In this article, we will unlock the full potential of Microsoft 365 administration by exploring efficient practices through web portals, PowerShell automation, and specialized tools like Microsoft 365 Lighthouse for Managed Service Providers (MSPs).
Once you have your tenant set up in m365, you’ll need to manage it; we’ll go over the different interfaces you can use. If you don’t have an O365 / M365 tenant, sign up for a trial tenant – click try for free under E3 or E5. These trial tenants last for 30 days, although you can extend the trial for another 30 days by contacting support.
The main portal is admin.microsoft.com, which you can also reach from www.office.com by clicking on the Admin tile. On the left-hand side are links to manage Users, Groups, Billing and Settings, etc., and further down under Admin centers are links to the individual portals for Exchange, Teams, SharePoint, OneDrive, and others.
Depending on your SKU, slightly different links will show up. Highlights for day-to-day work include the ability to multi-select users (Users – Active users) and change their licensing, for instance. You can manage invited external users who have had documents shared with them from OneDrive or SharePoint, for example, under Users – Guest users. You can also restore a recently deleted (30 days or less) user.
You can manage Groups and Shared mailboxes, like “email@example.com” that is accessed by several different people and Resources such as Rooms and Equipment (booking conference rooms or company cars).
Billing is the area where you can purchase additional licenses and manage your Subscriptions and Payment methods, and Support is where you lodge service requests. Under Settings is an area where you can configure different Services and add-ins, whereas Setup lets you manage your email domains.
Reports have both Usage and Security reports, while Health has two essential areas: Service Health shows you if there are any problems in the cloud with your resources, and Message Center has a list of upcoming updates and changes. Each Admin center lets you manage a service such as Azure Active Directory or Teams.
Msportals.io has updated links for most portals, which you can access directly without going through the main portal. Note that if you’re a small business, there’s an option to have the admin center in Simplified view (instead of Dashboard view), which hides most of the complexity and provides easy access to the basic tasks of user, group, Teams, and device management.
Just click Simplified View in the top right of the Home page in the admin center.
For small tenants, you’ll probably never have to venture beyond the web portal, but if you have large amounts of users, you’re going to want to automate common tasks in PowerShell using the newer Azure AD module. To install the module in an elevated PowerShell window, simply run Install-Module -Name AzureAD. To connect (and optionally authenticate with MFA), use Connect-AzureAD.
To check that everything is working:
- Use Get-AzureADUser, which will give you a list of the users in your tenant.
- Refer to the full instructions, including if you need to connect to the government or Chinese / German tenants. Once you’re connected, there are many tasks that you may want to do and perhaps automate, such as managing user accounts and licensing, creating SharePoint sites and managing users and groups, configuring Exchange settings, managing email migrations, and setting Teams information.
- Note that several of these require additional modules to be installed.
Microsoft has finally documented an official, scripted way to run a single PowerShell session connected to all the different services, whether you’re using MFA or not. For SharePoint (both Online and On-premises 2013/2016/2019) there’s an open-source alternative/complement called PnP PowerShell to the official SharePoint module by the Patterns and Practices (PnP) team.
The official SharePoint Online cmdlets are focused on creating/managing sites and users, whereas the PnP cmdlets are helpful for working with artifacts inside sites that have already been created.
If you need to manage M365 tenant settings or SharePoint Framework (SPFX) extensions, have a look at CLI for Microsoft 365, also by the PnP team, which runs on Windows, macOS, and Linux. And if you can’t be bothered to install CLI on your box, you can run it directly in Azure Cloud Shell.
Microsoft 365 Lighthouse
If you’re a Managed Service Provider (MSP) taking care of multiple M365 tenants, you should be using Microsoft 365 Lighthouse, so do not be confused with Azure Lighthouse. Both are technologies that allow service providers to manage various tenant clients.
Still, where the Azure flavor is a way of allowing service provider users scoped access to Azure resources, M365 Lighthouse is a portal where you bring in multiple tenants and apply policies and management (including password resets for any user, in any tenant) into a single console.
To properly protect your Microsoft 365 environment, use Hornetsecurity one-of-a-kind services:
- 365 Total Protection
- 365 Total Backup
- 365 Permission Manager
- 365 Total Protection Compliance & Awareness
- 365 Total Protection Enterprise Backup
To keep up with the latest Microsoft 365 articles and practices, visit our Hornetsecurity blog now.
Master Microsoft 365 administration with web portals for user and billing management, PowerShell for automation, and Microsoft 365 Lighthouse for MSPs. Leverage PnP PowerShell for SharePoint tasks. Simplify tasks and stay informed with health checks, reports, and admin centers. Streamline your Microsoft 365 experience for optimum efficiency.
What is Microsoft Office 365 administration?
Microsoft Office 365 administration involves managing user accounts, security settings, and productivity tools within the cloud-based suite, ensuring smooth operation for users in your business.
How do I become an Office 365 administrator?
To become an Office 365 administrator, gain expertise in user management, security, and Office 365 applications. Obtain relevant certifications such as Microsoft 365 Certified Administrator Expert or Endpoint Administrator Associate.
How do I find my Microsoft 365 administrator?
Locate your Microsoft 365 administrator through the Admin Center (if you have permission) or contact your IT department/helpdesk for the designated administrator’s information.