Difference between E3 and E5 License and why we should upgrade to E5

Hi Guys,

This blogpost is for people wanting to know the differences between E1,E3 and E5 licenses and why we should migrate to slightly expensive but worthwhile E5.

Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility and Security offerings are additional sets of security services that can be purchased to help control, audit and protect the data and users of Microsoft’s Azure and Office 365 products.If you’re an enterprise that is concerned about data breaches, ransomware or insider threats, It is likely that you will upgrade your base (E3) Azure license to the slightly more expensive but worthwhile E5.

If you are an organisation that is concerned about security then the base security features and management options provided by Office 365 will not be sufficient . Let’s talk about the features .

Here are some major features you gain with Office 365 Enterprise plans:

  • Skype for Business Cloud (now Microsoft Teams) PBX and PSTN conferencing (PSTN calling is available as an add-on in E3 and E5)
  • Advanced Information Protection
  • Advanced Threat Protection
  • Active Directory integration
  • Power BI
  • Delve Analytics
  • Litigation Hold
  • Unlimited archive and mail storage
  • Enterprise app management

Office 365 Enterprise Plans

Enterprise plans are only available when purchased as a one-year commitment. However, Business plans are available month to month (for a slightly higher per-user price) and in yearly subscriptions.Office 365 Business plans are great for companies just starting out or that only require limited functionality. For organizations with 300+ users or those looking for a more robust solution, Office 365 Enterprise plans are available. With Enterprise plans, you can choose from Office 365 E5, E3 or E1 licenses.

Office 365 Enterprise E1

E1 is the cheapest Enterprise plan (and actually costs less than the Business Premium license). Here’s what you get with the E1 license:

Price $8/user/month (annual commitment)

What you’ll get :

Email 50 GB mailbox (only accessible from Outlook online)

Skype for Business web conferencing, IM, online meetings and presence

OneDrive for Business



Video Sharing

Web versions of Office 2016 applications: Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint

File sharing and 1 TB OneDrive storage

HD video conferencing

Team sites

eDiscovery search

Data Governance manual classifications and manual policies for retention and deletion

Here’s how Office 365 Enterprise E1 differs from Business Premium:
  • With E1, you can only access email via the online application.
  • With E1, you lose desktop versions of Office applications. You must use the online versions of Outlook and other Office applications like Word or PowerPoint online.


Office 365 Enterprise E3

The E3 license is one of the more popular among  digital-driven businesses. You get email, archiving, information protection and more storage options for only $5-$7.50 more per user per month than Business Premium.

Price $20/user/month (annual commitment)

Who It’s For
Businesses that need more advanced BI, compliance, email, security and voice capabilities.

Everything included in the Office E1 License

Single Sign On

SSO across Office 365 + Azure services

Ability to develop apps to consume the SSO

Advanced Security Reporting

Auditing and Alerting


Search, hold and export data held in the organization’s Office 365 stores


Access revocation

Prevent accidental sharing of sensitive information

View DLP Reports showing content that matches policies

The Office 365 Business Premium plan is most comparable to the Enterprise E3 plan in terms of base features.

Unlike Business Premium, E3 includes:
  • Exchange Online Archiving (EOA) and Legal Hold
  • Unified eDiscovery Center
  • Rights management, data loss prevention and encryption
  • Ability to add on PSTN
Office 365 Enterprise E5

Building off the E1 and E3 business plans, Office 365 E5 is the highest tier Microsoft offers. With this license, you gain:

Price $35/user/month (annual commitment)

Who It’s For
If you use or plan to use Skype for Business Cloud PBX, I recommend the Office 365 E5 license. For $35/user/month, you gain a complete, consolidated phone system along with all functionality available within Office 365.

Everything included in E3 and E5 licenses

Risk Based Conditional Access

Limit data access based on location, device, user state, and application sensitivity.

Limit a kiosk application to only run from designated workstations

Block outside access to BI apps

Enforce web applications only running on company hardware

Machine Learning based detection of suspicious patterns of data access.

Leverage larger Azure touch points for risk identification (brute forcing)

Identify abnormal data access patterns that might indicate malware

Contextual Multi-Factor Authentication challenges

Issue MFA requests to modify data (update email/password) in an app but don’t issue a challenge to view the data

Issue MFA challenge on a session / periodic (once per week) basis

Privileged Identity Management

Better overview of which users are assigned privileged and admin roles in Azure resources and Azure AD

Get a 10,000 foot view of who has the capability of making changes in your infrastructure

On demand just in time admin access users

Grant and pull back admin rights for specific workflows

Administrator Assignment alerts

Find out when a new admin is added at 2:30am on a Saturday

Admin approval requirements for roles

Have the CTO/Director of IT approve new admin right grants

Audit + track admin right grants

Admin role auditing

Track what changes have happened with the admin group overall

Data Classification

Classify and label data based on sensitivity

Identify data in files that are potentially dangerous.

Carry label based sensitivity protection through the enterprise

As different systems interact with the data, you can restrict access, require MFA challenge, etc based on what classification label is applied.

Microsoft Cloud App Security

Monitor usage of SAAS apps on your network

Block Shadow IT SAAS apps

Enforce addition/removals from SAAS apps

Limit cloud app usage based on user, device and location

Better secure potentially weak SAAS apps


I hope this helps in clarifying doubts about E1,E3 and E5 Licenses .



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