The best way to roll out Office 365
Windows Intune ends the manual update.
While Office 365 is in the cloud, users still need to perform a few small steps before they can connect their desktop PCs to Microsoft’s online services.
Each PC needs to install the Microsoft Online Sign-in Assistant as well as the latest updates for operating systems and Microsoft applications. A third optional step is installing Office Professional Plus 2010 (if you subscribed to it as a standalone product or part of the E3 bundle).
Often, most of this can be done through various built-in solutions of Windows Server such as Windows Software Update Services (WSUS) or Group Policy. SMBs without these tools or organisations with multiple sites won’t be able to follow this method.
Using either WSUS or Group Policy requires Windows Server infrastructure which is not necessarily ideal as organisations move more of their IT requirements to the cloud.
Another Microsoft cloud solution, Windows Intune, can deploy updates to desktops without physical involvement. My company Paradyne used Windows Intune to ensure that all computers were up to date and ready to connect to Office 365, as well as cutting the amount of time spent setting up each desktop – which ultimately cuts costs for the customer.
The October 2011 update of Windows Intune included 2GB of cloud storage space and the ability to deploy software such as Office Professional Plus, Lync and anything else an organisation wanted.
Microsoft recently released a detailed technical article on how organisations could use Windows Intune to deploy Office 365 updates and components. You can read it on the Office 365 community site here.
Ultimately using Windows Intune in conjunction with Office 365 ensures a simpler deployment and continued PC stability and security.
Loryan Strant is a Microsoft Office 365 MVP (Most Valuable Professional). Follow him on Twitter @TheCloudMouth.