Microsoft offers a new Microsoft Teams subscription (sku) aimed to small businesses. It is called Teams Essentials and it is a standalone subscription to enable small businesses for core Teams capabilities.

Source: https://pixabay.com/de/illustrations/lernen-hinweis-schule-betreff-3245793/
Source: https://pixabay.com/de/illustrations/lernen-hinweis-schule-betreff-3245793/

What’s Microsoft Teams Essentials?

It provides Microsoft Teams for small businesses, a online meeting and collaboration platform for a small budget. As mentioned by Microsoft [subject to change anytime] Team Essentials costs $4 USD per person per month.

Team Essentials provides, based on the announcement’s article:

  • Unlimited group meetings for up to 30 hours
  • Meetings with up to 300 people
  • 10 GB of cloud storage per user

For more details and a comparison table for Team features depending on available subscriptions you can go to Teams Essentials QuickStart guide for small businesses – Microsoft Teams | Microsoft Docs.

What’s interesting to note here is that there is a difference if you directly subscribe to Teams Essentials versus if you subscribe to the service via Microsoft Cloud Service Provider (CSP) / Partner, as far as I understood. Via a CSP you can subscribe Teams Essentials (AAD Identity) which includes a few more (minor) features like “2GB Exchange mailbox and no archiving, allowing users to sync with third party email providers”. For the full set of Teams features you need to have at least Microsoft 365 Business Basic. The difference here is $1 USD [subject to change anytime].

By subscribing Teams Essentials you do not have access to the Teams Admin Center (TAC) as an administrator, you cannot manage Teams using PowerShell and OneDrive is used to store data. More information on the specification and limitations can be found in the documentation page Limits and specifications for Microsoft Teams – Microsoft Teams | Microsoft Docs.

Conclusion, opinion and summary

Microsoft Team Essentials is a basic package for modern collaboration and meetings. It’s not more than that, in my opinion. There are no advanced security features, like conditional access or else. You might enable Azure AD security defaults to enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) if it is not on by default but that’s it. You cannot really manage Teams via TAC or PowerShell. Teams Essentials is a straightforward collaboration subscription offering basic modern collaboration features for a low budget for small companies which need a basic tool for basic and professional collaboration. Furthermore you should not subscribe to it directly because if you do so you have fewer features as if you procure it via a CSP.

Additional resources