How to create a dynamic group in Azure AD

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Dynamic group memberships reduce the administrative overhead of adding and removing users from a group as the process is automated and driven by attribute changes. For example, a user with a department attribute of Sales within AD could be automatically added to a dynamic group named Sales, and removed automatically if the user moved roles. For example, the user department attribute in AD was amended from Sales to Marketing. In this case, the user would be automatically removed from the Sales group and moved to the Marketing group if a dynamic group existed for Marketing.

In this blog post I will go through the process of creating a dynamic group within Azure AD and add a dynamic query/condition so staff from Sales UK are automatically added to a dynamic group.

  1. Access Azure AD
  2. Click Groups located in the left pane

3. Click + New group

4. Complete the fields for your group (Example below)

Group Type: Security
Group Name: CloudBuild_Sales
Group Description: Dynamic group for staff working in Sales UK
Membership Type: Dynamic User
Owner: I have assigned myself as an owner

The next step involved adding a dynamic query

5. Click Add dynamic query

6. Input details for your query, see example below

Property: department (This is the field located within the users Azure AD account properties)
Operator: Equals
Value: Sales UK (I want all users with a department of Sales UK to be added into my new dynamic group)

7. Click save

8. Click create

The result, all users with Sales UK included within the department field will automatically be added to your dynamic group. When the department field is changed, such as, the user moves departments, the process will automatically remove the user from the dynamic group.


Notes:

1. You can not manually add or remove a member of a dynamic group

2. You can create a dynamic group for devices or for users, but you can’t create a rule that contains both users and devices

3. This feature requires an Azure AD Premium P1 licence for each unique user that is a member of one or more dynamic groups. You don’t have to assign licences to users for them to be members of dynamic groups, but you must have the minimum number of licenses in the Azure AD organisation to cover all such users. For example, if you had a total of 300 unique users in all dynamic groups in your organisation, you would need at least 300 licences for Azure AD Premium P1 to meet the licence requirement. No licence is required for devices that are members of a dynamic device group.

Top 50 Azure Blogs

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I am pleased to announce that cloudbuild.co.uk has been listed on the popular Feedspot website as one of the Top 50 Microsoft Azure Blogs, Websites and Influencers in 2020!

It’s news like this which drives us to work harder to document and share information with others. Thankyou very much to all involved at Feedspot. Keep up the great work.

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Thankyou for your support this year and all the best for 2021

Enable Self Service Password Reset in Azure

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) self service password reset (SSPR) gives users the ability to change or reset their password, with no administrator or help desk involvement. If a user’s account is locked or they forget their password, they can follow prompts to unblock themselves and get back to work. This ability reduces help desk calls and loss of productivity when a user can’t sign in to their device or an application.

With Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) self service password reset (SSPR), users can update their password or unlock their account using a web browser. Please note that in a hybrid environment where Azure AD Connect is used to sync accounts from Active Directory to Azure AD, this scenario can cause passwords to be different between the two directories if password write back is not enabled. Password write back can be used to synchronise password changes in Azure AD back to your on premises Active Directory environment. Azure AD Connect provides a secure mechanism to send these password changes back to an existing on premises directory from Azure AD.

The password reset feature includes a set of capabilities that allow users to manage any password from any device, at any time, from any location, while remaining in compliance with company security policies.

In this blog post, I will go through the process of enabling password write back within Azure AD Connect, enabling self service password reset for a group of Azure AD users, go through the authentication methods and registration options.

  1. Login to your Azure AD Connect Server if you’re syncing your Active Directory accounts to Azure AD

2. Enabled Password Write Back in Azure AD Connect and save settings

3. Let’s confirm Azure AD has picked up the change

4. Login to the Azure Portal portal.azure.com

5. Click Azure Active Directory or locate via the search box

6. Click Password Reset located in the left menu

7. Click On-premises integration

8. Done, see screen shot below.

Notice the additional option to allow users to unlock accounts without resetting their password. This feature designates whether or not users who visit the password reset portal should be given the option to unlock their on premises Active Directory accounts without resetting their password. By default, Azure AD will always unlock accounts when performing a password reset, this setting allows you to separate those two operations. If set to yes, then users will be given the option to reset their password and unlock the account, or to unlock without resetting the password. If set to no, then users will only be able to perform a combined password reset and account unlock operation.

I have left the default settings

9. Now, let’s enable self password reset, click Azure Active Directory and click password reset

10. The password reset feature is disabled by default

11. I will be clicking selected and applying the policy to a security group named CloudBuildPR. Click select


12. Click Save

13. While in the password reset section, you’ll notice Authentication methods in the left menu. Here you can setup the number of authentication methods, including prompting your users to setup security questions as additional authentication options. You can specify your own custom questions that will be visible to the user or select the built in ones provided by Microsoft.

For the purpose of this demo, I will leave the default options enabled. Note that all features may not be available depending on your license type.


14. Moving down the menu, you’ll find Registration including the option on how often you require your users to re-confirm their authentication information they originally submitted. By default it’s 180 days and users are required to register when signing in.

15. The next option down is notifications. The default settings are shown below and are self explanatory.

16. Finally, it’s customization. You could add a link to your online helpdesk portal or an email address to allow users to contact IT in the event they require further assistance. I have already covered on-premise integration earlier so won’t cover that one again

17. Ok, so i’m all set. I have enabled password write back within Azure AD Connect and enabled Password Reset. I have confirmed the configuration has been picked up within Azure AD.

18. That’s it. Visit passwordreset.microsoftonline.com to test


If you’re using a free trial account, you’ll receive the below message. At the time of writing this blog post, the password reset option does not function with trial accounts.

Errors/notifications:

You can’t reset your own password because you haven’t registered for password reset.

You haven’t registered the necessary security information to perform password reset

Further Azure Password Reset FAQ’s can be located at the following Microsoft link Azure Self Password Reset FAQ

Configure Conditional Access Policy in Azure

Reading Time: 4 minutes

In this blog post I will go through the process of configuring a conditional access policy within Azure AD.

Conditional Access policies are simply if and then statements, for example, if a user wants to access a resource, then they must complete an action. Example: A staff member wants to access the payroll application and is required to perform multi-factor authentication to access it.

Note: Using this feature requires an Azure AD Premium P1 license

1. Login to the Azure Portal portal.azure.com
2. Click Azure AD or locate via the search box
3. Click Security

4. Click Conditional Access

5. Click New Policy

6. For the purpose of this demo, I have selected:

Assignments:
– Selected Users and groups
– Selected the Sales group

7. Next, click Cloud apps or actions

8. Select what this policy applies to. For the purpose of this demo, I have clicked select apps

9. Select your apps. For the purpose of this demo, I have selected Office 365 only

10. Next, click Conditions

Up to this point I have selected the Sales group and the application Office 365. I will now continue to apply conditions to the Sales group. Click Conditions

11. Click Device Platforms

12. For the purpose of this demo, I want this policy to apply for Sales people using an IOS device, such as an iphone

13. Click Locations

14. Here you could configure a location, for example you could prevent a conditional access policy from applying to your trusted locations but apply the policy everywhere else. Note the exclude option below where you could exclude locations from this policy.

15. Here you can control user access to target specific client applications not using modern authentication.

Note: When not configured, policies now apply to all client apps, including modern and legacy auth.

16. Click device state

17. Here you can control user access when the device the user is signing in from is not Hybrid Azure AD joined or marked as compliant.

18. Next, click grant

19. Here you can decide what you want this policy to do, block or allow access based on conditions. If you allow, you can select what conditions the users have to meet when authenticating. You could also select several options and select require all the selected controls or require one of the selected controls.

20. Finally, you have the option to enable the policy by clicking On. Clicking Off and the policy will not apply. Or clicking Report-Only which will only log events for you to analyse but not apply to users.

21. Click Create

Note: if you receive the below message after clicking create, you must disabled security defaults before you can create your policy.

Security defaults must be disabled to enable conditional access policy.

Out of the box, Microsoft now provide secure default settings that Microsoft manage on behalf of organisations to keep customers safe until they are ready to manage their own identity security. Security defaults is now enabled by default when setting up a new tenant.

You can disable security defaults by:

  1. Logon in to the Azure portal at portal.azure.com
  2. Click Azure Active Directory, or search using the search box
  3. Click properties located in the left pane
  4. Browse to the bottom of the page, and click the link Manage Security Defaults

22. and here is the policy

Notice the option What If below. This option allows you to test what a conditional access policy would do if applied to a user.