Ways to Manage User Accounts in Office 365

Keeping track of an employee’s data access information, who’s still employed at the company might not seem as a daunting task when you consider a small organization. However, when the number of employees grows to hundreds, or even thousands, it becomes critical and equally overwhelming for the admins out there to efficiently manage user accounts. Poor user account management not only causes a lot of confusion across the board, it is also a security risk.

If your company has just migrated to Office 365, you may need some help on how to set up the Office 365 platform. It is important for you to stay on top of maintenance of Office 365 systems, so that things flow smooth and easy at your end. In this blog post, we will be discussing three effective ways of managing user accounts. But before that, let’s quickly answer the question: What is Office 365 Admin Center?

For all administration tasks, we’ll start at the Office 365 admin center. Office 365 Admin Center is a web portal with a lot of rich features for service administrators to manage user accounts and settings for each of the subscribed Office 365 services. The admin center enables setting up your organization in the cloud, add users, manage domains, licenses, and much more. Users can sign in and access Office 365 for business through credentials given by the admin based on their administrative role in Office 365.

From within the Office 365 admin center, administrators can manage Dynamics 365 Online, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Lync Online.

Planning on how you can manage user accounts require admins to take a close look at the identity models to decide which option would be the best choice for end user migration and management.

Three Possible Ways to Manage User Accounts in Office 365

Manage User Accounts In Office 365: This is the simplest and most straightforward approach to manage user accounts, however, needs more long-term administrative effort. The administrator is required to create the user in two locations: on-premises and in Office 365, every time a new user account is created. Henceforth, both locations will require editing the account for any changes in name and password.

On-Premises Directory Objects Synchronization With Office 365: Active Directory synchronization is usually a one-way synchronization process, wherein Active Directory (AD) contents are copied from the on-premises Active Directory server to Office 365 and will be updated as local Active Directory contents are changed. Though the administrator is relieved from the burden of maintaining user accounts without adding to the hardware and failover requirements, he still needs to maintain two sets of password for on-premises Active Directory accounts and Office 365 accounts.

Identity federation (Using Use Active Directory Federation Services): This method establishes a single sign-on approach that allows users to log on to Office 365 to access the company subscribed Office 365 services, such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 (online). Employees can use the local Active Directory credentials to sign in and don’t need to sign in again to access different services. Here, the administrator doesn’t have to manage multiple passwords as a local Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) server authenticates the user logon. Identity federation eliminates the need to replicate Active Directory contents to the cloud. However, this approach can complicate a move to Office 365 and requires both expertise and effort for deployment. 

The administrator has to make a decision on which of the three approaches to choose for user account management. The decision should be based on factors like company size and, the number and variety of the IT resources carried by the company. 

Office 365 is Microsoft’s state-of-the-art Enterprise IT environment and is changing the way businesses work. Also, there will be an ever increasing demand of people who can handle servers and come up with stable, reliable ways to manage a network of servers. IT professionals can enhance their skills and knowledge in Office 365 by enrolling in Microsoft Office 365 certification training and give an instant boost to their career.

QuickStart – Learn Skills, Transform Life

QuickStart is a well-known IT skill learning and training center that has a history of three decades in leading professionals to a more fulfilling career, lucrative pay scale, and a stronger self-belief. QuickStart provides a wide range of instructor-led and self-paced learning training courses to enhance your technology skills and in-depth learning.

QuickStart’s Enabling and Managing Microsoft Office 365 online course is targeted towards IT professionals who are involved in evaluating, planning, deploying, and operating various Office 365 services. The course is driven towards leveraging skills required to set up and sustain an Office 365 tenant and users.

QuickStart offers a personalized learning experience and utilizes a high impact instructional methodology while allowing students to learn anywhere, anytime. Our team of Microsoft Office 365 experts and skilled instructors help students prepare for certification exams like 70-346: Managing Office 365 Identities and Requirements and 70-347: Enabling Office 365 Services to obtain the MCSA: Office 365 certification.

About The Author
Shamsa
VP Channel Sales at QuickStart

Shamsah Malik

Shamsah is an entrepreneurial, innovative professional with over ten years of sales, relationship management and business development experience within highly competitive SaaS, information technology, and SLED markets.