How to choose the right Microsoft 365 for Business plan

Microsoft 365 for Business is aimed in particular at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The Microsoft 365 for Business plans are called Business Basic, Apps for Business, Business Standard and Business Premium. The applications included in all four business plans include Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneDrive, for example.

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All data in this article is as of October 2022.

Microsoft 365 business plans vs. home Office plans

The difference between Office plans for individuals and those for SMBs is what you get with them. The Microsoft 365 business packages include additional or business-optimizedservices that simplify the collaborative work along with including familiar programs such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Microsoft 365 small business solutions offers you familiar and trusted Microsoft applications as an online app or installable component. Microsoft also grants you access to useful tools and programs that primarily help you to develop, manage and advance joint projects, and facilitates internal and external communication.

The 4 Microsoft 365 for Business plans unveiled

Microsoft 365 is available for small and midsize businesses to book in four different plans for up to 300 people:

  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic
  • Microsoft 365 Apps for Business
  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium

All of the small business solutions require you to sign up for a subscription, and you can choose between the slightly more expensive monthly subscription and the annual subscription. You pay for the former on a monthly basis, and you can cancel at any time without incurring any additional costs. On the other hand, early cancellation of the annual subscription, which can be paid both monthly and annually, usuallyincurs additional costs. You will not receive a refund for annual payments already made.


There are special solutions such as Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise for businesses with over 300 employees. Exchange Online Plan 1 offers a professional email server solution with Outlook support.

Microsoft 365 Business Basic

The most important info in a nutshell

Among Microsoft 365 business plans, Business Basic is the ideal office suite for any company whose employees travel extensively or work from home but need access to project files and email at all times. The plan provides your company data with a secure storage platformand your employees with access to the most important Office applications via their browser. In addition, communication features such as shared mailboxes, web conferences or team websites facilitate collaboration on your projects.

Costs: from $6.00 per user per month

Business Basic in detail

Business Basic is the most affordable model for small and medium-sized businesses. It gives you access to the onlineversions of the four components Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote via any standard web browser.

All employees can work on files from the above programs in real time at anytime from anywhere, as long as they have internet access. Files created with the online programs are compatible with the latest versions of the desktop applications, so you can send your own documents or open and edit external documents.

However, the focus of the Business Basic package is to help you and your company communicate and collaborate. To that end, the plan includes useful online services, which is where Exchange really stands out. Protected from viruses, spam and phishing attacks, the email system provides a central hosting platform for your company’s entire email traffic. Access messages at any time from any device via the Outlook Web app.

What’s more, every user gets a mailbox with 50 GB of storage space, as well as the ability to send attachments up to 150 MB in size. If you also purchase an installable Outlook version, you can retrieve your mails as usual via the client application interface. You can set up shared inboxes and calendars too.


Get Microsoft 365 Business Basic from IONOS and benefit from all the features it comes with.

The other services of Microsoft 365 Business Basic at a glance:

Skype for Business

With the help of the business version of the well-known video conferencing software Skype, you can communicate comfortably by voice, chat or video - internally or with business partners. With Outlook integration, schedule your online meetings in advance and send personalized links for participation. Hold video conferences with up to 250 participants and up to HD 1080p quality. If you want to use Skype for Business, you need to download it from the Microsoft 365 portal beforehand.

OneDrive for Business

Microsoft’s cloud storage OneDrive is the perfect solution to store and manage your company’s data. Createcustom directory structures and specify which people can view, create or edit files. All files are available online, can be accessed from anywhere and with any device, and are always up to date thanks to synchronization. In Business Basic, 1 TB of storage space is available per person.


In addition to the Google Drive Alternative OneDrive, you can use the SharePoint application. Create team websites, which - simply put - represent a folder for the files of a specific project. All users involved can access the team documents and share files, info, etc. with each other.


With Sway, Microsoft offers you an application with which you can easily create a presentation of your latest products, an informative newsletter or an online training. Interactive and web-based, the created “Sways” can be easily shared and displayed on various display sizes.

Microsoft 365 Apps for Business

The essentials in a nutshell

Microsoft 365 Apps for Business is the right choice if you’re happy with the digital information and work structure within your company but are looking for a feature-rich and versatile office suite. This Microsoft 365 SMB plan, unlike the other Business offerings, does not include SharePoint, but OneDrive alone. The plan also assumes you already run an email server and rely on your own communications software, as Exchange is not available. In return, however, you get access to the desktop versions of the Office apps, including Premium features, as well as the handy Access and Publisher apps by signing up for a subscription.

Costs: from $8.25 per user per month.

Apps for Business in detail

Microsoft 365 Apps for Business also allows you to use the online applications of Word, OneNote, PowerPoint and Excel via browser or mobile app (iOS and Android). Users can install the suite on up to five Windows or macOS devices, as well as five mobile devices and five tablets, for a total maximum of fifteen devices.

Since Apps for Business has a link to the OneDrive for Business cloud, it is possible to share and collaborate on all files in real time. If you have been working offline, the cloud service will synchronize your documents as soon as you have an Internet connection again. Microsoft also provides 1 TB of OneDrive storage per person in this business package.

While the Sway presentation tool is also part of Apps for Business, Skype for Business and SharePoint team websites are not included. So, when it comes to project and corporate communications, it’s a matter of setting up alternative solutions. The Exchange mail hosting environment is also not included in Microsoft 365 Apps for Business. You therefore need your own mail server solution for archiving and providing e-mail traffic.

Microsoft 365 Business Standard

The most important info in a nutshell

Microsoft’s Business Standard plan is the right choice for users who want to use the features of Apps for Business, but also need email hosting in the form of the Exchange application. Business Standard offers you the usual Office programs such as Word and Co, but also scores with practical tools such as Teams and SharePoint, which optimize collaboration.

Costs: from $12.50 per user per month.

Business Standard in detail

With the Microsoft 365 Business Standard plan, you get all the functions from Business Basic, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneDrive. Just as with Apps for Business, the desktop versions of the apps are available here, including premium functions.

Other applications in Business Standard are Access and Publisher, but these can only be used via PC. Access allows you to create and manage databases, while Publisher is used to design layouts for print publications, for example, and contains numerous templates.

You can promote your teamwork in Business Standard with the help of the Teams application, which enables online meetings with up to 300 people. Unlike Business Basic and Apps for Business, the Business Standard version gives you the option of holding webinars, which users can register for.

Finally, benefit from email hosting thanks to Microsoft’s cloud solution Exchange. The application gives you access to a mailbox with 50 GB of storage and a personal calendar for professional scheduling.

Microsoft 365 Business Premium

The most important info in a nutshell

With the Microsoft 365 Business Premium plan, you acquire the all-in-one solution for your company’s everyday office life, which not only presents a cross-company email solution (including calendar and 50 GB of storage per person), but also offers more security as well as protection-against-ransomware and other cyber threats.

Costs: from $22.00 per user per month

Business Premium in detail

Microsoft 365 Business Premium includes all the features of Business Standard. This means that the package includes both the latest Microsoft Office products (online and desktop version) and access to the powerful communication platforms Exchange and Teams.

Business Premium offers you all the tools you need as a modern small business for structuring and collaborating on projects in one place. You are not dependent on additional hardware or software to operate an e-mail server or a file server.

Unlike the other business plans, the Exchange application gives you an additional archiving option that lets you customize policies aroundcloud archiving, for example. Your email hosting mailbox includes 50 GB, as with the other plans.

Another benefit that sets Business Premium apart from the rest of the Microsoft 365 business plans is “Advanced Threat Protection”. With various protections like Defender, App Protection, and Information Rights Management, your company’s devices and data are secured.

The Microsoft 365 Business Solutions from IONOS

If you are interested in one of the Microsoft 365 Business Plans we have shown you, you can also take out a corresponding subscription directly with IONOS. In addition to the standard Microsoft features, this includes an optional setup service that guides you step-by-step through the installation and configuration of the applications.

To protect your data in the best possible way, IONOS offers you spam filtering and virus protection in addition to backup in certified data centers. In case of problems or questions about software, subscription or similar issues, support is available around the clock.

A great pro of these office solutions is that they combine IONOS hosting products and powerful Microsoft applications. Nevertheless, you only need to contact one person, no matter if it is about the invoice, technical support or the login for the Control Center.


If you want to purchase Microsoft 365 for Business or another Office offering, you can find more relevant information on subscriptions and licensing models in our detail pages:

Microsoft 365 with IONOS!

Experience powerful Exchange email and the latest versions of your favorite Office apps including Word, Excel and PowerPoint on any device!

Office Online
OneDrive with 1TB
24/7 support