support a Zero Trust security model and enable rapid threat detection and response to reduce your risk.
  • Microsoft 365 E5 Compliance
    £9.00 per user per month (ERP) – This provides information protection, classification and governance capabilities to help organisations adhere to data protection and compliance regulations – including solutions such as Azure Information Protection and Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps.

Why Microsoft 365?

Many organisations are now using and enjoying the benefits of Office 365, which is packed with various applications to help staff work and with new apps being added regularly (such as Teams and Planner). With Microsoft 365, you get all your Office 365 features and functionality but then also enjoy Windows 10 and EMS features in a more cost effective package — providing complementary security tools to Office 365 to improve organisational security, which is obviously a very hot topic.

Our main reasons why we recommend upgrading to Microsoft 365 include:

  • Unparalleled security scale
    The main reason why Microsoft 365 has some of the best security products on the market is their sheer scale of telemetry that feeds into their tools – and their investment in their continual development. Microsoft have over 3,500 security professionals working on these products, which are all built on their Intelligent Security Graph. This underlying platform receives a massive 6.5 trillion signals daily – so if a new threat is picked up from one of those emails, Microsoft’s products can learn to detect it as a threat and block it in real-time.
  • Value
    Microsoft 365 saves you up to 25% in licensing costs, so if you’re already paying for Office 365 then you can upgrade to gain access to Windows 10 and a great set of security and mobility tools within EMS for a greatly reduced cost over buying them separately.
  • End of Windows 7 Support – Extended support for Windows 7 will end in 2020, which means that you will no longer receive security updates and leaves you exposed to cyber threats. If you are running Windows 7 (which is apparently still used by around 45% of organisations) then you will be considering upgrading to Windows 10, which is included with Microsoft 365 – giving you a better discount and access to a lot of other valuable products.
  • One integrated solution
    As most organisations use Office 365, it makes sense to keep your security tools and operating system within the Microsoft stack. Historically some organisations might use different vendors to spread risk but this adds complexity, reduces integration and therefore also limits insights and speed. By using Microsoft 365 all your solutions perfectly integrate and feed data into one another, making one very simple, integrated toolset that is extremely efficient, quick to react and produces a holistic overview.

Have a Demo

If you wish to discuss Microsoft 365 licensing and features or would like to have a demo, then please contact us.