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Using Office 365 Security Groups to control Microsoft Dynamics 365 Online Access

If you are a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Online system administrator, you probably know that initial Dynamics 365 user setup is performed in the Office 365 portal and then configured within Dynamics 365. But you may not know that you can use the Security Groups feature in the Office 365 Portal to enable or disable Dynamics 365 access to custom groups of users you can create.

This feature can be useful for different scenarios, including:

  • Limiting access for development or testing in non-production Dynamics 365 Online instances
  • Restricting access to the Dynamics 365 Online production environment to system administrators only when importing a new solution set or other system maintenance
  • Creating special groups for sales, service, or other business groups for more organized users management

There is actually a default security group that is pre-configured for Office 365 called System Administrators. This group includes all Office 365 users with global administrator rights.

Here’s how it works. You must have global administrator rights in the Office 365 Portal.  If you do, log in to the Office 365 Portal with your credentials to the home page. Once logged in, do the following:

  1. On the home page, navigate to Admin Center and select the Groups link on the navigation menu on the left side of the page.
  2. This will take you to the Groups list. Open the View drop-down menu and select Security, which will take you to the  Security Groups management pages. 
  3. Left click on the [+ Add a group]-button to create a new group. This will open up a new window where you can enter your new security group name.


For this scenario, we will call our group Testing Users. This group will comprise of users that will have access to the Dynamics 365 environment for testing new solutions. To create the group, do the following:

  1. On the entry page, enter the name of the group in the Name section.
  2. Next, add the Description of this group.
  3. After entering the name and description, select the [Add]-buttonin the bottom left corner to save your group.
  1. Here click on Edit in the Owners section to pop out the user selection tool to select the  owner of this group.
  2. Next, left click on Edit in the Members section to pop out the user selection tool to select the user(s) that will be part of this group.
  3. After entering the name, select [Close]-button in the bottom left corner to save your group.





In the edit screen in the security settings section, use the search tool to look up your new Testing Users security group and select it. Click Next to review your configuration settings. Then click the [Save]-button to save your selection and return to the main page in the Admin Center.


That’s it! As long as the users in your group are licensed for Dynamics 365 Online, access to the Dynamics 365 Online instance will be restricted to the users in the security group. Other licensed users inside of Dynamics 365 Online that are not in the security group will be disabled. To restore access, simply go back to the Dynamics 365 Online Admin Center for that instance and clear the group name from the security settings.


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