Microsoft 365 Business Basic & Standard [SME Challenges & Solutions]

  • Articles
  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic & Standard [...

Table of Contents

Microsoft Office is one of the most commonly used products by businesses around the world.

We all know most companies use Microsoft Office in some capacity (over one million of them, to be more precise), but how many companies actually use ALL the features of Microsoft Office products?

And if they aren’t using all the features offered by Microsoft Office, are they paying for way more than they are actually using?

Your company is possibly one of these cases.

Maybe you don’t use Word or Excel on a daily basis.

Or maybe you work in an industry where you barely need the robust set of features Microsoft products come with.

What if you could instead just get a cost-effective, subscription-based, cloud-based, SME-friendly version of the Office 365 plan used by large organizations?

A solution exists, and it’s called Microsoft 365 Business Basic.

And if you’re part of an SME, you probably need it.

What is Microsoft 365 Business Basic?

Microsoft 365


Microsoft 365 Business Basic plan is a service offered by Microsoft that allows you to access Microsoft Office products on a monthly subscription basis instead of paying a higher upfront cost. Microsoft 365 Business Basic gives you access to online versions of Microsoft’s commonly used products, allowing for all the latest features and functions to be automatically updated.

A Microsoft 365 business basic subscription gives you access to the following Microsoft services:

  • A 50 GB mailbox and a custom email domain address
  • Workplace communication capabilities with Microsoft Team
  • Video conferencing for up to 300 members
  • Web-based versions of Office apps, including Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.
  • 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage for every user

Sounds cool. But why does it matter to your business?

If your company is a small-to-medium-sized enterprise, chances are that you’re still using Microsoft plans designed for larger organizations. Simply because it’s common practice.

But the challenges and needs of SMEs are not the same as those of a larger organization.

This is why the solution they require can’t be the same either.

For some SMEs, Microsoft Office products like Word and Excel may not be used regularly.

For others, small team size may imply that they don’t need excessive storage and communication features for a large number of people. If that is the case, it is not efficient for an SME to be purchasing an expensive MS Office subscription.

Microsoft 365 Business Basic plan’s features and functionalities cater to all challenges commonly faced by (and unique to) SMEs. It provides them with a flexible, cost-effective, web-based alternative tailor-made for small teams with limited requirements.

Benefits of Microsoft 365 Business Basic for SMEs

Benefits of MS 365

As an SME with limited use of Microsoft Office 365, you might also have considered skipping the Office subscription altogether. That might not be the best idea considering the popularity of Office 365 products and their practical benefits for your business:

  • Office 365 is used by over 879,851 companies in the United States alone.
  • Of all the companies using Microsoft Office 365, the majority (61%) are small businesses (<50 employees), 15% are large (>1000 employees), and 24% are medium-sized.

If you’re not using them, everyone else is, and you’d want a subscription in case the need arises.

And let’s not forget that Office 365 apps are actually helpful for facilitating efficient and productive ways of working.

A better solution would be to consider a licensing plan that meets your needs and doesn’t require excessive investment from your company. Let’s look at some of the benefits of Microsoft 365 Business Basic, specifically for SMEs:

  • Cost Reduction: Because of the subscription-based model, you don’t have to ina vest large proportions of the budget on upfront costs.
  • Remote Working Capabilities: Your employees can use the web-based service on their company or personal devices from anywhere in the world without having to install the desktop applications on their devices.
  • Automatic software updates: Since this is a web-based service, any software updates or fixes will automatically be available to you as you sign in. You don’t have to install updates on different devices yourself.
  • Scalability: You can easily scale the plan as your company grows without having to pay for the premium features right now while you’re not using them.
  • Cloud-based storage: All your data is stored on a cloud, which means you don’t need to store your data on physical servers, and employees across the world can easily share data across devices.

SMEs are always working in a dynamic, fast-paced environment, and starting out with a cost-effective and flexible plan that doesn’t lock you into a fixed contract is always a better idea!

Microsoft 365 Business Basic vs Standard

MS 365 basic vs standard

The main differences between Microsoft 365 Business Basic and Microsoft 365 Business Standard are the cost of the subscription, availability of desktop applications, and the number of products included.

The Microsoft 365 Business Basic plan is more affordable but does not include the desktop versions of Microsoft Office applications (limiting the number of features available), and offers fewer products in comparison.

Microsoft 365 Business Standard is relatively more expensive but includes more features and products along with the capabilities already offered with Microsoft 365 Business Basic.

(Check out the following table highlighting the difference between the two plans for more clarity.)

Parameter Microsoft 365 Business Basic Microsoft 365 Business Standard
Desktop version

Only web and mobile-based versions of Office applications are available.

This makes it easier to use the subscription at any time, from anywhere.

Desktop versions of all Office applications are available.

This means that Office products included in this plan offer a more robust set of features.

Offline availability Offline versions of Office apps are not available Offline versions of Office apps are available
Availability per user 1 device per user Every user can connect up to 5 phones, 5 tablets and 5 PCs or laptops.
Number of users allowed Supports a maximum of 300 users Supports a maximum of 300 users
Best for

Organizations that don’t use Office apps to their full capabilities and are satisfied with online versions.

Organizations that are not heavily dependent on Office 365 apps and are looking for the most affordable subscription.

Organizations looking for a more affordable Office 365 that includes the full set of features and offline desktop applications.

The key to choosing between the two plans is understanding your usage pattern with respect to Microsoft Office apps- how often do you use them, and what you use them for.

Or you could get in touch with Microsoft licensing experts who can guide you in the right direction based on your budget and requirements.

Microsoft Office 365 for Business Features (comparative table of Basic & Standard plans)

If you’re trying to make a decision but want more context on the exact features that you will miss out on with a basic subscription, you can take a look at the different features included in both plans:

Feature Microsoft Office 365 Business Basic Microsoft Office 365 Business Standard
Office 365 platform Available Available
Exchange Online Available Available
Microsoft Teams Available Available
Sharepoint Online Available Available
OneDrive for Business Available Available
Skype for Business online Available Available
Access (PC only) Not available Available
Publisher (PC only) Not available Available
Office suite applications Not available Available
Ability to host webinars (including attendee registration pages, email confirmations, and reporting) Not available Available
Email domain with 50 GB mailbox Available Available
Calendar management, meeting scheduling, and reminders Available Available
Defender for Business Available as add-on Available as add-on

We hope this made it easier to choose. Just look at the table and think about which features you absolutely need and which ones you wouldn’t mind missing out on!

(If you still need help, Amaxra’s team of licensing experts is here to support you with making the decision.)

Business Microsoft 365 Compatibility


Microsoft 365 Business is compatible with:

  • Windows 11
  • Windows 10
  • Windows 8.1
  • The two most recent versions of macOS

The subscription includes all desktop apps available in multiple languages.

Web versions of Office apps are designed to work with the latest versions of all browsers. If your system does not meet the mainstream requirements, Microsoft will not deliberately stop you from using the service, but the quality of your experience will diminish over time.

(But you can let Amaxra experts handle these things always to ensure a high-quality experience for your business.)

Microsoft 365 Business Pricing

We’ve been talking about affordability as the primary benefit of Microsoft 365 Business Basic and Standard plans, so let’s take a look at Microsoft 365 business pricing:

Pricing Plan Microsoft 365 Business Basic Microsoft 365 Business Standard
Monthly $6/user $15/user
Annual $60/user $150/user

*Pricing applicable as of June 2022

This is quite an affordable alternative for SMEs that require a Microsoft 365 subscription but don’t use the full extent of it.

Challenges of Microsoft 365 Small Business

Challenges of MS 365

Despite the many benefits of Microsoft 365 business plans, some small-to-mid-sized organizations face problems with shifting to Microsoft 365 solutions.

Lack of experience and support, understaffed IT teams, or maybe just inertia might keep you from shifting to business plans that could be highly beneficial for your company’s budget and productivity.

Some common challenges SMEs face with Microsoft 365 are:

  1. Encouraging adoption by employees
  2. Migrating to the cloud
  3. Overcoming security fears
  4. Choosing the right plan for your business
  5. Support after deployment

1. Encouraging adoption by employees

For SMEs with limited IT teams and BYOD policies, employees often have to install and update software applications themselves, leading to confusion and error.

If the Office 365 suite is not among your employees’ core skill sets, they may also resist using lesser-known apps such as SharePoint and OneNote that are integral for productivity.

2. Migrating to the cloud

Without support from experienced professionals, you might face problems while setting up your Office 365 subscription and migrating all your existing data to Microsoft cloud in an efficient and secure manner.

And if some issues do arise during the process, SMEs with no IT teams might have a hard time troubleshooting and resolving them on their own.

3. Overcoming security fears

The reluctance towards migrating data also results from a fear of the files being lost or corrupted during the transition.

While these fears are completely unfounded, some SMEs also question the security of data stored in the cloud. Being completely dependent on the cloud seems to make the network more prone to cybersecurity attacks- a risk they can’t afford to take.

4. Choosing the right plan for your business

This has to be one of the biggest areas of concern and confusion for SMEs!

Microsoft provides an extensive set of options to choose from, and it can be hard to decide on a plan which would suit your requirements and offer a seamless work experience but also ensure that you’re not paying for more than you’re using. Making the right decision is important, both for the business and the employees.

5. Support after deployment

Even after they finally start using Microsoft 365 on a daily basis, SMEs might face regular problems related to compliance management, software updates, and security threats.

Again, limited or no IT staff dedicated to resolving these issues makes SMEs more prone to having a shaky ride.

Can you relate to any of these problems?

If these are the reasons you are apprehensive about Microsoft 365, you’re lucky! Amaxra offers support and guidance to help you overcome all these challenges and push your SME towards further productivity and growth.

Solutions for Microsoft 365 for SMEs

Solutions for MS 365 for SMEs

Amaxra’s services and support solutions are catered toward solving every challenge faced by SMEs with Microsoft licensing. We go above and beyond to ensure that your Microsoft experience is a smooth and beneficial one by providing solutions such as:

  1. Team augmentation
  2. Guidance with licensing optimization
  3. Support with security add-ons
  4. After-sales support

1. Team augmentation

When you choose Amaxra consultants as your team members, you benefit from their expertise and technical knowledge in program management, training, and managed services.

It’s like having IT experts in your team that can help you deploy and manage Microsoft 365 solutions quickly and efficiently. They can also train your IT staff and employees to enhance your in-house expertise.

2. Guidance with licensing optimization

Amaxra consultants understand Microsoft licensing inside-out, and there are no updates and modifications we aren’t aware of.

Our decades-long expertise will be used just so that you don’t miss out on any features you need, and as we keep emphasizing – you don’t pay for more than you’re using.

When it comes to Microsoft licensing, being able to choose the right plan means winning half the battle already!

3. Support with security add-ons

Amaxra has always been highly focused on ensuring the security of your client’s networks. Our cybersecurity experts can help you choose the right combination of security products to protect yourself without spending a bomb.

4. After-sales support

Even after the solutions have been deployed, Amaxra consultants will offer round-the-clock support regarding security, license upgrades, software updates, discounts, solutions for scaling up – and just about anything you need! (Even if you didn’t know you needed it.)

At Amaxra, we are dedicated to helping small and medium-sized businesses fulfill their goals for the company’s growth. This is why we let you focus on your thing while we do ours.

Amaxra CTA  2
Need Help with Microsoft Licensing?
Leave your Microsoft licensing, security, and software solutions to us so you can concentrate on moving your business forward.

Drop Us a Line

Microsoft 365 Business Basic FAQs

“What is Microsoft 365 Business Basic?”

Microsoft 365 Business Basic is a subscription-based service provided by Microsoft that allows you to access Microsoft Office products without paying a hefty upfront cost. With the subscription, you can access the web and mobile-based versions of Office apps, along with Microsoft’s email, calendaring, storage, and team communication services for up to 300 users.

“How to set up Office 365 SharePoint”

To start using Office 365 SharePoint, sign in to your Microsoft 365 account, or log in through your organization’s Sharepoint Server website. Once you’re signed in, you can create sites and use them to store, organize, share and access information from any device.

“What is the difference between Microsoft 365 Business Basic and Microsoft 365 Business Standard?”

The main difference between Microsoft 365 Business Basic vs Standard is that the Standard plan gives you access to offline desktop applications for Office products, while the Basic plan only provides you with web and mobile-based versions.


Microsoft 365 Business Basic is a subscription-based service that allows you to access web versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, and Onenote, along with some additional benefits.

Microsoft 365 Business Standard plan offers all features included in the basic plan, along with the offline desktop apps for all Office products, as well as other enhanced services.

Both plans have been designed to meet the needs of small-to-medium enterprises that need a Microsoft 365 Business plan that is affordable, flexible, and suited for remote working.

If you need help with understanding more about the different business plans offered by Microsoft, their features, benefits, and fit with your organization, you should get in touch.

We can put our many years of experience at your service and help guide you through the entire process, from selecting the right solution to providing after-sales support.

Amaxra Contact Us CTA_1
Get Started Today

We'll build a secure and complete Microsoft software solution for your business while you concentrate on what's important. 

Contact Us

Subscribe To Our Blog