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Deploy Office 365 ProPlus to Remote Workers


Distributing Office 365 to remote workers has become a challenge for IT admins ever since the pandemic has hit the entire globe. IT admins face the continuous challenge of deploying Office 365 to remote workers without exceeding the limit of the company’s VPN connections. However, with the tactical approach and strategic methods, IT admins can get a sigh of relief in releasing the VPN traffic by content distribution to the Microsoft Content Delivery Network. There are various strategic solutions to deploy Office 365 to remote workers without saturating the company’s VPN connections such as Intune and Windows Autopilot. However, they are extensive processes, and to save you time, we bring you easy-to-do steps to resolve this problem.

Steps for Office 365 Deployment:

Manage Deployment Package: In order to let remote workers use their local internet connection to access the source file, the source file needs to be removed from the Configuration Manager application. To do so, open the Configuration Manager application, go to the folder that has your software sources, select the “office” folder, and delete it.

steps to manage Deployment Package
Screenshot showcasing steps to manage Deployment Package

The above screenshot showcases the deployment package that includes 11 Language packs, striking the size up to 6+ gigabytes. You must keep the setup.exe along with other configuration files located in the folder. This decreases the size of the deployment package to less than 10 megabytes. It saves on the VPN connections to a great extent.

Note: Use a built-in wizard if you do not have an Office 365 installation package. To adjust the handling of languages, incorporate MatchOS or MatchPreviousMSI. Once the setup is done, go through the steps mentioned above to deploy Office 365.

  1. Revise Content Sources: In the case of the syncing of application and distribution points, there must be a larger package cached. You must sync a smaller deployment package to devices. To do so, go to Software Library then select Application Management. After that, click Applications and select your application. Switch to the Deployment Types tab then right-click the appropriate entry, and choose Update Content.
Steps for Updating Content Sources
Steps for Updating Content Sources

This step will help re-sync any changes to the Distribution Points. Therefore, the smaller deployment package gets ready to sync to devices.

  1. Check VPN Configuration and Deploy: Once the setting has been changed to the smaller deployment package through Configuration Manager, the installation starts of Office 365. The source files are directly downloaded from the Microsoft CDN.

The point that needs to be emphasized here is that you must ensure that your devices are able to reach out to those endpoints directly and are not blocking the VPN tunnel. In case, the VPN tunnel is backhauled, enable so-called VPN split-tunneling. Also, the endpoints required for Office 365 ProPlus source file download are listed at Office 365 URLs and IP addresses.

  • Use Peer Caching to reduce On-Prem Traffic: The step is not mandated but highly suggested.

It is highly recommended to configure and enable Delivery Optimization for Office along with Connected Cache in a combination in case of the usage of the same deployment package by remote and on-premises workers, This enables on-prem devices to distribute content excluded in the deployment. Thus, it greatly reduces the load on the corporate internet connection.

The above steps not only help in deploying Office 365ProPlus but also let IT, admins take control of what happens and when with the help of enterprise management solutions like Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager. It is also called as System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM).

Other than that, deploying Office 365 ProPlus allow remote users to use their local internet connection rather than Configuration Manager Distribution Points over VPN connections.

Deploy Office 365 ProPlus so that your VPN connection does not burn out. It becomes utmost necessary to keep yourself updated on the latest trends of Office 365 so that you fully understand and use its amazing features to benefit yourself especially in the time of Covid when all the work is being done remotely.

If you are looking for some professional guidance to help you set up Office 365 and deploy Office 365 ProPlus to your remote workers, give us a shoutout. We provide professional solutions to our clients and complete training to make you feel comfortable in using Office 365. You have any questions, problems, doubts, call us or drop us an email. Or you can just head to Sandra Network. We will be at your service.

Keeping users safe and productive with Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise

Microsoft Office 365 for enterpriseIt has always been a battle for enterprises to maintain a balance between productivity and security. Organizations are always worried about the trade-off between worker productivity and security since both can be compromised leading to complex problems for organizations. To resolve this issue for enterprises, Microsoft Office 365 has introduced apps such as “Safe Documents and Application Guard. These apps build secure productivity, helping organizations stay both productive and secure at the same time by protecting their information and limiting risks while allowing them to focus on strategic initiatives and innovation. 

What is Safe Documents? 

About Safe Documents
Safe Documents identifies that a user had opened a malicious file and prevents them from exiting the Protected View container

With Safe Documents, your files are automatically protected against known risks and threats before you ever open them. Moreover, users do not have to worry about deciding whether a document can be trusted, they can simply focus on getting work done. Safe Documents brings the power of the Intelligent Security Graph down to your system and assesses if document is safe. This safe and seamless connection between the desktop and the cloud makes the user’s workflow more fluid while keeping your network more secure. 

What is an Application Guard? 

 Application Guard
Windows Defender Application Guard

Application Guard ensures that desktop users are safe and productive. With an upgrade to protected view, Application Guard blocks the attacker’s access to memory, local storage, installed applications, corporate network endpoints, or any other resources that might interest the attacker. Application Guard lets users open an untrusted Word, Excel, or PowerPoint file, make changes to it and save it, all while being protected with hardware-level security.  

How these Apps help Enterprises like Yours? 

Users are secured by Default: The release of Antimalware Scan Interface (AMSI) integration for Excel 4.0 (XLM) macros provides a security solution to the systems. The open interface of AMSI is widely used on Windows 10. Microsoft Defender for Endpoint incorporates AMSI and machine learning to fight and curb script-based and file-less threats. Office and AMSI integration protect against script-based malware. The integration of Excel with AMSI detects logging macro behavior, identifies suspicious behavior, and stops a malicious macro upon detection. The user is immediately notified by Excel when malicious activity is detected. The application is shut down in order to avoid any further damage.  

The Working of Antimalware Scan Interface
The Working of Antimalware Scan Interface

Productivity and Security Go Hand-in-Hand:  Enterprises are always looking for ways to keep their productivity high while staying secure. Therefore, they are always in search of procuring applications that will work seamlessly without affecting user productivity. 

Now, with Microsoft Office 365 Apps, securing files without hampering user productivity has become achievable. Not only will productivity boost, but Security Policy Advisor will also measures how enterprises use Microsoft 365 Apps and then recommend specific policies for enhancing an organization’s security profile. These recommendations are solely based on Microsoft’s best practices. With the use of Security Policy Advisor, IT admins and enterprises can work together to view intelligent security policy recommendations based on the Office app, which features their usage, to better understand behaviors before changing any policiesUsers will have greater confidence knowing these policies are in place helping them to choose appropriate behaviors in their environment. It also lets enterprises monitor policy health enabling them to analyze the impact on user productivity, highlighting areas worth attention, and then make any necessary changes. 

Work and Save Untrusted File without Worrying: With so much pressure to get their work done, users often ignore Protected View and dismiss it without considering whether a document is safe to openThis leaves your workers and your organization vulnerable to malware and an easy target for attackers. Also, sometimes users choose not to use Application Guard protection without properly considering the consequences, even though the use of Safe Documents and Application Guard allows users to work on an untrusted file and save it without affecting their security. Safe Documents and Application Guard are two features in Microsoft 365 E5 or Microsoft 365 E5 Security that incorporate Microsoft’s deep knowledge of risks and brings these features to the desktop. Using Safe Documents enables users to open untrusted files in Protected View. On the other hand, Application Guard is an extra layer of security that lets documents or files go through an additional step where the document is uploaded and scanned by Microsoft Defender for Endpoint. 

Document opening in Application Guard
Microsoft 365 Apps lets you know when an untrusted file is being opened with Application Guard

To summarize, Safe Documents automatically verifies documents against potential risks and threat before allowing users to leave a protected environment like the Protected View or Application Guard. Therefore, it would be safe to say that this unique approach to Microsoft Office 365 empowers enterprises all over the world in terms of security and productivity.  

What are you waiting for? Set up Office 365 for your business and keep it safe while watching productivity soar. If you are looking for advice or professional help setting up Office 365 for your business, look no further, you’ve come to the right place. Sandra Network is a one-stop solution. We offer great advice, answer all your questions, recommend the right solution, set it up and provide guidance to help you boost your productivity with the amazing features of Office 365. Don’t delay, head to Sandra Network and get a head start by browsing some of our professional training videos. Then call or email us to schedule an appointment We look forward to chatting with you soon.