Create a read-only user in Office365

This is the first of the 2 series blog. In this, I’ll explain how to do create a read-only Office365 User, directly from the client PowerShell. And then there’s a complete code snippet to achieve the same from a C# Console App in the 2nd part of this blog[Coming soon]. Before delving deep, I would like to highlight the fact, that you’ll NOT be charged for this User a/c by Microsoft. We’ll be barely creating a User, not assigning any license to it.

The entire process can be broadly classified into 4 major steps:

  1. Authenticate using existing administrator’s userID & password
  2. Create a new User with a randomly generated password
  3. Assign the role, “Service Support Administrator
  4. Assign the RoleGroupMember, “View-Only Organization Management” [Exchange]

PowerShell

Requirement:

SharePoint Online Management Shell with all its dependencies.

Authenticate using existing administrator’s userID & password

Open Windows PowerShell and enter the cmdlet,

"Connect-MsolService".

A dialogue will pop-up seeking the userId & password.

Provide an administrators credential here. Note, you’ll not be notified for wrong userID or password. In the event of providing wrong credential, the following cmdlets will refuse to run. So, make sure, that the credential is correct.

Create a new User with a randomly generated password

Once, the authentication is done, we’ll then create a new Office365 user. We’ll be providing basic user details, like FirstName, LastName, LoginID [or, UserPrincipal(compulsory)]. But, we’ll never set the password. The password will be returned back to us, once the user has been created. Another important thing to note here is the password policy we’re enforcing here. First, we’re setting, “ForceChangePassword” to false. This implies that when the User will login for the very first time, he/she will not be prompted to change it. Next, we’re setting “PasswordNeverExpires“, to true which, is pretty much self-explanatory.

New-MSolUser -DisplayName “PK” -UserPrincipalName “pk@company.onmicrosoft.com” -FirstName “Piyush” -LastName “Singh” -ForceChangePassword $false -PasswordNeverExpires $true

Once the User has been created, its basic details like, UserPrincipalName, newly created Password, etc, will be displayed in the Shell. One can also specify their preferred password also by adding, “-Password “Password123” at the end of the above cmdlet.

Note: There can be multiple Users with identical DisplayName but not UserPrincipalName. It has to be unique.
 

Assign the role, “Service Support Administrator”

This is simple. We’ll be assigning the “Service Support Administrator” role to this newly created User.

Add-MSOLRoleMember –RoleName “Service Support Administrator” –RoleMemberEmailAddress pk@company.onmicrosoft.com

Assign the RoleGroupMember, “View-Only Organization Management”

This role group is specific to Exchange. The objective is to assign only view permission to this user. To accomplish this, we’ll execute the cmdlet, “Add-RoleGroupMember“. One problem, this cmdlet is not a part of SharePoint Online Management Shell. So we cannot directly run it. We have to, first, establish a remote connection to the Exchange Server, and temporarily import it’s commands to the local PowerShell session. Only then, we can execute the cmdlet, “Add-RoleGroupMember“. Once the job’s done, we should also remove this session. To know more about this, plz visit the site, http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd335083(v=exchg.150).aspx

Since, here, we’ll be executing a series of commands, I have put it all down in a script file. Here’s the content,

$Cred = Get-Credential
$s = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange -ConnectionUri https://ps.outlook.com/powershell -Credential $cred -Authentication Basic –AllowRedirection
Import-PSSession $s
$memberLoginName = Read-Host ‘LoginID’
Add-RoleGroupMember -identity ‘View-Only Organization Management’ -member $memberLoginName
Remove-PSSession $s

Say, we saved the file in D drive, with the name, addExchngViewRole.ps1. So to execute the same, just run from powershell, D:/addExchngViewRole.ps1. A dialog box will be prompted (same as above). Here again, you need to specify the admin’s credential. Once validated, it will import the Exchange commands.

Next, you’ll be asked to provide the PrincipalID or LoginName of the User who will be assigned to the RoleGroup, View-Only Organization Management [in this case, pk@company.onmicrosoft.com]. After that the user will be added to the given group and the current session will be removed from your machine, as per Microsoft’s guideline.

Note: ConnectionUri has been fixed to https://ps.outlook.com/powershell. This is valid for Exchange Online only. If you’re using on-premise, plz replace the url with this one, http:///PowerShell/.

Get Available PowerShell Commands for SharePoint on Client-Side

Needless to say, that on Client Side, we get a limited scope of running various SharePoint commands. As a result there aren’t much cmdlets for the Client Side. So how do you know what are the available commands that might come handy while executing cmdlets remotely? Simply run the following command in PowerShell or SharePoint Online Management Shell.
get-command | Where-Object { $_.ModuleName -eq "Microsoft.Online.SharePoint.PowerShell" }

A sample list of available cmdlets are displayed in the following screenShot.