MANAGING MICROSOFT 365 USER ACCOUNTS FOR IT ADMINISTRATORS.

A lot of administrators with years of IT experience who are responsible for their organisations’ Microsoft 365 systems are likely to lose sleep thinking about the best, and most efficient ways of handling their jobs. And rightfully so, because if you do not keep a leash on maintenance, things can get out of hand very quickly. In this article, we shall discuss the best practices to follow to manage your Microsoft 365 user accounts and how a managed IT service provider or IT consulting firm can assist with your business IT support.

Small and mid-sized businesses typically only have a handful of workers. As such, effectively keeping tabs on who has access to what, the structure of the workflow, and who is still employed at the organisation is a relatively easy job. However, in large organisations with hundreds or thousands of employees, applying the same level of monitoring and control can be one of the most arduous tasks one could undertake.

And admins do lose their sleep over legit reasons because, when there is poor user account management, efficiency and security issues will emerge. Therefore, managed services for IT support are something you must consider.

Whenever an employee joins an organisation, they are typically given access to some company information such as how business is conducted, customer/client data, and other sensitive information.

So, if the employee is to stop working with the company, it is only reasonable that their access to this info becomes restricted. As such, if you do not have a procedure in place to effectively manage these user profiles, you heighten the risk of this information falling into the wrong hands. The aftermath of this kind of scenario is very unappealing from a legal and compliance point of view.

So, how can you effectively manage your Microsoft 365? The following are tips to help you with that endeavour.

1. AZURE ACTIVE DIRECTORY SYNCHRONISATION

When establishing and managing user accounts, your first order of business should be to synchronise Active Directory (AD), which is a simple and straightforward task. Here, you will copy the current AD contents from the local environment onto the cloud that is hosting your Microsoft Office 365. The benefit here is that the organisation shall retain complete control over the AD environment and will continue to manage it using the previous management practices and software.

Nevertheless, AD synchronisation does have potential drawbacks especially being a one-way operation. The content is copied from the organisation to Office 365 and is updated whenever the local AD’s contents are changed. However, Office 365 Enterprise offers two-way synchronisation, which copies attributes from the cloud to the local AD to support enhanced features such as blacklisting, white-listing, voicemail, and archiving. Nonetheless, if you do not use enhanced features, you might not need a two-way active directory synchronisation. Learn more about Active Directory Synchronisation by clicking here.

2. IDENTITY FEDERATION

This is the alternative to AD synchronisation. This option allows you to establish a single sign-on approach which enables users to log on to Office 365 using the local AD credentials. A local AD federation services server will then provide a token and hand over to Office 365 to manage the user login. The advantage of identity federation is that the mechanism eliminates the need to replicate AD contents to the cloud. Identity federation, however, requires additional server and service deployment from the company, which may complicate the move to Office 365.

3. SPLIT ADMINISTRATIVE CONTROLS

Office 365 offers role-based administrative functionalities so that different admins can manage different components on the platform. This allows them to specify access permission to data such as documents, presentations, and workbooks. When you split off roles, you ensure that specific content is used only by the right people.

4. MULTI FACTOR IDENTIFICATION

Also known as MFA, this is an authentication process that requires a second means of verification beyond common passwords and usernames. Microsoft 365 enables a variety of secondary authentication means such as a mobile app, text message, and phone call. And even though not routinely utilised, MFA is a powerful tool to use when end-user trust and email security are significant concerns for the company.

5. USE COMPLEX PASSWORDS

To ensure that you do not become a victim of identity theft, create long passwords comprising of different kinds of character such as a combination of upper and lowercase letters, special characters, and numbers. However, to make them even better, we advise users to incorporate acronyms as opposed to using dictionary words, in addition to avoiding personal content.

6. DEPLOY SELF-SERVICE PASSWORD RESET

This option allows the Microsoft 365 user to reset their password at any time, from any location and using any device so long as they can answer the validation questions. This enables more productivity in departments such as the help desk by eliminating the need for users to ask for desk assistance whenever they want to change their passwords.

In our hyper-digitised world, the bulk of most companies’ processes are run online. And this convenience notwithstanding, there comes the headache of effective user account management. Without proper management techniques, you run the risks of data breaches, inefficient processes, and raised overhead costs due to wasted time. The above are six tips that you can apply to help you with that task. You could also consider managed services to handle this job for you. Payneless Computer Solutions is a managed IT service provider that offers business IT support and IT consulting to businesses and organisations of all kinds. With almost a decade of IT experience Payneless Computer Solutions has become one of the most trusted IT companies in Melbourne. When you employ our services, we will provide you with custom-built solutions that will give you around-the-clock support to ensure that all your processes run smoothly and timely.

Contact us now to learn more here