Microsoft Azure Partner Community: focus on Office 365 – Identity Management

Nick Johnson - Microsoft US Partner Technology Strategist for Microsoft Azure
by Nick Johnson, PMP
US Partner Technology Strategist for Microsoft Azure

The Microsoft Azure Partner Community is led by National Partner Technology Strategists from the Microsoft US Partner Team. Partner Community activities include blog posts, discussions on Yammer, newsletters, and community calls.

This is part 2 of our series about adding Office 365 to your Azure practice. Read part 1 here.

Focus on Office 365 – Identity Management

Identity management in a cloud-first world is a hot topic that shows no signs of cooling off. Partners that can help their customers manage cloud identities are in a position for business growth, by being central to every new cloud conversation that comes up.

Cloud based services and applications typically require a username and password to secure each account. Security is of course essential to businesses, but also has its challenges. Users who have to manage several user names and passwords can get overwhelmed trying to remember them all. Who hasn’t used the “forgot my password” link recently?

Within this challenge is opportunity. What if you could centralize management of all the users’ online identities for the SaaS apps they use for business every day? Azure Active Directory enables this, something I covered in a recent Azure Partner Community blog post. If you haven’t seen it yet, take a few minutes to review it.

Office 365 has two systems for user identities:

  1. Organizational account (cloud identity). Users receive Azure Active Directory cloud credentials—separate from other desktop or corporate credentials—for signing into Office 365 and other Microsoft cloud services. More about this here.
  2. Federated account (federated identity).  For all subscriptions in organizations with on-premises Active Directory that use single sign-on (SSO), users can sign into Office 365 services with their Active Directory credentials. The corporate Active Directory stores and controls the password policy. More about this here.

Why does this matter? Customers using Office 365 understand the value of cloud-based applications to help their businesses be more productive. Chances are they have other SaaS applications they are managing. With Azure Active Directory, you can help customers centralize the management of the users, groups, and passwords for all of their SaaS applications. Users will be thrilled that you can give them a single username and password or automated password reset. You can also give them a single logon page from which to access all those apps, similar to this:


How to get started

  • Organizations using the Organizational account option in Office 365 can add an Azure subscription to their Office 365 account. This will link the existing user accounts, which can then be extended to the full functionality of Azure Active Directory.
  • Organizations using the Federated account option in Office 365 can activate an Azure subscription to use Azure Active Directory. Once that tenant is created, use the Azure AD Sync Services to extend the Windows Active Directory to Azure.

If you are an Azure partner today, have you considered selling Office 365? In part 1 of this series, you’ll find resources to get trained, understand your opportunities, and more. If selling Office 365 doesn’t fit your business model today, consider identifying partners that do through Microsoft Pinpoint or WPC Connect.

Once you help your customers find success managing their identities with Azure Active Directory, you can help them build plans to manage their mobile devices and secure their documents using Enterprise Mobility Suite. Learn more about EMS through the links to our blog series and on-demand community call below.


Look for our next post on this topic soon, and don’t forget to register for the February 19 community call for our discussion about this topic.

Register for the February 19 Azure Partner Community call

Watch previous Azure Partner Community calls on demand

Read Azure Partner Community blog posts

Join the Azure Partners group on Yammer

Sign up for the US Azure Partner newsletter

Comments (22)
  1. Anonymous says:

    by Nick Johnson, PMP US Partner Technology Strategist for Microsoft Azure The Microsoft Azure Partner

  2. Anonymous says:

    by Nick Johnson, PMP US Partner Technology Strategist for Microsoft Azure The Microsoft Azure Partner

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