Microsoft Office E1 vs E3 vs E5

Microsoft Office 365 comes in three different flavours for Enterprise: E1, E3, and E5. With each successive level, you get more – but what is included, exactly?

A lot of research was done to create this comparison. The result was more than just this article: we’ve also created a tool that can generate a recommendation for you based on your response to a short questionnaire. It will generate a score for each of the seven different versions of Office 365, plus provide a few other things to think about. You can try it out here.

Selecting the right Office 365 version is one of the most important steps before migrating over to the cloud. However, keep in mind that because these are subscription type licenses – you are never locked in on the license you choose. In essence, you can mix and match, downgrade or upgrade your licenses depending on your changing business needs.

Microsoft Office E1

O365 E1 is the “lightest” version of the Enterprise level plans. The application and services included in E1 are: Email and Calendars via Microsoft Exchange, Enterprise Social with Yammer, communication and team sites with SharePoint, OneDrive for Business with 1TB cloud storage, Delve for content discovery, StaffHub and Planner to manage daily staff tasks, MS Stream, as well as Teams (which has adopted components and functions of Skype for Business). Within the E1 license you also receive web versions of Office applications including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, and Publisher.

One thing to note is that this plan does not allow installation of applications on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets and therefore a constant internet connection is required to use this plan. E1 plans cost about $8.00 USD/user/month.

Microsoft Office E3

Though this plan is slightly more expensive than the E1 tier, the added features justify the investment. Within the O365 E3 plan, each user gets the full license and is allowed to install the applications on up to 5 desktops, 5 tablets, AND 5 smartphones. This means you can work anytime from anywhere without hindering workflow and instead become more efficient. The E3 plan includes everything mentioned in the E1 licenses along with some extras:

  • MS Office Suite: Users will always receive the most updated versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, OneDrive for Business, Teams, Access, and Publisher.
  • Cross-Platform Installation: Users now have the benefit of installing Office applications across devices (Windows, Mac, Android, tablets, smartphones).
  • Cloud Storage: O365 E1 comes with 1TB of cloud storage for OneDrive for Business (which is more than enough in most cases). However, with O365 E3, you get 1TB by default and the ability to increase it to 5TB and even 25TB if needed.
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP): DLP allows you to comply with business standards and industry regulations in terms of protecting sensitive information and preventing data leaks outside of the organization. DLP is not available in E1.

E3 also includes other data management functions like archiving, rights management, and document-level encryption, advanced emailing, access control for emails and documents, intelligent search and discovery features that allow you to easily pick up required content from Office applications, SharePoint, and Delve. E3 plans cost about $20.00 USD/user/month.

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Microsoft Office E5

O365 E5 is the super-powered version of Office and is available for a small increase in cost. In my opinion, the main addition to the E5 license is the fully loaded security features and some analytic tools and voice capabilities. You get everything included in E3 along with a few more benefits:

  • Advanced Security & Information Protection: The E5 license takes measures to protect your data from threats like phishing and zero-day malware. In this way, users of E5 stay protected from threats in attachments and links. DLP assures the safety of your content.
  • Analytics Tools: This is the only Enterprise plan that offers analytics tools such as MyAnalytics and PowerBI Pro for data analysis and visualization.

Other additions include: Advance eDiscovery, access controls and control encryption key, Advanced Threat Protection, Threat Intelligence for proactive cybersecurity and actionable insight, O365 Cloud App Security, PTSN conferencing capabilities, Advanced Data Governance and Customer Lockbox. All of these features included in the E5 plan cost you about $35.00 USD/user/month.

Comparison of Microsoft Office E1, E3, and E5

Here’s a breakdown of key Office features, and which plans include each feature:

Feature Office E1 Office E3 Office E5
Email and Calendar Included Included Included
Teams – IM, Voice, Video Chat Included Included Included
Yammer, Video, Sharepoint Included Included Included
OneDrive for Business, Delve Included Included Included
Microsoft Office Apps Online Included Included Included
Office Client/Desktop Apps Included Included
Power BI Pro License Included
Skype Integrations with Telephone System Included
Security & Backup Features Exchange Online Protection, Archive + Data Loss Prevention, Rights Management, eDiscovery + Advanced Threat Protection, Customer Lockbox
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Which One is Right for You?

Before I get into this section, please allow me to plug the Encore recommendation tool for Office 365. Based on your budget and desired features, it outputs a personalized recommendation. It might also suggest one of the less expensive “Business” versions of Office 365 – so try it out. Choosing the version of Office 365 Enterprise that’s right for you is pretty simple for most companies: If you want access to the Office applications on your computer, and to not have to edit documents in your internet browser, then you need E3 or E5.  And you only really need E5 if you want a Power BI Pro license or you want to make phone calls. If you still can’t decide, look at the “Security and Backup Features” row in the table above and check out the various increases in functionality. There’s a little more to it than that (see the Office 365 page for more) but those are the basics.

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If this article was helpful – and you’re ready to buy Office 365 E1, E3, or E5 – please consider making the purchase through Encore by contacting us. You’ll pay the same amount per license as you will anywhere else; and Encore will earn a small percentage of your payment to Microsoft. When you get Office 365 through Encore, you also benefit from advanced support levels and a Microsoft partner that specializes in the entire Microsoft stack, including Dynamics. To get started, contact me.

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