Office 365 E3 vs. E5: A Comprehensive Comparison

In the dynamic landscape of Microsoft Office 365 plans, Office 365 E3 and E5 stand out as robust solutions tailored to diverse business needs. While both plans offer a comprehensive suite of applications, there are distinct differences that can significantly impact the choice for organizations.

Office 365 E3 vs. E5 Key Takeaways

  • Both E3 and E5 are comprehensive plans, each with its own strengths. 
  • E3 serves as a solid foundation for most organizations, offering essential apps and features. 
  • On the other hand, E5 takes a step further, providing advanced security, compliance, and productivity features. 
  • The choice between the two depends on the specific requirements, budget constraints, and the priority placed on security measures.

Direct Comparison: E3 vs. E5

In a direct comparison, the contrast between Office 365 E3 and E5 becomes evident through a breakdown of all the features each solution offers. The below table illustrates the differences in applications, security measures, compliance features, available add-ons, use cases, and pricing. 

Feature Office 365 E3 Office 365 E5
Apps Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, etc. All E3 apps plus Power BI Pro, MyAnalytics, and more.
Security Basic threat protection Advanced threat protection, advanced security management
Compliance Basic compliance features Advanced compliance, eDiscovery, Customer Lockbox
Add-ons SharePoint, Yammer, Teams Cloud App Security, Power Automate, Audio Conferencing
Use Cases Standard business needs Enterprises with advanced security and compliance requirements
Price Lower cost Higher cost

To summarize, E3 caters to standard business needs at a lower cost, while E5, with its higher price point, is designed for enterprises with advanced security and compliance requirements.

Office 365 E3 Overview


Office 365 E3 offers a robust suite of features designed to enhance productivity and collaboration within organizations. 

  • One of its key highlights is the access to the latest versions of familiar Office applications, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, ensuring users always have cutting-edge tools at their fingertips. 
  • The E3 plan also includes advanced security features, like threat protection and information protection, safeguarding sensitive data from potential breaches. 
  • With a generous amount of cloud storage on OneDrive for Business, teams can seamlessly store, share, and collaborate on documents in real-time. 
  • Moreover, the inclusion of Teams facilitates efficient communication through chat, video conferencing, and file sharing. 

These features collectively make Office 365 E3 a comprehensive solution for businesses aiming to optimize their workflow, foster collaboration, and maintain a secure digital environment.


Office 365 E3 places a strong emphasis on security, offering a comprehensive suite of features to safeguard organizational data. 

  • Advanced Threat Protection (ATP): Helps defend against sophisticated cyber threats by providing real-time protection against malicious attachments and links in emails, ensuring a robust defence against phishing and malware attacks. 
  • Information Protection: These capabilities enable organizations to classify, label, and protect sensitive information, controlling access and preventing data leaks. 
    • With features like Azure Information Protection, organizations can apply encryption and rights management to documents, adding an extra layer of security. 
  • MFA: Identity and Access Management tools, including Multi-Factor Authentication, enhance user authentication processes, reducing the risk of unauthorized access.
  • Security and Compliance Centers: These provide insights into security posture and compliance status, allowing organizations to proactively manage and monitor their security policies.

Office 365 E3’s comprehensive security features make it a trusted choice for businesses seeking to fortify their digital environment.


Microsoft 365 E3 excels in addressing compliance needs, offering a range of features to help organizations meet regulatory requirements and industry standards. 

  • The platform includes Compliance Manager, which enables businesses to assess and manage their compliance posture across various regulations, such as GDPR and HIPAA. 
  • E3 also provides advanced eDiscovery capabilities, allowing organizations to efficiently identify, hold, and analyze data for legal and compliance purposes. 
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP) features help prevent accidental disclosure of sensitive information by monitoring and controlling the sharing of sensitive data within and outside the organization. 
  • With audit logging and reporting tools, Office 365 E3 empowers businesses to track user and administrator activities, ensuring transparency and accountability. 

These compliance-oriented features make Office 365 E3 a robust solution for organizations that prioritize meeting regulatory standards and maintaining data integrity.


Office 365 E3 offers a range of valuable add-ons that further enhance its capabilities to meet diverse organizational needs. 

  1. One notable option is the Advanced Compliance add-on, which provides additional features for eDiscovery, audit, and insider risk management, catering to industries with stringent compliance requirements. Here are some others to consider:
  2. The Threat Intelligence add-on offers proactive protection by delivering insights into global cyber threats, empowering organizations to strengthen their security posture. 
  3. The Audio Conferencing add-on extends the functionality of Microsoft Teams by allowing participants to join meetings via a traditional phone line

 These add-ons showcase the flexibility of Office 365 E3, enabling organizations to customize their subscription based on specific requirements, whether it’s compliance, security, or communication needs, providing a comprehensive and tailored solution for businesses of all sizes.

Use Cases

Office 365 E3 is a versatile solution with a wide range of use cases across various industries. In the realm of productivity, organizations leverage E3 for its comprehensive suite of applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, fostering seamless collaboration and document management. 

The advanced security features make it an ideal choice for businesses dealing with sensitive information, ensuring data protection and compliance with industry regulations. E3’s integration with Microsoft Teams facilitates efficient communication and collaboration, especially in the context of remote work. In sectors with stringent compliance requirements, the advanced compliance features and eDiscovery capabilities prove invaluable. 

The flexibility of E3 also caters to specific needs through add-ons, such as Threat Intelligence and Audio Conferencing, making it adaptable to diverse scenarios. Whether it’s optimizing workflow, enhancing security, or ensuring regulatory compliance, Office 365 E3 emerges as a robust solution for a multitude of organizational use cases.


The E3 subscription comes at a rate of CAD $36.00 per user per month when billed annually. This price encompasses essential productivity applications, foundational security features, and a 1 TB allocation of OneDrive storage for each user. This presents an economical choice, particularly suitable for small to medium-sized enterprises or those with modest security requirements.

Our Take

E3 is a solid choice for organizations seeking a balance between functionality and cost-effectiveness. It caters to standard business needs while maintaining an affordable pricing structure.

Office 365 E5 Overview


Office 365 E5 offers a robust suite of features designed to empower businesses with advanced tools for communication, collaboration, and security. 

  • At its core is the complete set of Office applications, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, ensuring productivity across all fronts. 
  • The E5 plan goes beyond, with exclusive features like advanced analytics through Power BI, allowing organizations to derive actionable insights from their data. 
  • In the realm of communication, it introduces Microsoft Teams, facilitating seamless collaboration through chat, video conferencing, and file sharing. 
  • What sets E5 apart is its emphasis on security, incorporating advanced threat protection, data loss prevention, and identity management features. 

With compliance tools and eDiscovery capabilities, Office 365 E5 ensures that businesses can navigate the digital landscape securely and efficiently.


Microsoft 365 E5 takes security to a heightened level, encompassing a comprehensive array of features to fortify an organization’s digital landscape. 

  • Advanced Threat Protection: This feature shields against sophisticated threats by analyzing and identifying malicious intent in real-time, ensuring a proactive defence against cyber threats. 
  • Threat Intelligence: The inclusion of Threat Intelligence provides valuable insights into global attack trends, enabling preemptive measures. 
  • Identity and Access Management Controls: These features are strengthened through Privileged Identity Management, limiting access to sensitive information only to authorized personnel. 
  • Data Loss Prevention: Thanks to this feature, critical information is safeguarded by monitoring and preventing the accidental or intentional sharing of sensitive data. 
  • Customer Lockbox: With Customer Lockbox, organizations retain control over their data during service operations, enhancing transparency and trust. 

Office 365 E5 epitomizes a security-first approach, offering peace of mind to businesses navigating the complex terrain of digital threats.


Office 365 E5 places a paramount emphasis on compliance, providing a robust framework for organizations to meet regulatory requirements and industry standards. 

  • The Compliance Center serves as a central hub for managing compliance features, offering tools for data governance, eDiscovery, and audit tracking. 
  • Advanced eDiscovery facilitates efficient data exploration and legal case management, streamlining the process of identifying and retrieving relevant information. 
  • Information governance capabilities enable the creation and enforcement of policies for data lifecycle management, classification, and retention. 

With features like Communication Compliance and Insider Risk Management, Microsoft 365 E5 allows organizations to proactively identify and mitigate risks associated with inappropriate communication or insider threats. The solution is designed to empower businesses in highly regulated industries, offering a comprehensive suite of tools to navigate the complex landscape of compliance with confidence.


Office 365 E5 provides additional value through a range of versatile add-ons, enhancing the suite’s functionality to meet specific organizational needs. 

  1. One notable add-on is the Audio Conferencing feature, which enables seamless integration of traditional dial-in capabilities with online meetings in Microsoft Teams, ensuring accessibility for participants without internet access. 
  2. Another valuable addition is the Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) Plan, which provides an extra layer of security by defending against sophisticated and evolving cyber threats. 
  3. Additionally, the Power BI Pro add-on extends the analytical capabilities of E5, allowing for more extensive data visualization and business intelligence. 

These add-ons enable businesses to tailor their Office 365 E5 subscription, adapting it to their unique requirements and maximizing the value of this comprehensive productivity and security suite.

Use Cases

Office 365 E5 caters to a diverse array of use cases, making it a versatile solution for businesses of varying sizes and industries. For enterprises seeking advanced productivity tools, the complete suite of Office applications, coupled with real-time collaboration in Microsoft Teams, offers a seamless environment for communication and content creation. 

In industries with stringent compliance requirements, E5’s robust compliance features, including eDiscovery and data loss prevention, prove invaluable. The security-centric capabilities make it an ideal choice for organizations prioritizing digital safety, with features like Advanced Threat Protection guarding against sophisticated cyber threats. 

For businesses relying on data analytics, the integration of Power BI facilitates insightful decision-making. Whether it’s enhancing collaboration, ensuring regulatory compliance, fortifying cybersecurity, or deriving actionable insights from data, Office 365 E5 aligns with a myriad of use cases, providing a comprehensive and tailored solution for modern organizational needs.


The E5 subscription is priced at a premium of CAD $57.00 per user per month when billed annually. Although this represents a notable increase in cost from the E3 model, the added functionalities, such as advanced security, compliance tools, analytics, and AI capabilities, could validate the expenditure, especially for organizations with intricate security needs or those aiming to harness data-driven insights for informed decision-making

Our Take

Considering the price point, you may be wondering, is E5 worth it? This solution is generally the preferred choice for enterprises prioritizing top-tier security, advanced compliance capabilities, and additional productivity features. It’s a strategic investment for organizations with complex requirements.

Pros and Cons: Office E3 vs. E5 

Microsoft E3


  • Cost-effective solution.
  • Covers essential business needs.


  • Limited advanced security features.
  • Basic compliance capabilities.

Microsoft E5


  • Comprehensive security and compliance features.
  • Ideal for large enterprises with complex requirements.


  • Higher cost.
  • May include features not needed by smaller businesses.

What’s Right For My Business?

Choosing between E3 and E5 requires a careful evaluation of your organization’s needs. If you’re a smaller business with standard requirements and a focus on cost-effectiveness, E3 is a suitable choice. However, for larger enterprises dealing with sensitive data and requiring advanced security and compliance features, E5 emerges as the optimal solution. You may also want to consider integration with the cloud, specifically Microsoft cloud options, like Azure. The decision should align with your budget, security priorities, and compliance requirements, ensuring it resonates with your overarching business goals.

Whether you’re struggling with device management considerations or understanding all of the features between these two options, our team is here to help you make an informed decision and talk about the implementation of best practices. 

Talk to SysGen about all things E3 vs. E5!

Headshot of Shane Jordan

Shane Jordan

Vice President, Service Delivery

Shane Jordan is a multitalented business leader with over 20 years of experience in the managed services industry and a strong track record of success. As SysGen’s Vice President of Service Delivery, he is an innovative and industrious professional with a passion for ensuring client engagements are delivered at the highest level of quality. Shane prides himself on developing long-lasting relationships with his thoughtful and straightforward business approach. He has worked with many Fortune 100 clients during his career. Shane and his talented team deliver cutting-edge IT solutions that help drive success and value for SysGen clients.