Connecting Office 365 to Identity Access Management Solutions

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Microsoft Cloud is revolutionizing the way organizations across various industries operate; providing various services at a minimal cost and scalability that fits the needs of any organization.  Microsoft’s productivity service Office 365 has opened the doors for employees and students, allowing them easy access of these tools on the go. Whether you are in the office, at home, or on the road connectivity can be simple and secure.

One challenge an organization may face when using a cloud-based solution, such as Office 365, is the management of the user accounts.  By default, a user within an organization will receive an active directory account, which provides them the ability to authenticate to the organizations domain and access various resources.  Incorporating a cloud-based solution, such as Office 365, will required the end user to have an additional account, along with its own set of credentials.  Management of accounts across numerous systems can be a tedious job for administrators.  The administrator will need to create the active directory and Office 365 account prior to the user arriving at the organization, confirm that the end user receives their credentials, assist the user during their tenure, and decommission the end users account upon departing the organization.  Depending on the size of the organization, these tasks may require multiple administrators.  Due to this, a vast amount of organizations have transitioned to Identity Management (IAM) solutions for the management of accounts.

Identity Management (IAM) solutions come in all shapes and sizes, some are more scalable than others are but overall these solutions are very useful to an organization.  The implementation of an IAM solution can be quick, based on the level of complexity, and can immediately assist with streamlining the management of user accounts.  With an IAM solution, an organization can standardize account provisioning across multiple systems and has the flexibility to decide what information is synchronized between systems, such as Active Directory and Office 365.

Depending on the IAM solution select, connecting to Office 365 can be simple.  Whether native to the product or using a connector, the only prerequisites required to communicate with Office 365 are Microsoft Online Services Sign-In Assistant for IT Professionals RTW, Windows Azure Active Directory Module for Windows PowerShell, and credentials for an administrator account.  Microsoft has provided in-depth documentation regarding all functionality that is available via PowerShell.  In most cases, the IAM solution will have the Office 365 connector already incorporated into the software.

It is not uncommon for an organization to provide end users with the ability to authenticate to various systems, such as Office 365, seamlessly once authenticated to the domain with an active directory account. Using products such as HelloID, that provide Single Sign On functionality resulting in the end user only needed one credential to access available systems like Office 365.  Application such as HelloID easily connected to active directory for authenticating the end user and allowing the user to log into any cloud application made available by their administrator.  Just log into the HelloID interface with your windows credentials, select the application to enroll, and provide your credentials.  Moving forward the end user is automatically be logged into the application without having to provide their credentials.

No matter what method of synchronization you choose, Microsoft has made it simple to integrate with to Office 365.  From their extensive documentation to flexible API, any 3rd party tool can easily connect, providing an organization and their administrators the ability to simplify their daily tasks.

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