Last week we added two new apps to the App Center: In addition to a connector for Google Apps for Work, there is now also a connector available for Microsoft Office 365. In today’s article, I hope to give you a brief overview of its advantages and explain the easiest way for you to configure and implement it.
You can find corresponding information on the connector for Google Apps for Work in this blog article.
Microsoft, Google, Open-Xchange – the list of suppliers offering browser-supported solutions just keeps on growing. Office products which are not installed on PCs, but run on the cloud instead, have two main advantages: They make working on the go particularly simple and they also save companies a considerable amount of administrative effort.
The tedious maintenance of license lists, the timely updating of the software on the individual workstations, incompatibility between products with different versions and the purchasing of licenses in packages which are either too big or too small are now all a thing of the past with online Office suites.
By integrating Office 365 in UCS, administrators can now save themselves the time-consuming creation of user accounts in the Microsoft administration interface. Thanks to the connector, they only need to place a check next to the user or user group in question in the UMC, and a Microsoft account is created automatically. The connector also brings with it extra convenience for users, as, thanks to the single sign-on (SSO) mechanism, they can log on locally with their usual password and then begin working online on the cloud immediately without any further action – their password remains in the company network and is not revealed to the cloud service.
For UCS to be able to provide Microsoft user accounts in the background without any intervention on the administrator’s part, it is necessary to configure a secure connection to Microsoft’s cloud in advance, or to be more precise: to Azure Active Directory (AAD). To make this easier for you, we have now developed a wizard which guides you through the entire set-up procedure step by step.
Once the configuration is complete, the administrator can select users in the Univention Management Console (UMC) and create Office 365 accounts for them, which they can then use without any further effort.
As of this point, selected account attributes of the UCS accounts are synchronized to the accounts on Microsoft’s cloud. The attributes to be synchronized (first name, surname, telephone number, etc.) can be configured by the administrator using the UCR. It is not only possible to configurable which attributes are synchronized, but also whether the values are anonymized, set statically to a certain value, or should be copied correctly.
The use of the Office 365 connector requires a Microsoft Office 365 administrator account, a corresponding account in AAD, and a domain verified by Microsoft.
The first two are provided by Microsoft free of charge for test purposes. However, the configuration of the SSO requires an individual Internet domain in which TXT records can be created.
If you don’t have an Office 365 subscription yet, go to www.office.com and select “Try it for free – For Business”. It is not possible to establish a connection to UCS with a private Microsoft account.
Log in to your Office 365 administrator account in the Office 365 Admin Center and select “Azure AD” in the bar on the left. A new window with the Azure Management Portal will open. You may need to fill in additional registration forms at this point.
You should now have your own Active Directory in Azure. Select it and go to “Domains”. You can add and verify your own domain here. To do so, it will be necessary to create a TXT record for your domain in the DNS. This procedure can take a few minutes.
Once it has been set up successfully, the status for your domain will be displayed as “Checked”. You can install the app in the App Center and start the wizard.