Understanding Microsoft Solutions: Skype vs. Skype for Business

When selecting the Microsoft solutions that are right for your business, many small business owners are confused by the different brand names that Microsoft has for its solutions. We recently discussed the difference between Office365 and Office365 for Business; today we’re going to discuss the differences between Skype and Skype for Business. Learn more from Tolar Systems.

Why Does Microsoft Offer Multiple Solutions?

Microsoft offers a multitude of brands and solutions to meet the needs of different types of customers. Among their brands and solutions are offerings for individuals, students, families, small businesses, non-profits and public sector, as well as enterprise level solutions.

The differences between these solutions usually revolve around functionality and pricing.

Skype vs. Skype for Business

One question we get asked all the time is why should a small business pay for Skype for Business when they could just use the Skype app for free?

The answer is that the free app offers much more limited functionality.  Skype’s free application is mainly limited to voice calls and video conferencing. With Skype for Business, you get that plus a whole lot more.

Some of the functionality you get with Skype for Business that are not available with the free app include:

  • Call Routing: Routing calls between individual free Skype accounts is not possible. So if your business wants to route calls to multiple employees, you’ll need Skype for Business.
  • Integration: Skype for Business is integrated with all your other Office365 applications so that as you work, you can easily make outgoing calls to individuals to solicit their help and input as you work.
  • Better Security: Skype calls are encrypted, so they do offer some security to users of the free app. But with Skype for Business, additional layers of security help to ensure that your calls are protected and that sensitive information aren’t exposed to hackers.
  • Video conferencing: Skype’s free app allows you to host a video conference of up to 25 people. With Skype for Business you can host conferences of up to 250 people. This allows small businesses to host webinars that can help you grow your business, or to virtually meet with customers, coworkers and teams in multiple locations.

Of course, this additional functionality comes at a cost. To get all the benefits from Skype for Business, there are two ways to purchase –  the standalone Online version, or as part of an Office365 for Business subscription. Microsoft also offers two different price points for each solution:

  • Skype for Business Online Plan 1 – The entry level Skype for Business application – with similar functionality to the free Skype app, but intended for business and multiuser environments – just $2.00 per month/user as a standalone application.
  • Skype for Business Online Plan 2 – A more robust standalone version of Skype for Business that offers most of the functionality available with the Business Premium plan (some of the functionality is referenced above), is available for just $5.50 per month/user. Unlike the Office365 plans, this version is not integrated with any other Office365 apps.b2ap3 small Office365 Dollarphotoclub 92141837
  • Office365 Business Essentials with Skype for Business – Skype for Business is included with Office365 Business Essentials for $6.00 per user/month or $5.00 per user/month with an annual commitment. The application is integrated with Microsoft Exchange, OneDrive, and Access. This subscription level allows one device per user.
  • Office365 Business Premium with Skype for Business – Skype for Business is also included with Office365 Business Premium with a truckload of additional functionality, including: full integration with all Office apps including Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, Publisher and OneNote and up to 5 devices and phone per user. 

Tolar Systems offers Skype for Business and Office365 Business Premium as part of our Complete Care managed services package. Learn more about the differences between Office365 Business Premium and Office365 Business Essentials.

If you’re looking for a way to improve your communication and collaboration with customers, employees and partners, Skype for Business could be the tool your business needs. Contact Tolar Systems today to learn more about which Microsoft solutions and brands are right for you.