Demystifying Microsoft 365

by | Oct 25, 2017 | Business, Microsoft

What is Microsoft 365?

Microsoft 365 offers subscription plans that include various offerings. There is a plan that fits most businesses needs.

There are also family and student plans as well as enterprise agreements for big businesses. For the small to medium-sized business community, which Smart Dolphins IT serves (15 to 100 computers), there are four plans:  

  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic at $7.70 per month per user 
  • Microsoft 365 Apps for business $11.00 per month per user 
  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard for $16.00 per month per user 
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium which comes in at $28.20 per month per user 

Until recently, Microsoft didn’t make it easy for consumers to understand which plan was most appropriate for their business. So, forget all that you know about the old Office 365 versus the Microsoft 365 debate — the offerings now make perfect sense, well, almost.


With each version, the subscriber will enjoy the benefits of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams, Outlook, Exchange, OneDrive, and SharePoint, even at the $7.70 per month level.

The Basic version includes chat, call and meet in Teams up to 300 attendees. Basic also includes web and mobile versions of all the Office applications, 1 terabyte of cloud storage, business-class email, standard security and anytime web and phone support (the $11.00 version does not include email and calendaring). Microsoft Teams

You will need at least Windows version 10. There are some other requirements. There is the requisite free first month, then the monthly rate kicks in, cancel anytime, credit card is needed.  

As you would expect, the more you pay, the slicker the package.  

Smart Dolphins IT typically recommends the other end of the pendulum to Business Premium at $28.20 per month per user. There is so much here, and it all makes for the most secure environment available as well as productivity enhancements that business leaders cannot find anywhere else with any other offerings.

For your money, our clients enjoy Microsoft training for no charge (when the live, instructor-led webinars happen). This will allow users to be much more productive. Therefore, the increased monthly rate is an investment that carries an ROI.  

In addition to all the applications and security and conveniences offered in Basic, Premium also offers world-class and best-in-class security with cyberthreat protection, enhanced Azure protection, Publisher, Access (pc only), Teams, and so much more. 

Why consider a Microsoft 365 solution? 

Long-standing legacy application, most widely used in businesses today. 

Is user and mobile-friendly: 

Installations are initiated by the user, with the Click-to-Run installer. Works well in businesses or offices with multiple locations or remote employees. Ideal at Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) workplaces. 


Flexible plans for every business size. 

New product features and updates are installed automatically as part of the normal background update process, reducing downtime. 

Guiding Questions: 

  • How many locations does your business or organization have? Do you employ remote staff? 
  • How many employees are using multiple devices to access and save files? 
  • How important is maintaining a current version of your business applications? 
  • How integrated is Microsoft in your current infrastructure?

Key features and benefits 

Simplified Licensing: Sign up and pay for MS 365 monthly or annually. Just login and download your software — it is that simple. 

Multiple Devices: You can install 365 on up to five computers (PC or Mac), five tablets, and five phones. 

Automatic Version Upgrade: Updates are automatically available shortly after release to market. 

File Storage: Basic includes 1TB of storage with OneDrive. Store and share your important documents on OneDrive.  

Business Standard is available under two signup options. Domain Account Sign Up is best for businesses that have a domain (e.g., and need Microsoft to act as processor for their data. Simplified Sign Up allows businesses to sign up without a domain and is best for businesses that are comfortable with Microsoft acting as controller for their data. 

Which plan is right for your business? 

Although our virtual chief information officers, techs or virtual IT managers will typically recommend Premium for most of our clients, the choice is up to you. Consult with Smart Dolphins to see which version best fits your business and budget.

You may also use Microsoft’s online feature “Find the right plan for your business.” Located here. 

Smart Dolphins IT will manage your relationship with Microsoft including the monthly fee which would be part of your monthly invoice with the flat, monthly fee for support. Or you can subscribe and pay on your own. Taking IT off your plate and managing all supplier relationships is what we do for our clients.

We become your IT department, a natural extension of your business.  

About Smart Dolphins  

Even though 96 per cent of the work we do can be done remotely, we still visit our clients. Smart Dolphins IT offers unlimited on-site support as well as unlimited helpdesk support. Our virtual IT managers know more about our client’s technology than anyone else, including our clients. And they love what they do.

Started in year 2000 by Victoria, BC native, Dave Monahan, Smart Dolphins IT originally offered tech support in any way that you can imagine. We didn’t look much different than all the other IT providers out there.

Twenty-two-years hence and Dave and the POD have built a world-ranked IT provider for small to medium sized businesses. If your business has a dozen or so computers and upwards to around 100 and you operate out of Vancouver Island or Vancouver, you might be a good fit.

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