Service Update: Microsoft 365 Fees Increase on January 1, 2023

Cumulus Global 15 Years of ServiceService Update: Microsoft 365 Fees Increase on January 1, 2023.

As previously announced by Microsoft, Microsoft 365 Fees Increase on January 1, 2023.  In addition to increased fees for specific licenses, Microsoft is changing the structure of annual agreements and adding a 20% surcharge for month-to-month licensing.

Why Now?

Microsoft has been working towards these changes for more than a year. They company pushed back the deadline several times as the change coincided with major changes to Microsoft’s partner program. Microsoft has notified customers and partners that all subscriptions will be on the new pricing as of January 1, 2023.

For our customers, Cumulus Global has delayed the impact and fee increases for as long as possible.  We are communicating with our customers individually to address the final deadline.

New Terms and Conditions

With the pricing changes, Microsoft is also changing some of the terms and conditions for the services.  Historically, Microsoft has not enforced commitments on annual agreements; customer were free to change user counts and even cancel without penalty. Going forward, Microsoft will enforce annual subscriptions and terms as firm commitments. Customers may change or cancel within three (3) days of starting an annual term. Customer commit to the number of licenses for the full year. Microsoft is offering a three year commitment option as well, which secures pricing for that period.

If you need or want the flexibility of increasing and decreasing user counts at any time, you will need to opt for month-to-month licenses.  Monthly licensing lacks the commitment but includes a 20% surcharge over fees for an annual commitment.

License Pricing Changes

The following are the fee changes for annual licensing. All fees are listed as per user per month.

  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic
    • Annual: From $5 to $6
    • Monthly: $7.20
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium
    • Annual: From $20 to $22
    • Monthly:  $26.40
  • Office 365 E1
    • Annual: From $8 to $10
    • Monthly: $12
  • Office 365 E3
    • Annual: From $20 to $23
    • Monthly: $27.6
  • Office 365 E5
    • Annual: From $35 to $38
    • Monthly: $45.60
  • Microsoft 365 E3
    • Annual: From $32 to $36
    • Monthly: $43.20

All other Microsoft 365 and Office 365 license fees remain this same with an annual commitment; monthly fees will reflect the 20% surcharge.

Next Steps

Our team is contacting each our customers impacted by the pricing to discuss their options and plan their services going forward.

As we are here to assist any small business with their cloud services, feel free to contact us by email, via our website, or by scheduling time directly with one of our Cloud Advisors to discuss your options and path forward.

Service Update: Archived User License Fees Begin in January

Cumulus Global 15 Years of ServiceService Update: Archived User License Fees Begin on January 23, 2023.

As previously announced by Google and covered in our blog, Google has discontinued the Vault Former Employee (VFE) service.  All Google Workspace customers had there VFE licenses converted to a trial of the Archived User License (AUL) service.

The free trial of the AUL service ends on January 15, 2023.  Archived User License fees begin on January 16, 2023.

Archived User License (AUL) Fees

All customers with active AUL accounts will be invoiced in accordance with their Google Workspace License:

  • $4/user/month – Google Workspace Business AUL
  • $5/user/month – Google Workspace Enterprise Standard AUL
  • $7/user/month – Google Workspace Enterprise Standard AUL

Available Options

In addition to keeping your AUL subscription and paying the above fees, you have the option to:

  • Discontinue the AUL subcription
    • Removing the service will permanently remove all archived data.
    • Deleted archived data cannot be restored or recovered.
  • Export the Data prior to discontinuing the AUL service
    • This provides you with a static copy of existing data in your AUL accounts.
    • Data in your AUL accounts are permanently deleted when you discontinue the subscription.
  • Migrate to a third party archive solution prior to discontinuing the AUL service
    • Your archive of past Google Workspace user accounts is preserved using a third party archive solutions, prior to ending your AUL subscription.
    • The annual fees to retain the archived accounts is significantly lower than AUL licensing.
    • You will incur migration fees to move your data.
    • Data in your AUL accounts are permanently deleted when you discontinue the subscription.

Next Steps

Organizations with Archived User Licenses should contact us as soon as possible by email, via our website, or by scheduling time directly with one of our Cloud Advisors to discuss your options and path forward.

Service Update: Vault Former Employee End of Life – Aug. 15, 2022

Cumulus Global 15 Years of ServiceService Update: Vault Former Employee End of Life: VFE Licenses will no longer be available as of January 15, 2023.

As previously announced by Google, free Vault Former Employee (VFE) licenses will no longer be available as of January 15, 2023. To maintain data for past employees, these licenses will transition to Archive User Licenses with compatible Google Workspace subscriptions.  This transition impacts fees beginning in January 2023.


With the launch of Google Workspace, VFE license were replaced by Archive User Licenses.  Existing VFE customers with free licenses were grandfathered.  Google’s original plan to phase our VFE licenses by the end of January 2021 were delayed.  Google recently announced a definitive timeline.  Cumulus Global has also sent informational emails to all of our clients with VFE licenses.

To prevent a loss of data, you should plan your transition to Google Workspace Archive User Licensing (AUL).  Note that AUL is a paid service running with monthly per user fees of $4 to $7.


If you take no action, you will either:

  1. Lose access to the VFE accounts and data; or
  2. Transition from a free service to the paid AUL service.

Archive User Licenses are not available with G Suite. Therefore, you must transition to Google Workspace to use AULs. 

The cost of AULs varies based on your Google Workspace subscription:

  • Google Workspace Business
    • Plus: $4/user/month
  • Google Workspace Enterprise
    • Standard: $5/user/month
    • Plus: $7/user/month

Note that AULs are NOT available with other Google Workspace licenses.

Action Plan

We will help you with the following steps:

  1. Decide if you need (or want) to continue keeping accounts for past employees.  If so, for how long will you keep the data and how many accounts do you need to license?
    1. Remove accounts no longer needed
    2. Export accounts to preserve data, as appropriate
  2. Assess your current G Suite or Google Workspace subscription for licensing and compatibility
    1. Plan your transition to Google Workspace if you are currently on G Suite Basic, Business, or Enterprise
    2. If you are on Google Workspace, determine if you need to upgrade licenses for AUL compatibility
    3. Confirm that your VFE licenses are now a free trial of Archive User Licenses and the trial end date
    4. Understand the impact on your monthly or annual costs
    5. Determine if you are eligible for transition incentive discounts
  3. Transition, as needed, to Google Workspace before your AUL Trial End Date.

Financial Impact

  • In addition to the per user fees for the Archive User Licenses themselves, you may need to upgrade your Google Workspace subscription to ensure access to AUL services.
  • For existing customers, Cumulus Global will begin invoicing for Archive User Licenses in January.  For those on an annual agreement, the fees will be prorated accordingly.

Please contact us by email, via our website, or by scheduling time directly with one of our Cloud advisors, with any questions or concerns regarding this Service Update covering Vault Former Employee end of life.

COVID-19 Survey: Revenue Losses and Diminishing Cash Reserves

In a national survey of more than 2400 businesses conducted and published by American City Business Journals finds that small and midsize businesses are seeing severe impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Impacts: Profits, Revenue, Cash, and Survivability

About 69% of respondents have seen revenue decline since the major onset of COVID-19 in March 2020.  Of those seeing revenue decline, close to half see revenue falling by 50% or more year over year.

Additionally, 47% indicate that they have not been profitable and nearly one third report being cash flow negative over the first six months of the pandemic. About 70% of those losing money are losing more than $10,000 per month and 64% will run out of funds within the five months.

About 40% of respondents raised cash through loans or equity investments since March 1, with 91% of these businesses receiving loans from a federal stimulus program, such as the Paycheck Protection Program. These funds were predominantly used to cover payroll and operating expenses as opposed to funding investment or growth.

Change in Focus

With the stark financial impacts, most smaller businesses are changing their focus. Rather than looking forward one to three years, most SMBs are focuses on the current and next quarter. The shift from strategic to tactical is a direct response to the many unknowns of the pandemic, the near-term economy, business sector and market impacts, and government recovery and stimulus plans.

The near-term focus makes sense as we look to minimize costs, conserve cash, and ensure profits and our sustainability.

Where IT Services Can Help

Leveraging the right IT services can help you prepare and react to changes as you navigate the on-going unknowns.  Here are 5 ideas to consider.

Audit your IT services for redundant services.
  • Most businesses find they are paying for multiple services with redundant or overlapping capabilities.
  • In many instances, we see businesses paying for third party services that are available for no additional cost in their productivity suites.
  • Eliminating duplication will require some change of habits, but can dramatically reduce on-going IT costs.
Audit your communication tools.
  • Are you paying for, and not using your available communication tools?
  • Chat, video, and collaboration tools are standard in Microsoft 365 and G Suite, and can reduce or eliminate the need for expensive voice, teleconference, video conference, and online meeting solutions.
  • A modest investment in training/education can help minimize communication costs.
Replace file servers with file services.
  • Most businesses using Microsoft 365 or G Suite are storing files in these systems; these same businesses still run on-premise or hosted file servers.
  • OneDrive, SharePoint, My Drive, and Shared Drives make it easy to save, share, and manage files.  The OneDrive and Drive File Stream clients connect your end user applications to your cloud file services.
  • Moving files from servers to cloud services eliminates the need for physical services, monthly MSP monitoring fees, backup/recovery costs, anti-virus costs, and more.
  • If your staff need to access your on-premise services remotely, you may also be able to reduce or eliminate expenses related to VPN and other remote access services.
  • While you will still want and need to protect cloud-resident files, your cost to store, share, and manage files will be lower.
Move applications and systems from on-premise to cloud
  • You can lower you monthly operating costs and give you the ability to scale your resources and costs up and down as needed on a monthly basis.
  • Make it easier to reduce your physical footprint for potential savings on rent and utilities.
  • Scale your services up and down as needed to avoid unnecessary costs and capital expenditures.
Execute a service and data governance strategy
  • Scale services up and down as needed to manage costs
  • Ensure data is secure, managed, and protected
  • Leverage data archiving services to minimize active account costs

To explore your options and best next moves, contact us for a complimentary Cloud Advisor session.