The difference between Microsoft Azure and Office 365 - Cloud Business (2024)

For many businesses, Microsoft products and services are integral to the smooth running of IT systems. Microsoft has been a reliable provider of software and solutions for decades, with many sectors still picking them over Apple or new competitors.

Microsoft, along with the rest of the technology sector over the last couple of decades has been moving core services into the cloud.

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Microsoft Azureis another enterprise cloud platform, with a much wider range of capabilities. UnlikeMicrosoft 365, which is a software as a service (SaaS) product, Azure has infrastructure as a service(IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) components. To understand the difference between Microsoft Azure and Microsoft 365 we need to understand what each of these cloud platform terms mean.

Cloud Platforms: SaaS, IaaS and PaaS explained

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Even if your company doesn’t use Microsoft 365, you will almost certainly have several SaaS subscriptions. From finance software to customer relationship management (CRM) systems, SaaS solutions are everywhere.

Instead of downloading software (applications), or uploading it from a disk, you can pay a monthly subscription – often depending on the number of users that need access – to use a piece of software. The majority of SaaS products are cloud-based, which means users can login anywhere in the world, on any device.

Microsoft 365 is designed to be as convenient and powerful as possible, with the full suite of services that includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access. Businesses can either pay monthly or annually, and part of the convenience of SaaS products is they’re not tied to a particular device. You can use Office365 on Apple Macs or other devices; you don’t need to have PCs to run the software.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

IaaS is a little more complex. With Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), companies can scale-up and down computing powers without needing to invest in hardware and servers. IaaS gives companies an almost instant computing infrastructure, such as data centres, security applications and servers, managed over the Internet.

Instead of managing all of this themselves, companies can pay Microsoft a monthly subscription for Azure, creating and deploying as much or as little cloud computing power as needed. From web hosting to solving big data challenges to providing storage, backup and security solutions, IaaS is an integral part of many companies IT infrastructure.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Platform as a Service (PaaS) environments makes it possible to run SaaS solutions, such as Microsoft 365. Developers can manage the infrastructure, with the advantage that this secure environment gives companies more control over operating systems, software and the way you can configure software for the unique needs of your business. Everything is managed in the cloud, giving you the flexibility to scale solutions up and down as required.

Depending on what your business needs, Microsoft Azure is PaaS and IaaS. Azure includes Compute, Data Services, App Services, Networking and Store services. Companies can create and configure everything they would need in a secure cloud environment, which is something a dedicated IT partner can help with. Designing flexible, scalable, cloud solutions within a cloud platform gives businesses a great deal more control and computing power than many could access when these systems and platforms were on-site.

As you can see it’s not a question of either using Azure or 365, they both do very different things. But combined these cloud platforms can provide most businesses with the IT infrastructure, development framework and software they need for business operations.

Migrating your IT infrastructure and applications to the cloud makes good business sense. Instead of being tied to legacy hardware and systems that are often inflexible and costly to maintain, cloud platforms give businesses scalable solutions that flex with their business’ requirements.

What would your workloads look like in the cloud?

In the video below, Gary Duke explains how a Cloud Economics Assessment can help you understand what your assets will look like in the cloud and how much it would cost.

If you are thinking about migrating to Microsoft 365, our Microsoft Cloud Assessment service will help. This 2 day service explores your cloud readiness, aligns digital transformation with business outcomes, and provides you with a roadmap for transitioning to Microsoft (Office) 365. Sessions are tailored to your organisation, IT infrastructure and objectives. We also run this service for organisations interested in Microsoft Azure. Further details can be found here >

The difference between Microsoft Azure and Office 365 - Cloud Business (2024)


The difference between Microsoft Azure and Office 365 - Cloud Business? ›

Microsoft Azure is another enterprise cloud platform, with a much wider range of capabilities. Unlike Microsoft 365, which is a software as a service (SaaS) product, Azure has infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) components.

What is the difference between Office 365 and Azure? ›

In summary, Azure is a cloud computing platform for businesses with more complex needs, while Microsoft 365 is a suite of productivity and collaboration tools for businesses of all sizes. Whether you choose Azure or Microsoft 365, partnering with a Microsoft expert like ACUTEC can help ensure your success.

What is the difference between Microsoft cloud and Azure? ›

So, what's the difference between the cloud and Azure? The cloud is a network of remote servers that are accessed over the internet, while Azure is a specific brand of cloud computing platform that helps organizations build, deploy, and manage applications and services.

What is the difference between Microsoft 365 and business 365? ›

You see, each Office 365 for Home subscription is managed by a single user, while the Business subscription is owned by an organization. This allows the company to assign administrator roles to more than a single user within the organization.

Does Office 365 Business Standard include Azure AD? ›

Azure AD is included with any Microsoft 365 subscription. It's the backbone your web identity.

Is Azure separate from Office 365? ›

Don't go directly to to sign up because you'll get a trial or paid subscription to Microsoft Azure that is separate from your free Microsoft Entra subscription with Microsoft 365.

Do I need Azure for Office 365? ›

While Azure can be a standalone subscription, it is a part of an Office 365 subscription. In other words, if you have a paid Office 365 subscription, you are using Azure services. Office 365 users are using the Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) services to manage identities.

Why is Microsoft cloud called Azure? ›

Solution. Lexicon developed the name Azure, which signaled a new attitude for Microsoft and suggested the open-ended and flexible nature of the platform. Azure, the color of the sky, further generated appropriate and striking visual associations for a cloud-based platform.

Why is Azure cloud better? ›

Azure facilitates easy mobility and a reliable consistent platform between on-premise and public Cloud. Azure provides a broader range of hybrid connections including virtual private networks (VPNs), caches, content delivery networks (CDNs), and ExpressRoute connections to improve usability and performance.

Is Microsoft cloud called Azure? ›

Microsoft Azure, formerly known as Windows Azure, is Microsoft's public cloud computing platform. It provides a broad range of cloud services, including compute, analytics, storage and networking.

What is Office 365 business called now? ›

Office 365 Business becomes Microsoft 365 Apps for business. Office 365 ProPlus becomes Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise.

Why choose Office 365 for business? ›

What is the advantage of Microsoft Office 365? Microsoft 365 is used for productivity and collaboration. The advantage of Microsoft 365 lies in its ability to offer businesses world-class security, advanced Microsoft cloud services, device management and a seamless, connected experience for their employees.

What is Microsoft Office 365 business? ›

Microsoft 365 is the productivity cloud designed to help you pursue your passion and run your business. More than just apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Microsoft 365 brings together best-in-class productivity apps with powerful cloud services, device management, and advanced security in one, connected experience.

What version of Azure AD comes with Office 365? ›

Microsoft Entra ID P1 (formerly Azure Active Directory P1) is available as a standalone or included with Microsoft 365 E3 for enterprise customers and Microsoft 365 Business Premium for small to medium businesses, including versions of these suites that do not include Microsoft Teams.

How do I add Office 365 to my Azure subscription? ›

To add an Azure subscription with the same organization and Microsoft Entra tenant as your Microsoft 365 subscription: Sign in to the Azure portal ( with your Microsoft 365 Microsoft Entra DC admin, or Global admin account. In the left navigation, click Subscriptions, and then click Add.

Is Microsoft Azure AD free? ›

Azure AD, now known as Microsoft Entra ID, has a free edition that provides user and group management, on-premises directory synchronization, basic reports, self-service password change for cloud users, and single sign-on across Azure, Microsoft 365, and many popular SaaS apps.

What is Microsoft Azure used for? ›

What is Azure? At its core, Azure is a public cloud computing platform—with solutions including Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS) that can be used for services such as analytics, virtual computing, storage, networking, and much more.

What is Microsoft Azure in simple terms? ›

The Azure cloud platform is more than 200 products and cloud services designed to help you bring new solutions to life—to solve today's challenges and create the future. Build, run, and manage applications across multiple clouds, on-premises, and at the edge, with the tools and frameworks of your choice.

What is the difference between Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop? ›

Azure Virtual Desktop supports all current versions of Windows, including Windows 10 Enterprise (single session), EVD (multi-session) and Server 2012/2016/2019. Windows 365 cloud PCs only support Windows 10 Enterprise (single session) since they are dedicated, non-multi-user desktops.

What is the difference between Microsoft Azure and Microsoft OneDrive? ›

OneDrive is a lightweight online storage with a free tier of services suitable for home use. Azure Storage is a much more durable solution with a hierarchy of service tiers.

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