The evolved Office 365 Enterprise E5


Recently Microsoft announced that the Office 365 Enterprise E4 plan will be replaced by the new “E5” plan before end of this calendar year.

Let us try to understand what this means:

E5 – An evolution of Office 365 capabilities:

The new E5 will offer a set of new capabilities and features for enterprises. The major ones announced by Microsoft are listed below:

  • Skype for Business Feature Enhancements:

Cloud PBX with PSTN Calling – This will provide people the ability to make and receive traditional phone calls in their Skype for Business client, and manage these calls with features like hold, resume, forward and transfer. Cloud PBX will be released for customers worldwide, with a configuration option for customers to use existing on-premises phone lines for inbound and outbound calling.

PSTN Conferencing – This will allow people invited to a Skype for Business meeting in Office 365 to join the meeting by dialing in using a landline or mobile phone. This traditional dial-in capability is in addition to simple, single touch join options on PC, smartphone and browser, and allows people to join an online meeting even in places with no Internet access. PSTN Conferencing in Office 365 will also allow people to add others to a meeting by dialing out.

This is something that we have been waiting for and finally it’s going to be available for all our enterprise customers and we are really excited!

  • Enhanced Analytics:

New analytics features like Delve Organizational Analytics and Power BI Pro will be provided as part of E5 license.

  • Advanced security features:

e-Discovery: Earlier this year Microsoft acquired Equivio and the new “Equivio Zoom” will soon be providing powerful e-discovery features to help customers meet legal and compliance challenges
You can read more about its capabilities here.

Customer Lockbox: This new capability offers organizations complete control over its contents such that if some Microsoft engineer needs access to certain content to resolve an issue, the same can only be done
by getting the explicit approval from the customer, In other words Use of the Customer Lockbox feature ensures that Microsoft engineer does not get access to the customer’s content without customer’s explicit approval.

Advanced Threat Protection (ATP): Exchange Online today offers EOP for email protection against spam, viruses and malware. As the attacks are getting more sophisticated day by day, the ATP is a new feature to provide
advanced security on top of EOP. The features include protection against unknown malware  and virus (using Machine Learning), Real time time to click protection against malicious URLs and rich reporting.

What about the cost?:

Well, there is no official word here. But given that E5 offers additional capabilities, the cost of E5 could be higher compared to E4.
If you are an existing Enterprise E4 customer, then it’s time to start thinking about the various options at your disposal – upgrade to E5 or move to E3 plus Cloud PBX.

Finally ask yourself the question “What is the business value versus the cost increase?” and you will know what to do.