How to Choose the Right Microsoft Subscription for Your Business

By Margaret Concannon | July 25, 2023
Margaret is the Content Marketing Manager at Ntiva, and has been a marketer for managed services providers since 2013.

Microsoft Office is widely recognized as one of the most popular productivity suites in the world, and it's easy to see why.

Businesses of all sizes have the opportunity to enhance their efficiency and collaboration with the wide array of powerful tools available. However, choosing the perfect version or subscription can be a daunting task with the multitude of options available.

In this article, we will guide you through the various Microsoft Office subscription options and assist you in choosing the perfect fit for your business. We will also explore the advantages of Microsoft 365 compared to Microsoft Office 2021 and highlight the key factors to consider when making your selection:

If you are ready to learn more about how Ntiva can help you get the most out of your Microsoft platform, book a consultation today.

Choosing Between Microsoft 365 or Microsoft Office 2021

When it comes to choosing between Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Office 2021, the first decision you have to make is which one suits your needs best.

Let's break it down:

  • Microsoft 365 is a subscription service that grants you access to the latest versions of Office apps, along with cloud-based services like Microsoft Teams and OneDrive.
  •  Microsoft Office 2021 is a one-time purchase that gives you access to the latest version of the Office apps, but without the cloud-based services.

There are countless reasons why Microsoft 365 reigns supreme over Microsoft Office 2021. First and foremost, Microsoft 365 guarantees that you'll always have access to the latest versions of the Office apps. This is crucial because Microsoft consistently rolls out new features and improvements to take the functionality of the Office apps to the next level.

Microsoft 365 also offers the added advantage of utilizing cloud-based services like Microsoft Teams and OneDrive. These services not only make it easy for you to collaborate seamlessly with your team but also provide secure storage for your files in the cloud.

However, it's worth noting a few important factors when considering Microsoft 365. Firstly, it operates on a subscription basis, which means there is a monthly or yearly fee. So if your organization has a large number of users, the cost of Microsoft 365 can add up quickly. 

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What are the benefits of Microsoft 365?

Microsoft 365 is the ultimate powerhouse that caters to businesses of all shapes and sizes. It brings you the complete Office suite, cloud storage, communication tools, collaboration features, and a whole lot more. It's like having a secret weapon that boosts your productivity and efficiency to new heights! Microsoft 365 offers:

  • Increased productivity: Microsoft 365's cloud-based apps allow you to work on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations from anywhere, on any device. You can also collaborate with others in real time, which can help you get things done faster.
  • Enhanced security: Microsoft 365 includes a number of security features to help protect your data, including two-factor authentication, threat detection, and anti-malware. You can also use Microsoft 365 to control how your data is accessed and shared.
  • Improved collaboration: Microsoft 365's collaboration tools make it easy to share files, work on projects together, and communicate with others. You can use tools like Teams, SharePoint, and Yammer to connect with your team and get things done.
  • Advanced features: Microsoft 365 includes a number of advanced features that can help you be more productive, like smart assistance tools, templates, offline access and more.

With Microsoft 365, users can easily access the programs they need from any device, whether it's a laptop, tablet, or even from the comfort of their own home, allowing employees to work in a mobile environment. Keeping up with upgrades is a breeze since they are included in the subscription, eliminating the need to purchase new software licenses every time there is a change or optimization.

What are the different Microsoft 365 packages for business?

Microsoft offers four primary business plans in its Microsoft 365 product line, each tailored to meet various business needs:

Microsoft 365 Business Basic: This plan is designed for businesses that need easy remote solutions, with Microsoft Teams, secure cloud storage, and Office Online (desktop versions not included).

Microsoft 365 Business Standard: This plan is for businesses that need full remote work and collaboration tools including Microsoft Teams, secure cloud storage, business email, and premium Office applications across devices.

Microsoft 365 Business Premium: This is the most comprehensive plan designed for businesses that require advanced cybersecurity, management, and productivity tools. In addition to all the features provided in the Business Standard plan, it includes advanced device management and advanced security.

Microsoft 365 Apps for business: This plan is for businesses that need the full suite of Office applications for individual use across devices plus cloud file storage and sharing.

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What are the benefits of Microsoft Office 2021?

Microsoft Office 2021 is a one-time purchase that includes popular applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for both PC and Mac. Unlike Microsoft 365, it does not include any subscription-based services. Let's dive into the perks of Microsoft Office 2021:

  • One-time purchase: With Office 2021, you only need to make a single payment. There is no need for monthly or yearly subscription fees. Once you buy Office 2021, you own it for life.
  • Compatibility: Office 2021 is compatible with both Windows and macOS. This means you can use it on your PC or Mac without worrying about compatibility issues.
  • Feature-packed: Office 2021 offers all the classic Office applications, along with new features like XLOOKUP, FILTER, and SORTBY.
  • Security: Office 2021 prioritizes security and includes features such as real-time co-authoring and consistent commenting to help protect your documents.
  • User-friendly: Office 2021 is designed to be user-friendly, even for beginners. Its intuitive interface makes it easy to navigate and utilize its features effectively.

What are the different Microsoft Office 2021 packages?

Many different versions of Microsoft Office are available, ranging from the basic Home and Student edition to the premium Professional Plus version. Each of these suites has its own set of features that cater to specific types of users.

In addition to the core applications of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, some versions include other programs such as Microsoft Access, a powerful database application, or Outlook, a tool for managing emails and appointments. Some versions also offer other business tools like Skype for Business or OneNote, which allows users to take notes or share files with colleagues.

Regardless of the type of Microsoft Office suite your business chooses, it’s important to provide initial and ongoing training for your employees to ensure they get the most out of the program. 

Want to get more from your Microsoft investment? Learn how to build an efficient, modern workspace with Microsoft 365!

Decoding the Battle: Microsoft 365 vs. Office 2021

When it comes to picking the perfect office suite for your business, there are a few important factors to keep in mind.

After all, every business has its own unique needs and requirements. So, it's crucial to make an informed decision between Microsoft 365 and Office 2021. Here are some key aspects you should consider:

1. Money Talk: Let's kick things off with everyone's favorite topic - budget. When it comes to cost, Microsoft 365 operates on a subscription basis with monthly or annual payments, while Office 2021 is a one-time purchase. If you're concerned about upfront expenses, Microsoft 365 might be the more flexible choice.

2. Scalability: If your business is on the rise or goes through ups and downs, you'll love the flexibility that Microsoft 365 brings to the table. With a subscription model, you can easily adjust the number of licenses whenever you need to, making it a breeze compared to the hassle of managing a standalone Office 2021 purchase.

3. Cloud Features: Microsoft 365 is cloud-based, which means you get real-time collaboration features and access to your files and software from any device with an internet connection. Office 2021, on the other hand, lacks these features but may be a suitable choice for businesses that prefer storing data locally due to data privacy or security reasons.

4. Software Updates: Microsoft 365 subscribers benefit from continuous updates and new feature releases, while Office 2021 users receive security updates only and have to buy a new version to access new features. If staying on top of the latest software enhancements is important for your business, Microsoft 365 may be the better choice.

5. Tech Support: Microsoft has your back when it comes to technical support for your 365 subscription. It's like having your own IT department without the extra cost. But with Office 2021, you'll only get initial tech support for installing the software. So, if you're not tech-savvy, you might want to consider the convenience of ongoing support with Microsoft 365.

6. Applications and Services: Now, let's talk about the real deal - the applications and services. While both Microsoft 365 and Office 2021 offer the classics like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, it's Microsoft 365 that brings the extra firepower. With additional services like Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, and OneDrive, you'll have all the collaboration and cloud storage tools you need to take your business to the next level. So, if you want to invest wisely and unlock the full potential of your team, Microsoft 365 is the way to go.

7. Compliance and Security Needs: Depending on your business's industry, you may need to meet specific compliance and security standards. Microsoft 365 offers more robust compliance tools and advanced security features, making it a more suitable choice for businesses with stringent compliance requirements.

Finding the Perfect Fit

Ultimately, when it comes down to choosing between Microsoft 365 and Office 2021, it's all about finding the perfect fit for your business. Consider factors like budget, scalability, functionality, and your specific needs. Both options offer top-notch productivity tools, but the decision should be based on which suite aligns best with your business goals and operations.

So, take your time, weigh your options, and make a choice that sets you up for success!

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Tags: Microsoft