What makes a Microsoft 365 E5 licence better than an E3 licence?

What makes a Microsoft 365 E5 licence better than an E3 licence?

Two licences: similar names, similar benefits - but what are the differences between them; and which option is better for your organisation?

Published on 9th April 2024

Even decades after it became a household name for business and home computing, Microsoft remains a preferred technology brand and many business environments continue to utilize Microsoft’s tools. While the scope of the tech giant’s vision has changed over the years as technology evolves, the company has adapted to the times and continues to contribute to developing pioneering solutions designed to accommodate modern business needs.

For example, what was once individual standalone software programs installed on local machines is now able to be housed in the cloud, significantly improving any enterprise’s capacity for productivity and collaboration. As the cloud becomes mainstream, Microsoft 365 continues to offer relevant products designed with an enterprise’s needs in mind. With that being said, it does offer different variations, including Microsoft 365 E3 and Microsoft 365 E5 licenses.

Is your company currently using the best product to suit your needs? Let’s take a look at the two licenses and explore the differences, along with the benefits of upgrading. Once you evaluate your choices, you might find investing in the Microsoft 365 E5 License is a better option than purchasing or continuing to use the Microsoft 365 E3 license.

What does your enterprise get with the Microsoft 365 E3 license?

One of the reasons some large-scale businesses often opt to go ith the E3 license version is due to cost. As of February 2024, the license is $36 per user per month with a purchase requiring an annual commitment. With this license comes Microsoft 365 apps for both desktop and mobile, along with Windows for Enterprise. Other tools include:

With this product, your users have access to several useful productivity applications, including, but not limited, to Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, OneDrive and OneNote, along with several other applications that can enhance the user experience and manage the tasks your company needs.

What does your enterprise get with the Microsoft 365 E5 license?

The Microsoft 365 E5 license, in 2024, currently costs $57 per user per month and also requires an annual commitment with your purchase. This license option includes everything you can access in Microsoft 365 E3, along with the following capabilities:

Like the E3 option, you can add on Copilot for Microsoft 365 E5, along with all of the same apps. One difference is that with the apps that accompany a Microsoft 365 E5 license, you can gain additional applications, such as Power BI Pro, which offers your company’s key personnel access to business analytics designed to empower them to make fast, informed decisions.

Why upgrading to the Microsoft E5 License is worthwhile for enterprises

While Microsoft E3 offers quite a few features for its price point, the absence of advanced security and compliance capabilities is a big drawback. Without them, an enterprise may find itself at a significant disadvantage. Primarily, your company will have limited security and no access to advanced analytics and AI features.

Let’s take a deeper dive into why your enterprise should consider upgrading to Microsoft’s E5 license.

You’ll save money since you’ll likely need to purchase certain features separately anyway

To obtain the additional features your company will almost certainly need anyway, your enterprise would probably have to add on several different types of software or work with a multitude of vendors to gain the same applications. Think about the types of technology solutions you’ll need to integrate anyway to obtain access to features, such as:

When you utilize Microsoft E5 licenses, you get “the meal” instead of individual servings, making Microsoft’s 365 E5 license a much more financially attractive and all-encompassing, solution.

You’ll gain a competitive advantage with better analytics and communication tools

When you upgrade from Microsoft 365 E3 to the Microsoft 365 E5 license, you’ll immediately have access to powerful analytics – right at your fingertips. This ability will empower your company’s decision-makers to make faster and better decisions since they’ll be able to factor in current, up-to-date data.

Other unique features of Microsoft 365 5E that provide your enterprise with a competitive advantage are state-of-the-art communication tools and artificial intelligence. As more companies find themselves in a position that necessitates remote abilities for their employees, the 365 E5 license is the better choice to help accommodate this need. For example:

Additionally, artificial intelligence tools haven’t just proven to be a disruption, they’re having a transformative impact on industries across the board. AI is just beginning to show its powerful self and uncovering ways enterprises and even smaller business outfits, can utilize this revolutionary tech to gain access to information and opportunities like never before. Furthermore, advanced analytics goes beyond traditional business intelligence to help your users access powerful predictive processing and decision-making tools.

With the availability of AI and communication tools to enhance the user experience, upgrading to an E5 license ultimately pays for itself, making it a highly cost-effective upgrade. This may be especially true for companies’ obligations to abide by government requirements when pursuing contracts.

You’ll better ensure essential security components are in place

Threat actors consistently work hard to leverage social engineering and technological strategies to find enterprises’ vulnerabilities and initiate attacks. To combat these growing threats, enterprises can no longer ignore the fact they need to heighten and improve their cybersecurity posture.

In today’s landscape, you’ll need to be able to predict, mitigate, prevent and respond to these ever-growing cyber threats. With a full-encompassing suite of software with extra security components, you can give yourself the advantage of one-stop shopping, meaning no feature is inadvertently overlooked.

The bottom line is, that while you will have a handful of security measures in Microsoft 365 E3, with the E5 version you can also use the above upgraded features to assist in better consolidating your security portfolio while simultaneously improving your cybersecurity stance.

You’ll gain advanced tools to satisfy compliance requirements

To meet the requirements in today’s increasingly regulated compliance landscape, enterprises have to give serious thought into how they plan to invest in compliance measures. This way, they ensure they meet these increased requirements of both regulatory and industry governing bodies. If they don’t up their proverbial game, this could have damaging consequences. Microsoft 365 E5 has solutions to help.

Microsoft’s 365 E5 license includes Information Protection and Governance, which is designed to identify potential risks found in your data, helping your enterprise to keep it safeguarded from unauthorized parties. As a result, it provides you with the ability to better satisfy rules you’ll need to comply with, avoiding potential penalties and fines.

Features you’ll be able to access include an ability to assess risks, along with record management and advanced audit options. To sustain themselves and grow, enterprises will need to be competitive, boost security measures, meet compliance requirements and save money. Microsoft’s 365 E5 license is better suited to helping accomplish these goals.

What are the ideal use cases or scenarios for E5 over E3?

While the numerous additional features the E5 license package includes can provide game-changing elements for any business, it isn’t right for all businesses. Smaller companies that do not face the same challenges as enterprises may find the E3 offers them everything they need at a price point that’s more friendly to their limited budgets.

For enterprise-level companies, a Microsoft 365 E5 license is typically the better option. As a versatile solution, users in larger companies appreciate the advanced productivity tools, a full array of applications, a better ability to enjoy real-time collaboration and an overall seamless experience. While the price point is higher, in the long run, it essentially pays for itself, saving both time and money when piecemealing together multiple vendor solutions to get the same end result.

Companies that need to adhere to specific compliance requirements will find the E5 license simplifies the process and eliminates the need to work with multiple vendors to accomplish their compliance goals and avoid penalties. Essentially, E5’s focus on security helps to prioritize digital security, putting enterprises in a position to optimize their cybersecurity posture.

Key takeaways

Microsoft offers several different licenses to assist businesses in meeting their productivity, collaborative and security needs. While each different license offers benefits, many are less suited to enterprise-level companies. Microsoft 365 E5 is an excellent choice for companies looking to boost their security, enhance communication and collaboration and prioritize corporate governance issues.

Investing in this license for your users helps you eliminate juggling multiple vendor agreements, which often increases your overall budget spend. Consolidating your needs into one license simplifies, streamlines and lowers the price, providing a stronger ROI on your investment.

In a nutshell, many corporate decision-makers find making the upgrade to 365 E5 pays for itself within a few years.


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