Microsoft Office 365 E3 vs. Microsoft 365 Business Premium: The new hero SKU for SMBs

Security with Microsoft 365 BP Campaign

It’s no secret Microsoft 365 Business Premium has become the hero offering for SMB customers looking to facilitate remote work.  M365 Business Premium combines Microsoft’s best-in-class, cloud-based productivity apps with enterprise-grade management and security. 

In today’s new normal, an estimated 76% of SMBs are adapting and enabling remote work – which means securing your users, identities, data and devices is more important than ever.

The move to M365 Business Premium presents a number of opportunities for partners to increase their profitability while adding more value; the immediate opportunity is with customers who have an Office 365 E3 subscription and have under 300 employees.  

The move is simple and won’t cost your customer’s anything on their monthly subscription - in fact, in most markets you can actually save your customers money.  We’ve outlined the benefits for both partners and customers below.

Here’s why it’s advantageous for partners to switch:

  • Additional 5% backend incentives through Microsoft’s FY21 Global Strategic Product Accelerator. With one Silver or Gold Microsoft competency, partners can earn +5% more in back-end incentives for every Microsoft 365 Business Premium, E3 or E5 SKU sold. 
  • More opportunities for services revenue around security. With the advanced service capabilities available in M365 Business Premium, partners can earn anywhere from 35 – 65% margin or an additional $20 – $113 per seat through potential service revenue. 
  • Easy subscription switch experience
    Partners can easily switch subscriptions through Cloud Marketplace. Moving from Office 365 E3 to Microsoft 365 Business Premium requires no local reinstallation, no updates to end-user devices and is an easy customer discussion to have as Business Premium is the same or lower in price in select markets
  • Easy to enable and manage customers’ remote work environments
    Extend IT tools included within Business Premium for securing remote work, such as Conditional Access, Microsoft Intune, Azure Active Directory Premium Plan 1, Advanced Threat Protection and more.


Here’s why it’s advantageous for customers to switch:

  • Same price or lower price in select markets
    For the same price, SMBs can receive enterprise-grade security features with the Windows 10 operating system included for the same price as their Office 365 E3 license. In terms of value, it makes more sense to switch to Microsoft 365 Business Premium.
  • Enterprise-grade security features
    Business Premium includes features like remote access solutions, single-sign-on, endpoint antivirus protection, advanced email protection, conditional access + MFA and device management to ensure your customer’s IT promotes secure but flexible remote work.
  • Active protection with Windows 10 security 
    With Windows 10 included in Business Premium, your customers’ devices will be actively protected from the moment they start Windows 10. Windows security continually scans for malware, viruses, and security threats to provide real-time and always updated antivirus protection.



Feature Support in Microsoft 365 Business Premium Support in Office 365 E3
Office apps 1 Microsoft 365 Apps for business Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise
Cloud productivity apps    
Exchange Online and Outlook 50 GB storage limit per mailbox and unlimited Exchange Online Archiving 100 GB storage limit per mailbox and unlimited Exchange Online Archiving
OneDrive for Business 1 TB storage limit per user 1-5TB storage limit per user
Yammer, SharePoint Online, Planner, Stream
Outlook Customer Manager, MileIQ  
Threat Protection    
Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) Plan 1 Not included, but can be added on
Identity management    
Self-service password reset for hybrid Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) accounts, Azure multi-factor authentication (MFA), Conditional Access, password writeback for on-premises identities  
Device and app management    
Microsoft Intune, Windows AutoPilot  
Shared computer activation
Upgrade rights to Windows 10 Pro from Win 7/8.1 Pro licenses  
Information protection    
Office 365 Data Loss Prevention
Azure Information Protection Plan 1, Bitlocker enforcement  
Azure Information Protection Plan 1, Sensitivity labels  
Client Access License (CAL rights)    
Enterprise CAL Suite (Exchange, SharePoint, Skype)  

1The Microsoft 365 Business Premium version of the Office apps doesn't include volume activation through Group Policy, app telemetry, update controls, spreadsheet compare and inquire, or business Intelligence.

How to migrate O365 licenses to Microsoft 365 Business Premium on Cloud Marketplace

NOTE: Partners that change Office 365 E3 licenses to Microsoft 365 Business Premium are advised to complete the entire motion on a single calendar day. This will minimize the possibility for both offers to the billed for the same time period. 

To keep your customers’ billing date the same, we recommend that you purchase and cancel on the same date as your customer’s initial subscription started.


Step 1: Purchase Microsoft 365 Business Premium

  • If the customer does not have an existing Microsoft 365 Business Premium: Partner can purchase a new subscription and assign to existing customer tenant. Learn how to purchase a subscription from the Reseller Control Panel.
  • If the customer has an existing Microsoft 365 Business Premium subscription: Instead of doing a sales order for a new Subscription, select the existing Active Subscription and initiate a change order to increase the quantity of licenses. Learn how to add seats to an existing subscription.

Step 2: Reassign licenses to multiple users 

  • Partners can visit their Office 365 admin center on to reassign the newly active Microsoft 365 Business Premium subscription to their customer(s). Learn how to change assigned licenses on user profiles for Microsoft CSP subscriptions.

Step 3: Remove Office 365 E3 subscriptions that are no longer needed

Based on your customers’ needs, please remove licenses accordingly:

  • If all Office E3 licenses are no longer needed: Partners can remove licenses through a cancellation order. Learn how to cancel CSP subscriptions through the Reseller Control Panel.
  • If users are still assigned to Office 365 E3 licenses: Partners can remove licenses safe to remove through a change order to decrease seats. Learn how to change assigned licenses on User Profiles for Microsoft CSP subscriptions.

Step 4: Request credit for monthly and annual subscriptions cancelled (US only)

Through or 1-844-CloudIM (1-844-256-8346), partners can request a credit that will be credited back to their Cloud Marketplace account. 

To check the status of this ticket any time, you can visit our Self-Service Portal at: You can also click on the chat icon here to get help instantly from one of our live chat agents.

(Optional) Step 5: Explore Go-To-Market Hub for Security with Microsoft 365 Business Premium 
To help your customers scale a secure, remote work environment with Microsoft 365 Business Premium, we’ve built multiple campaigns around benefits of moving to Microsoft 365. Find all the go-to-market resources through our Go-to-Market Hub on Cloud Marketplace*.

*Must be logged onto GTM Hub on Cloud Marketplace to access the link. 


Microsoft 365 Business Premium is the essential SMB framework SKU for customers under 300 seats. It also offers endless value-added services for partners to build their managed services practice around. If your customers fall within the below categories, the time is now to switch, upgrade or move to cloud, starting with Business Premium:

  • Currently on Office 365 E3 with under 300 users
  • Currently using Microsoft 365 Business Basic/Standard in need of security
  • With end-of-life Windows 7 and Office 2010 devices
  • Moving from on-premises tools to the cloud

To learn more about how we can help you build more value around Microsoft 365, get in touch with your Ingram Micro Cloud representative or contact us at

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  • Category Industry Trends & Insights

  • Written by Demetrius Pozantides

  • Published on October 27, 2020

Demetrius Pozantides

Demetrius Pozantides, Global Lead, Cloud Collaboration & Security, Ingram Micro Cloud

Demetrius leads Ingram Micro Cloud's collaboration and security portfolio business globally. He is responsible for developing the strategy, driving new initiatives and launching customer-focused campaigns and incentives.