Accessing SharePoint and OneDrive content on unmanaged devices

This week is all about accessing SharePoint sites and OneDrive accounts on unmanaged devices. More specifically, limiting access to SharePoint and OneDrive content on unmanaged devices. Configuring (limited) access to SharePoint sites and OneDrive accounts starts by using conditional access. For applying conditional access to SharePoint sites and OneDrive accounts, the Office 365 SharePoint Online cloud app, or the recently introduced Office 365 (preview) cloud app can be used. The first cloud app is applicable to all services that depend on SharePoint Online (including OneDrive and Teams). The second cloud app is applicable to all productivity and collaboration services of Office 365. An all-in-one app. However, both of these cloud apps don’t provide really granularity to only apply specific behavior for accessing specific SharePoint sites, or OneDrive accounts. In this post I’ll focus on the Use app enforced restrictions session control and the options that it provides for differentiating between SharePoint sites and OneDrive accounts. About three years ago, I did a post on the basic configurations options of that sessions control.

The Use app enforced restrictions session control can be used to require Azure AD to pass device information to the SharePoint Online. That enables SharePoint Online to know whether the connection was initiated from a managed device. In this case a managed device is an Intune managed and compliant device, or a hybrid Azure AD joined device. SharePoint Online can use that information to provide a limited experience to unmanaged devices. Adjusting the experience can be achieved by using the Unmanaged devices access control in SharePoint Online. In this post I’ll have a look at the standard and advanced configuration options of that access control (including a brief look at the future). I’ll end by having a look at the end-user experience.

SharePoint unmanaged devices standard configuration

The Unmanaged devices access control in SharePoint Online can be used to provide full or limited access on unmanaged devices. It’s even possible to completely block access on unmanaged devices. Limiting the access on unmanaged devices allows the end-user to remain productive while minimizing the risk of accidental data loss. With limited access, users, on unmanaged devices, will have browser-only access with no ability to download, print, or sync files. It won’t be possible to access content through apps, including the Microsoft Office desktop apps. This does require the use of modern authentication. An additional reason to block legacy authentication.

The Unmanaged devices access control standard configuration is available via the SharePoint admin center. This access control can be configured for the complete organization by following the next two steps.

  1. Open the SharePoint admin center and navigate to Policies > Access control > Unmanaged devices
  2. On the Unmanaged devices blade, select the experience for the end-user on unmanaged device by choosing between full access, limited access and block access.

When configuring the Unmanaged devices access control with a limited or blocked experience, by following the mentioned steps, the Apps that don’t use modern authentication access control will automatically change to blocked. The main reason for that is that those apps can’t enforce a limited or blocked experience. Also, these configuration will automatically create corresponding conditional access policies.

SharePoint unmanaged devices advanced configuration

The advanced configuration options of the Unmanaged devices access control in SharePoint Online are only available via PowerShell. The standard configuration via the SharePoint admin center can only configure the access control organization-wide, while PowerShell enables the administrator to configure the access control on site-level. That includes OneDrive accounts. That enables the administrator to configure a limited or blocked experience for specific SharePoint sites and OneDrive accounts. That can be achieved by using the Set-SPOTenant cmdlet for organization-wide configurations, or by using Set-SPOSite cmdlet for site-level configurations. Those cmdlets contain the ConditionalAccessPolicy parameter that can be used to configure the Unmanaged devices access control. That parameter can be used with one of the following values:

  • AllowFullAccess – This value will make sure that the configuration of Allow full access from desktop apps, mobile apps, and the web is applied to the tenant or site. This is the default configuration and allows full access for unmanaged devices.
  • AllowLimitedAccess – This value will make sure that the configuration of Allow limited, web-only access is applied to the tenant or site. This is the limiting configuration that will only allow web access and doesn’t allow the user to print, download or synchronize for unmanaged devices.
  • BlockAccess – This value will make sure that the configuration of Block access is applied to the tenant or site. This will completely block access for unmanaged devices.
  • ProtectionLevel – This value is a preview feature that can be used for configuring authentication tags.

For configuring the Unmanaged devices access control for specific SharePoint sites or OneDrive accounts, the Set-SPOSite cmdlet can be used in combination with the ConditionalAccessPolicy parameter and the Identity parameter. The latter parameter is used for specifying the specific SharePoint site or OneDrive account. An example is shown below.

Set-SPOSite -Identity <SpecificSiteOrOneDriveAccount> -ConditionalAccessPolicy AllowLimitedAccess

When using the ConditionalAccessPolicy parameter, it enables the administrator to apply even more restrictions. It enables the administrator to combine the limited access with also removing the ability to edit files and the ability to copy and paste from files. That can be achieved by using the AllowEditing parameter with the value $false (default is $true). An example is shown below.

Set-SPOSite -Identity <SpecificSiteOrOneDriveAccount> -ConditionalAccessPolicy AllowLimitedAccess -AllowEditing $false

Besides limiting the editing abilities for the user, it’s also possible to further limit the preview functionality. That can be achieved by using the LimitedAccessFileType parameter. That parameter can be used with one of the following values:

  • OfficeOnlineFilesOnly – This value will make sure that users can only preview Office files in the browser. This limiting configuration increases security on unmanaged devices, but may decrease user productivity.
  • WebPreviewableFiles – This value value will make sure that users can preview Office files and other file types (such as PDF files and images) in the browser. This is the default configuration and is optimized for user productivity on unmanaged devices, but offers less security for files that aren’t Office files. 
  • OtherFiles – This value will make sure that users can download files that can’t be previewed (such as .zip and .exe) in the browser. This option offers less security on unmanaged devices.

The LimitedAccessFileType parameter enables the administrator to limit the preview functionality, by using one of the three mentioned values. An example is shown below.

Set-SPOSite -Identity <SpecificSiteOrOneDriveAccount> -ConditionalAccessPolicy AllowLimitedAccess -AllowEditing $false -LimitedAccessFileType WebPreviewableFiles

Note: Keep in mind that the site-level configuration will only work as expected when it’s more restrictive than the organization-wide configuration.

Conditional access configuration

The conditional access configuration is required to make sure that Azure AD will pass the device information to the SharePoint Online. That can be achieved by using the Use app enforced restrictions session control. This configuration can be used next to other conditional access policy that use grant controls to make sure that for example MFA is also always required for access to SharePoint Online or OneDrive for Business on unmanaged devices. That in combination with the limited configuration can provide the organization with the required level of access control on unmanaged devices. For this post the focus is on the Use app enforced restrictions session control. That session control can be configured by following the next seven steps.

  1. Open the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center portal and navigate to Security > Conditional access Policies to open the Conditional Access | Policies blade
  2. On the Conditional Access | Policies blade, click New policy to open the New blade
  3. On the New blade and provide a unique name
  4. Select Users and groups to configure the assigned users of this conditional access policy
  5. Select Cloud apps or user actions and select Office 365 SharePoint Online as the assigned app of this conditional access policy
  6. Select Conditions > Client apps and select Browser as the applicable client app of this conditional access policy
  7. Select Session and select Use app enforced restrictions to make sure that the configured limited experience will be applicable to this session

What the future brings

Before having a look at the end-user experience, it might be good to briefly mention that the near future will bring some more possibilities. While writing this post new MFA and other granular policies for SharePoint sites and OneDrive are introduced by using a new user action in conditional access. The Accessing secured app data user action. That user action is already configurable in conditional access by using this url for configuring the conditional access policy. It enables the administrator to configure a few protection levels for data. Those protection levels can be added to SharePoint sites and OneDrive accounts and can be assigned with different conditional access policies. That eventually might provide the administrator with a more granular control over the access to the data in the different locations. Jan Bakker already wrote some more details about that functionality at his blog. More about that subject in the future.

End-user experience

The mentioned configurations enable the administrator to provide different limited experiences to different SharePoint sites and OneDrive accounts. Let’s bring these configurations together to provide a limited experience for accessing OneDrive on unmanaged devices and by blocking access to specific SharePoint sites on unmanaged devices. Below in Figure 3 is an example of the end-user experience when opening a Word document in OneDrive on an unmanaged device, when limited access is configured with web previewable files and no editing options. That will enable the user to only preview the document in the browser. Below in Figure 4 is an example of the end-user experience when opening a TXT-file in OneDrive on an unmanaged device and when the same limited configurations apply. That will block the user from accessing the file.

Below in Figure 5 is an example of the end-user experience when accessing a SharePoint site when that specific site is blocked on unmanaged devices. That will provide the user with the message that the access is denied for untrusted devices, due to organizational policies.

More information

For more information about conditional access, SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business, refer to the following docs:

Conditional access and named locations

This week another blog post about a recently introduced feature that can be used in commination with conditional access, named named locations. Within conditional access policies, named locations can be used like trusted IPs. The complication with trusted IPs was that it’s actually a feature configuration of multi-factor authentication. That did not really make a lot of sense. In this post I’ll look at the configuration of named locations and how those configurations can be used within a conditional access policy.

A very good scenario for named locations in a conditional access policy is using Office 365 in a terminal services environment. It enables organizations to make an exclusions for a specific named location. In this post I’ll use an example that will blocks access to SharePoint Online with the exception of the configured named location.

Configuration

Now let’s start with having a look at the configuration of named locations and how those named locations can be used within conditional access policies.

Named location

Named locations is a feature of Azure AD that enables administrators to label trusted IP address ranges in their organizations. In the environment, administrators can use named locations in the context of the detection of risk events to reduce the number of reported false positives for the Impossible travel to atypical locations risk event type. However, since recently named locations are also available for use in Azure AD conditional access policies under preview. To create a named location in Azure AD, use the following 3 steps.

1 Open the Azure portal and navigate to Azure Active Directory > Conditional access > Named locations;
2 On the Named locations blade, click New location to open the New blade;
3

CA_NamedLocationOn the New blade, provide a Name and IP range, and click Create;

Note: Even though the example shows that a private IP range is used, for usage with conditional access policies that doesn’t make sense. Use a public IP range. When a device arrives with Azure AD, for authentication, it provides the public IP address to Azure AD (see also the blocked example in the end-user experience section).

Conditional access policy

Using named locations within conditional access policies, is similar to using trusted IPs in conditional access policies. The biggest difference is the location of the configuration. Trusted IPs is a feature configuration of multi-factor authentication, while named locations is a feature configuration of conditional access. To use the configured named location within a conditional access policy, to block all external access to SharePoint Online, follow the 7 steps below.

1 Open the Azure portal and navigate to Azure Active Directory > Conditional access > Policies;
2 On the Policies blade, click New policy to open the New blade;
3 CA_UsersGroupsOn the New blade, select the Users and groups assignment to open the Users and groups blade. On the Users and groups blade, select All users and click Done;
4 CA_SharePointOnlineOn the New blade, select the Cloud apps assignment to open the Cloud apps blade. On the Cloud apps blade, select Select apps to select Office 365 SharePoint Online and click Done;
5 CA_ExcludeLocationOn the New blade, select the Conditions assignment to open the Conditions blade. On the Conditions blade, select Locations to open the Locations blade. On the Locations blade select Yes with Configure, select All locations on the Include tab, select All trusted IPs in the Exclude tab and click Done. Back in the Conditions blade, click Done;
6

CA_BlockAccessOn the New blade, select the Grant access control to open the Grant blade. On the Grant blade, select Block access and click Select.

Note: This configuration will make sure that all locations are blocked access to SharePoint Online, with the exclusion of the named location. The devices within the named location can now connect to SharePoint Online without any additional requirements.

7 On the New blade, select On with Enable policy and click Save.

End-user experience

As usual, let’s end this post with the end-user experience. Below on the left is an example of a connection to SharePoint Online within the configured named location and below on the right is an example of a connection to SharePoint Online outside of the named location. The blocked example clearly shows the external IP address that’s used to connect to SharePoint Online and that it’s blocked by conditional access.

SP_AllowedAccess SP_BlockedAccess

Note: Yes, the blocked example shows the same IP address, as the named location configuration. To simulate a good test, I simply temporarily adjusted the IP range of the named location. That allowed me to easily test the blocked behavior on my devices.

More information

For more information about conditional access and named locations, please refer to:

Conditional access and app enforced restrictions

This blog post is about a recently introduced feature in conditional access, named Session controls. More specific, the Session control of app enforced restrictions. Session controls enable a limiting experience within a cloud app. The great thing about Session controls is is that those controls are enforced by the cloud apps and that those controls rely on additional information provided by Azure AD to the cloud app, about the session. In other words, these controls can be used to require Azure AD to pass the device information to the cloud app. This enables the cloud app to know if the user is coming from a (non-)compliant device or (non-)domain joined device.

Currently Session controls are only supported with SharePoint Online as the cloud app. In this post I’ll go through the required configuration to get SharePoint Online configured with conditional access and app enforced restrictions. I’ll end this post with the end-user experience with app enforced restrictions.

Configuration

The administrator can block or limit access to SharePoint Online content on devices that are not managed, not compliant and/or not joined to a domain. To block access, the administrator usually configures one conditional access policy. To limit access, the administrator should configure two conditional access policies and configure a setting in the SharePoint Online. In this section I’ll start with a few important notes and follow that by the required steps to make the earlier mentioned configurations.

Important notes

Before configuring the limited access to SharePoint Online, be sure to be familiar with the  following important notes:

  • A subscriptions to Azure AD Premium is required;
  • A subscription to Microsoft Intune is required;
  • (At this moment) First Release must be enabled in Office 365;
  • Limited access will also apply to users on managed devices, if they use one of the following browser and operating system combinations:
    • Chrome, Firefox, or any other browser other than Microsoft Edge or Microsoft Internet Explorer in Windows 10 or Windows Server 2016;
    • Firefox in Windows 8.1, Windows 7, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012, or Windows Server 2008 R2.

Block access to mobile apps and desktop clients

The first configuration to limit access to SharePoint Online, is to block access for mobile apps and desktop clients. These apps will not get the limited experience, which means that these apps should be blocked to prevent users from using company data on non-compliant or non-domain joined devices. To create a conditional access policy that will block access for mobile apps and desktop clients to SharePoint Online, follow the 7 steps below.

1 Open the Azure portal and navigate to Azure Active Directory > Conditional access;
2 On the Policies blade, click Add to open the New blade;
3 AP_CA_UsersGroupsOn the New blade, select the Users and groups assignment to open the Users and groups blade. On the Users and groups blade, select All users, or select Select users and groups to specify a specific group, and click Done;
4 AP_CA_CloudAppsOn the New blade, select the Cloud apps assignment to open the Cloud apps blade. On the Cloud apps blade, select Select apps to select Office 365 SharePoint Online and click Done;
5 AP_CA_ClientApp_MobileAppsOn the New blade, select the Conditions assignment to open the Conditions blade. On the Conditions blade, select Client apps to open the Client apps blade. On the Client apps blade select Yes with Configure, select Select client apps and Mobile apps and desktop clients, and click Select. Back in the Conditions blade, click Done;
6 AP_CA_GrantOn the New blade, select the Grant access control to open the Grant blade. On the Grant blade, select Grant access and at least one of the requirements, and click Select.
7 On the New blade, select On with Enable policy and click Save.

Use app enforced restrictions for browsers

The second configuration to limit access to SharePoint Online, is to enforce restrictions to browsers. This will make sure that browsers will get the limited experiences in SharePoint Online, on non-compliant or non-domain joined devices. To create a conditional access policy that will enforce restrictions for browsers to SharePoint Online, follow the 7 steps below.

1 Open the Azure portal and navigate to Azure Active Directory > Conditional access;
2 On the Policies blade, click Add to open the New blade;
3 AP_CA_UsersGroupsOn the New blade, select the Users and groups assignment to open the Users and groups blade. On the Users and groups blade, select All users, or select Select users and groups  to specify a specific group, and click Done;
4 AP_CA_CloudAppsOn the New blade, select the Cloud apps assignment to open the Cloud apps blade. On the Cloud apps blade, select Select apps to select Office 365 SharePoint Online and click Done;
5 AP_CA_ClientApp_BrowserOn the New blade, select the Conditions assignment to open the Conditions blade. On the Conditions blade, select Client apps to open the Client apps blade. On the Client apps blade select Yes with Configure, select Select client apps and Browser, and click Select. Back in the Conditions blade, click Done;
6 AP_CA_SessionOn the New blade, select the Session access control to open the Session blade. On the Session blade, select Use app enforced restrictions and click Select.
7 On the New blade, select On with Enable policy and click Save.

Allow limited access in SharePoint Online

The third configuration to limit access to SharePoint Online, is a configuration within SharePoint Online. The cloud app must be configured to use limited access for devices that aren’t compliant or domain joined. When the administrator configures limited access, users will be able to view but not edit Office files in SharePoint Online. The Download, Print, Sync, Open in desktop app, Embed, Move to, and Copy to buttons won’t appear in the new SharePoint Online experiences. To configure this limited access, follow the 2 steps below.

1 Open the SharePoint admin center and navigate to device access;
2

SPO_ControlAccessOn the Restrict access based on device or network location page, specify the following information and click OK:

  • In the section Control access from devices that aren’t compliant or joined to a domain, select Allow limited access (web-only, without the Download, Print, and Sync commands) with Select the appropriate SharePoint enforced restriction and choose between Allow downloading and Block downloading with For files that can’t be viewed on the web;
  • In the section Control access from apps that don’t use modern authentication, select Block with The setting applies to third party apps and Office 2010 and earlier.

End-user experience

Now let’s end this post with the end-user experience. I’ll do that by showing the limited access experience on Windows 10 (Surface Pro), iOS (iPad) and Android (Samsung Galaxy). Also in that order. Below are examples of of the limited access message in SharePoint Online on the left and the limited access experience in Word Online on the right.

Windows10_SPO Windows10_SPO_Doc
IMG_0102 IMG_0103
Screenshot_20170409-075823 Screenshot_20170409-081417

More information

For more information about conditional access and app enforced restrictions, please refer to: