Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Accessing Exchange admin center in Office 365 Small Business Plans

I’m never an advocate of Office 365 Small Business (P1 and P2) plans. They are just too limiting I find for customers. However, they certainly represent very good value a few dollars per user per month for people whoo are still using ISP POP3 email accounts.

One of the major limitations faced as an administrator of such Small Business plans is the inability to get to the Exchange admin center from the web console.

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When you login as an administrator you’ll see the above screen.

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If you scroll down you will see there are no options to manage Exchange. So how do you do some of the more advanced things that need doing?

The most obvious answer I will give you is to use PowerShell, but if you REALLY must use the web console here’s how.

Firstly, navigate to:

https://outlook.office365.com/ecp/?realm=<tenant-name>.onmicrosoft.com

but of course replace <tenant-name> with the actual name of your tenant. In my case that is ciaops365p3.

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You’ll be asked to login to Office 365 as normal and you should do that using an administrator account. After that, you should be greeted with the above Exchange admin center screen where you can now go in an work with the protection filters as shown for example.

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You should be aware that there are functionality limits with P plans. For example, as you can see above, there is no option for Mail Flow rules.

My preference would always be to do administration via PowerShell but you can certainly use the web console if you have to using the above method. However, always beware of the limits around P plans. They are cheaper for a reason!