SharePoint Premium: What Is It?

April 19, 2024
5 min read

SharePoint is a powerful, flexible, and popular collaboration and content management platform that has been around for over 20 years. I’ve personally seen it go through many advancements in the nearly 20 years I have been working with it. I want to begin by briefly introducing SharePoint and discussing the lifecycle of SharePoint leading up to SharePoint Premium.

SharePoint allows organizations to collaborate on ideas, information, and documents using sites and secure file sharing options. SharePoint also provides the ability to create intranet websites, which enables collaboration within your organization by providing a structured document storage and management system containing advanced collaboration options including versioning, workflows, and forms.

SharePoint History

Microsoft began with SharePoint Server (2001) for on-premises SharePoint Server farm installations which has evolved to the current on-premises SharePoint Server edition: SharePoint Server Subscription Edition. However, as cloud-based software and services became more popular Microsoft introduced SharePoint Online which is a SaaS (Software as a Service) version of SharePoint that is hosted and maintained in world-wide Microsoft data centers.

Microsoft later introduced SharePoint Advanced Management (SAM) as a Microsoft 365 add-on that included a suite of enhanced SharePoint and OneDrive management and governance features. The primary advanced features SAM provides include:

  • Improved collaboration content security features
    • Restrict SharePoint site and OneDrive access using RAC (Restricted Access Control)
    • Governance reports on data access to SharePoint sites
    • Conditional Access policies for SharePoint and OneDrive
    • Secure document libraries using sensitivity labels
  • Advanced data lifecycle management
    • Create blocked file download policies for SharePoint sites and OneDrive
    • Implement Inactive site lifecycle management policies
    • Monitor site history of changes and tasks performed by site owners

SAM is available for purchase as an add-on, but also requires a license per-user in a SharePoint K, P1, or P2 M365 subscription plan.

Microsoft Syntex

The additional functionality and features found in SAM are based on Microsoft Syntex. Syntex is a compliance service that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to automate the search, organization, and classification of documents in SharePoint, OneDrive, Microsoft Teams, and Exchange. Syntex also extracts, analyzes, and categorizes the information contained in your documents reducing the need to click and sort through thousands of files to gather meaningful information necessary to make confident business decisions.

SharePoint Premium

Image of a city with the words SharePoint Premium, taken from a video posted in a blog post by Jeff Teper announcing SharePoint Premium. Image owned by Microsoft.

Jeff Teper announced SharePoint Premium in this blog post in November 2023. SharePoint Premium is an advanced version of SharePoint that combines AI, machine learning, automation, and advanced security measures. SharePoint Premium is the next generation of Syntex which also includes SharePoint Advanced Management features we explored previously. SharePoint Premium is designed for organizations needing advanced content management features and functionality, and it provides the following functionality:

  • Advanced security and management capabilities beyond the standard SharePoint offerings
  • Content governance including
    • eSignature – digitizes approval workflows, 3rd-party integration with Adobe and DocuSign
    • Content assembly – content from several sources into a single document
    • Image and taxonomy tagging
    • Document and video (Stream in SharePoint) translation to several native languages

Note: Translation for files and videos is offered as a pay-as-you-go service

  • Enhanced content experiences
    • AI rules engine – automates processes and decision-making using predefined rules
    • Built-in OCR (Optical Character Recognition) can be extracted to a document
  • Redaction and PII detection – automatically identifies and censors sensitive information including Personally Identifiable Information (PII)

Integrated file viewer with support of over 400 file types, with the option to add comments, mentions, tasks, and more to all of these file types

SharePoint Premium will also include two additional options that can be used to protect your data while managing and minimizing your storage costs.

  • Microsoft 365 Archive – move out-of-date content to M365 archive storage while preserving versions, metadata, retention policies, and security. Content is still searchable for admins so they can continue performing eDiscovery and record disposal actions, and if necessary can quickly return content from the archive to production sites. This is more cost effective being the cost for archive storage is significantly less than M365 storage and you only pay for storage over and above your allocated M365 storage.
  • Microsoft 365 Backup – It is essential to protect your data from ransomware and other cyber security attacks. Microsoft backup provides the capability to perform backups to locations inside of the Microsoft boundaries while maintaining its original format, encryption, and security. The testing process for backups using Microsoft Backup are showing more than 20 times faster than traditional backups. Microsoft Backup provides granular capabilities:
    • Backup all or select SharePoint sites, OneDrive accounts, or Exchange mailboxes
    • Restore SharePoint sites, OneDrive accounts, and mailboxes to a prior point in time

Search or filter backed up content using essential metadata including site names, owners, create/modify dates, subjects, and event types while specifying date ranges of data you want restored

SharePoint Premium Availability

Some of the SharePoint Premium features are already available, with all new capabilities expected to be in GA (General Availability) in 2024. Services currently available within Syntex will also be moved to SharePoint Premium in 2024.

There are two licensing models available for SharePoint Premium

  • Content processing including document processing, PII detection, eSignatures, content assembly, translation, and image processing will be available in most M365 subscription plans on a pay-as-you-go basis
  • New capabilities including enhanced file viewer, Documents Hub, and SAM will be available as an add-on with a per-user licensing model in the Microsoft 365 subscription plans

Both Microsoft 365 Archive and Microsoft 365 Backup are already available in the M365 paid preview plans. Microsoft 365 Backup utilizes the pay-as-you go method and Microsoft 365 Archive cost is based on the storage used. They are both expected to be GA by the middle of 2024.

SharePoint Premium is expected to go to broad availability in the first half of 2024. The SharePoint Premium features can be Pay-as-you-go services or per-user licenses services that can be used independently or combined to meet your organization’s business needs.

This page has details about how to get started with SharePoint Premium. It also has a bunch of links to SharePoint Premium stuff from the Ignite 2023 conference.



Brian Alderman

Brian Alderman

Brian Alderman is a former Microsoft MVP, and has his Master's in Computer Information Systems. Since 1995, he has held several Microsoft certifications that currently include; MCT, MCSE for SharePoint, MCSA for Office 365, MCITP for SQL Server(R), MCSA and MCSE for Windows Server(R), and also his PMP certification. As a Senior Technical Instructor and Consultant, he has 30 years of experience in networking, SQL Server databases, SharePoint technologies, and project management. Brian's publications include Windows 2000 Professional, SQL Server 2000 Administration, SharePoint 2010 Administrator's Companion, and Microsoft SharePoint 2013 Administration Inside Out. He is an active speaker at SharePoint Industry conferences including SharePoint Saturday's, SPLive, DevIntersection, SharePoint Fest, Microsoft Ignite, and several international SharePoint conferences including London, Milan, and Madrid.