Patching and deploying Office 365

Easy and secure rarely go together. See how Jamf changes that with software deployments and app patching.

February 4 2019 by

Kyle Ericson

In the past, when it came to Office 365 applications on Mac, it was a bit of a challenge for IT. There's the whole process of downloading the full .pkg file to a mobile device management (MDM) solution and then pushing out. This process was very tedious and time-consuming.

Another issue came when attempting to patch the applications. Once you pushed the install there really was no way to patch the applications. This is where Jamf came in and solved this workflow for patching and deploying.

Easy and secure can now go together

Jamf Pro gives you the ability to deploy applications and patch once the apps are installed. Now, there is an easy path to a security baseline. I know easy and security don't seem to belong together, but Jamf changes that. I can create a Mac policy to install the full Office 365 applications and use extension attributes to verify if they are indeed installed.

In the past, this method was a push and hope tactic. But Jamf allows for new workflows for auto-updating these applications. Jamf has a built-in patch management framework for easy patching and compliance. If you want to push a certain version of Outlook, just upload the .pkg to Jamf. Create the patch policy and magically devices start patching. This is also very useful for creating reports to give the security folks who love data and reports what they need.

The patch policies allow for an easily readable dashboard of patches installed and not installed. This feature is relatively new and I'm excited to see where Jamf goes with this framework.

Patching with policies

Going back to its roots, Mac policies have been a staple feature of Jamf. Polices allow for a different way to patch devices with a shell script provided by Microsoft Mac techs. The auto-update shell leverages the Microsoft auto-update application built into Office. This is a great workflow to set up either a set version to patch or always the latest version. This is all automated and silent for end users and I have deployed to over 150 Macs. I'm able to set up this policy to run each week and forget about it.

Check the security box and do more

That's always the end goal to automate things and free up bandwidth for new projects. Now that all my Office applications are being patched from Jamf, I can start using the newest features faster. This also allows end users to get the newest bug fixes and features when they come out. Example: they can take advantage of dark mode in macOS Mojave with Office on day zero.

Jamf has many other great features. I'm very pleased with this workflow and it has saved me time and headaches with security. I look forward to where Jamf goes in 2019 and I know they will continue to excel in MDM.

Not already a Jamf customer? Take Jamf Pro for a free test drive.

Kyle is member of Jamf Heroes and systems engineer at a large manufacturing organization.

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