Azure AD Improvements: Office 365 Naming Policy, Identity Manager Reporting

Microsoft recently announced several enhancements to its Azure Active Directory (AD) service, including a preview of new Naming Policy for Office 365 groups.

The new Naming Policy for Office 365 groups lets IT pros standardize the group names that get created by Office 365 end users. Each time a group gets created, for example, a prefix or a suffix to that name can be automatically appended. For instance, the Sales Department can have the "Sales" label always appended to a group name that gets created.

The Naming Policy also lets administrators prohibit the use of certain words that will get blocked if they are on a list. Microsoft used the example of "CEO" as a possible word to block, perhaps to keep CEO group labeling clear and authentic.

IT pros can specify these types of policies using the Azure AD Portal. The Naming Policy preview enforces policies across applications like My Apps, Outlook for the Web, Microsoft Teams and SharePoint sites. End users get prompted if they use a prohibited word when creating an Office 365 group, and they also can see the automatically appended text.

Even though group naming control might seem fundamental, the new Naming Policy preview is just available to Azure AD Premium edition subscribers.

Microsoft Identity Manager Hybrid Reporting
Another Azure AD addition is the ability to surface reports from Microsoft Identity Manager (MIM) used on-premises in Azure AD's "audit activity reports." Microsoft calls that capability "hybrid MIM reporting," which reached general availability status on Friday, according to an announcement.

"We're happy to let you know that, as of today, Microsoft Identity Manager's hybrid reporting solution enables this view within the Azure AD audit activity reports," the announcement stated. "With this feature, you can now monitor activity around self-service group management activity and self-service password reset occurring either on-premises with MIM or in the cloud."

IT pros can get the reports via the Azure Portal or the Power BI dashboard. The data can be exported into a custom view.

Planner Web App and Teams Integration
Also last week, Microsoft announced that its Planner Web app can now access plans in the Teams client, and vice versa, for Office 365 users. For this access to work, a Planner tab needs to be added to a Teams channel. When that's done, it's possible to access a plan from the Teams client or from the Planner Web app, according to this Microsoft support article.

When viewing a plan through Teams, there's slightly less functionality than when using the Planner Web app. For instance, the Teams interface doesn't let the end user mark favorite plans, delete plans, view the plan's progress, get details via e-mails, or view tasks on a calendar, according to the support article.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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