Microsoft’s licensing can be a little confusing when it comes to figuring out exactly how many E5/E3 licenses you will need to actually leverage the security features associated with a given license. This blog is written with the assumption that you know what features you are interested in buying and/or at have a basic understanding of the O365 E3/E5 license suites security features.
One of the main reasons I looked into this in the first place was to figure out how features which require high levels of licensing translate to general users. I’ll answer that question up front if that is what you were looking for when you found this blog: An organization will need an E5/E3 licensed account to view any advanced analytic reporting, create new DLP policies in the compliance center and/or create AIP labels. All O365 users regardless of license will still be able to view AIP protected files after a label has been created and applied to a document but they will not be able to see the label itself. In order for users to view or change the AIP label, they will need an AIP P1 license (US $2/user) or AIP P2 license (US $5/user) if automatically applying classification rules.
So, you should only end up needing to pay that US$32-$57 user/month price for a handful of E3 or E5 licenses depending on how many people you would want to be accessing advanced analytics reports, creating DLP policies or creating AIP/classification labels.
Depending on what your organization is already paying for an E5 license may be more than what you need, below is a list of what you would get from an O365 E5 license and not an E3 license.
If none of the features described above are of interest but you still want to use things like DLP policies and AIP then go with the E3 license. Once you have decided between E5 and E3 licensing you will only need to purchase enough licenses for those on your security team who will be in charge of creating new DLP policies and AIP labels. So, for some small organizations you may only need one or two licenses to accomplish your DLP and AIP goals. If you were interested in some of the E5 features but don’t think you can justify the cost associated with them, third party vendors like stealthbits can more than likely help fill in the gaps. Specifically when it comes to O365/SharePoint, Privileged Access Management, Access and Entitlement Mangement and vulnerability and risk monitoring/assessment!
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