Using remote PowerShell to manage Office 365 identities

With remote PowerShell you can connect to Office 365 to perform management tasks that are not available or practical in the web management interface. For example, you can use Remote PowerShell to automate repetitive tasks, extract data for custom reports, customize policies, and connect Exchange Online to existing infrastructure and processes. This is especially usefully when you need to perform the same task thousands of times. What would take days through the browser can take minutes with a script. The following is a list of common settings configured with remote PowerShell:

  •  User management
  • License assignment
  • Security group management
  • Domain management
  • Admin role assignments

To use Remote PowerShell, your PC must be running the Windows Management Framework, which contains Windows PowerShell v2 and WinRM 2.0. These components are already installed in computers running Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2. You can manually download these components for computers running other operating systems. You do not need to install any Exchange Server management or migration tools in order to use Remote PowerShell, however you will need to download and install the Microsoft Online PowerShell Module.

The Microsoft Online PowerShell Module contains Office 365’s core cmdlets, such as cmdlets to manage users, groups, etc. To download the module use the following links:

X64: http://bit.ly/l8lS9z

X86: http://bit.ly/jTqbJW

To get started, open PowerShell on your PC and run the Import-Module MSOnline cmdlet to load the module you just downloaded and installed. Next, you’ll need to connect to Office 365 using a set of credentials. Use the Get-Credential cmdlet to set your credentials to a variable you can pass into the Connect-MsolService cmdlet . The Connect-MsolService cmdlet passes your credentials to Microsoft Online and sets up the secure connection. Once you’re connected to Microsoft Online, you can start scripting you administrative actions. The figure below shows an example of how to connect to Microsoft Online with PowerShell after you’ve installed the module: