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M365 Shared Accounts

Microsoft 365 licencing with shared accounts

Microsoft 365 is a cloud-based suite of productivity and collaboration tools that is one of the most widely used business tools around the world. It includes a wide range of services and applications such as the Office 365 apps Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, as well as Exchange, SharePoint, Teams, Yammer, and more. 

There is a range of Microsoft 365 subscriptions available to businesses and it is important to know how to best approach having multiple users to get the most out of this robust productivity tool. 

m365 license

Introduction to Microsoft 365 licensing

Microsoft 365 provides organisations with a comprehensive suite of services and applications. To access these services and applications, organisations need to choose a Microsoft 365 subscription. The apps and services you receive are dependent on which plan you choose, such as Microsoft 365 Apps for Business or Microsoft 365 Business Standard.

When you purchase a subscription, you specify the number of licenses you want, based on the number of people in your company. Then, you create accounts for the people in your company and assign a license. As your company’s needs change, you can buy additional licenses or reassign them to other users when someone leaves your company.

You can install Microsoft 365 on up to five PCs or Macs, five tablets, and five mobile devices with all of the following subscriptions:

  • Microsoft 365 Apps for business
  • Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise
  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium
  • Microsoft 365 A3
  • Microsoft 365 A5
  • Microsoft 365 E3
  • Microsoft 365 E5
  • Office 365 A1 Plus
  • Office 365 A3
  • Office 365 A5
  • Office 365 E3
  • Office 365 E5

What is a Microsoft 365 account?

Once a license is assigned to a user, they are given an account email address and password that is used for logging onto Outlook, Office 365, OneDrive, Skype, and Windows. Each user can log into Microsoft 365 from different devices as set out by the terms of the subscription plan. 

Some businesses choose to share accounts with more than one user to reduce the number of licenses needed. A shared account is simply multiple users sharing the same email address and password to log into applications and services. For example, a shared account may be decided on for a receptionist role or maintenance staff. These users share the same email address and log-on details. 

While shared accounts allow organisations to reduce costs by sharing a single license among multiple users, it is not best practice for a number of reasons:

Poor security: More than one user having the login credentials to the same account is a security incident waiting to happen. Credentials can be lost or stolen more easily, poor security awareness can mean one user is more vulnerable to creating a security breach, and so on. It is also much harder to maintain access control with multi-factor authentication if multiple users have access to the same account. 

Not compliant with licensing: Microsoft is very clear in their licensing agreement that each user who accesses online services must be assigned a user subscription license. The only exception is resource mailboxes, room mailboxes, and shared mailboxes, which don’t need licenses to be assigned except when they are over their storage quota of 50 gigabytes (GB).

Get expert Microsoft 365 support from the experts

Microsoft 365 is the productivity and collaboration platform everyone is talking about in the business world. Whether your business has a large or small team, working in one space or remotely around the world, Microsoft 365 ensures seamless efficiency and productivity. The Microsoft 365 consultants at INTELLIWORX can help your business choose the right subscription and manage user accounts to ensure you get the best from your investment.

Shane Maher

We passionately work on the IT Infrastructure of mid-tier businesses and support MSPs into cloud services. I have over 17 years of commercial experience that includes supporting and managing IT systems, developing infrastructure solutions, both onsite & in the cloud.

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