What is Microsoft Purview Customer Key?

Microsoft Pureview Customer Key (or Customer Key for short) is an encryption service mainly aimed at resolving regulatory issues with the adoption of Microsoft 365. This is the product you need in the Microsoft Cloud environment if you have a regulatory requirement to have ownership and control over the keys used to encrypt data at rest.

Microsoft 365 already provides volume-level encryption through Bitlocker and Distributed Key Manager (DKM), but you have no control over the encryption keys used. Customer Key can encrypt with your keys data from Exchange Online, Skype for Business, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, and Microsoft Teams. The Microsoft services will use your key to make the various systems work.

You’ll have the option to let Microsoft generate your RSA Keys or upload your own. All the key management capabilities are done through Azure Key Vault. Once Microsoft checks that everything is going well, Microsoft 365 uses your keys to encrypt data at rest.


While Customer Key adds additional security against unauthorized access to data, it’s not intended to restrict Microsoft employees’ ability to access your data. Instead, that feature is provided by Customer Lockbox. Customer Lockbox ensures that Microsoft can’t access your data without your consent.

CRITICAL CONSIDERATIONS:

  • Once you encrypt SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, and Teams, there is no going back to Microsoft Managed Keys.
  • The loss of the root encryption keys can have catastrophic consequences. Various precautions can be taken to avoid common errors but keep this in mind.
  • Microsoft keeps an availability key, which functions the same as your two keys. This key is used by automated processes and aims to provide recovery capabilities from the loss of the root keys you manage. To learn more follow this link: Availability Key in Customer Key | Microsoft Docs

FEATURES LIMITED BY THIS SERVICE:

  • None that I’m aware of

GENERAL REQUIREMENTS:


PERMISSIONS

  • Being a Global Admin for the tenant

REQUIRED LICENCES: (One of the following types)

  • Office 365 E5
  • Microsoft 365 E5
  • Microsoft 365 E5 Compliance
  • Microsoft 365 E5 Information Protection & Governance SKUs
  • Microsoft 365 Security and Compliance for FLW

AZURE:

Generally, the ability to create Subscriptions and an Owner role in those subscriptions. The subscriptions will host the Azure Key Vaults that will contain your keys.

  • Ability to create Azure Subscriptions and Resource Groups
  • Ability to modify permissions on Azure Subscriptions and on resources
  • Ability to create and manage Azure Key Vaults and related keys

TIPS:

  • You can leverage the Hardware Security Module (HSM) key protection by using a Premium Key Vault

To learn more, refer to the following link:

Customer Key Overview | Microsoft Docs

Online Mailbox cannot be created because an on-premise one already exists – Exchange Online

This issue is mainly present if you are trying to migrate from Exchange on-prem to Exchange Online and you’re not going with the hybrid route. The “double mailbox” way consists in having an online mailbox and a local one, and manually (or automatically using tools) migrating the content online.

The issue is that, if you are synchronizing your on-prem AD with Azure AD, you are most probably including your msExchMailboxGUID into the replicated fields. This attribute will tell Exchange Online not to create an online mailbox, as an on-prem one already exists.

Once you will have cleared this field from the online user, Exchange Online will be able to create another mailbox, populating the msExchMailboxGuid of the online user, leaving you with the possibility of exporting and importing data into your online mailbox.

Please note that this will also automatically clear the following attributes from the online user:

  • alias
  •  legacyExchangeDN
  •  msExchArchiveGuid
  •  msExchArchiveName
  •  msExchBlockedSendersHash
  •  msExchElcMailboxFlags
  •  msExchRecipientDisplayType
  •  msExchRecipientTypeDetails
  •  msExchSafeRecipientsHash
  •  msExchSafeSendersHash
  •  userCertificate

To proceed with the creation of the online mailbox, follow these steps:

  • Open your AD Connect server.
  • Stop the Sync with Powershell (launch it as admin and keep it open after this command): Set-ADSyncScheduler -SyncCycleEnabled $false
  • Open the Synchronization Rules Editor as an admin.
  • Select the In from AD – User Exchange rule, click Edit, then click on yes.
  • Under Precedence write 250 (or the first free one), then click Next until you arrive in the Transformations page. Here look for msExchMailboxGuid, then change the row’s settings to make them match with the image below:
  • Once you are done, click Save, then open the original rule. Note down the Precedence (usually it’s 108), then delete the rule. Go into your newly cloned rule and change the Precedence to the one you noted down.
  • Before you enable the scheduler and perform a full sync, you should test out the changes. This is the documentation link to test everything out without committing changes to Azure AD: Verify changes to AD Connect rules | MS Docs
  • Reenable the scheduler: Set-ADSyncScheduler -SyncCycleEnabled $true
  • Perform a full synchronization: Start-ADSyncSyncCycle -PolicyType Initial

You should now be able to create a second mailbox for your synchronized user by assigning a valid license.

Enable Modern Authentication for Outlook 2013

Since Microsoft will soon start to turn off Basic Authentication for Exchange Online, you’ll have to enable Modern Authentication client-side if you still have some machines running Outlook 2013 and want them to connect to Office 365. This is quickly done by adding some registry keys. Modern authentication is already enabled by default in Office 2016 and later versions.

This process will activate the Modern Authentication workflow for all the apps included in Office 2013 (Outlook 2013, Excel 2013, Word 2013, OneNote, etc.), not just Outlook.

While this procedure will allow you (for now) to connect to Office 365, it is critical to remember that connection to Office 365 and Exchange Online via Office 2013 is not supported anymore. You should update to a newer and supported version soon, as things might stop working without notice.

To enable the feature, either open an elevated CMD and paste these commands in or add the entries manually via Registry Editor.

CMD:

reg add HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Exchange /v "AlwaysUseMSOAuthForAutoDiscover" /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f
reg add HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Common\Identity /v "EnableADAL" /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f
reg add HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Common\Identity /v "Version" /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f

REGISTRY EDITOR:

Path ValueTypeValue
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\ExchangeAlwaysUseMSOAuthForAutoDiscoverREG_DWORD1
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Common\IdentityEnableADALREG_DWORD1
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Common\IdentityVersionREG_DWORD1

Unblock at-risk user – Azure AD

If a user can’t access your tenant and forwards the following message to you, here are the steps on how you can solve it.

Your account is blocked

We’ve detected suspicious activity on your account.

Sorry, the organization you are trying to access restricts at-risk users. Please contact your admin.

The unblock is done by either resetting the user password or clearing the user risk once you have assessed that the risk is resolved.

  • If you have AAD Premium P2 (you can check it on the overview page of Azure AD), remediate the user risk by following this link Identity Protection | Risky users. A password reset is usually suggested and will also clear the user’s risk.
  • If you do not have AAD Premium P2, you can reset the user’s password or let them do it by themselves by using Self Service Password Reset (SSPR) if you have configured it. Alternatively, you can also go on this page, and ignore the user risk, once you have assessed that everything is resolved: AAD Risky Users. All these methods will clear the user risk.

Allow 10 – 15 minutes before the user can access again without getting the error reported above.

Enable idle session timeout for Microsoft 365

In the last few days, Microsoft implemented a timeout feature for the Microsoft 365 portal and the Office web apps. The aim is to disconnect a user if no activity is received. This will go on to become a global setting: “Idle session timeout for Microsoft 365 web apps will eventually replace current idle timeout settings in Outlook Web App (OWA) and SharePoint Online (SPO)”. This feature is not tab specific, so if you interact with Word (web app), you won’t be signed out from Outlook (web) that you have open in another tab.

You can check out the roadmap here:

Office App: Idle session timeout for Microsoft 365 web apps

I’ve noticed some inconsistencies in the practical application, which will be probably ironed out during the next months.

To enable this feature, open the following link, or go to Settings -> Org setting -> Security & privacy -> Idle session timeout (Preview).

Idle session timeout (Preview)

Click on “Turn on to set the period of inactivity for users to be signed off of Office web apps”, then set the timeout period and click “Save”.

Once you are done, users will get the following prompt if they do not interact with the Office tabs for the configured period.

There is no way of removing the “Stay signed in” option for now, which lets the user keep the sessions from disconnecting.

The GA is expected by June 2022.

Outlook requires app password for connecting to Exchange Online

Even if most people use modern authentication for connecting with Exchange Online, some users still have to use app passwords to enable connections from Outlook.

For tenants created after August 2017, modern authentication is enabled by default, but some admins have it turned off.

To enable modern authentication for Exchange Online, follow these steps:

  • Let all the basic authentication protocols selected.
  • Click “Save“.

You should aim to disable all the basic authentication protocols as soon as possible.

To enable modern authentication on Outlook 2013, click on the following guide:

Enable Modern Authentication for Office 2013 on Windows devices

Force Outlook to connect to Office 365

If you have an internal Exchange server powered on, and you have migrated to Office 365, you might see some Outlook clients (2016/365) having issues.

To try to fix the issue and force the connection to Office 365 instead of the internal server, you can try adding this registry key:

Path: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Outlook\AutoDiscover

Value: ExcludeScpLookup

Type: DWORD

Data: 1

This way, the domain-joined clients will not be able to ask Active Directory an SCP entry and directly query the AutoDiscover (which should be fine, if you migrated to Office 365, as it’s one of the requirements).

IdFix – Pre AdConnect assessment for your on-prem AD

IdFix is a tool to discover and remediate identity problems pre synchronization to Azure Active Directory.

To use IdFix you will need:

  • A domain joined computer / server
  • A user account with at least read access to the AD objects

The process is really straightforward.

Get IdFix from here:

Install and open IdFix, then click on “Query”.

After the process has been completed you will be shown all the problems you might have with your environment, if any.

Screen shot of the tool running
Image from https://microsoft.github.io/idfix/operation/

If no errors are shown, or you are confident you can work around them, you can begin the synchronization.

Links:

Set up synchronization:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/enterprise/set-up-directory-synchronization?view=o365-worldwide

Microsoft guide on how to use IdFix:

https://microsoft.github.io/idfix/operation/

Enable SMTP AUTH for a mailbox – Office 365

If you try to set up a printer / external device with SMTP you might encounter an authentication error.

This is caused by the fact that Microsoft now disables SMTP AUTH for the tenant and the new mailboxes created on Office 365 by default.

To enable SMTP AUTH for a mailbox follow this steps:

  • Go into Users
  • Click Active Users
  • Select the user
  • Click Mail
  • Click Manage email apps
  • Enable Authenticated SMTP by flagging it
  • Save

This might take a couple of hours before it’s activated.

To check where it’s enabled use the following command:

Get-CASMailbox

If it returns False under SmtpClientAuthenticationDisable, then it’s enabled.

To enable it for the whole organization send the following PS command:

Set-TransportConfig -SmtpClientAuthenticationDisabled $true