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Overview of Microsoft 365 setup

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Congratulations on your decision to move your business to the cloud with Microsoft 365! Whether you have 1 person in your business or 20, doing a little planning will help you get the most out of Microsoft 365 Business Premium.

For starters, let's review what you're getting:

  • Office applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.

  • A personalized email address for you and your employees, such as rob@contoso.com.

  • Document storage in the cloud (OneDrive and Microsoft Teams), and more.

  • Upgrades to Windows 10 Pro from Windows 7 Professional, Windows 8 Pro, or Windows 8.1 Pro.

  • Protection for your work files on all of your iOS, Android, and Windows 10 devices with enterprise-grade security.

You're not getting apps for accounting, payroll, CRM, or a public website.

Note: If you have Windows 10 Home, you must purchase Windows 10 Pro.

1. Sign up for the cloud

When choosing a cloud subscription for your business, you have choices as to what features you want in your subscription. Learn about our Microsoft small business plans.

  • Choose Office 365 Business Essentials if you want just online apps (apps you can access in a web browser) for email, document creation, collaboration, and cloud storage. This includes Word Online, Excel Online, PowerPoint Online, and SharePoint Online.

  • Choose Office 365 Business Premium if you want the feature-rich version of Office apps like Word, Excel, and Teams that run directly on your PCs and Macs. This is in addition to the online apps.

  • Choose Microsoft 365 Business if you want all of the Office apps, plus cloud security and device management. This includes protection against viruses, malware, ransomware, and more, as well as device management and encryption. You also get a free upgrade to Windows 10 Pro from previous Windows Professional versions.

  • If you have a larger business or need more complex IT apps and services, learn about our Microsoft 365 Enterprise plans.

Choose a plan.

2. Add a domain name

  • A domain name provides your organization with a professional and easy to remember online identity, such as rob@contoso.com. If you already have one, you can bring it with you to Microsoft 365 or Microsoft 365 – we’ll help with the transition.

  • Don’t have a domain? It's easy to get one at the same time you sign up for Microsoft 365 or Microsoft 365.

Note: In addition to your email, you can use the domain with a website on various hosts, like WordPress, GoDaddy, or Wix.

Add a domain name

3. Add users with licenses

  • For every employee or person at your company who needs to use business software and services, add them as a user in Microsoft 365. You can assign them the same license that you assign to yourself (for example Microsoft 365 Business Premium), or you can assign them different plans with more or fewer features (for example, Microsoft 365 Business Basic).

  • When you create a user, you'll add their name, work email address, password, and other information. They'll use this information to sign in to the service and receive email. You can change their password, permissions, or other settings at any time.

Add users

4. Enable threat protection

  • You'll want to turn on Advanced Threat Protection while setting up the service. Microsoft 365 Advanced Threat Protection includes configuration, protection, and detection capabilities, including Safe Attachments, Safe Links, SharePoint, OneDrive, and Microsoft Teams protections, anti-phishing protection, and real-time threat detection.

  • By default, you'll receive help with core protection against common online threats, but you can customize these settings later to fit your business needs.

Enable threat protection

5. Manage and secure your devices

  • With Microsoft 365 Business Premium, you get protection on your devices, protection from online threats, and protection against accidental data loss. You also get Windows Defender, BitLocker, and automatic updates to Windows 10 Pro and Office apps.

  • You can set up Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), email encryption, malware protection, and ransomware protection to prevent unauthorized access to devices and data.

  • You can protect your valuable work data stored locally on your PC, in SharePoint or OneDrive for Business, or on your mobile device. Built-in Mobile Device Management (MDM) for Microsoft 365 helps you secure and manage your users' mobile devices like iPhones, iPads, Androids, and Windows phones. With MDM, you can create and manage device security policies, remotely wipe a device, and view detailed device reports.

Secure devices

6. Upgrade your PCs to Windows 10 Pro

  • Start upgrading your PCs to Windows 10 Professional (free with Microsoft 365 Business Premium if you're running Windows 7 Pro, Windows 8 Pro, or Windows 8.1 Pro) so that you can benefit from all the Microsoft 365 Business Premium features, like advanced security and device management.

  • You can also upgrade to Windows 10 Pro from a consumer version or if you're running Microsoft 365 Business Standard, but a one-time purchase is required.

Upgrade PCs

7. Connect your PCs to Microsoft 365

  • To get the most out of Microsoft 365, you'll want to connect your Windows 10 PCs to Microsoft 365 Business Premium and Azure Active Directory running behind it. This allows your PC to be managed by Microsoft 365 Business Premium to get software updates and protection against data loss and other cyber threats.

  • When you connect your PC, Windows 10 registers your device with your organization's network, and then joins your device to the network so you can use your organization's user name and password to sign in and access resources.

  • Based on your organization's requirements, you might be asked to set up two-step verification, encryption, and mobile device management such as Microsoft Intune.

Connect PCs

8. Set up and use Office apps

  • Start using all of the Office apps available to you, like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. If it's not installed already, you can easily install it from the Microsoft Office website.

  • One of the first things you'll do is open Outlook for the first time. You'll enter your Microsoft 365 email address and password and have immediate access to your email, calendar, and contacts.

  • In addition, you can open Microsoft Teams, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and the rest of the Office apps. You may be prompted for your email address and password the first time you open each app.

Set up Office

9. Migrate old email and files

  • At some point, you'll want to import your old email, calendar, and contacts, as well as business documents and other files to Microsoft 365 Business Premium.

  • For email, you can do this in Outlook by exporting the old email as a PST and then importing that PST into the new email account. Then repeat this on other computers. You can also use a partner to help with this step.

  • For business documents, you can drag and drop your files into OneDrive for Business and in the case of common or shared business files, copy those to SharePoint.

Migrate email

10. Set up your phones

  • If you plan to use your phones to stay productive on the go, you'll want to add Office apps like Outlook, Teams, and Excel to your mobile devices, like Android and iOS.

  • With Microsoft 365 Business Premium, security is enforced on each device, so when installing and opening apps, you'll be prompted to create a pin, create a second form of authentication (MFA), and other settings to help protect business data on the phone.

Set up phones

See the following table to compare the features of each plan.

Service area

Feature

Microsoft 365 Business Standard

Microsoft 365 Business Premium

Microsoft 365 E3

Microsoft 365 E5

Licenses available

Maximum number of users

300

300

Unlimited

Unlimited

Office apps

Install Office on up to 5 PCs/Macs + tablets + 5 smartphones per user (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access), Office Online

Business

Business

ProPlus

ProPlus

Email & calendar

Outlook, Exchange Online

50 GB

50 GB

Unlimited

Unlimited

Hub for teamwork

Chat-based workspace, online meetings, and more in Microsoft Teams

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

File storage

OneDrive for Business

1 TB per user

1 TB per user

Unlimited

Unlimited

Social, video, sites

Yammer, SharePoint Online, Planner

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Stream

Yes

Yes

Yes

Business apps

Scheduling apps - Bookings(1)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Business apps - MileIQ(1)

Yes

Yes

No

No

Threat protection

Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics, Device Guard, Credential Guard, AppLocker, Enterprise Data Protection

No

No

Yes

Yes

Microsoft 365 Advanced Threat Protection

No

Yes

No

Yes

Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection

No

No

No

Yes

Microsoft 365 Threat Intelligence

No

No

No

Yes

Identity Management

Self-service password reset for hybrid Azure Active Directory accounts, Azure MFA, Conditional Access

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Azure AD: Cloud App Discovery, Azure AD Connect Health, SSO for more than 10 apps

No

No

Yes

Yes

Azure Active Directory Plan 2

No

No

No

Yes

Device & app management

Microsoft Intune, Windows AutoPilot

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Shared computer activation, Windows Virtual Desktop

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack, VDA

No

No

Yes

Yes

Information protection

Microsoft 365 data loss prevention, Azure Information Protection Plan 1

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Azure Information Protection Plan 2, Microsoft Cloud App Security, Microsoft 365 Cloud App Security

No

No

No

Yes

On-premises CAL rights

ECAL Suite (Exchange, SharePoint, Skype, Windows, SCCM, Windows Rights Management)

No

No

Yes

Yes

Compliance

Unlimited email archiving(2)

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Advanced eDiscovery, Customer Lockbox, Advanced Data Governance

No

No

No

Yes

Analytics

Power BI Pro, MyAnalytics

No

No

No

Yes

Voice

PSTN conferencing, Cloud PBX

No

No

No

Yes

Notes:

(1) Available in US, UK, Canada.

(2) Unlimited archiving when auto-expansion is turned on.

When you're ready to move your business to the Microsoft cloud, you'll go through a number of steps to set everything up.

The first step is to sign up for a subscription. Find Microsoft 365 Business Premium on the web and go through the steps to set up an account.

Then you'll want to add a domain name so that your business name appears in your email address and sign-in address. Domain names can be added from any domain registrar like GoDaddy or WordPress.

Add your employees as users to the service and assign Microsoft 365 Business Premium licenses to them so that they can start using apps and services.

Then you'll enable core threat protection and data loss protection in Office apps like Outlook and Word. These features help protect you and your employees from clicking links or opening files that have malicious content in them, and help prevent accidental sharing of sensitive data like Social Security Numbers outside the company. 

Another important area is the security and management of your computers and phones. The default settings enable encryption, passcodes, and device policies that help prevent cyber threats for all employees.

To take full advantage of Microsoft 365 Business Premium security, device, and app management features, you'll need to upgrade all your PCs to Windows 10 Professional. The upgrade is free if you're currently running a Pro version of Windows.

Connect your PCs to the Microsoft 365 work account to create a managed device experience. Now you can start using productivity apps like Outlook and Teams.

If you have email and documents from a previous provider, you can migrate them to Microsoft 365.

When you install Office apps on your phones, you'll also set up security so that Office app data is managed by your company. 

Now your business is running in the cloud with Microsoft 365 Business Premium.

Stay a step ahead with Microsoft 365

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