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22 January 2019

Microsoft 365 licensing update: Get E5 level security and compliance for less

Profile shot of Tom Waller.
Written by Tom Waller

Enhance your current security capability without making the jump to a full E5 licence.

Microsoft recently announced a slew of licensing changes to their flagship offering. These changes are designed to simplify your security and compliance journey whilst ultimately saving you money.

Microsoft 365 (which is the combination of Office 365, Enterprise Mobility + Security and Windows 10 Enterprise) has, until now, been available in ‘E3’ and ‘E5’ flavours, providing enterprise-level services for better productivity, collaboration, security and endpoint management.

To E5, or not to E5…

Whilst Microsoft 365 E5 will continue to be Microsoft’s ‘hero’ product, it’s also the most expensive license plan in its category. The primary benefit (and bulk of the cost) of E5 serving those customers looking to implement Microsoft’s ‘voice in the Cloud’ (aka Microsoft Teams with direct routing and Microsoft Phone System).

Until now, the E5 licence has held vital security components, such as Windows Defender ATP or Office 365 Threat Intelligence, out of reach for most consumers unable to justify the additional cost.

So, what’s changing?

These new licensing changes (effective 1 February 2019) come primarily in the form of two new ‘uplift’ SKUs available for purchase. These are:

  • Microsoft 365 E5 Security
  • Microsoft 365 E5 Compliance

As demand for enterprise-grade security and compliance grows, these products are intended to provide E5-level protection and services, without the daunting uplift cost of previous iterations.

The below diagram displays these new SKUs and accompanying technologies when purchased in the new plans.

* Office 365 ATP Plan 2 – The new name for the combination of Office 365 ATP and Office 365 Threat Intelligence

** My Analytics – Previously an O365 E5-only product is being made available to all O365 Enterprise plans

*** Microsoft 365 Cloud App Security – Rebranded as part of the removal of Office 365 Cloud App Security from the O365 E5 SKU

Before we look at the benefits and cost savings, it’s important to note that these SKUs are designed as ‘uplift products’ on your current agreement. Even though they’re branded as ‘Microsoft 365’, they don’t include the typical suspects you’d expect to see in a Microsoft 365 E3 licence (i.e. Intune, Teams, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online etc.).

As an example, these plans would mostly benefit organisations that fall into one of the below scenarios:

  • Microsoft 365 E3 customers
  • Office 365 E3 w/ EMS E3 customers
  • Office 365 E3 customers
  • Customers looking at any of the 3x ATP (Advanced Threat Protection) technologies
  • Customers with rigid compliance requirements

Benefits and cost saving

From CISO to IT Ops, these new offerings present greater functionality; enabling tighter security, threat management and insight into risk for end-users and endpoints alike, using industry leading behavioural analytics and machine learning tools. The table below details the individual products available under each SKU.So, now we know a little more about the benefits and who these products are aimed at, let’s dive into the cost savings. Microsoft has done a great job in more than halving the cost (per-user, per-month) for these new E5 uplift plans. You can see the new cost of each SKU alongside the old cost that would be required when purchasing the E5 uplift in the table below.Both new Microsoft 365 plans (and other mentioned changes) are available from 01 February 2019 and are available for all EA and CSP customers.

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Next, explore the differences between the E3 and E5 licences, or watch our on-demand video where Corporate VP for Microsoft Identity, Alex Simons, reveals Microsoft’s identity strategy

Profile shot of Tom Waller.

About Tom Waller

Mobility & Security Architect

Tom has been designing and implementing Microsoft solutions for over 10 years. He is passionate about enterprise mobility and security, and helping clients realise the potential of technology. Tom’s...


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