Decoding Microsoft 365 – What’s the Difference Between the Business & Family Versions?

Decoding Microsoft 365 – What the Difference Between the Business & Family Versions?

Microsoft 365 is one of the most widely used cloud platforms in the world. The move to remote teams due to the pandemic has further accelerated its growth.

Throughout 2020, M365 users have grown by 21%, and those users include 70% of Fortune 500 companies. Many small businesses rely on the platform as well, and smaller companies make up over 60% of total Microsoft 365 users.

The biggest reason that the platform is so popular is that it features the applications that have been mainstays in business since the dawn of company software. These are Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.

However, those Office tools make up just one part of the draw of the program. Microsoft has done a great job of keeping up with the times and building its platform out to enable cloud collaboration and communication.

Other popular tools inside the platform include:

  • OneDrive
  • Skype
  • Teams
  • OneNote
  • And more!

When you’re choosing a Microsoft 365 subscription, you have to decide if you want Microsoft 365 Family or Microsoft 365 for Business. If you’re a small business, the choice can be a difficult one, especially because there are several different business options to choose from.

Everyone wants to save money on technology, including their cloud tools. But if you choose the wrong version of Microsoft 365, you could end up missing out on important features that your business needs. On the other hand, you might choose a plan that’s more than you wanted.

We’ll break down the key differences in features and pricing between M365 Family and M365 for Business.

Microsoft 365 Family vs Microsoft 365 for Business


You do not get as many applications with the Family version as you do with the Business plans, so it’s important to know which apps come with each to ensure you’re not missing out on an app you wanted.

Here are the applications you get with each of the plans.

Microsoft 365 Family:

  • Office programs (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook)
  • OneDrive (with 1TB of storage per user, up to 6 users)
  • OneNote
  • Skype
  • Family Safety
  • Microsoft Forms
  • Access (PC only)
  • Publish (PC only)

Note: Teams is not listed, but Microsoft now offers a lower-featured free version of Teams that you could use with a Family subscription.

Microsoft 365 for Business:

  • Office programs (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook)
  • OneDrive (with 1TB of storage per user, up to 6 users)
  • OneNote
  • Skype
  • Teams
  • Exchange
  • SharePoint
  • Microsoft Forms
  • Microsoft Lists
  • Microsoft Bookings
  • Access (PC only)
  • Publish (PC only)
  • Intune (mobile device manager) (Business Premium)
  • Azure Information Protection (Business Premium)

If you’re using Microsoft 365 for your family, then having the Family Safety app can be a big plus. This app gives you features like adding screen time limits on websites and games and allows you to get notified when a loved one arrives at a specific location.

If you have a business, then you’ll find a lot of helpful additional apps that will keep you from having to purchase other 3rd party SaaS tools. Such as Microsoft Lists, which can be used to do things like task management, device management, ticket tracking, and much more. Another big consideration is the ability to use your business email domain in Microsoft 365. This isn’t a feature available in the Family plans.

Plans & Pricing

Pricing is a big consideration with any SaaS platform. Paying monthly per user can add up, so you want to be sure you’re getting the best plan fit for your needs.

Two plans would be considered non-business, the Family and Personal plans. There are four Business plans, and additionally, there are multiple Enterprise plans, but we won’t go into those here. Just let us know if you’d like a free trial for any of them.

Microsoft 365 Personal:

  • $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year
  • License for 1 person
  • Does not include premium safety features in the mobile app

Microsoft 365 Family:

  • $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year
  • License for up to 6 people

Microsoft 365 Business Basic:

  • $5.00 per user/month (annual commitment)
  • Only includes the web/mobile versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
  • Does not include Microsoft Bookings

Microsoft 365 Apps:

  • $8.25 per user/month (annual commitment)
  • Only includes the Office apps and OneDrive, not the other cloud apps

Microsoft 365 Business Standard:

  • $12.50 per user/month (annual commitment)
  • Includes everything except the advanced security and Microsoft Intune

Microsoft 365 Business Premium:

  • $20.00 per user/month (annual commitment)
  • Includes the advanced security features
  • Includes a mobile device manager (Intune)

Which Family/Personal Plan Should I Get?

If you have more than 1 person that wants to use Microsoft 365, then it makes sense to get the Family plan, which gives you up to 6 users. You also get the full Family Safety features. If you’re flying solo in the app, then the personal plan should be fine.

Which Business Plan Should I Get?

If you want to have Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on your computer and not just accessible online, then stay away from Basic. However, if you want M365, but are low on funds, then Basic gives you the best foot in the door with a lot of great business-building tools for a low price.

For the full suite of tools, including Teams and SharePoint, you would want either Standard or Premium.

The price jump from $12.50 to $20.00 per user per month is a pretty significant one for a small or medium-sized business, so you’d want to think about your security requirements and the need to manage mobile devices.

If you have strict compliance needs, such as HIPAA compliance, then the additional security in Premium would make sense for you, and part of your subscription costs could be considered cybersecurity costs. Otherwise, Standard should be fine and give you everything you need.

Looking for a Microsoft 365 Trial or Setup Help?

C Solutions can help your Orlando area business with a Microsoft 365 trial and get you set up properly to take full advantage of the platform.

Schedule a free consultation today! Call 407-536-8381 or reach us online.