Windows 10 Enterprise License Comparison

Windows 10 may have been released in 2015, but its comprehensive nature, ever-growing offers, and numerous editions still have businesses evaluating which version is right for them. And then there is the process of understanding the licenses and how they work. The following provides a deep dive into the Windows 10 Enterprise licenses to help companies fully understand their Microsoft Enterprise Agreement, what they can expect, and the best purchase for their needs, while breaking down the costs of Windows 10 enterprise licenses.

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Windows 10 Enterprise

To fully understand the licenses associated with Windows 10 Enterprise, it is best to have a good grasp of Windows 10 Enterprise and how it is different from the other editions. At its core, Enterprise has the same features as Windows 10 Pro, with a functionality that is similar to the 8.1 Enterprise—Windows 10 does, though, do an excellent job of addressing all of the shortcomings that were associated with 8.1. It will also be essential for many organizations to make an upgrade to the new version due to the upcoming Windows 7 end of support deadline.

For IT-based organizations there are additional features in Enterprise that assist with operational needs—as the Microsoft website explains, Windows 10 Enterprise is for organizations with advanced security and management needs.

More specifically, the additional features that Enterprise offers include:

  • Windows Defender Credential Guard
  • Windows Defender Application Guard
  • Windows Defender Application Control
  • *Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection
  • Cloud Activations
  • Managed User Experience
  • AppLocker


Intelligent Security

  • *Endpoint Detection And Response
  • *Automatic Investigation And Remediation
  • *Security Posture
  • *Cross-Platform Extensibility And Integration
  • Credential Protection


Simplified Updates

  • Windows 10 LTSC Access
  • Ability to purchase Windows 10 Supplemental Servicing Access


Flexible Management

  • Hybrid Azure AD Join (Requires the purchase of Azure AD and Microsoft Intune)
  • Windows 10 Subscription Activation (Requires the purchase of Azure AD)
  • Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V)
  • Microsoft User Environment Virtualization (UE-V)
  • Windows Analytics Device Health

  *Available on Windows 10 Enterprise E5

The most significant difference between Pro and Enterprise is the fact that Enterprise offers DirectAccess. This means that remote employees can gain access to the company’s internal network through a set-up similar to that of VPN.

These additional features were built in to make Enterprise the best fit for medium and large businesses. It is, however, necessary for businesses to first install Windows 10 Pro and then purchase the Enterprise license as a subscription add-on. In other words, even if a business’ Enterprise subscription lapses, they will still be able to run Windows Pro.

Windows E3 Versus Windows E5

Once company leadership makes the decision to add-on the Enterprise subscription to their Windows 10 Pro setup, they must choose between two different Enterprise levels—E3 and E5. E3 and E5 come with many of the same features, which are all listed above. There are several key features, though, that are unique to E5. Most of them were noted above with the asterisk. The biggest differentiating factor is arguably the Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection that comes with E5. ATP uses machine learning and advanced behavioral analytics to detect attacks and uncover any breaches that happen on the organization’s network. The feature empowers the organization to efficiently and effectively contain cybersecurity attacks, as well as enabling them to prevent future security breaches from reoccurring.

It is these varying additional features, capabilities, and functionalities that create the price difference in the various levels of E3 and E5:

  • Windows 10 Enterprise E3: $7/user/month
  • Windows 10 Enterprise E3 (Virtual Desktop Access): $13.20/user/month
  • Windows 10 Enterprise E5: $11/user/month


Microsoft Enterprise Agreement

The Microsoft Enterprise Agreement is designed for organizations that have at least 500 users or devices that they need to include in their Windows 10 enrollment—for organizations in the public sector, the minimum is reduced to 250. This agreement provides these larger organizations with the best value and the most flexibility, allowing them to purchase software licenses and cloud services within a single agreement.

The agreement was designed to provide long-term, large customers with savings that make a difference. Businesses that can commit to license the cloud services and software for at least three years will find a 15% to 45% savings with the Enterprise Agreement. This agreement also provides the option of paying a lower initial cost by subscribing to use the Microsoft product, rather than owning it

There are two additional enrollments that companies can purchase when they sign up with Enterprise Agreement. The first is Enterprise Enrollment. This enrollment further reduces prices by simplifying the license management and enhancing the cloud and user licensing options when the agreement is used across the entire company. The second is Server and Cloud Enrollment, which will be discussed further below.

When breaking this agreement down, there are three main benefits in opting for it:

1. Streamlined Licensing

Instead of juggling multiple licenses, with Enterprise Agreement, businesses can cover the entire organization’s needs with a single agreement. This simplification extends by the fact that companies no longer have to count each and every device that is being used. Instead, they can choose the licensing model based on users. Additionally, organizations can have a clear picture of the long-term costs of their software and cloud services. Finally, any licensing changes that need to be made at any point in the agreement’s lifespan are made easy with the help of a Microsoft Certified Partner.

Part of this streamlining advantage is the Server and Cloud Enrollment option within the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement. This enrollment allows organizations to make a commitment to Microsoft servers and cloud technologies. It provides the best savings and a few additional benefits, including access to Microsoft Azure, application license mobility, and more.

2. Enhanced Flexibility

With how fast technology is evolving, organizations need software agreements that will enable them to keep up. Enterprise Agreement does just that. The agreement allows companies to have freedom of choice between on-premises software, Microsoft cloud services, or a mix of both—all of which can be migrated based on the business’ unique needs. The Agreement’s Software Assurance also enables companies to gain automatic access to the newest technologies and software.

3. Most Cost-Effective

The Enterprise Agreement provides organizations with the most significant discounts, as well as the best benefits. Companies can budget better for the future by locking in a price at the beginning of the agreement and paying lower up-front costs by spreading their payments over the three years of their agreement period. Software Assurance, which is included in the Enterprise Agreement, offers additional benefits, including:

  • 24/7 technical support
  • Online and in-person training options for end users and IT management
  • Planning services to assist with the deployment process
  • Access to additional technologies

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Microsoft Products And Services Agreement

This licensing agreement is built for organizations that do not have a single, non-expiring, organization-wide agreement, yet want to license Microsoft software for their 250 or more users or devices. The idea behind the agreement is the consolidation of Microsoft services, including Software Assurance, software, and cloud services.

This agreement is a replacement for Select Plus, which was the former agreement that customers could use to make volume licensing purchases. Select Plus has been retired for commercial business and is only available for qualifying organizations in the public sector.

However, the MPSA does offer additional features that were/are not available through Select Plus, including:

  • Online Services purchasing
  • Microsoft Online Services counting towards the price level
  • The ability to umbrella multiple active partners under a single account

Microsoft Open License Program

This licensing option is a cost-effective licensing route for small and medium businesses. The program still rewards volume purchasing, while being more flexible for the needs of smaller businesses. The biggest drawback of this program is that it enables organizations to gain access to the newest technology at their own pace.

Windows Virtual Desktop Access

Windows Virtual Desktop Access simplifies a virtual environment’s licensing requirements. In short, rather than licensing a virtual desktop itself, VDA licenses devices that request access to the virtual desktop.

This functionality gives organizations an option for how they want to deliver Windows Enterprise. All devices can be installed with the software locally, through Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, or with Windows To Go (A Windows 10 Enterprise feature that allows customers to boot the Windows workspace with a USB-connected external drive). These options enable customers to stop counting each device that is in use and count users instead, which opens up the possibility of the Bring Your Own Device policy.

However, with a BYOD policy, some of the workforces will want to use their own Android and Apple devices. The good news is that companies can still deploy Windows 10 Enterprise across the entire organization. Desktop virtualization is the easy way to accomplish this.

Comprehensive desktop virtualization can be completed successfully with Remote Desktop Services on Azure. It allows organizations to give their workforce access to Windows apps and data on any device. There are a number of benefits to choosing Azure’s RDS as a solution:

Scalability: Creating new desktops for users is faster and simpler with customizable quickstart templates.

Security: It can be difficult to gain physical access to each piece of hardware being used with a remote and mobile workforce. Fortunately, RDS allows a company’s IT team to monitor and defend every desktop instance.

Mobility: RDS enables the workforce to run Windows 10 on any device that they prefer and run it from any location.

Lower Cost: RDS enables BYOD, which lowers the hardware cost for businesses. Even devices that are not high performance can run the higher performance Windows applications. Additionally, the Windows licensing options allow organizations to license the number of users in their workforce, instead of the number of devices.

Reduce the Cost of your Microsoft Licenses

Are you paying too much for your Microsoft licenses, or not using all the features available? Are you taking advantage of all the benefits your Software Assurance enrollment offers? Is it time to renew your enterprise agreement and want to make sure you are getting the best offers possible? Agile IT has 15 gold competencies and is a four time Microsoft Cloud Partner of the Year. Schedule a call with our team to find out how you can save money and get the most from your licenses. Request a Quote

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