What is Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365)?

What is Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365)

The Microsoft name is synonymous with software used in business and at home by people all over the world. And with applications like Word, Excel, and Powerpoint being around for over 30 years, it’s likely you’re already familiar with them. But like most commercial software, updates and new versions are released with alarming regularity and with Microsoft 365, this updated, cloud-based version gives you plenty to take advantage of.

So let’s dig a little deeper to uncover more about the differences between older versions, including Office 365, and how you can get the most out of this popular suite of productivity tools.

What is Microsoft 365?

Microsoft Office has gone through several major updates over the years and, as Microsoft 365, is now available as a cloud-based, paid subscription version, formerly known as Office 365. The core suite of apps included is largely the same as previous software versions and includes the usual Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and OneNote line-up.

But depending on your chosen level of subscription, and whether you’re a home or business user, other apps are made available to you including Exchange, Microsoft Teams, OneDrive, SharePoint, Publisher, Access and other enhanced features.

Plus, there’s a whole range of pricing plans and packages to suit. Available for home, business, enterprise, and education users covering multiple people, your monthly subscription gives you 24/7 access to cross-platform online and mobile apps.

What’s the difference between Microsoft 365 and Office 365?

It’s worth noting that Microsoft 365 is largely the same as its Office 365 predecessor in all but name and includes the same suite of apps and innovative functionality. However, Microsoft 365 also includes additional security features and the Windows 10 OS.

To quote Microsoft directly “Microsoft 365 includes everything you know in Office 365 and is designed to help people and businesses achieve more with innovative Office apps, intelligent cloud services, and world-class security.” So what does that mean?

Alongside the core apps of Office 365, Microsoft 365 includes Windows 10 Enterprise Mobility + Security, file storage, data protection controls, Defender for cyber threat protection, Endpoint Manager for device management, and a 99.9% financially-backed uptime guarantee.

Like Office 365 before it, Microsoft 365 continues the cloud-based, subscription model. This means you pay a cost-effective fee each month with a plan that suits your needs. It also ensures your software is always kept up to date. All the latest releases and updates come directly from Microsoft so you don’t need to buy or manually install or update any software yourself.

If you have an existing Office 365 subscription, it should automatically change to a Microsoft 365 subscription with no cost increase and no further action needing to be taken.

Can I share my Microsoft 365 subscription?

The beauty – and the point – of Microsoft 365 is that most of its plans are available to more than one person to use at any one time. Depending on your plan, your monthly subscription cost will include a limit on the number of devices and users that can have access at any one time.

Can I share a Microsoft 365 Business subscription?

Microsoft 365 Business Basic, Standard, and Premium plans aren’t designed to be ‘shared’ as such. They each have a user limit of 300 which should cover most small and medium-sized businesses, while Enterprise plans are unlimited, with users added through one Admin account.

The good thing is every Business and Enterprise user can install their Office apps on up to five separate PCs or Macs, tablets, and Android or iPhones, giving them the freedom to log in and work on any device wherever they are.

Can I share a Microsoft 365 Home subscription?

For groups of up to 6 people, Microsoft 365 Family is the obvious choice and you can share your subscription with up to five other people. This is easily done by the main user sending each person an invite via email or link, or by adding them to their Microsoft family.

Once the user accepts their invitation, they can log in with their own details to install the apps on their devices as well as having access to their own 1TB OneDrive storage space.

If you just need a single-user plan for home use, Microsoft 365 Personal is ideal. This provides all the same apps and features as the Family plan (without the Family Safety mobile app), but is purely intended for one person across all devices without sharing.

What is Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams is the workplace chat and meeting platform which comes as part of any of the Microsoft 365 Business and Enterprise plans. Alongside its ability to host one-to-one or group chats,  Teams can be used for hosting scheduled or unplanned meetings, as well as calls and file sharing.

Teams went on to replace a similar Microsoft platform, Skype for Business, which was used in earlier versions of Office 365. And alongside other online platforms, Teams grew in popularity with businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, giving teammates and colleagues the opportunity to work more productively together while working from home.

Do I need a business plan to use Teams?

No. While Microsoft Teams is included in all Business and Enterprise subscription plans, it’s not included with the Home subscription plans. But Teams can still be used by anyone, even without a Business plan.

The Teams app is freely downloadable for both desktop Mac and PC users and Android and iOS devices. While the free version shares many of the same features as the Microsoft 365 Teams version, including chat, scheduled meetings, and file sharing, some advanced and security features aren’t available without a paid-for user log-in.

That said, if you’re working from home running your own business and want to schedule a quick video call or meeting, or you just want to use it to keep in touch with family and friends, the Teams app is really useful and easy to use.

Get Microsoft 365 and Office 365 support

Whether you’re an existing user of Office 365 or a new user of Microsoft 365, you might find you need a bit of extra help or support in getting the most out of your Business or Home subscriptions and even making the best use of all its features. Or perhaps you want to upgrade and need help to migrate and synchronise from old to new platforms. Whatever you need, Geeks on Wheels have the experience and knowledge to get you moving forward.

From Mac or PC to Android or iOS, our full on-site support at our premises, together with our full remote support if you can’t get to us. Contact us today and we’ll make sure you’re set up with Office 365 or Microsoft 365 the way you need it.

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