Integrating a Secure Messaging Environment with Office 365



Josef interview for CIOReview Magazine

See Publication from CIOReview


The New Order of Software Asset Management (SAM) in the Cloud era.

The New Order

Microsoft is definitely the great influencer of Software licensing; when Microsoft develops and promotes new rules may other vendors follow. During this last World Partner Conference, that just happened in Washington DC, I observed the influence of Cloud now directly affecting the Software Asset management (SAM) approach.

Cloud and SAM

Not long ago I was questioned by other SAM peers on my approach towards Cloud and SAM, the interaction of the old licensing models affected by the new subscription models seemed for some the end of the need of the licensing advisors, however I always thought it was only an adaptation of the SAM knowledge towards new exciting models to compliantly license software.

Microsoft is going all or nothing to the Microsoft Cloud offerings, I am glad that my guess has been right for so long with respect of being aware on how to measure, what to investigate, and how to determine the right Cloud licensing solution, because now SAM has to fulfill the qualification to move the right IT budgets towards Cloud in order to fulfill the great demand and transformation that Cloud is making in organizations everywhere. SAM has now a special role in regards to Cloud, it has to monitor the usage, contemplate the rules and repurpose licenses for an optimal transition.

SAM and Services

Some SAM professionals identify their task as auditors as the more relevant with respect to the services thy offer. However I disagree, in fact SAM has to be hand in hand with technical, and business assessments to actually not only portray a licensing position but to guide any organization to transformation. The new era of SAM services has to require a true alignment between business goals, technical requirements and licensing.


SAM 2.0

SAM is now critical in order to govern software and identify the possibilities of Cloud computing, outsourcing databases, access to BI integrated products, assessing security tools and allowing a new perspective of IT expenditure that walk with business objectives. The New Order of SAM services will create once again a differentiation between those that will be stuck in the old reseller ways, just contemplating the exercise of an audit without any other variable added, and those that understand the new realities and needs of IT on today’s market.


IT is truly a great moment for SAM services that can play a significant role on the era of Cloud.

Save time, reduce costs and get compliant with Application Management

We live in an Application driven IT world.  Whether its our Cloud-based phone apps, our computer apps, or the applications in our servers and hosted datacentres, everything is moving towards applications that will improve our productivity.  Technical complexity is increasing rapidly and we are consuming more applications than ever before.

I have come to understand the value of application packaging.  Initially, I thought it was simply creating an automated process of imaging applications to be delivered. However, I have to come to realize that its a lot more than that.  Application packaging:

  •        Allows one to conform to standards despite their edition and version.
  •        Provides the ability to test applications before moving to production.
  •        Delivers the same application, yet tailored to specific needs or departments.
  •        Provides process and characteristic documentation without having to spend hours writing and collecting screen shots.
  •        Enables a licensing person, through the process, to control and manage assets (Software Asset Management (SAM)).

For this reason it is now part of what I envision to provide my clients.  That vision is to deliver a robust strategy that not only takes care of SAM inventory and reconciliation, but also goes to the root and applies application packaging best practices.

Ask me how: @mslicensing, @amtrasolutiuons

Office 365, upgrading Office and Downgrade rights

These days I have to answer often to the question regarding downgrade rights from Office 365. It is different from Volume Licensing. When you subscribe to the E3 or E4 programs for example you are making a decision to upgrade to the latest Office edition of the moment.

There is a small window now to still subscribe to Office 365 and get office 2010 until 8-APR-2014.

After that it will be Office 13 the only available download for Office.

How to be strategic on this?

Time for standardization and upgrade office is a good timing to move to an Office 365 subscription. It is easier to move from one or two editions behind than from a seven or eight year difference. So as dramatic the change can be now, and training is recommended, later upgrades can be done often, at no additional cost and less dramatic.

Once you are using Office from Office 365 you cannot downgrade the edition. Even is you have to change a device and were used to Office 2010 in the moment that Office 13 is the only edition available is the only one you will be able to deploy

It brings some inconvenience and is the way for Microsoft to force latest edition behavior.

There are scenarios on RDS and others that will need a tweak on PUR

for any question click HERE

EA transition to Office 365… time to discuss

There are two ways to move your Enterprise Agreement (EA) to the Office 365 subscription

Obviously is an important topic these days as it is difficult to understand how you will be able to continue your EA investment and control costs during your way to the Cloud.

Every Office 365 plan as an equivalent on the CAL side to your EA, if your EA includes CALs. If you transition to an equivalent during the term then there is no increase of cost. However if you transition to an Office 365 option that includes more than your current EA you will incur into additional costs however highly discounted.

So basically there are two options for you

  • Move to Office 365 on equivalent subscription and continue annual payments until renewal
  • Increase licensing at a discounted price

True licensing experts could help you on the transition (ask me how @mslicensing or email me)

it is important to evaluate what can go Office 365 and which licenses will have to remain on the EA, specially if you create a hybrid model on your infrastructure.

All is possible…


Office 365 and RDS round 3, Allowed !!!

Office 365 and RDS round 3, Allowed!!!

Office 365 subscription users have won the battle, earlier than I expected, to have rights for Remote Desktop Services (RDS) or previously named Terminal Services.

Thanks to the new changes just published by Microsoft, Office 365 can now we deployed as well on RDS scenarios.

The text on the Product Use rights says the following:

“Each user may also use one of the five activations on a network server with the Remote Desktop Services (RDS) role enabled.” (PUR English Page 82, January 2013)

What does this mean? It means that Office can be installed with the MSI-based installation (MAK, KMS and Ad-based activation) required for RDS. Office can also be installed on Click-to-Run installation, with the built-in App-V foundation.

This allows clients to move to Office 365 licensing and benefit of all the features and serve thin clients, or any other RDS scenario.

Great news as it allows more flexibility.

One more reason to move to subscription what you used to buy on perpetual licensing…

Office 365 and RDS second round

Office 365 and RDS second round
In a previous post :
I commented on Office Pro Plus from Office 365 not having rights for RDS deployments
the licensing documentation still says that, however the way around it is selling the O365 Office Pro Plus on Volume Licensing
Problems: you need to have active SA and Office purchased. This is difficult if you have to decide buying the licenses if you don’t have SA. It sounds like double purchasing
Another solution: It is worth to talk to your Microsoft contact to inquire on an exception available for this kind of RDS scenario to grant you the rights.
Still waiting to see this in action, I will comment again, I am sure.

Virtual environments licensing issues with Terminal Services (RDS)

Recently I have been asked several times for Virtual environments for contractors Terminal Services (RDS)

There is a critical distinction to make, virtualizing the OS or Applications has different issues.

to put in Q&A format:

  • Do any of the rights of the desktop Office 2010 license extend to the hosted environment?

Yes, If the computers accessing Office on the RDS server are owned by the company, you only need to use the license through volume licensing for Office for each desktop whether Office is run on the local desktop or from the RDS server.

  • What about remote access from home  or contractor PCs not owned by us?

you will need to get a license of Office for each desktop and a license through volume licensing for each RDS session. Unless you had SA because SA comes with Roaming Rights. (SA has MDOP – Microsoft Desktop Optimization Platform)

A contractor is not part of your organization so roaming rights ONLY apply for primary users of the company

  • What if we want to do a virtual image of the OS?

make sure the home PCs from primary users have its own valid Windows OEM, then by using VDA licenses if you did not purchase Software Assurance will be the subscription you need. If you own Software Assurance with MDOP subscription you are good to go.

Again roaming rights apply only to primary users

A valid option will be Office 365 for example for Office, it gives up to 5 installations to each user and the company can assign the licenses to the users they authenticate.

more info:


Office for Home & Student cannot be used in a Business

Office for Home cannot be used in a Business
the Terms and Conditions are clear, and with the upcoming release of Office 13 that will surely have a free upgrade path buying a PC in the next month or so some businesses may delay pc purchase
Volume Licensing with Software Assurance will grant the upgrade right for businesses.
I recommend a quick read to the following blog


Home and Business edition has no limit of users but cannot enjoy Volume Licensing rights for imaging for example.

Be careful with what you buy

Office Pro Plus for office 365 does not allow you to use Volume License Keys

Office Pro Plus for office 365 does not allow you to use Volume License Keys

Office Pro Plus for office 365 does not allow you to use Volume License Keys

Office Pro Plus for office 365 does not allow you to use Volume License Keys

Office 365 offers 5 installations of Office Professional plus on the E3 and E4 options.

According to Office 365 site you cannot deploy a volume license image using a KMS or MAK key in the same device, because the Volume License copy cannot co-exist:

“Office Professional Plus for Office 365 cannot be used on the same computer as a volume licensed version of Office 2010. To verify that the user has Office Professional Plus for Office 365, open an Office application, click File and then click Help. Under the version information, you should see the text ““Part of Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010 Subscription” displayed. If the version information does not contain the word Subscription, you must install Office Professional Plus for Office 365.”

This means that while connectivity from on premise to the Cloud (Volume Licensing) can exist to Office 365, to enable the use of Volume License Keys KMS for multiple deployments at the same time, it cannot happen from the Cloud service to the on premise. It will not work.

This supposes a problem for those buying Office 365 instead of volume licensing and will have to go through each user account to deploy Office Pro Plus for Office 365 media and activate online instead of using one single order to deploy all images.

The reason may be because the Product Use rights changes the concept from device to user on the use of Office:


Each user to whom you assign an User SL may install and use one copy of the software per device on up to five devices at a time”

I imagine Microsoft is trying to still protect the advantages of Volume Licensing to sell more Office licenses besides provisioning them with Office 365. However it should change in order to make sure Office 365 is ready for the Enterprise world, if not this restriction of deployment looks more like a consumer product or retail.

So, if you own Office 365 for Software Assurance and you own Office Pro plus, deploy with your VLK not with Office 365 subscription if you need to dedicate your time to better things than going through all the devices you manage; if you are not license that way…patience.