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Many small businesses have been embracing digital solutions over the last 20 months, a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. These are not cloud converts, but SMBs working in a hybrid environment. Microsoft Teams has become a fundamental tool for many organizations, but licensing the service is expensive for smaller companies.

For these users, Microsoft Teams Essentials is now available. This is a new pricing tier of the popular workplace collaboration/communication app. According to the company, Essentials is not only the most affordable paid Teams subscription, it is the “most affordable all-in-one solution” currently available on the market.

Microsoft Teams Essentials costs $4 per user each month. In an announcement blog post, Microsoft points out the plan is not just for small businesses:

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“The need for affordable communications tools isn’t limited to traditional for-profit small businesses. Nonprofits, religious organizations, schools, and community groups also struggle to connect and collaborate effectively. These organizations and small businesses need to get up and running fast, and Teams Essentials makes it possible with no IT expertise necessary. Teams Essentials enables those with and without a Teams account to participate easily and effectively.”

Features

So, what do users get with Microsoft Teams Essentials? Well, all the features from the free Microsoft Teams are available, as you would expect, for example the Outlook Calendar. Then there are some Essentials-specific features such as 30 hours of extended meetings, hosting of up to 300 people during a group call.

Microsoft says it will add an integration with Google Calendar soon, while there is 10GB of cloud storage available (Teams free has 5GB). Microsoft also bundles in 24/7 customer support on web and phone.

Tip of the day: It’s a good idea to backup your computer on a regular basis, and the most fool-proof way is to manually create a disk image and save it to an external hard drive.

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