How to Pause Membership Processing for Azure AD Dynamic Group Membership

The Azure AD admin center now includes the option to pause processing for the membership query for an Azure AD dynamic group. This article reviews how the new feature works and what it might be used for, including a PowerShell script to report the membership processing status of all Azure AD dynamic groups.

Using PowerShell to Manage Azure AD Custom Security Attributes

Azure AD custom security attributes can mark user and service principal objects for special processing, which is how the app filter for conditional access policies works. It’s nice to be able to interact with data through PowerShell and the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK cmdlets support setting, updating, and retrieval of Azure AD custom security attributes. Everything works, but it’s a pity that it’s a little clunky.

Azure AD Conditional Access Policies Get App Filter

Azure AD conditional access policies can now use an app filter based on custom security attributes to restrict access to specific apps. It’s a neat idea that should be popular in larger enterprises where the need exists to manage large numbers of apps. In other news, the Graph X-Ray tool is available in the Windows Store and a neat cmd.ms tool is available to provide shortcuts to Microsoft 365 sites.

Azure AD Conditional Access Policies Add Check for External User Types

Azure AD conditional access policies can exert fine-grained control over the type of external users who can connect and what tenants they belong to. The new capability works especially well alongside Azure B2B Collaboration (guest users) and Azure B2B Direct Connect (used by Teams shared channels). It’s yet another way to impose control over who you allow to connect to your tenant.

Microsoft Hardens Authenticator App to Prevent MFA Fatigue

Microsoft has made number matching and additional context generally available for its Authenticator app. The new capabilities help users to avoid MFA fatigue. In other words, instead of being challenged with a simple request to approve a sign-in, users must respond by entering a number selected by Azure AD. At the same time, Authenticator can display additional information, such as where the sign-in originated from. It all helps to make Authenticator a more secure way of approving user sign-ins.

Report SSPR Status for Azure AD Accounts

In most situations, it’s a good idea to enable Azure AD accounts for SSPR (self-service password reset) to avoid the need for administrators to update user accounts when things go wrong. This article explains how to report accounts that are not yet set up to use SSPR. It’s a check that should happen regularly, perhaps with the aid of Azure Automation.

Updating Microsoft 365 User Accounts to use a New Domain

A reader asked how to update user email addresses and UPNs. As it turns out, this is not a very difficult technical challenge. The problem lies in the aftermath. It’s easy to update the primary SMTP address for a mail-enabled object or assign a new user principal name to an Azure AD account. Then problems might come into view, like needing to adjust the Microsoft Authenticator app to make MFA challenges work for the new UPN.

Reporting Who Made Azure AD License Assignments

This article explains how to use PowerShell and the Office 365 audit log to report Azure AD license assignments. The output isn’t pretty, but it works. The code works by finding two different audit events for each license assignment and combining information from both events to create a view of what happened. It’s rough and ready and can be improved, but the principal is proven and that’s what I set out to do.

Making Sure Apps Can Run Exchange Online Management Cmdlets

This article describes how to use the Exchange.ManageAsApp permission to allow Azure AD apps to run Exchange Online PowerShell cmdlets. You can do this in the Azure AD admin center for registered apps, but when the time comes to allow Azure Automation runbooks to sign into Exchange Online with a managed identity, you must assign the permission to the automation account with PowerShell. Easy when you know how, hard when you don’t!

Microsoft Introduces Authentication Strength for Conditional Access Policies

A new setting for Azure AD conditional access policies allows organizations to dictate the authentication strength of accepted connections. This is part of a Microsoft effort to move MFA-enabled Azure AD accounts away from the relatively insecure SMS-based challenges to methods that are less susceptible to attack.

Scripting Azure AD Authentication Methods

A script written by a Microsoft program manager to remove authentication methods from an Azure AD account caused me to write a script to capture all the authentication methods used in a tenant. I have other similar scripts, but this one records some additional detail for each method. And I have a moan about why the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK includes so many cmdlets for interacting with authentication methods. Some consolidation would be nice.

Detect Underused Azure AD Accounts (with Expensive Licenses)

This article describes how to adapt the Microsoft 365 licensing report script to highlight Azure AD accounts that haven’t signed in for a long time. Because Microsoft charges for licenses on a monthly basis, every month that goes by racks up cost for underused accounts. The new version of the script tells you what accounts to check to help you focus on driving down licensing costs.

Checking Audit Logs for Azure AD Consent Permission Grants

Audit logs hold lots of information, including records for when Azure AD consent permission grants happen. Checking the audit data can detect illicit grants. Records are in the Azure AD audit log and are also ingested into the Office 365 (unified) audit log, so there’s two places to check. The audit data is interesting and could help administrators work out if a permission grant is illicit. But only if checks are made and people review the reports.

Updating Extension Attributes for Azure AD Registered Devices with the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK

Azure AD registered devices have 15 extension attributes that tenants can use for their own purposes. In this article, we explore how to use the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK to update extension attributes for registered devices, and even better, access the content in the extension attributes afterward.

Microsoft Sets Out to Block Unmanaged Azure AD Guest Accounts

Microsoft launched an effort on September 2 to stop the creation of any more unmanaged Azure AD accounts in unmanaged tenants. A set of tools is available to help tenants to find unmanaged accounts and reset them by reissuing invitations to the affected guest members. There’s not much to complain about, but it is something to understand.

Use Graph Explorer to Sign into Microsoft 365 Tenants as a Guest

A little known fact about the Graph Explorer utility is that you can use it to sign into a tenant using a guest access. This might or might not be a good idea, but if you don’t want people to do this, it’s easy to block guest access by either disabling user access to the app (crude) or using a Conditional Access policy (much nicer).

The Odd Azure AD Selected Visibility is Not Allowed Problem

Like all apps, the Azure AD Admin center has its own quirks and inconsistencies. In this article, we cover issues creating groups when the admin center doesn’t apply sensitivity label container management settings properly, and group-based license management, which only works if the group’s security enabled property is set correctly.

Microsoft Announces New Yammer Administrator Role

A new Yammer administrator role is available in Azure AD. Assignees of the new role become Yammer verified admins and can make changes to both native and non-native Yammer networks. It’s nice to see the new role appearing in Azure AD and no doubt it will be useful to Microsoft 365 tenants that use Yammer, but why did it take so long to happen?

How to Report Azure AD Admin Accounts Not Protected by MFA

Many example PowerShell scripts exist to report Azure AD accounts and their MFA status. Most of the scripts use the old MSOL module. Now we can use the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK and some Graph API requests to do the same job, This article explains how, including how to highlight unprotected Azure AD accounts that hold administrative roles.

Imminent Deprecation of Azure AD PowerShell Modules Creates Knowledge Gap in Documentation

Time is ebbing away and the date when the Azure AD PowerShell modules will start not to work is approaching. Microsoft wants customers to upgrade to the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK or Graph API requests. That’s fine, but a knowledge gap exists because most of the examples – including in Microsoft’s own documentation – for how to interact with Azure AD via PowerShell use the old modules. And then every other blog on the planet (with some notable exceptions) does the same. So we have work to do to bridge the knowledge gap and help people to make the transition.

Microsoft Previews Nested Dynamic Azure AD Groups

A new preview feature supports the creation of dynamic Azure AD groups based on the membership of other groups, including dynamic groups and distribution lists (aka nested groups). It’s a nice feature that adds value, even if dynamic groups require Azure AD Premium P1 licenses.

Guest Accounts Can’t Update Their Photos with the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK

The Azure AD PowerShell module allows guest accounts to sign into target tenants and update their account photo there. The Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK includes a cmdlet to do the job, but it doesn’t work when connected to a target tenant. Permissions are the reason why, which is what we explain in this article.

Don’t Give Up on Azure AD Guest Accounts

Despite the advent of shared channels in Teams and the wonders of Azure AD Direct Connect, the chances are that Azure AD B2B Collaboration (Azure AD guest accounts) will remain the predominant method for external collaboration for the immediate future. That’s not so bad, as long as you maintain good guest hygiene!

Why Teams Sometimes Won’t Allow External Users In

Teams supports external access through guest account membership in teams and external sharing of shared channels. Sometimes, things go wrong and sharing can’t happen. In this article, we explore some common reasons and explain the solutions. And the need for patience!

Outlook Org Explorer Gives More Reasons to Pay Attention to Azure AD User Data

Outlook’s Org Explorer (available in Insider builds) brings together information from multiple Microsoft 365 sources to help users understand the people they work with in an organization. It’s like an Office 365 profile card on steroids, but only for user accounts as guest accounts and other external people are ignored. In other news, roaming signatures for Outlook desktop are getting closer as OWA now supports the creation and use of multiple web signatures, all of which can be used by Outlook desktop.

Graph X-Ray Tool Helps PowerShell Developers Master the Graph

The new Graph X-Ray extension available for the Chrome and Edge browsers gives developers an insight into how the Azure AD admin center uses Graph API commands to retrieve user and group objects. The insight is invaluable when teasing out some of the syntax needed to get work done with the Graph. It’s much appreciated.

Use Azure AD Access Reviews to Check for Inactive Guests

A new feature for Azure AD access reviews allows Microsoft 365 tenants to check for inactive guest accounts in group memberships. It’s useful functionality if your Microsoft 365 groups are used for Teams rather than Outlook groups. Email activity is ignored by these access reviews, so all guest members are deemed to be inactive!

Track User Access to Teams Shared Channels with Azure AD Sign-In Logs

Teams shared channels are now in public preview, meaning that many organizations are trying them out to see how effective a means of collaboration these channels are. One of the administrative challenges of implementing shared channels for cross-tenant collaboration is knowing who uses the channels. An answer can be found in the Azure AD sign-in logs, but only after you go looking.

Assign Azure AD Roles to User Accounts with the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK

Assigning Azure AD roles to user accounts is the way users receive permissions to perform certain administrative actions. You can automate these assignments using cmdlets from the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK. That is, until the time comes to remove assignments.

Basic Azure AD Group Management with the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK

The Microsoft Graph SDK for PowerShell includes cmdlets for management of Azure AD Groups. The cmdlets work, and in some places they are screamingly fast compared to Exchange Online or Azure AD cmdlets. In other places, the cmdlets are a tad bizarre and expose a little too much of their Graph underpinnings. Oh well, at least after reading this article, you’ll know where the holes lie.

Delete Azure AD User Accounts and Restore Them Afterwards with the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK

Microsoft has announced that it will be possible to recover a deleted service principal by the end of May. This is good news because it means that an accidental deletion can’t wreak the kind of havoc it can today. Microsoft hasn’t updated the APIs to manage soft-deleted service principals yet, but we can get an insight into what’s likely to happen by investigating how to manage deleted Azure AD accounts using cmdlets from the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK.

Why It’s Difficult to Transfer Membership Rules from Exchange Online to Azure AD

It seems like it should be possible to transfer a membership rule from an Exchange dynamic distribution list to a dynamic Microsoft 365 group/team, but it’s not. Different directories, schemas, properties. and syntax conspire to stop easy conversion. It’s a pity, but that’s the way life and technology sometimes go…

Microsoft Sets New Deprecation Schedule for Azure AD PowerShell

Lots of news has emerged from Microsoft recently regarding the deprecation of the Azure AD PowerShell module and the older MSOL module. Although dates have slipped from the original June 30, 2022 deadline, the signs are that Microsoft will retire the modules in early 2023. However, the Azure AD and MSOL license management cmdlets will stop working on August 26, 2022, so that’s the immediate priority for script upgrades.

Creating an Authentication Method Report for Azure AD Accounts

With the upcoming deprecation of the Azure AD and Microsoft Online Services (MSOL) PowerShell modules, it’s time to upgrade scripts which depend on the cmdlets from these modules. In this example, we use the Microsoft Graph SDK for PowerShell to create a report for Azure AD accounts showing the authentication methods each account uses. The idea is to highlight accounts not protected by strong authentication so that administrators can help users to upgrade their protection against attack.

Understanding How App Certification for Microsoft 365 Apps Works

By now, Microsoft 365 tenant administrators realize the need to understand how apps use consent to access Microsoft 365 data. App certification helps by reassuring tenant administrators that third-party apps meet certain criteria set by Microsoft. Achieving Microsoft 365 certification is the highest bar in the program. It’s just a pity that many of the apps now appearing in the ecosystem don’t achieve this level of app certification.

How Microsoft Teams Displays Local Time in Profile Cards

A new Microsoft Teams feature means that local time zone information appears on user profile cards. While it seem simple, the feature is very useful when arranging meetings because you know up-front about the working hours of your colleagues. It’s a detail that makes sense!

Understanding What’s in an Azure AD Access Token

Access tokens are an important part of accessing data using modern authentication through APIs like the Microsoft Graph. But what’s in an access token and how is the information in the access token used by PowerShell when the time comes to run some Graph queries in a script? In this article, we look behind the scenes to find out what’s in the JSON-structured web tokens issued by Azure AD.

Managing Azure AD’s Keep Me Signed In (KMSI) Feature

The Azure AD Keep Me Signed In (KMSI) feature uses a persistent cookie to allow users close and reopen browser sessions without sign-ins. If you don’t want to use KMSI, you can update Azure AD company branding to remove the option. Users will then have to reauthenticate each time they start a browser session. The decision to disable or keep KMSI is highly tenant-specific and depends on how authentication happens.

Microsoft Launches Azure AD Cross-Tenant Access Policies

On February 7, Microsoft announced the preview of Azure AD cross-tenant access, a new capability to allow users obtain credentials in their home tenant and use these credentials to access resources in other Microsoft 365 organizations. Microsoft Teams Connect (aka shared channels) is likely the first app to use cross-tenant access, with public preview of that feature expected in March 2022.