Office 365 Small Business Premium: No IT expertise required

Author: Jon Orton_MSFT Originally published to the Office 365 Preview blog. Small businesses don’t have IT departments. Most don’t even have a dedicated IT person. So they need software that is simple to set up and maintain. With that in mind, we’ve designed Office 365 Small Business Premium to be a preconfigured solution that you can manage without technology expertise. This allows you to focus on your business, rather than technology. Simplified administration The Office 365 Small Business Premium Preview has a new web-based management portal specifically designed for organizations with less than ten users. This interface is distinct from the one used by Office 365 Enterprise customers, who have IT environments that are much more complex. The settings that only apply to large organizations are removed from view, leaving a simple, clean interface that is easy to understand and navigate. You can access this portal by clicking “Admin” in the Office 365 navigation bar. The admin dashboard lets you manage users, licenses, and domains, as well as edit common settings for email, calendar, sites, instant messaging, conferencing, and mobile access. There is no need to wade through detailed administration screens to perform common tasks. Simplified settings pages, like this one, make it easy to configure your service: These pages are specifically built for small businesses, and have simplified controls, such as on/off sliders, that make them easier to use than their enterprise counterparts. We’ll be adding more of these settings pages throughout the Preview. If you have suggestions for a setting that you’d like to see us include, post a comment to let us know. Built-in spam and virus protection Nobody likes to waste time dealing with spam, and nobody likes cleaning up a computer that has been infected with a virus. For small businesses, these problems can slow down productivity or even bring it to a complete halt. Office 365 gets these nuisances out of your way with built-in defenses against spam, viruses, and phishing scams. Forefront Online Protection for Exchange, a premium anti-spam and anti-malware service, is included in Office 365. It uses multiple filters and scanning engines to help protect your organization from email-borne threats. No configuration is necessary to start or maintain the filtering technology. Security and reliability One of the best things about using Office 365 is that you can enjoy the benefits of a cloud service that has been built to meet the requirements of the world’s largest organizations. Office 365 offers the highest standard of physical and digital security for your data. It is compliant with key industry standards and regularly verified by third parties. Even if your business has no requirements relating to ISO-27001, EU Model clauses, HIPAA-BAA, or FISMA, knowing that Office 365 qualifies for these programs and certifications provides you with confidence that the service is being operated well. You can also enjoy peace of mind in knowing that the service has been designed for robust uptime, with a financially-backed 99.9% service level agreement. From the Admin section of the Office 365 portal, you can view the service health dashboard to see both current and historical service status.  To guard against the loss of data in the case of a large-scale disaster, your data is hosted from geographically-distributed datacenters with continuous data backup. These robust disaster recovery capabilities used to be beyond the reach of nearly all small and midsized organizations. In summary, Office 365 Small Business Premium is an easy-to-use service with built-in security, protection, and reliability. The back-end capabilities are the same as those used by the largest businesses in the world, but you don’t need to be an IT expert to deploy or use them.

SkyDrive Pro – Using Office 365 for File Storage in SharePoint Online – Grid User Post

The Grid is full of Office 365 experts that are brimming with great information. The  Grid User Post blog series   will expose some of The Grid’s  best content  to the entire Office 365 Community. Are you interested in contributing to The Grid?  Send JoshT_MSFT a private message  to apply. Our latest Grid User Post comes from Scott Cameron . You can read the original post here .    Traditionally, we think of  Office 365  for Exchange Online,  SharePoint Online  and Lync Online.  There’s another new (well, sort of) feature that more and more customers are interested in though –  SkyDrive  .   Microsoft  tells us that it’s for personal file storage and is integrated with Office and Windows.  It synchronizes our files and settings between computers too.  But what is SkyDrive Pro, and how *do* you use Office 365 for file storage? There are three storage “buckets” in Office 365: Exchange, SharePoint Online and SkyDrive Pro.  Here’s how much storage you get: Bucket Storage Exchange Online Mailboxes: 25 GB (plus archive on some SKUs) Public Folders: 25 GB per folder (max 100 folders) SharePoint Online Pooled 10 GB + 500 MB per user SkyDrive Pro in SharePoint Online 7 GB per user Storage Mediums in Office 365 Exchange Online Mailboxes  – let’s start with Exchange mailboxes.  They are good for storing, well, e-mail.  Your mailbox isn’t the right place for file storage.  As a matter of fact, you should minimize sending and receiving files through e-mail to maximize the amount of e-mail you can store.  There are much better places for both storing and sharing files.  Put your file in a SharePoint document library to share it with internal users or store it on SkyDrive Pro and share it via public link with external users.  In either case, you can still send an e-mail with a link to your file.  You can even subscribe to or follow a document or library to get automatic e-mail updates when files change.  More on these options in a bit… Exchange Public Folders  – where do I start?  We thought they were dead and were told we’d never see them again.  Exchange 2007 and 2010 did their best to put public folders to rest, but like a bad zombie movie they’ve come back after two point-blank shots to the head.  In  Exchange Online  you now can create up to 100 public folders, each with a 25 GB storage limit.  Theoretically that’s 2.5TB. Realistically, because it’s not possible to fill each of the mailboxes perfectly, you should be able to store around 1TB total. What are Exchange public folders good for storing?  E-mails, contacts, & calendars that you want to share mostly.  You can mail-enable them as well.  That makes them function very much like a shared mailbox.  To be honest, the GUI for managing public folders at this point is functional but isn’t what a larger organization would like.  You can use  PowerShell  to administer Public Folders and there are some more options there.  See the article  here  for more on PowerShell with Public Folders. SharePoint  – this is where Microsoft has been trying to get Public Folder users to move their data ever since Exchange 2003.  I think they were originally just trying to sell SharePoint but with it included now in Office 365, there’s no reason not to go ahead and start using it.  SharePoint is a great place to collaborate on documents.  You can store most file types in SharePoint, but there are  some limitations . One of SharePoint Online’s great new features is that you can perform light editing for many  Office files directly within your browser via the Office Web Apps regardless of whether you have the full Office Suite installed on your computer.  You can also use click-to-run to stream a full version  Office program  to your desktop – say on a borrowed computer in a hotel or anywhere you don’t have your regular PC with Office installed.  When you’re done with the application you simply close it out and don’t have to worry about licensing and leaving behind software. There are several ways to store files on SharePoint Online: Post a file to a document library Use a document set to automatically create several files from templates Synchronize a document library to your local computer and put files in the locally sync’d version Some file types can sync/import directly to SharePoint lists… Excel spreadsheets and Access databases for instance Move content in to wiki pages or lists Your Office 365 account gets 10 GB of base storage in SharePoint plus 500 MB per user account.  You can purchase additional storage at $.20 per GB per month.  At that price, storage is pretty cheap to add. In previous versions of Office 365 and SharePoint Online you had a separate My Site with your own, individual quota.  I think it was 500 MB or so.  You now will get a Personal Site, but the storage feature there has been upgraded to… SkyDrive Pro   Previously the My Site storage feature (called My Documents), SkyDrive Pro   isn’t to be confused (although many do) with consumer SkyDrive.  SkyDrive is a storage service provided by Microsoft as a spiritual successor to Windows Live Mesh and Windows Live Folders.  SkyDrive Pro also integrates the essence of functionality from SharePoint Workspace (and Live Mesh) of the past to synchronize files for offline editing. SkyDrive Pro currently allows up to 7 GB.  There is currently no way to increase this limit although rumors are that Microsoft is working on it.  I would assume a price similar to adding storage to SharePoint. You can put whatever files you like on your SkyDrive Pro.  Documents and folders in SkyDrive Pro can be shared both with internal and external users from your SharePoint Online environment.  For more on sharing from SkyDrive see  here . By the way… according to Microsoft, you can have both a personal SkyDrive and a SkyDrive Pro running side by side. The Right Tool for the Right Job With all the storage options on Office 365 there’s a solution for most situations, but don’t retire your old file server just yet.  If you have applications on-premises that require local access to shared file storage… think Autocad or a document management system that ties in to a large format printer… you’ll still want some network attached storage (NAS) or an actual file server.  You can supplement that file storage using these methods though and use a tiered storage plan.  Maybe you keep large binary files (ISOs, software install packages, etc.) on your file server, your documents on SharePoint and personal files on SkyDrive (instead of your network My Documents). You’ll want to evaluate the costs of the various storage options as well and look at what gives you the right features for the price.  Keep in mind that when storing data on Office 365 you get highly-available cloud-based storage with continuous backups and built-in disaster recovery to an alternate data center.  What you lose in the cloud is the ability to restore to a point in time (unless you are using versioning for documents) for long-term archival.  You also lose direct control of the data.  The certifications, inspections, compliance and other features in Office 365 should allay most all fears that customers have with regards to the security of their data, but for some things, cloud services still may not be the best answer. Audience: Office 365 for professionals and small businesses Office 365 for enterprises

Office 365 ProPlus Administrator Series: Using Office 365 as a Deployment Share

Author: Jeremy_MSFT Originally published to the Office 365 Preview blog. While the concept of having deployment automation call online file sources for unattended installations isn’t new, Office 365 ProPlus adds the unique benefit of robust file streaming instead of the traditional download and execute style installation. Office 365 ProPlus and the Office Deployment Tool (see my earlier blog about deployment options) allows you to define the http://officecdn.onmicrosoft.com file path as the SourcePath location defined in the configuration XML of the Office Deployment Tool. The current Office Deployment Tool lets you download and install Click-to-Run Office packages with your own software distribution tools. When you download Office Click-to-Run files, you will see the path where they are stored in the CMD window.     Download of the Office 365 ProPlus Click-to-Run files using the Office Deployment Tool In this case, Office source files are located at http://officecdn.microsoft.com/pr/D85263CB-A813-4A8F-9895-E2EC9A47293 and you can use that value inside of your configuration XML. The Office Deployment Tool needs an XML with the SourcePath configured for installation which contains the OfficeDataVersionNumber folders to resolve. If you use a configuration XML with the following parameters:                                 your deployment automation will call the Office 365 streaming service and install according to the version number, architecture, language and other parameters that you assign in the configuration XML.  Notice I even used an older version number than the current one (.1019)  and was able to declare update behavior, display level and accept the EULA on behalf of my users. In a nutshell, even though I am using Office 365 as the SourcePath to install from, I didn’t give up any controls I had by installing Office 365 ProPlus from my local file share location. If I had Group Policy settings enforced on the computers I target for my deployment, then I would have complete control over how Office is installed, configured and managed. This is where it can get interesting… If I use the Office Deployment Tool – specifically just the setup.exe and the configuration XML sample I have above – I can pair this with System Center Configuration Manager 2012, Microsoft Deployment Toolkit, Windows Intune, third party tools, simple logon scripts or even psexec commands. In this case, I decided to pair with another cloud service – Windows Intune – to show everything working.     Process for using Windows Intune to stream an Office 365 ProPlus installation – 1. Configure install, 2. Push install instructions to PC, 3. Stream from Office 365, 4. Report success back to Windows Intune You might be asking yourself, “Why would I use Windows Intune versus sending users to the Office 365 Web portal to self-install Office?” If you are asking this question, there is a good chance you are an administrator on your computer or your users are able to install software themselves. For more than a decade, Microsoft has advocated Standard User accounts in Windows to maintain configuration control and therefore improve inherent security levels against malware. If you also manage a lot of software, it wouldn’t make sense to ask users to visit multiple websites to install their own software. Imagine your first day on the job and your boss tells you, “Here is your computer and email account. I sent you an email with a list of the 100 applications you’ll need to be productive and all the links of where to find the applications. Enjoy the next 3-8 hours of software installation.” What initially sounds like freedom for the end user would be a degraded experience for the person who otherwise receives a pre-configured PC with the 100 applications pre-installed based on his user role, geography and language preferences (you could argue that is the primary reason why Windows imaging and deployment automation exists). Centralizing your application resources to a single catalog and location along with using “required” or “push” installation performed by the administrator simplifies the process for the user and helps ensure that your users’ PCs stay in a manageable state. Windows Intune and System Center Configuration Manager 2012 both provide a central application catalog and support push software deployments. I put together a short narrated video of the process using Windows Intune along with Office 365 streaming. Basically, I used a file similar to the configuration XML sample above (I named it configuration2.xml) and added that along with the setup.exe to my Windows Intune environment. These two files only constitute about half a megabyte (MB) of space, so it doesn’t really consume any storage resources. It also means that the files are quickly copied from the Windows Intune service to the managed PC’s local cache. Both Windows Intune and the application model in System Center Configuration Manager 2012 will download the entire application payload prior to executing installation commands. For Office 365 ProPlus, that would mean you would typically need to wait for a 1 gigabyte (GB) file download, then Office would be installed from the local Windows Intune or Configuration Manager file cache. In this case, we can just cache that tiny half MB file and the streaming begins immediately from Office 365 according to our instruction set. The result is that the Windows Intune service basically instructs the Office 365 service and when completed sends a success message back to Windows Intune. Here it is in action… (Please visit the site to view this video)   Jeremy Chapman @deployjeremy Office Deployment Team

Office 365 ProPlus Administrator Series: Integrating Office 365 ProPlus into Your Organization

Author: Jeremy_MSFT Originally published to the Office 365 Preview blog. Office 365 ProPlus integrates with your IT service management processes and tools. With Office 365 ProPlus you and your users receive unparalleled access and experiences with Office programs. Office 365 ProPlus uses the cloud for streamlined software delivery and updates, but does not execute Office applications remotely in cloud, instead the focus is getting Office up and running quickly on the local PC using application streaming. These new experiences enable offline use and can take full advantage of local system resources, without being limited by what can be done via the Web browser or remote desktop experiences. Office 365 ProPlus is connected to the user – not the device – and that means integration starts with provisioning your users an active Office 365 account. The resulting Microsoft Online Services ID gives users access to the software and services you allow them to have and it also acts as the way Office delivers roaming settings across a user’s collection of devices. There are multiple options for establishing online IDs – from manual or bulk list entries to Active Directory synchronization to directory services federation. These options allow you to tailor the login and provisioning experience to either reflect real time changes to your directory services to manage all identity and authentication aspects in the cloud. Office 365 ProPlus also integrates with existing software distribution policies and practices in your organization. Some organizations will allow users to perform Office 365 ProPlus installation directly from the Office 365 Web portal, but most will opt to download and import Office 365 ProPlus installation files into their software distribution environments, then use those tools to centrally perform installation on behalf of their users. This integration with on premises software distribution allows organizations to maintain existing security policies where users do not typically have required rights to install software themselves. Office 365 ProPlus is also designed to integrate with Microsoft Application Virtualization to provide additional configuration and control options. Additionally, those using virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) can use Office 365 ProPlus on user-dedicated Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 or newer virtual machines without the Remote Desktop Services role enabled.     Using Software Distribution to Deploy Office 365 ProPlus Office 365 ProPlus is designed to integrate with most common desktop architectures while providing additional cloud benefits for quickly provisioning and de-provisioning users, roam core productivity settings across devices and incorporate common user credentials to activate Office experiences across multiple computing devices. For more information on integrating Office 365 ProPlus into your organization, check out Deployment options for Office 365 ProPlus Preview on TechNet.

The new Office Garage Series: Identity, Activation and Data Access with a User-Based Office

In the latest new Office Garage Series post, watch while hosts Jeremy Chapman and Yoni Kirsh catch up with foremost security expert and Zero Day author Mark Russinovich; examine the best usage scenarios for the MSI-based Office Professional Plus 2013 and the Click-to-Run based Office 365 ProPlus install; while demonstrating identity, activation and data access with a user-based Office. Tune into www.microsoft.com/garage .

Office 365 ProPlus Administrator Series: Office 365 ProPlus Administrator Overview

Author: Jeremy_MSFT Originally published to the Office 365 Preview blog. If you are coming from a software or desktop deployment background, Office 365 ProPlus will change the way you think about software distribution. Many people will be asking, “Where are the bits?” or “Just give me the ISO file and I’ll extract everything and figure it out.” The big difference here is that because Office 365 ProPlus is user- and not device-pivoted, then the first task you’ll usually need to do is populate user accounts in the administrator portal of Office 365. User accounts will have the rights to install up to five copies of Office 365 ProPlus and can de-provision and reassign licenses if they cycle through computers. Office 365 ProPlus provides several administrational options to determine how users are provisioned in the Office 365 ProPlus service, which service components are made available to users and how to distribute and manage Office 365 ProPlus desktop applications. The administration process for Office 365 ProPlus begins with an assessment of your current Office environment, then users are added to the service, Office 365 ProPlus applications are configured then deployed. Office 365 ProPlus introduces new tools to manage client health – these tools collectively known as Office Telemetry are an integral part of Office. Because Office 365 ProPlus is a service and pivoted on the user account, it gives users new access to personalized Office experiences across PCs or on computers they may be using temporarily. The goal is to ensure users are productive as long as they can connect to the service. All of these concepts are predicated on identity management and having a single address and set of user credentials to access these experiences. IT organizations can choose to integrate with their directory services, regularly synchronize Office 365 accounts with their user base, perform bulk list imports periodically or manually provision users. Office provisioning in Office 365 ProPlus brings new capabilities to ensure users are quickly up and running with Office programs. Deployment options include all of the standard approaches from standalone installations using enterprise software distribution to Windows image-based deployments, but the service also enables new scenarios supported by Internet-based installation and software update support. An IT organization can decide to perform most tasks using their network or use Office 365 cloud services to augment Office desktop app provisioning and software update management. Provisioning Users and Activation Basics Office 365 ProPlus activation is tied to the user account, so the account needs to be provisioned and configured to access Office 365 ProPlus services in order for Office programs to remain in an activated state. The users’ Office 365 account status is continually checked by the Office applications to ensure that if a user is de-provisioned by their administrator – for example, the user leaves the organization – then Office 365 ProPlus programs can quickly move to a de-activated state.  This is increasingly important with the impacts of consumerization of IT and users having the ability to install Office on personally-owned PCs and devices. Office and the state of that service is tied to the organization he or she works for, so the administrator needs the ability to turn that service on or off. Office 365 ProPlus is designed with a few important activation grace periods to provide flexibility in automated deployment scenarios and for when users go offline for extended periods of time. An IT administrator can preinstall Office in a Windows operating system image and reset the activation state if required using ospprearm.exe found in %programfiles%Microsoft OfficeOffice15 (no longer the previous location of %programfiles%Common Filesmicrosoft sharedOfficeSoftwareProtectionPlatform). An installation of Office 365 ProPlus provides 5 days of use in the initial grace period before a Microsoft Online Services ID is required. Once Office 365 ProPlus is activated, it can go as long as one month without connecting to the online service to rearm activation. If a user exceeds month and Office 365 ProPlus is de-activated, the user will only need to reconnect to the Internet with a valid user account to rearm the activation. The expectation with the service is that PCs do connect at least once per month to the Internet and activation processes run in the background and are never seen by the user. The next section goes into detail about identity management in Office 365 and if you are an existing Office 365 user most of this should look pretty familiar. Microsoft Online Services ID in Office 365 One of the first things people will notice with Office 365 ProPlus is that they now sign in to Office programs. The sign-in is typically a one-time operation after Office is installed and users will be asked to input an “Organization or School” ID to begin using Office. This ID as previously described is part of the process for software activation and facilitates the concept of roaming settings per user. Sign in to Office Dialog in Office 365 ProPlus For an IT administrator, this typically means a number of things need to happen before a user is greeted with the dialog. –          In the Office 365 tenant, the User Principal Name (UPN) and required attributes have been entered, –          the account has been provisioned for Office 365 ProPlus, and –          the user has received some form of communication to inform her that she has an account with Office 365 and will need set an Office 365 password in cases where Office 365 is implemented without Active Directory Federation Services to enable single sign on. Users may be manually entered by the administrator or entered via CSV file list import. Once she launches an Office program for the first time, she will need to enter her username and password then Office 365 ProPlus will activate and sign in to her personalized settings. If the user is the first person to sign in to an Office 365 ProPlus program on a PC, the installation once complete and signed into will be tallied against the five PC per user installation count. This is important for an administrator, because it means they should not be using their own administrator Office 365 credentials to activate Office installs on behalf of their users, as they will quickly reach their five PC limit. After that initial experience and login, the user can roam from PC to PC within her organization using the same username and password to present her personalized settings. If she is not the first person to log into Office 365 ProPlus and activate for that PC, the activation will not be tallied against her count of five PCs. Synchronizing Active Directory with Directory Sync Tools Directory synchronization with an Active Directory service is often a better way to populate UPNs and attributes in the Office 365 identity store. This is a service which runs within your organization’s Active Directory environment and synchronizes user objects every three hours. You still need to provision users with the rights to use the desired Office 365 services, such as Office 365 ProPlus, in order for users to self-install Office 365 ProPlus or activate Office programs installed on their behalf by IT administrators. More information about Office 365 and Directory Synchronization can be found on TechNet .    Microsoft Online Services Directory Synchronization tool Federating Active Directory with Office 365 Identity federation in Office 365 allows users to access Office 365 services, activate their Office 365 ProPlus installations and roam their user settings with existing Active Directory corporate credentials (user name and password). The setup of single sign-on requires Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) 2.0. The advantage of using identity federation is that users only need to memorize one set of credentials, all authentication happens on your organization’s premises and adheres to your policies, administrators can control access to services,
user credentials are stored and mastered on-premises, and multi-factor authentication is possible. More information about identity federation can be found in the Prepare for single sign-on  article on the Office 365 support site. The number of options available means there is most likely a method that best serves your needs. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, due to the varying number of customer needs and security policies. While most of these options are rooted in the current Office 365 in market service, many more options and optimizations are coming across the tools and services, plus there are a few partner offerings to assist with user provisioning and authentication. 

Office 365 ProPlus Administrator Series: Configuring Office 365 ProPlus Applications and Experiences

Author: Jeremy_MSFT Originally published to the Office 365 Preview blog. Office 365 ProPlus was designed to enable administrators to control the configuration, installation and updating experience using familiar processes and tools. Because Office 365 ProPlus is rooted in application virtualization, a number of new tools have been developed to enable configuration management using enterprise software distribution and script-based processes. Some organizations may allow users to log in to office365.com and install their own Office programs directly from the Internet, however, this requires that users are comfortable performing this task and they have the rights to install applications on their computer. In most cases, this will be a normal case for Office 365 users who install on their personal devices or home PCs, but may not meet the requirement of a locked-down and managed environment where users are provisioned as Standard Users in Windows. In cases where users do not or cannot self-install, Office 365 ProPlus has been built to allow IT administrators to install Office on behalf of their users. This applies both to Windows image-based installations as well as standalone installs from the network, software distribution, local media or the Office 365 service. By default Office 365 ProPlus receives automatic updates, but IT can elect to disable automatic updating of Office programs and deploy only tested and approved Office builds. The Click-to-Run installation technology and toolset provides flexibility and control to manage how Office 365 ProPlus is installed and updated as well as where installation media is stored. Click-to-Run Components and Tools for the Administrator As I mentioned above, if you come from a systems management background, the first question many will ask is, “where are the bits?” The design of Office 365 ProPlus is to store installation files online via a publicly-accessible service. This allows people to perform self-installation and managed deployments to point to online installation source for initial installs and ongoing software updates. The installation files are also accessible to be downloaded and imported into enterprise software distribution tools or operating system deployment tools. The  Office Deployment Tool enables automated deployment of Office 365 ProPlus. There are three primary components needed to enable managed or “push” deployments of Office 365 ProPlus: Office 365 ProPlus installation files setup.exe bootstrapper to initiate the installation process configuration XML file to govern how and from where Office is downloaded and installed   Contents of the Office Deployment Tool The Setup and configuration XML tools are packaged together as the Office Deployment Tool and available on the Microsoft Download Center . Setup.exe in this case performs two primary tasks – it downloads Office 365 ProPlus, Visio and Project programs to a local file location using the /download command and it controls how Office programs are installed using the /configure command. Both commands point to a configuration file to govern what is downloaded and how Office is configured. The configuration XML file governs both what is downloaded and how Office Click-to-Run is applied to the target computer. The controls relevant to downloading installation source from the http://officecdn.microsoft.com/ site are the following. Note: all controls are CaSe SeNsItIvE. Option Description Sample Syntax Add Parent control to determine source, architecture, product and languages to download. From CDN:               From local network:                Product The targeted products to download within the command. Multiple products may be nested under the control and multiple languages may be nested under the control. Office 365 ProPlus      SourcePath Location where the Office is downloaded to. If unspecified, the downloaded content will be saved to the folder where the setup.exe is located. OfficeClientEdition Determines the architecture of the product to download, 32 or 64 bit. Note: 32-bit is still the recommended architecture for new Office versions. Cross-architecture installations are not permitted; if a 32-bit Office version is already installed on a system, the 64-bit Click-to-Run package will not install and vice versa.   Or: OfficeClientEdition=”32″ OfficeClientEdition=”64″ Language Language determines the language DAT files to be downloaded with the Click-to-Run package. Version Version is used as part of the control and specifies the version to be downloaded. If version is not specified, setup.exe will download the latest build. Available version numbers will be posted to KB article in the future.     Downloading Click-to-Run Installation Source Click-to-Run builds are available for download from the Office 365 service. Administrators can use the configuration XML file to determine the architecture (x86 or x64), language and version number to download. The following screenshots show the process to download Office 365 ProPlus installation files from the service.   Setup tool and command line usage You can create XML files with commands specific to downloading, installing or uninstalling Office. Here is a sample of an XML I called download.xml to download the latest Click-to-Run builds of Office 365 ProPlus Preview and Visio Pro Preview.                               Progress after executing ‘setup.exe /download download.xml’ command   Office folder is downloaded and applied to the Office Deployment Tool folder   Office 365 ProPlus build is stored as DAT and CAB files in the ..dataversionnumber folder within the directory of setup.exe or SourcePath location In a managed IT environment, the IT administrator can execute an automated scheduled task every two weeks or so to download the most recent Office 365 ProPlus builds. The great thing is that new builds always contain the latest software updates and you don’t need to add them to the updates folder as with the MSI package, they are already slipstreamed into the build and installation times for the first release build will be comparable to future builds. It is good news if you build lots of PCs with task sequence-based setup or just wish that installs when the product is in the middle of the release cycle were as fast as they were with RTM builds. As someone with a Windows imaging background, I wish I had this sooner and that other components I install in my task sequences were updated similarly, because once you start layering in a service pack and more than ten additional software updates, MSI-based installs start to get very slow. Alternatively, the administrator can manually download the exact build desired by specifying the build number in the configuration XML file. If left unspecified, the download command will download the newest available x86 build of Office 365 ProPlus. Using Active Directory Group Policy to Deploy and Enforce Configuration Templates Let’s take a small detour from setup for a minute and discuss post-installation configuration. Ideally, Group Policy configuration is decided and implemented prior to rolling out any version of Office and in the case with Click-to-Run, we need Group Policy if we want to make configuration changes to how Office is set up. Office 365 ProPlus is designed to work with Active Directory Group Policy configuration management. Aside from the handful of controls available in the configuration XML file to govern Office 365 ProPlus setup, Group Policy is required for fine-tuned configuration management of Click-to-Run installation and run time. Group Policy adds unique settings for the Office 365 ProPlus service to manage how roaming settings are accessed, control software update behavior and determine which online services are allowed for storing files among thousands of other settings.   Local Group Policy Editor in Windows Group Policy is also used to configure security settings and how new telemetry features in Office 365 ProPlus and Office Professional Plus 2013 capture and report data for client performance. New telemetry
features also utilize Group Policy to block or enable Office Add-ins from running.  The Office 2013 Preview Administrative Template (ADMX/ADML) files can be downloaded now from the Microsoft Download Center and these apply to both the Office Professional Plus 2013 and Office 365 ProPlus packages.

Office 365 ProPlus Administrator Series: Configuring Office 365 ProPlus Applications and Experiences

Author: Jeremy_MSFT Originally published to the Office 365 Preview blog. Office 365 ProPlus was designed to enable administrators to control the configuration, installation and updating experience using familiar processes and tools. Because Office 365 ProPlus is rooted in application virtualization, a number of new tools have been developed to enable configuration management using enterprise software distribution and script-based processes. Some organizations may allow users to log in to office365.com and install their own Office programs directly from the Internet, however, this requires that users are comfortable performing this task and they have the rights to install applications on their computer. In most cases, this will be a normal case for Office 365 users who install on their personal devices or home PCs, but may not meet the requirement of a locked-down and managed environment where users are provisioned as Standard Users in Windows. In cases where users do not or cannot self-install, Office 365 ProPlus has been built to allow IT administrators to install Office on behalf of their users. This applies both to Windows image-based installations as well as standalone installs from the network, software distribution, local media or the Office 365 service. By default Office 365 ProPlus receives automatic updates, but IT can elect to disable automatic updating of Office programs and deploy only tested and approved Office builds. The Click-to-Run installation technology and toolset provides flexibility and control to manage how Office 365 ProPlus is installed and updated as well as where installation media is stored. Click-to-Run Components and Tools for the Administrator As I mentioned above, if you come from a systems management background, the first question many will ask is, “where are the bits?” The design of Office 365 ProPlus is to store installation files online via a publicly-accessible service. This allows people to perform self-installation and managed deployments to point to online installation source for initial installs and ongoing software updates. The installation files are also accessible to be downloaded and imported into enterprise software distribution tools or operating system deployment tools. The  Office Deployment Tool enables automated deployment of Office 365 ProPlus. There are three primary components needed to enable managed or “push” deployments of Office 365 ProPlus: Office 365 ProPlus installation files setup.exe bootstrapper to initiate the installation process configuration XML file to govern how and from where Office is downloaded and installed   Contents of the Office Deployment Tool The Setup and configuration XML tools are packaged together as the Office Deployment Tool and available on the Microsoft Download Center . Setup.exe in this case performs two primary tasks – it downloads Office 365 ProPlus, Visio and Project programs to a local file location using the /download command and it controls how Office programs are installed using the /configure command. Both commands point to a configuration file to govern what is downloaded and how Office is configured. The configuration XML file governs both what is downloaded and how Office Click-to-Run is applied to the target computer. The controls relevant to downloading installation source from the http://officecdn.microsoft.com/ site are the following. Note: all controls are CaSe SeNsItIvE. Option Description Sample Syntax Add Parent control to determine source, architecture, product and languages to download. From CDN:               From local network:                Product The targeted products to download within the command. Multiple products may be nested under the control and multiple languages may be nested under the control. Office 365 ProPlus      SourcePath Location where the Office is downloaded to. If unspecified, the downloaded content will be saved to the folder where the setup.exe is located. OfficeClientEdition Determines the architecture of the product to download, 32 or 64 bit. Note: 32-bit is still the recommended architecture for new Office versions. Cross-architecture installations are not permitted; if a 32-bit Office version is already installed on a system, the 64-bit Click-to-Run package will not install and vice versa.   Or: OfficeClientEdition=”32″ OfficeClientEdition=”64″ Language Language determines the language DAT files to be downloaded with the Click-to-Run package. Version Version is used as part of the control and specifies the version to be downloaded. If version is not specified, setup.exe will download the latest build. Available version numbers will be posted to KB article in the future.     Downloading Click-to-Run Installation Source Click-to-Run builds are available for download from the Office 365 service. Administrators can use the configuration XML file to determine the architecture (x86 or x64), language and version number to download. The following screenshots show the process to download Office 365 ProPlus installation files from the service.   Setup tool and command line usage You can create XML files with commands specific to downloading, installing or uninstalling Office. Here is a sample of an XML I called download.xml to download the latest Click-to-Run builds of Office 365 ProPlus Preview and Visio Pro Preview.                               Progress after executing ‘setup.exe /download download.xml’ command   Office folder is downloaded and applied to the Office Deployment Tool folder   Office 365 ProPlus build is stored as DAT and CAB files in the ..dataversionnumber folder within the directory of setup.exe or SourcePath location In a managed IT environment, the IT administrator can execute an automated scheduled task every two weeks or so to download the most recent Office 365 ProPlus builds. The great thing is that new builds always contain the latest software updates and you don’t need to add them to the updates folder as with the MSI package, they are already slipstreamed into the build and installation times for the first release build will be comparable to future builds. It is good news if you build lots of PCs with task sequence-based setup or just wish that installs when the product is in the middle of the release cycle were as fast as they were with RTM builds. As someone with a Windows imaging background, I wish I had this sooner and that other components I install in my task sequences were updated similarly, because once you start layering in a service pack and more than ten additional software updates, MSI-based installs start to get very slow. Alternatively, the administrator can manually download the exact build desired by specifying the build number in the configuration XML file. If left unspecified, the download command will download the newest available x86 build of Office 365 ProPlus. Using Active Directory Group Policy to Deploy and Enforce Configuration Templates Let’s take a small detour from setup for a minute and discuss post-installation configuration. Ideally, Group Policy configuration is decided and implemented prior to rolling out any version of Office and in the case with Click-to-Run, we need Group Policy if we want to make configuration changes to how Office is set up. Office 365 ProPlus is designed to work with Active Directory Group Policy configuration management. Aside from the handful of controls available in the configuration XML file to govern Office 365 ProPlus setup, Group Policy is required for fine-tuned configuration management of Click-to-Run installation and run time. Group Policy adds unique settings for the Office 365 ProPlus service to manage how roaming settings are accessed, control software update behavior and determine which online services are allowed for storing files among thousands of other settings.   Local Group Policy Editor in Windows Group Policy is also used to configure security settings and how new telemetry features in Office 365 ProPlus and Office Professional Plus 2013 capture and report data for client performance. New telemetry
features also utilize Group Policy to block or enable Office Add-ins from running.  The Office 2013 Preview Administrative Template (ADMX/ADML) files can be downloaded now from the Microsoft Download Center and these apply to both the Office Professional Plus 2013 and Office 365 ProPlus packages.

What, exactly, do you get in an Office 365 plan?

Are you looking for more details about Microsoft Office 365 plans? Perhaps you’ve compared Office 365 plans and pricing and narrowed down your options, but you need more specifics. What exactly can you do in one Office 365 plan that you can’t do in another? What’s the best plan for your organization’s needs?  Are you in an IT team trying to understand the features of the online service compared to what you use today in your datacenter?   If this sounds like you, then the Office 365 Service Descriptions are a new reference here to help. These online articles detail which features are available in which Office 365 plans, such as Office 365 Enterprise E1 and Office 365 Enterprise E3, across all of the individual services, such as Exchange Online and Office 365 ProPlus.   The Office 365 Service Descriptions have been recently updated to better support the continuously updated Office 365 service.  The new service descriptions support continuous publishing so that they always reflect the most up-to-date version of the service.  Now that the documents are available on the web, we’ve added links from within the service to help admins compare and understand certain features in the context of the task they are performing.   Later in the blog post I’ll show you how to print a customized PDF file with the Office 365 Service Description content. And if you’re looking to filter out the columns and rows you’re not interested in, I’ll show you how to copy and use this data into Excel .   Updated Office 365 Service Descriptions now available A few weeks ago Microsoft announced the new Office 365 general availability release . In conjunction with the new release, we’ve updated the Office 365 Service Descriptions. Feature availability information is now available to you online, making it easy to access and link to. There are seven service descriptions available on www.technet.com .   Office 365 Platform includes information about the Office 365 hosted solution platform that is common across the other services.  The Office 365 Platform service description is where you’ll find details about Office 365 user management, support, service updates, privacy and security policies, and other operational details that apply across the individual services and are part of the core Office 365 service.  Exchange Online is a hosted messaging service offered in some Office 365 plans that web-based email, calendar, contacts, and tasks from PCs, the web, and mobile devices. In the Exchange Online service description, you can easily see which Exchange features are available across Office 365 plans. In addition, you can compare Exchange Online feature availability to an Exchange Server 2013 on-premises environment. SharePoint Online is a hosted website service offered in some Office 365 plans that provides intranet sites, file storage, enterprise content management, social and collaboration tools, business intelligence solutions, and more. In the SharePoint Online service description you can easily see which SharePoint features are available across Office 365 plans. In addition, you can compare SharePoint Online feature availability to a SharePoint Server 2013 on-premises environment. Office Web Apps  allow you to open Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote documents in your web browser. Office Web Apps make it easier to work and share Office files from anywhere with an Internet connection, from almost any device. In the Office Web Apps service description, you can easily see what you can and can’t do in the Office Web Apps versus the installed new Office desktop apps such as Office 365 ProPlus. Office 365 ProPlus is the full Office desktop suite that is available in many of the Office 365 plans.  Office 365 ProPlus is the full Office desktop applications that you’re already familiar with, such as Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint delivered as a cloud-based service that provides a monthly subscription tied to a user account with the ability to install Office on 5 different PCs and Macs. In the Office 365 ProPlus service description, you can easily compare the subscription license version (e.g. Office 365 ProPlus) to the perpetual license, one-time purchase version (e.g. Office Professional Plus 2013) of the Office desktop suite. Project Online is a hosted project portfolio management (PPM) service that works in conjunction with SharePoint Online. Project Online enables team members to work and collaborate on their projects from anywhere with an Internet connection. In the Project Online service description, you can easily compare Project Online service-level features with a Project Server 2013 on-premises environment. Lync Online  is a hosted communication service offered in some Office 365 plans that gives users access to presence, instant messaging, audio and video calling, rich online meetings, and extensive web conferencing capabilities. In the Lync Online service description, you can easily compare Lync Online service-level features across office 365 plans.   Want an easy bookmark? Use this shortened URL to quickly access the Office 365 Service Descriptions, aka.ms/o365sd .   Feature availability tables for each service Go ahead and dig into any of the product service descriptions. You’ll find each top level service description has a table comparing feature availability across SKUs. For example, if you click the SharePoint Online Service Description you’ll find a SharePoint feature availability table. Use the table to compare feature availability across Office 365 families and SharePoint Server 2013—the on-premises solutions for customers that want to deploy and manage their own servers.    Click on a blue link in the Feature column to read more about that feature. For example, when you click the Ask me About me you’ll be redirected to an article that provides an overview of what the feature is and how it works, and includes links to product help content that explains the feature in even more detail. You’re able to get an overview of the service and decide which features are relevant for further investigation by you or someone else who needs to administer the service.  We’ve done our best to help you discover all that our services have to offer.   Print Office 365 Service Descriptions Printing a topic from any of the service descriptions is simple and easy. Whether you’re printing a single topic or multiple topics, you can always be sure that you’re downloading the most updated information about the Office 365 services.   1. From any Office 365 Service Description article, click the printer icon in the top-right corner of the TechNet page. 2. Select Print This Topic or Print Multiple Topics . 3. If you’re printing multiple topics, then click Start . You’ll see a new toolbar appear at the top of every TechNet page. 4. If you find a topic that you want to add to your list of topics to print, click Add This Topic . 5. When you’re ready to print, click on Collections Topic(s) to see the list of topics you selected to print. 6. You can drag and drop topics around in the list, if you want a certain topic to go above or below another.   7. When you’re ready to print, click Generate . Note: At this point, if you’re not already, you’ll need to sign in to TechNet with a Microsoft account, such as your Hotmail, SkyDrive, Xbox, or Outlook.com username and password.    8. When the PDF document is complete, you’ll see a blue link to Download Your Document . Now you can save, email, and print that PDF document. Use Microsoft Excel to filter and sort large feature tables Every service description includes a feature availability table. The table allow you to easily scan for what you want to know — is a feature available in the Office 365 plan you’re interested in?   Sometimes when doing a comparison of the different Office 365 offerings  you might find it easier to copy and paste the tables into Microsoft Excel. This will allow you to customize your view, by hiding columns that aren’t valid to your needs and by filtering rows to focus on the features you’re trying to compare
across plans. With Excel, you can search for a feature by name and quickly jump to that row in the table. Excel maintains the help article links, so you can always find more information about a particular feature.   Keep in mind, we’re continually updating the service descriptions to match the current state of the service. If you create an offline copy of these tables, you won’t see those changes.   If you have comments or questions about the Office 365 Service Descriptions, we’d love to hear from you. Just send your feedback to Office 365 Service Description Feedback . Your comments will help us provide the most accurate and concise content.

Office 365 ProPlus Administrator Series: Client Deployment Options

Author: Jeremy_MSFT Originally published to the Office 365 Preview blog. Office 365 ProPlus offers flexible software delivery options to suit organizations of all sizes and desktop service architectures. From small businesses where users often install their own software, to large enterprises where hundreds of applications are centrally delivered by the IT department to every user, Office 365 ProPlus installation adapts to your processes and workflows. Install Office 365 ProPlus from the Internet Self-installation of Office 365 ProPlus allows users to install Office on their personal PCs directly from www.office365.com . After the administrator has created the user account, the user can log in to the Office 365 service and install Office 365 ProPlus. Users will need to be local administrators on their PCs when self-installing and the installation will always be the most up-to-date Office build and be enabled to receive automatic updates. When the user initiates the installation, a small setup file (roughly 400 KB) is downloaded and run from the local PC the filename (for example: Setup.X86.en-us_ProPlusRetail_56f7d927-5bf8-435e-a240-9eaeef2f53c5_.exe) contains the installation parameters and what is loaded from the content delivery network site ( http://officecdn.microsoft.com/ ) where Office installation files are stored. Software installation page in Office 365 Self-installation may be appropriate in certain organizations where users have administrative privileges and are expected to install their own software. Self-installation rights may also be provided in well-managed organizations where users by definition cannot install software on managed computers, but are given access to Office 365 ProPlus installation on home or personal PCs. Administrators may also centrally disable the right for user self-installation, but this is a global control within the Office 365 Admin Portal and will apply to all users in the tenant. Process for managed self-installation or home and personal device installation in a managed environment In the process flow above, the IT administrator may optionally define Office configurations using local configuration management tools like Group Policy prior to publishing self-installation steps to end users. End users will be responsible for installing any required add-ins, dependent applications or standardized Office templates if needed and in the self-installation scenario, users are by default configured to receive automatic monthly updates from the Office 365 service. Automated Deployments using Software Distribution Infrastructure Most large organizations use enterprise software distribution or image-based deployment automation to install software on behalf of their users. Office 365 ProPlus enables these tools and processes to install Office either from the network or with support from the Office 365 online service. As with the download process the Office Deployment Tool uses setup.exe to install and configure Office 365 ProPlus. These tools are designed with flexibility in mind so an administrator can point the setup engine at local, network or Web-based file sources. The configuration XML file governs the installation process to determine what products, architectures, languages, and versions are installed and from which sources. It also allows the administrator to suppress installation and first run experiences, accept licensing agreements on behalf of the user, determine where installation logs are stored, enable or disable automatic software updates and configure where Office looks for updates. Process for on-premises software delivery of Office 365 ProPlus With these tools you can follow classic enterprise software distribution approaches where software installation files are installed via local cache or directly from the management or distribution point. New to Office 365 ProPlus is the ability to distribute just the setup.exe file and instruct that Office Click-to-Run packages are installed from the Office 365 online service ( http://officecdn.microsoft.com/ ). This is a great scenario in off-LAN situations when VPN connectivity to a management point is slower than the target machine’s connection to the Internet. Because installations are usually much faster than with previous MSI-based packages, deploying Office pre-installed in a custom Windows image will not save as much time as with previous Office releases and it allows you to pre-cache Office Click-to-Run builds with multiple language support within a captured Windows image (WIM) file, then use scripting automation or your favorite task sequencing engine to install Office directly from the local file source within the WIM file. It is also recommended to install Office native to the language of the operating system as opposed to using language packs atop the EN-US installation of Office, but both options are still possible with Office 365 ProPlus and Click-to-Run. The configuration XML file governs both what is downloaded and how Office Click-to-Run is applied to the target computer. The controls relevant to using setup.exe /configure are the following. Option Description Sample Syntax Add Parent control to determine source, architecture, product and languages to download. From local folder:               From local network:               Remove Used to uninstall Office products.                                 Product Multiple products may be nested under the control and multiple languages may be nested under the control. Office 365 ProPlus      SourcePath Location where the Office is installed from. If SourcePath is unspecified, setup will first look for installation source in the local folder and if not present it will look to the CDN source. OfficeClientEdition Determines the architecture of the product to download, 32 or 64 bit. Note: 32-bit is still the recommended architecture for new Office versions. Cross-architecture installations are not permitted; if a 32-bit Office version is already installed on a system, the 64-bit Click-to-Run package will not install and vice versa.   Or: OfficeClientEdition=”32″ OfficeClientEdition=”64″ Language Language determines the language DAT files to be downloaded with the Click-to-Run package. Updates Configures automatic updating behavior. Updates may be either from the public Office 365 service, local location, local file share or private http:// site. To use a local file share: To use the CDN: