One question I get a lot when talking to business owners is, “Why does Net Friends provide Microsoft’s ‘Business Premium’ 365 plan for all its NetVisor customers?” This is a good question, and the answer reveals a lot about why our NetVisor service is such a great value for small businesses. To answer it, I really have to break it down into two questions:
- Why bundle Microsoft 365 licensing with the NetVisor service, and
- Why choose Business Premium as the standard plan?
When we deploy NetVisor for new customers, and we look at their existing Microsoft 365 licensing, we typically find that the business is using the “Basic” business plan for most employees. Sometimes a few VIPs will be on the “Standard” plan. The difference between Basic and Standard is that Standard includes the desktop Office application suite (Word, Excel, etc.), while Basic only provides those apps as web tools. However, we still find that most employees using the Basic plan have the desktop Office applications installed – under another license. 90% of the time, it’s not a license that the customer controls or has documentation on.
The bottom line: customers usually come in with a hodgepodge of Microsoft-related licensing. The first thing we have to do, as a managed-services provider, is provide an appropriate standardized license for all users. There are multiple reasons for this. It saves us time, as the support provider, to know which licensing each user can be assumed to have when they request support.
But you might be surprised to know just how many support requests we used to receive that traced back to the use of multiple overlapping Office licenses. Standardizing the licensing improves customer productivity by avoiding those requests entirely. It also protects customers if they ever are subject to a Microsoft software licensing audit (a stressful experience that several of our customers have unfortunately incurred). With complete control and visibility over MS licensing across the customer, Net Friends is able to easily handle the paperwork required for such an audit. Just another NetVisor service!
We then had to decide which plan to standardize on. The “Basic” plan was clearly inadequate, even though customers had been getting along on it for years. The desktop Office application suite still offers key functions that the web-based Office suite lacks. Complex forms and multi-layer documents often render incorrectly in the web Office tools. And working on local documents, which many users still prefer to handling them entirely in the cloud, is cumbersome with web tools.
We settled on the “Business Premium” plan because, while remaining affordable, it gave us access to powerful cloud-based security tools that we could call upon to keep our customers’ data more secure. We’re able to deploy endpoint management tools like InTune and Windows Defender to protect against data breaches. And we can apply data classification tools like Azure Information Protection, which help us keep confidential information from accidentally leaving our customers’ secure file storage.
In the end, we realized that if we didn’t provide NetVisor customers with the important security features included with Business Premium, we would have to achieve the same security objectives some other way, using third-party systems that would end up costing more overall and working less effectively. It was the smart choice – it gave us the best value at the lowest cost. And we lowered that cost further by leveraging our status as a Gold Certified Partner with Microsoft to get volume license discounts, which helps us keep NetVisor’s per-seat pricing among the lowest in the industry.
Choosing Microsoft 365 Business Premium as our NetVisor bundled licensing wasn’t a decision driven by customer demand, but rather by expectations – our customers expect that their data is secure under our management. We go to work every day with the goal of meeting that expectation. Find out more about how NetVisor managed services is helping businesses achieve productivity and security at the same time.