Understand and manage groups

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Office 365 uses groups to simplify the administration of users, resources, and for security. You may have encountered groups in Active Directory and also in Microsoft Exchange. There are four types of groups that are available within Office 365 these are the Office 365 group, security group, mail-enabled security group, and distribution lists. Office 365 groups are new and let you create a shared space to communicate, collaborate, and schedule events with colleagues on a shared task, project, or resource.

Your users can create, find, and join groups right from their inbox or calendar and invite colleagues to participate in the group. Once created groups are displayed in the members inbox and also the group section of the Office 365 admin center. In addition to administrators creating and populating groups with users as a user you can also create, join, and remove yourself from Office 365 Groups.

Effectively, you are like an administrator when it comes to your own Office 365 group membership. An Office 365 security group is used to grant access permissions to all users within a group. Assigning permissions to groups is faster and more efficient then assigning permissions to individual users one at a time. As an example, you could create a security group to give write permission access to a SharePoint Online site or a group of home workers that need to be part of an Intune security group.

Mail-enabled security groups are similar to the security groups we just learned about, but this time you also have the ability to directly email all of the members of the group at the same time, hence mail-enabled. These groups are also used to grant access to the resources in Active Directory and because it is a security group you can grant permissions to all of the members of the group at the same time. Distribution lists are also known as distribution groups and are the most common and well known type of groups.

This type of group is used to send email to multiple users at one time, and users don't need to type each individual email address when composing an email. Distribution lists are useful to collate users together who send frequent communications to the whole group. Within Exchange Online the use of distribution lists can be finely tuned. You need to carefully manage group members to ensure that the membership is current and correct.

It is worth periodically auditing the group memberships to ensure that they align with human resources or operational needs. If you need to add or remove group members you will use the Office 365 admin center or PowerShell. By default only senders within your company can send messages to groups, but you can also allow people outside the organization to send email to groups. For example, help@sellsnowtoeskimos.com could be used by anyone and be directed to the internal help desk team.

The high-level steps to create a security group within Office 365 are first you need to sign in to Office 365 admin center as an administrator. Notice that only global and user management administrators have permissions to create, edit, or delete security groups. On the home page click groups and then click the add a group. Then use the dropdown to choose security group as the group type and then type a name for the security group and click create.

Once you created the group you can add members by selecting the group and then clicking the edit option. To remove members choose remove next to their name. Let's drop down into our demo PC and take a look at how to create and manage a security group in Office 365. First we'll sign into Office 365 admin center as an administrator and log on to portal.office.com and I'll log on with my admin account.

Click sign in and then click the admin tile. Then on the home page click groups and then again select groups. Click the add a group and then use the dropdown to choose security group as the group type. We can then type a name for the security group. We will use the name sales and then click add. The group was added and the group is ready to use. We can click close. If we now search for sales we can edit the properties of the group.

I've searched for the group and now selected it. Under sales security group we can use the edit options to edit the name of the group and also the membership. Let's click edit. We can add new members by clicking the plus add members button. Let's now search for the members we want to add. I've searched for Randy, let's add Randy and Alice and then click save. We can then see we have Alice and Randy as members of the sales security group.

We can remove members in a similar fashion by clicking the minus remove members, selecting the user we want to remove, and then clicking save. The membership list is now updated and we can click close and we can see that only Randy is now a member of the sales security group. Then I'll click close and close again. In the next video we will consider license management including how to assign and unassigned product licenses.

We will also consider setting the user location attribute and its importance.

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You can request remote and personalized assistance with onboarding. Our FastTrack engineers will help you plan your Office 365 project, assess your technical environment, provide remediation guidance, and provide user adoption assistance. For businesses with at least 500 licenses, Microsoft also provides personalized assistance to migrate data to Office 365.

See the FastTrack Center Video: http://aka.ms/meetfasttrack

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Tip: Businesses with 1-149 licenses still have access to FastTrack guidance via links in the Admin Center and also available at https://aka.ms/setupguidance.

Learn how to keep your users secure and up to date by configuring cloud identity and authentication with Azure AD and Office 365, and enterprise-level mobile device management with Intune. This course covers key topics related to the administration of these services, including users, groups, policies, and roles, and maps to the related domain of Microsoft's Cloud Fundamentals certification exam (98-369). It's ideal for IT professionals responsible for their company's cloud operations as well as those pursuing certification for the first time. Follow along with Andrew Bettany as he covers creating user groups within both Office 365 and Intune, assigning administrative roles, and configuring mobile device management.

Topics include:

  • Understanding cloud identity and authentication

  • Managing Office 365 users and groups

  • Assigning administrative roles

  • Configuring password expiration policy

  • Exploring Service Health for Office 365 and Intune

  • Managing users and devices in Intune

  • Deploying Intune clients

  • Setting up mobile device management

  • Managing Intune policies

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