What is Microsoft’s Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS)?

What is Microsoft’s Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS)?

First and foremost, it’s a new licensing bundle of products from Microsoft. It can be hard to understand considering it is a bundle of bundles. Moving to the cloud from a traditional licensing plan can be confusing. We hope this brief overview gives you the highlights of this new option. We will look at what is in the ECS Suite, how it is the same, and how it is different than today’s enterprise desktop license model.  



Here are the four components of the ECS Suite:





What are the benefits of the ECS Suite?

  • Simpler – One sku is licensed by user that includes the most popular cloud offerings.
  • Discounting – Microsoft puts a compelling discount onto the bundle versus purchasing the individual pieces.
  • Licensed by userWith the average employee using more devices for business like tablets, mobile phones, and even home PCs, licensing by user makes sense for most scenarios.  
  • Ability to decrease license count – In the crazy world of mergers and acquisitions, it is important for some organizations to be able to decrease their licensing headcount as their business changes.  Most ECS licensed agreements are able to have their quantity decreased “true down” on the anniversary of the agreement down to a minimum of 250 users.
  • Like all Microsoft agreements, customers have the ability to add licensing at any time.


In today’s model you have your CAL suite, plus Office and Windows.

(left side of graphic)





Tomorrow’s ECS plan encompasses the same items on the left now delivered in a cloud / user model with enhanced functionality.



E3 Suite:

The E3 is the core offering for Office 365 from Microsoft for Enterprises.  It encompasses a ton of Microsoft technology including:

  • Office Pro Plus – A full version of Office (currently 2013) installable locally and accessible offline and can be installed on up to 5 PC/ Macs per person. Exchange Plan 2 – 50GB inbox, unlimited archiving, legal hold, data loss prevention, voicemail, spam filtering, virus filtering, and more.
    • Mobile and Tablet Office
    • Office Web Applications
  • SharePoint Plan 2 – Full functionality of SharePoint in the cloud including forms, data visualization, Applications, Web parts, compliance, and more.
  • Skype for Business Plan 2 – Includes unlimited audio, video, and web conferencing in addition to instant messaging and presence for your organization.
  • OneDrive for Business – One TB of storage per user for file syncing.
  • Yammer – Social collaboration for business.
  • Office Video – Video channel for within the company.
  • Digital rights management – Protect files from unwanted and unauthorized access.
  • Outboard email encryption – Protect critical emails.
  • Delve – Social graph proactive search engine.

Click here for more information.



Enterprise Mobility Suite:

EMS is a complete suite of security management tools that protect your environment. The features included in this are: 

  • Azure AD Premium - Single-sign on to 2500+ SAAS apps, multifactor authentication, self-service password reset, group management, and security reporting.
  • Advanced Threat Analytics - Provides a simple and fast way to understand what is happening within your network by identifying suspicious user and device activity with built-in intelligence and providing clear and relevant threat information on a simple attack timeline.
  • Intune – PC management, mobile device management, and full System Center Configuration Manager functionality.
  • Azure Right Management - Digital rights management protects files from unwanted and unauthorized access including on premise file servers.

Click here for more information.



Windows Desktop Upgrade – by user:



Microsoft has offered Windows Desktop as part of the Enterprise Agreement for years.  Windows 10 is a compelling reason to own ECS.  The other reason is that this Windows Upgrade is licensed by user.  So, your users can access the new Windows 10 software from up to five of their Windows based devices. 





The other major benefit is Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) rights.  Previously, Windows licensed by device required a license for any device which was accessing a VDI environment.  This meant trying to keep track of all devices that were being used for VDI – including home machines and personally owned devices like cell phones and tablets.  Now, with per user license – the VDI headaches simply go away.  Plus, you still get the enhanced functionality of MDOP and the Enterprise Version of Windows. 

Click here for more information.


Windows CAL & System Center rights:

One frequently overlooked advantage of ECS is that the user also gets access to several other Microsoft technologies as part of the bundle.

  • Windows Client Access License (CAL) – This is the license to access an unlimited number of Windows based servers in the on premise environment.
  • System Center Configuration Manager – Included as a licensing right for Windows Intune.
  • Endpoint Protection – Antivirus client from Microsoft which is controlled by System Center Configuration Manager.

Click here for more information.


How is it licensed?


ECS is for organizations that are 250 people or more and is available via the Enterprise Agreement or the Enterprise SubscriptionEnrollment.  Here are the major variants: 

  • As a new full User Subscription License (USL) – Customers can purchase ECS as a sku without having owned anything previously. 
  • As a “from SA” USL – Customers who own the legacy components of the licensing stack (Office, CAL Suite, and Windows SA) receive a discount for their currently owned licensing.
  • As an “add on” – Clients who are still covered by an Enterprise Agreement (EA) have the ability to add on the ECS functionality by adding a highly discounted ECS sku.  The sku basically adds the functionality and cloud infrastructure on top of the existing licensing agreement.




We can help!



In short, ECS is a simpler way to license for organizations by allowing them to license the actual number of users instead of the number of devices, taking the headache out of counting all the different machines a user engages with. If you would like to learn more about the ECS license model and the components that make it up you can contact us here or at 800-900-1150. We are happy to customize advice and education based on your needs.

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