Managing Office 365 Users Using PowerShell

Programmatically controlling the cloud is an important part of trying to reign in the chaos of disparate tools that the beancounters make us use these days. Of all the companies out there, Microsoft seems to understand this about as well as anyone and their fine programmers have provided us with a nice set of tools to manage Office 365 accounts, both in a browser (as with most cloud services) and in a shell (which is what we’ll talk about in this article).

This article isn’t really about scripting PowerShell. Instead we’re just looking at a workflow that could be used to script a Student Information System, HRIS solution or another tool that has thousands of users in it to communicate with Microsoft’s 365 cloud offering, providing access to Exchange, Lync, Access, Unified Messaging and of course, minesweeper. Wait, before you get carried away, I still haven’t found a way to access minesweeper through PowerShell… Sorry…

In order to manage Office 365 objects, you will first need to import the MSOnline module (e.g. of cmdlets) and then connect to an account with administrative access to an Office365 environment. To import the cmdlets, use the Import-Module cmdlet, indicating the module to import is MSOnline:

Import-Module MSOnline

The Get-Credential cmdlet informs you what account you are currently signed in as. Once you have imported the appropriate cmdlets, connect to MS Online using the Connect-MsolService cmdlet with no operators, as follows:

Connect-MsolService

You will then be prompted for a valid Live username and password. The Connect-MsolService cmdlet also supports a -Credential operator (Connect-MsolService –Credential) which allows for injecting authentication information into the command in a script. Next, setup a domain using New-MsolDomain along with the -Name operator followed by the name of the domain to use with Office 365:

New-MsolDomain -Name krypted.com

The output would appear as follows, indicating that the domain is not yet verified:

Name                  Status                       Authentication
krypted.com      Unverified              Managed

Once created, in order to complete that you are authoritative for the domain, build a text record in the DNS for the authoritative name server for the domain. To see what the text record should include, run Get-MsolDomainVerificationDns:

Get-MsolDomainVerificationDns -DomainName krypted.com -Mode dnstxtrecord

The output would appear as follows:

Label : deploymsonline.com
Text : MS=ms123456789
Ttl : 3600

Once the domain name shows as verified, you need to confirm it, done using Confirm-MsolDomain:

Confirm-MSolDomain -DomainName krypted.com

you can create a user within the domain. To see account information, use the Get-MsolUser cmdlet with no operators:

Get-MsolUser

To create an account, use the New-MsolUser cmdlet. This requires four attributes for the account being created: UserPrincipalName, DisplayName, FirstName and LastName. These are operators for the command as follows, creating an account called Charles Edge with a display name of Charles Edge and an email address of cedge@krypted.com:

New-MsolUser -UserPrincipalName "cedge@krypted.com" -DisplayName "Charles Edge" -FirstName "Charles" -LastName "Edge"

Other attributes can be included as well, or you can use a csv file to import accounts. Once created, you can use the Set-MSolUserPassword cmdlet to configure a password, identifying the principal with -userPrincipalName and the new password quoted with -NewPassword. I also elected to not make the user change their password at next login (through the web portal users have to reset their password and they’re randomly generated, so this is much more traditionally equivalent to what we’ve done in Active Directory Users and Computers):

Set-MsolUserPassword -userPrincipalName cedge@krypted.com -NewPassword "reamde" -ForceChangePassword False

We can also use Set-MsolPasswordPolicy to change the password policy, although here we’ll use Set-MsolUser for the account so that the password never expires:

Set-MsolUser -UserPrincipalName cedge@krypted.com -PasswordNeverExpires True

Also, you could use Set-MailboxPermission to configure permissions on mailboxes. I’ve also found that Get-MsolAccountSku is helpful to get information about the actual account I’m logged in as and while I’m waiting for a domain to verify that I can use Get-MsolDomain to see the status. Once the domain is accepted, Get-AcceptedDomain shows information about the domain. Set-MsolUserLicense can be used to manage who gets what license.

Finally, all of this could be strung together into a subsystem by any organization to centrally bulk import and manage delegated domains in an Office365 environment. There are going to be certain areas where human intervention is required but overall, most of the process can be automated, and once automated, monitoring the status (e.g. number of accounts, etc) can also be automated, providing a clear and easy strategy for 3rd party toolsets to be integrated with the Office 365 service that Microsoft is providing. It is a new world, this cloud thing, but it sure seems a lot like the old world where we built middleware to do the repetitive parts of our jobs… Just so happens we’re tapping into their infrastructure rather than our own…

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