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  • Writer's pictureSara Millis

Can I use Microsoft 365 Personal for my small business?

Very occasionally, we'll get asked, "Can I use Microsoft 365 Personal for my small business?" In short, the answer is "No". You should opt for a business plan, whether M365 Business Basic, Standard or Premium.

In this blog post, we'll help you understand where the personal plan falls short.

Female working at a desktop computer and on her laptop. She appears to be using Microsoft 365.

Understanding Microsoft 365 Personal and why it isn't a great fit for business use

Microsoft 365 Personal offers core applications and services for personal and family use, with tools like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. It allows users to create documents, explore data analysis, and design presentations. It also gives you access to OneDrive, Outlook for email and Teams.

While all of that sounds "enough", the reality is that the plan lacks advanced collaboration features, enhanced security measures, and tailored administrative controls - all of which are essential for modern business and its compliance and legalities. Data protection and GDPR being a central issue for you to comply with!

The other issue you'll find is in the personal plan's licencing. Microsoft 365 Personal is primarily designed for individual use, and its licensing structure reflects this. Misusing the plan can cause issues for you with Microsoft.

What you should opt for instead: Microsoft business plans explained

Microsoft has three business plans to choose from.

1. Microsoft 365 Business Basic

The Microsoft 365 Business Basic plan is great for solopreneurs and micro businesses (MSME). This plan includes essential applications such as Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint while introducing you to business-class email with a custom domain, providing a professional and credible communication platform for small enterprises.

Cost - £4.90 per user per month, excluding VAT.

2. Microsoft 365 Business Standard

When you are ready to level up or have a small team (small business - SMEs up to 300 people), we recommend Micorosft 365 Business Standard. You get everything on the basic plan plus a suite of enhanced collaboration tools and applications designed to streamline communication and teamwork.

Key components include Teams, a powerful platform for real-time colla

boration, and SharePoint, facilitating secure file sharing and team collaboration. 

Integrating these tools empowers you to create a cohesive and interconnected work environment, fostering efficient communication and collaboration among team members.

Cost - £10.30 per user per month, excluding VAT.

3. Microsoft 365 Business Premium

Microsoft 365 Business Premium is the pinnacle of the Microsoft 365 Business plans for businesses prioritising advanced security measures and comprehensive device management. This is where you'll also get advanced security features and device management capabilities, essential for companies handling staff and client data in the M365 environment.

These include:

  • Advanced threat protection, which safeguards against sophisticated cyber threats

  • Information Governance allows for precise control over data

  • Azure for database managment

  • Endpoint Security and Management enhances your ability to secure and manage devices across the business.

You don't need to be a big team to opt for this plan - what you are really establishing here is whether any of the smaller plans covers your specific compliance and legal requirements. Many of our very small business clients need the coverage that M365 business premium offers because of the industry they work in.

Cost - £18.10 per user per month, excluding VAT.

If you still use Microsoft 365 Personal to run your business, it's time to change!

Micorosft 365 personal isn't the right option for business, even at a solopreneur level, so if you are still using it or considering it, we hope to have changed your mind. You'd be far better off with a business plan.

Need help making that migration or getting set up? Or maybe you need help deciding which M365 business plan is right for you? Whatever the question or whatever your needs are, contact IT Soho today!


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