Microsoft 365 Enterprise Mobility + Security E3 (EM+S E3) subscriptions

There was a period of time when Microsoft offered up to 50 Microsoft 365 Enterprise Mobility + Security E3 (EM+S E3) subscriptions to its qualified nonprofit customers. That offer was discontinued in September 2019, but Microsoft said then that customers who had already procured these donated subscriptions could keep them in perpetuity as a legacy donation. That assurance is now being rescinded.   

The EM+S E3 bundle provided a number of security functions that Community IT recommends highly to its clients, so this is a loss for those clients who had kept this legacy donation. Fortunately, Microsoft’s subscription bundle Microsoft 365 Business Premium includes many (but not all) of the same security products and is a good substitute. The Microsoft 365 Business Premium subscription retails for $20/user/month, but is available for $3-$5/user/month to qualified 501(c)(3) nonprofits and, moreover, Microsoft offers up to 10 Microsoft 365 Business Premium licenses to nonprofits at no cost at all. 

The EM+S E3 bundle will still be available to nonprofits for $2.70/user/month. 

We are recommending to our clients who have been using some combination of Office 365 E1 or Office 365 E3 subscriptions (in the case of E1, generally coupled with the Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise add-on subscription) and a legacy/free EM+S E3 subscription to switch to Microsoft 365 Business Premium as a substitute bundle. The costs are comparable, and for the most part the Microsoft 365 Business Premium subscription will meet our clients’ needs. 

There are a few constraints on the Microsoft 365 Business Premium subscription that are worth highlighting:  

  1. Clients who have more than 300 users will need to purchase a “enterprise” license. The “Business” bundles are aimed at small businesses with fewer than that number of employees. 
  1. Microsoft Business Premium includes Office 365 Apps for Business, which is a slightly reduced version of Office 365 Apps for Enterprise included with the Office 365 E3 subscription. The biggest loss of capability are some advanced data manipulation features in Excel and Azure Information Protection Plan 1. 
  1. The Office 365 E3 subscription ($4.50/user/month) provides the capacity for a 100 GB mailbox whereas the Microsoft 365 Business Premium subscription is limited to 50 GB. It’s a rare user that has this much email, but for users that need the larger mailbox limit, our recommendation is to keep them on Office 365 E3 and combine it with EM+S E3 at the nonprofit price of $2.70/user/month. 
  1. The EM+S E3 subscription always included a Server User Client Access License (CAL), for whatever reason. If you didn’t buy server CAL’s for your users because they were assigned legacy/free EM+S E3 subscriptions, you’ll need to get CAL’s for those users (assuming you still have on-premises servers) when you discontinue the bundle. And, if this is indeed your situation and you are qualified, get those CAL’s from TechSoup before the April 2022 change in Microsoft’s TechSoup program

The bottom line, though, is that even with the notes above stipulated, the loss of free EM+S E3 subscriptions for the nonprofit organizations receiving this legacy donation is tempered by the availability of Microsoft’s well-priced bundle of services included in its Microsoft 365 Business Premium subscription. That subscription is Community IT’s current baseline recommendation for Microsoft 365, so changes to Microsoft EM+S E3 security subscriptions will have an impact on many nonprofits.

Ready to support your staff with Managed IT?

At Community IT Innovators, we’ve found that many nonprofit organizations deal with more IT issues than they should have to.

Do you feel that a lack of knowledge around IT is hindering your nonprofit’s success?

Is your current approach to IT resulting in recurring issues that endanger the success of your mission?

Are you consistently behind on operating updates? Do you worry about impending cybersecurity issues?

Community IT has been serving nonprofits exclusively for twenty years. We offer Managed IT support services for nonprofits that want to outsource all or part of their IT support and hosted services. For a fixed monthly fee, we provide unlimited remote and on-site helpdesk support, proactive network management, and ongoing IT planning from a dedicated team of experts in nonprofit-focused IT. We regularly present webinars on all aspects of managing nonprofit IT, including IT budgeting to take advantage of discounts and donations, so that changes to Microsoft EM+S E3 security subscriptions won’t take you unawares.

If you’re ready to gain peace of mind about your IT support, let’s talk.