Updates to Microsoft’s enrollment for education solutions version 2018 and new security packages

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This post was updated in January 2021.

Microsoft has always adjusted its offerings to support organizations moving to the cloud. First with its business offerings and Office 365 (O365), and now with its newest update to its Enrollment for Education Solutions (EES) and the Microsoft 365 (M365) Education programs that accompany it.

The new iteration of the program was released in November 2018. So before you reach your next anniversary, you’ll want to take a look at Microsoft’s new offers. Here are the most important points to keep in mind.

Making terms simpler

The EES version 2018 simplifies the terms. Three key changes include:

  • Education qualified users, which replaces the term “knowledge worker,” are employees or contractors (except students) who access or use an Education Qualified Platform Product for the institution’s benefit. There is no Student Worker designation, volunteers no longer require a paid license, and there is no dependency on device type (like there was with the Knowledge Worker).
  • Access to Shared Windows Devices covers infrequent users like janitors and café workers, as well as shared devices like kiosks and lecture hall computers.
  • Mixed Education Platform Product Scenarios are allowed. They provide flexibility to mix education qualified platform products such as M365 A3 and M365 A5 and don’t require you to standardize on a singular product for all end users.

Taking new security measures

Microsoft has embraced the growing concerns surrounding the vulnerability of student data with new security and compliance packages built to complement the M365 A3 package.

Academic institutions can now purchase Microsoft’s most advanced compliance and security tools as a bundled offering rather than adding them à la carte to the M365 A3 plan. The bundles include the M365 A5 Security Package with Microsoft Defender for Office 365, Microsoft Cloud App Security, Microsoft Defender for Identity, Azure Active Directory Premium Plan 2, and Microsoft Defender for Endpoint. In addition, the M365 A5 Compliance Package will be enhanced with new value-added services, including Advanced Audit, Insider Risk Management, Communication Compliance, Cloud DLP, Machine Learning-Based Classification, and Records Management.

Microsoft will also introduce three new Microsoft 365 Compliance add-on mini suites. Each suite includes sub-set components of Microsoft 365 E5 Compliance to solve specific customer needs. The new suites are called:

  • Microsoft 365 E5 eDiscovery and Audit
  • Microsoft 365 E5 Insider Risk Management
  • Microsoft 365 E5 Information Protection and Governance

Effective April 1, 2020, current standalone Azure Information Protection Plan 2 and Office 365 Advanced Compliance plans will be discontinued for new customers. If you’re an existing customer, you may renew licenses while a future cutoff date is set. However, to gain the new value-add services, you will need Microsoft 365 E5 Compliance or the new Microsoft 365 Compliance mini suite offers.

If you need all of the above security tools, it makes more sense to switch from the M365 A3 suite to the full M365 A5 suite. You can do this at any point during the enrollment period in your EES subscription.

Adding new Student Use Benefits and MyAnalytics

Microsoft added new Student Use Benefits to A5 Student Use Benefit suites. Additions to existing A5 suite values include:

  • M365 A5 Student Use Benefit: Microsoft Defender for Office 365 Plan 2, Microsoft Cloud App Security, and Microsoft Defender for Identity
  • O365 A5 Student Use Benefit: Microsoft Defender for Office 365 Plan 2
  • EMS A5 Student Use Benefit: Microsoft Cloud App Security and Microsoft Defender for Identity

If you’re an existing customer with the above licenses, you will also receive the new Student Use Benefits.

If you have any of the paid O365/M365 A3 and A5 faculty and student plans, you will receive MyAnalytics at no additional cost. MyAnalytics value will not be added to the free O365 A1 plan or any additional Student Use Benefit SKUs.

What remains the same in EES licensing

Microsoft made significant changes to EES in 2017, many of which still apply:

The biggest change to Microsoft’s program was the way licenses are calculated, but you’re used to that now. Instead of basing license numbers on full-time and part-time equivalent employees, EES divides employees between education qualified users (formerly known as knowledge workers) and light users.

Education qualified users are typically teachers and administrators who are using the school’s hardware and need security, archiving, and on-premises backups. Light users might have a school-issued email address and access to the network, but are primarily using their own devices. This could include substitute teachers, adjunct professors, bus drivers, and cafeteria workers.

Luckily, these numbers can be easily adjusted throughout the year. While schools previously had to wait until their anniversary to true-up their license counts, the current program allows you to add licenses at any time, right when you need them. It also allows you to decrease license numbers at your anniversary date, rather than your contract renewal.

Which M365 Education program is right for you?

Although Microsoft offers a slew of services for educational organizations, it wants to make the process of purchasing and handling those services as simple as possible. Because of this, M365 A3 and A5, the new Microsoft Education Suites, will allow you to license your most commonly needed online applications enterprise-wide.

These bundles include the programs that educators depend on, including O365, Windows 10 Education, O365 Office Professional Plus, Enterprise Mobility Suite, and Minecraft for Education, as well as end-to-end protection and increased security. They also provide student use benefits, as well as on-premises rights to run unlimited installs of Exchange Server, Sharepoint Server, and Skype for Business Server.

Both M365 Education A3 and A5 will offer the same set of programs — the difference is that A5 comes equipped with advanced security analytics, heightened threat protection for cloud and on-premises servers, as well as Voice over IP (VoIP).

If VoIP is important to you, it’s probably best to go with A5, which comes equipped with everything you would need except headsets.

Get acquainted with Microsoft’s new education programs

Microsoft’s updated EES program can be hard to understand initially, but the program fits smoothly into the cloud-driven world that the industry is migrating toward.

The licenses come in four price ranges, with a higher discount for larger license volume. Since the measurements for licensing are new, make sure you reevaluate the number of licenses you need before making the switch. Consider how you might break down your new licenses, your cloud setup, security needs, and make sure to get all the appropriate internal approvals.

If you don’t know whether to update or switch licenses, or have questions about what new offerings are available to you, contact your SHI account executive.

Jessica Olson contributed to this post.