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A recent survey of business leaders showed that more than half of their employees will work remotely by the year 2020. That’s a massive shift in the way people work and it’s only 6 years away. If you’re a Managed Service Provider (MSP) who resells Office 365, this is a great opportunity to build a new offer for your clients. Have you ever considered selling Office 365 in a Remote Desktop environment?

Think about it. By giving your clients remote access to the latest desktop versions of their must-have Office apps, you’ll be opening the door to a whole new solution. Your clients will be able to work from anywhere on any device, without ever stepping foot in the office. And you’ll have a brand new source of recurring revenue.

To help you get the most out of this solution, we’ve identified 4 things you should know before offering Office 365 on Remote Desktops. Want to start now? Download your O365 Remote Desktop Starter Kit here.


Focus Is On the User Licence, Not the Device Licence

There’s a difference between deploying Office 365 and deploying the Office Suite on a Remote Desktop environment. With the Office Suite, you’d assign a volume licence to the end-user device from where the Remote Desktop session is launched. In this configuration, the license covers any user logging on the device for the Office software. Yet with O365 licenses rather assigned to users, as long as the users’ subscription is featured with O365 ProPlus, they will be permitted to use Office apps in a Remote Desktop session.

O365 - RDS Licensing


Understanding Shared Computer Activation

Shared computer activation is the feature that allows multiple users to run Office 365 ProPlus programs such as Word or Excel on a shared device or virtual machine. Referring to Microsoft’s Tim Tetrick blog on TechNet, shared computer activation will work as follow:

  1. During the installation on the device, Office 365 ProPlus is not activated, but the shared computer activation is rather enabled.
  2. After the installation, when a user logs into the device, the Office software first validates that the user is provisioned for Office 365 ProPlus and then activates it temporarily.
  3. For any new user logging in afterwards, the Office software cancels the activation for the previous user and repeats the validation process above.

Best of all, when using a deployment of Office 365 ProPlus with shared computer activation enabled, the user’s total count of five installations on a device is not affected.
Here’s a summary of the availability of shared computer activation across Office 365 plans:

O365 - RDS Checklist


Internet Connectivity: Matters More Than You Think

If you’re thinking of using O365 through Remote Desktop deployed in the cloud, it’s no surprise that Internet connectivity is critical for your project. With O365, this need is even further emphasized. As explained in Microsoft’s Office 365 ProPlus Guide, “the server hosting your environment must be able to contact the Office Licensing Service on the Internet to obtain a license for each user who uses Office 365 ProPlus and then activate Office 365 ProPlus. Internet connectivity is also needed to renew the license, which occurs every few days.”
Because this specific connectivity requirement involves the infrastructure where your environment is deployed, you should be careful selecting the cloud service provider you partner with.


Consider Cloud Server Density

Again, if you are thinking of using a cloud server as your RD Session Host Server and taking advantage the computer terminal model, your cloud srever needs to offer the best possible performance. Since you want to reduce the minimum requirements of the client-side hardware, the processing is focused on the RDS server. That’s why you need to choose a cloud server that can offer enough density through a single VM in terms of processing power and RAM. Sherweb’s 100% “All-Flash” SSD storage Performance Cloud is an excellent option for using O365 through remote desktop sessions. Our powerful VMs not only outperform AWS and Azure in terms of price-performance, they are also backed by a 99.999% SLA allowing for about only 5 minutes of downtime per year.


Partner with Sherweb

Here at Sherweb, our mission is to offer a one-stop shop experience and this is especially true when considering an O365 in a Remote Desktop environment project. As a 2-Tier Microsoft CSP distributor, we offer all O365 plans that feature ProPlus and its shared computer activation option, so you can deploy them on our very own Performance Cloud Servers. Not only will you get all the products under one roof, but we also offer free 24/7 customer support and cloud architects consultations.

Deploy OFFICE 365
on REMOTE DESKTOPwith Sherweb Performance Cloud

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Written by Guillaume Boisvert Director, Product Innovation @ Sherweb

Guillaume identifies and evaluates new solutions and product features that help Sherweb and its partners grow and compete. Responsible for the growth and development of Office Protect, Sherweb’s security add-on for Microsoft 365, Guillaume leads the team responsible for building and commercializing the company's in-house security offering. He has almost two decades of experience developing software-as-a-service (SaaS), both as a technical lead and as a product manager.