Office 365 synchronization can be optionally deployed to enable users to log-in to Office 365 with the same user name and password as their main office logon. Being deployed on a ProLiant Easy Connect server, the integration can benefit from both backup and monitoring, to ensure the synchronization continues to run correctly.
Synchronization of user credentials (including passwords) between the server’s local Active Directory (AD) and Office 365 in the cloud is supported. This provides what is technically known as Same Sign-On. Users will be able to sign in to Office 365 with their office network AD username and password that they use to logon to their domain-joined client PC. This is by default a one-way synchronization, so the local on-server Active Directory continues to be the master of all changes to user names and passwords. It should be noted that the synchronisation happens over a secure, encrypted connection (HTTPS) and synchronisation of passwords does NOT require passwords to be stored in AD with reversible encryption either.
In most cases, the MSP will want to configure the admin credentials for the synchronization, the mapping between local and Office 365 users and various other synchronization options. Once configured, the process then runs periodically on the server, updating Office 365 with user credential changes made on the server. The process is also monitored to ensure configured synchronizations are taking place.
Microsoft Office 365 Supported Versions
In order to benefit from synchronization, the organization must be subscribing to a version of Office 365 that supports this feature. Most ‘business’, ‘enterprise’ and not-for-profit versions of Office 365 support synchronization. However ‘Home’ and the basic ‘Pro’ editions do not.
This information was current in February 2016:
Synchronization is not supported with the following versions of Office 365:
In addition, any version of Office 365 omitted from the table of supported versions should be considered non-supported.
Deploying and Configuring Synchronization
In the first instance, contact the Proliant Easy Connect Support Team to notify them that Office 365 synchronization will be setup.
Install. Where requested, the ProLiant Easy Connect Support Team can download the correct Microsoft Azure Active Directory Connect tools in to a suitable virtual machine on the server running Windows Server 2012 R2.
Configure. The IT service provider, in conjunction with the Office 365 provider if they are a third-party, will then use those tools to install and configure the integration to function with their Office 365 admin user credentials.
Monitor. When the integration is configured, the ProLiant Easy Connect Support Team will enable on-going monitoring of the service. The IT service provider will be notified should any problems occur that require their attention.
Maintenance. The ProLiant Easy Connect Support Team does not require admin access to the Office 365 account. However the IT service provider may be required to occasionally update the Azure Active Directory Connect tools if the admin credentials change or other changes to the synchronization setup are necessary.
Microsoft provides extensive documentation abut configuring Azure Active Directory Connect - https://azure.microsoft.com/en-gb/documentation/articles/active-directory-aadconnect/
The naming of Office 365 editions changes regularly. In this technical note we are referring to the following plan versions: https://products.office.com/en-gb/business/compare-more-office-365-for-business-plans.