In my circles, there are number of people who are complaining about the lack of features in standard edition. While I do agree that Always Encrypted should be in every version, as lack of strong data encryption is a problem that continues to confound IT. Putting Always Encrypted in all editions would be a good start to having wide ISV adoption of the Always Encrypted feature.
However, even without Always Encrypted, Microsoft added a LOT of new features to Standard Edition. Let’s list them (no specific order here):
There’s a pretty good amount of value in upgrading, even if you’re living on Standard Edition.