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  • Writer's pictureSara Millis

Can I use Office 365 Home for small business?

We don't often get asked this as IT providers to small businesses, but recently, we have noticed an increased online search for answers to the question, "Can I use Office 365 Home for small business?"

Is there a need for more cost-effective business tools to address the UK's cost of living crisis? Possibly.

Whatever your reason for asking this question, we want to answer it in this post. We'll look at the Microsoft 365 Home suite and ask if it can genuinely meet the demands of a small business environment and its limitations. We'll also give you the best business-focused alternatives.

Man sitting at a table on a laptop, with a women looking over his shoulder.

In short, can you use Office 365 Home for your small business?

We would not recommend Office 365 Home because its security features are less robust than a business plan. That includes security coverage, which is crucial for ICO compliance.

What we do recommend is Microsoft 365 Business Standard.

Understanding Office 365 - the Home edition

Office 365 Home (now known as Microsoft 365 Home) is a robust suite of applications and services designed to enhance productivity, collaboration, and communication. At its core, it includes the essential tools that have become synonymous with the Microsoft Office brand. You have heard of several: Word, Excel, Teams and One Drive.

Beyond that, you also get access to specialised tools like OneNote and Outlook, creating a seamless environment for managing tasks, notes, and communications - making it a well-rounded package for various personal and household needs.

It comes in two plan packages:

  • Microsoft 365 Family at £7.99 per month (for 1-6 people on five devices).

  • Microsoft 365 Personal at £5.99 per month (for 1 person on five devices).

Both include:

  • Word

  • Excel

  • PowerPoint

  • OneNote

  • Outlook

  • Cloud apps

  • ToDo

  • Calendar

  • Teams

Designed for household and personal use

It's important to note that Office 365 Home subsrciption was initially crafted with individual users and households in mind. As such, the licensing model caters to multiple users within a household, allowing family members to install and use the applications on their respective devices. 

As a business, you'll find several limitations in its use and missing features you'll need for complete operational activities. These include advanced security measures for basic and more advanced data compliance, business intelligence tools, and enterprise-level administrative controls.

So what's your alternative?

We recommend looking into Microsoft 365 Business Basic, Standard, or Premium.

Key features of Microsoft 365 business plans

A. Microsoft 365 Business Basic

  • Core features suitable for small business needs - Microsoft 365 Business Basic is the entry point into Microsoft tools. Tailored to meet the fundamental needs of small enterprises, it includes essential web and mobile applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. Additionally, including cloud-based services like Exchange for email and OneDrive for secure file storage, SharePoint and Teams amplify their utility for everyday business operations. It comes with standard security, 1TB of cloud storage and anytime phone and web support.

  • Cost-effective solutions for essential productivity - Designed with budget-conscious small businesses in mind, Microsoft 365 Business Basic provides a cost-effective solution without compromising critical features.

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

B. Micorosoft 365 Business Standard

  • Enhanced collaboration tools and applications - Stepping up the collaboration game, Microsoft 365 Business Standard introduces advanced web, mobile and cloud-based versions of tools like Microsoft Teams, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, OneDrive, SharePoint, Exchange, Publisher (PC Only) and Access (PC only). It also includes webinar hosting with attendee registration and reporting.

  • Supporting your growth and collaboration needs - Microsoft 365 Business Standard addresses these evolving needs, providing scalable solutions that empower small businesses to expand their operations without compromising collaboration and communication.

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

C. Microsoft 365 Business Premium

  • Advanced security features and device management - At the pinnacle of Microsoft 365 Business plans, Business Premium goes beyond productivity, focusing on the security and management aspects crucial for modern businesses. Advanced security features, including threat protection and device management, are integrated to safeguard your business data.

  • Extras - Intune (security) and Azure database and networking information protection.

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

Which business package should you start with?

The answer to this depends on the size and scope of your business. For example, what level of data protection and compliance do you need?

If you are running a business with just a few staff and you don't work in industries that require higher levels of data security - so you run a bakery instead of a pharmacy, then Business Basic is robust enough to start with.

Suppose you run a service-based business where you handle multiple client records or have staff across multiple locations that could include sensitive personal identifiers. In that case, we recommend a premium option.

Conclusion: You shouldn't be using Office 365 Home for your small business

Throughout this blog post, we have explained why an Office 365 Home plan may not be the most suitable choice for your MSME or SME. Additionally, we have provided you with an alternative that proves to be more cost-effective and offers better data security and tools.

In essence, we want to ensure that your business data remains safe in whatever system you implement - so if you are in the central London area, contact us for more help.


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