Since the program’s launch almost 40 years ago, Microsoft Office Suite has been continually enhanced to keep up with the changing times and remain a core part of workplaces around the world. Now, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forcing many companies to keep their employees working at home, remote deployment of Microsoft Office and other programs is essential for IT departments. Our guide can help organizations, and their IT professionals, set up this range of ubiquitous programs, including Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook, all without leaving their homes.
Before beginning the deployment process, an IT professional should ensure that all of the relevant workstations have their operating systems updated to support the program. Each device will also need a reliable internet connection throughout the process. Businesses should already have a Microsoft Office 365 plan that covers all of the applications used on a regular basis, as well as an eligible license assigned to each user. The license process must be handled by the account’s admin, however users will need to have internet access at least every few days to continue renewing the license. The IT team will also need to download the Microsoft Deployment Tool, which can be found on the Microsoft Download Center.
From there, IT professionals have two options for deploying Microsoft Office remotely. Either they can use a Remote Desktop Sessions Host server or, in some situations, a shared virtual machine, such as a Hyper-V. Both methods are explained below.
The Remote Desktop Session server option
For this deployment strategy, Microsoft Office Pro is installed on a workstation that has been temporarily configured as a Remote Desktop Session Host. This means that multiple users can connect to the device and control it remotely. To begin, the user and the IT professional will both install the Remote Desktop Sessions Host role service on an appropriate Windows Server. To connect remotely, both parties will need to join the same group on the RD Session Host server.
Once both the employee and the IT administrator in charge of deployment are linked, the administrator can use the Office Customization Tool to create a configuration file. From there, export the configuration file to the same location as the extracted Office Deployment Tool. Be sure to click the ‘Shared Computer’ box under the ‘Licensing and Activation’ section before you export. This entire process can also be handled using a text editor, with the right experience.
Once both the configuration file and Office Deployment Tool are in the same place on the workstation, installation can begin.
The shared virtual machine option
The shared virtual machine route utilizes both a Remote Desktop Session and Hyper-V technology to handle deployment. This method is effective for sharing programs with multiple users, making it ideal for larger organizations. The option starts with the IT professional creating an operating system image, making sure to follow all relevant instructions from Microsoft. This should include adding specific code that allows computer sharing. From there, the IT professional can adjust the virtual machine as needed, including adding changes like enabling Remote Desktop.
Once the operating system image is all set, it’s time to install and configure both the Windows Server and Remote Desktop Session server. This should allow multiple users to connect to Microsoft Office Pro programs with the virtual machine.
To handle patching and updates remotely, the best bet is to use an application management program like Faronics Deploy. Deploy is designed for easy remote control of multiple workstations and to handle patching and Windows-specific updates. Deploy works without any user intervention, for extra peace of mind for an organization’s IT department. This means that, whichever method of installation you choose, continued updating for improved security and processing will be easy.
Deep Freeze and Microsoft Office
Deep Freeze and Deploy software from Faronics is the perfect compliment to any Microsoft environment. Deep Freeze allows you to keep workstations safe and free from clutter with reboot-to-restore capabilities. Deploy, meanwhile, allows IT departments to perform updates automatically and remotely. Faronics software is also made to integrate effectively with Microsoft products. It’s why Microsoft has named us a Gold Certified Partner, the highest partner status and working relationship the company offers.
At Faronics, we’re constantly looking to the future to help businesses remain agile, adaptable and in control. Our Deep Freeze and Deploy applications offer lightning-fast deployment of new workstations, enhanced application management and automated patching solutions for both Windows and Mac machines.