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Plan for Microsoft 365 Business setup

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Congratulations on your decision to move your business to the cloud with Microsoft 365! Whether you have 1 person in your business or 20, doing a little planning will help you get the most out of Microsoft 365 Business.

For starters, let's review what you're getting:

  • Office applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.

  • A personalized email address for you and your employees, such as rob@contoso.com.

  • Document storage in the cloud (OneDrive and Microsoft Teams), and more.

  • Upgrades to Windows 10 Pro from Windows 7 Professional, Windows 8 Pro, or Windows 8.1 Pro.

  • Protection for your work files on all of your iOS, Android, and Windows 10 devices with enterprise-grade security.

You're not getting apps for accounting, payroll, CRM, or a public website.

Note: If you have Windows 10 Home, you must purchase Windows 10 Pro.

1. Sign up for the cloud

  • When choosing a cloud subscription for your business, you have choices as to what features you want in your subscription. Here are three Microsoft cloud subscriptions tailored to small and medium sized businesses: Microsoft small business plans. You can use one subscription for all of your users or combine different subscriptions to optimize the available features or cost.

  • At the most basic end, you can choose a plan like Office 365 Business essentials that includes online access to email and Office apps, like Word Online, Excel Online, and PowerPoint Online. You also get cloud storage with OneDrive and SharePoint that you access in a web browser. This plan can be ideal for the employee who only on occasion needs to access business data or email online.

  • In addition to the above services, if you want Office apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, that run on your PCs or Macs? You might consider Office 365 Business Premium, which offers the best experience for running apps directly on your computer as well as the online versions of those apps.

  • In addition to the above services, if you want the most in cloud security and device management, you might consider Microsoft 365 Business. With this subscription, you get all of the productivity apps of Office, an upgrade to Windows 10 Pro (from previous Windows Professional versions), and the latest in cyber security and device management. For example, you get the ability to detect threats and viruses, protection from accidental sharing of important data, email encryption, and more. You also get device management features with the ability to reset devices, remove company data from Office apps, shared computer activation, and Windows Virtual Desktop.

Note: If you have over 300 employees, choose Microsoft 365 Enterprise.

Choose a plan.

2. Add a domain name

  • A domain name provides your organization with a professional and easy to remember online identity, such as rob@contosoco.com. If you already have one, you can bring it with you to Microsoft 365 or Office 365 – we’ll help with the transition.

  • Don’t have a domain? It's easy to get one at the same time you sign up for Microsoft 365 or Office 365.

Note: In addition to your email, you can use the domain with a website on various hosts, like WordPress, GoDaddy, or Wix.

Install Windows 10 Pro

3. Add users with licenses

  • For every employee or person at your company who needs to use business software and services, add them as a user in Microsoft 365. You can assign them the same license that you assign to yourself (for example Microsoft 365 Business), or you can assign them different plan with more or less features (for example, Office 365 Business Essentials).

  • When you create a user, you'll add their name, their work email address, password, and other information. They'll use this information to sign into the service and receive email. You can change their password, permissions, or other settings at any time.

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Plan roles.

4. Enable threat protection

  • You'll want to turn on advanced threat protection while setting up the service. By default, you'll receive help with core protection against common online threats, but you can customize these settings later to fit your business needs.

Plan for email.

5. Manage and secure your devices

  • With Microsoft 365 Business, you get protection on your devices, protection from online threats, and accidental data loss. You also get Windows Defender, BitLocker, and automatic updates to Windows 10 Pro and Office apps.

Plan to move your files to the cloud.

6. Upgrade your PCs to Windows 10 Pro

  • Start upgrading your PCs to Windows 10 Professional (free with Microsoft 365 Business if you're running Windows 7 Pro, Windows 8 Pro, or Windows 8.1 Pro) so that you can benefit from all the Microsoft 365 Business features, like advanced security and device management. You can also upgrade to Windows 10 Pro from a consumer version or if you're running Office 365 Business Premium, but a one-time purchase is required.

Plan for email.

7. Connect your PCs to Microsoft 365

  • To get the most out of Microsoft 365, you'll want to connect your Windows 10 PCs to Microsoft 365 Business and the Azure Active Directory running behind it. This allows your PC to be managed by Microsoft 365 Business to get, software updates, protections against data loss and other cyber threats.

Install Windows 10 Pro

8. Set up and use Office apps

  • Start using all of the Office apps available to you, like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. If it's not installed already, you can easily install it from the Microsoft Office website.

  • One of the first things you'll do is open Outlook for the first time. You'll enter your Microsoft 365 email address and password and have immediate access to your email, calendar, and contacts.

  • In addition, you can open Microsoft Teams, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and the rest of the Office apps. You may be prompted for your email address and password the first time you open each app.

Communicate plan to your team.

9. Migrate old email and files

  • At some point, you'll want to import your old email, calendar, and contacts, as well as business documents and other files to Microsoft 365 Business.

  • For email, you can do this in Outlook by exporting the old email as a PST and then importing that PST into the new email account. Then repeat this on other computers. You can also use a partner to help with this step.

  • For business documents, you can drag and drop your files into OneDrive for Business and in the case of common or shared business files, copy those to SharePoint.

Communicate plan to your team.

10. Set up your phones

  • If you plan to use your phones to stay productive on the go, you'll want to add Office apps like Outlook, Teams, and Excel to your mobile devices, like Android and iOS. With Microsoft 365 Business, security is enforced on each device, so when installing and opening apps, you'll be prompted to create a pin, create a second form of authentication (MFA), and other settings to help protect business data on the phone.

Communicate plan to your team.

See the following table to compare the features of each plan.

Service area

Feature

Office 365 Business Premium

Microsoft 365 Business

Microsoft 365 E3

Microsoft 365 E5

Licenses available

Maximum number of users

300

300

Unlimited

Unlimited

Office apps

Install Office on up to 5 PCs/Macs + tablets + 5 smartphones per user (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access), Office Online

Business

Business

ProPlus

ProPlus

Email & calendar

Outlook, Exchange Online

50 GB

50 GB

Unlimited

Unlimited

Hub for teamwork

Chat-based workspace, online meetings, and more in Microsoft Teams

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

File storage

OneDrive for Business

1 TB per user

1 TB per user

Unlimited

Unlimited

Social, video, sites

Yammer, SharePoint Online, Planner

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Stream

Yes

Yes

Yes

Business apps

Scheduling apps - Bookings(1)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Business apps - MileIQ(1)

Yes

Yes

No

No

Threat protection

Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics, Device Guard, Credential Guard, AppLocker, Enterprise Data Protection

No

No

Yes

Yes

Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection

No

Yes

No

Yes

Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection

No

No

No

Yes

Office 365 Threat Intelligence

No

No

No

Yes

Identity Management

Self-service password reset for hybrid Azure Active Directory accounts, Azure MFA, Conditional Access

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Azure AD: Cloud App Discovery, Azure AD Connect Health, SSO for more than 10 apps

No

No

Yes

Yes

Azure Active Directory Plan 2

No

No

No

Yes

Device & app management

Microsoft Intune, Windows AutoPilot

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Shared computer activation, Windows Virtual Desktop

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack, VDA

No

No

Yes

Yes

Information protection

Office 365 data loss prevention, Azure Information Protection Plan 1

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Azure Information Protection Plan 2, Microsoft Cloud App Security, Office 365 Cloud App Security

No

No

No

Yes

On-premises CAL rights

ECAL Suite (Exchange, SharePoint, Skype, Windows, SCCM, Windows Rights Management)

No

No

Yes

Yes

Compliance

Unlimited email archiving(2)

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Advanced eDiscovery, Customer Lockbox, Advanced Data Governance

No

No

No

Yes

Analytics

Power BI Pro, MyAnalytics

No

No

No

Yes

Voice

PSTN conferencing, Cloud PBX

No

No

No

Yes

Notes:

(1) Available in US, UK, Canada.

(2) Unlimited archiving when auto-expansion is turned on.

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