Category Archives: Enterprise Mobility + Security

Using the Azure Run As Account in Azure Automation to Connect to Azure AD with a Service Principal

If you are using Azure Automation and working with Runbooks for automating against your Azure subscription, you can create an Azure Run As Account for authenticating and logging in to your subscription. The Azure Run As Account is configured in your Automation Account, and will do the following:

  • Creates an Azure AD application with a self-signed certificate, creates a service principal account for the application in Azure AD, and assigns the Contributor role for the account in your current subscription.
  • Creates an Automation certificate asset named AzureRunAsCertificate in the specified Automation account. The certificate asset holds the certificate private key that’s used by the Azure AD application.
  • Creates an Automation connection asset named AzureRunAsConnection in the specified Automation account. The connection asset holds the applicationId, tenantId, subscriptionId, and certificate thumbprint.

You can read more about setting up Azure Run As Accounts here, including how to do a more customized setup with PowerShell:

Something worth noting is that this Azure Run As Account will by default have the Contributor role to your entire subscription, so it would make sense to look into changing RBAC settings for the subcription or resource groups if you want to limit that. Also, all users that have access to the Automation Account will also have the opprotunity to use this Azure Run As Account.

Having said that, the Azure Run As Account is a great way to authenticate securely with certificates and a service principal name without needing to store a username and password in a credential object.

So I thought, wouldn’t it be great if we could use this same Azure Run As Account to log in to your Azure AD tenant for the possibility to run Azure AD PowerShell commands? The reason I thought of this is because of this article showing how to authenticate with Azure AD v2 PowerShell and Service Principal: In this short blog post will show you how to do this.

Getting the Azure Run As Account details

First, look into your Automation Account and Account Settings to find any Run as accounts:


Click on the Azure Run As Account to see the details (or to create one if you haven’t before). Take a note of the Service Principal Object Id, we will use that later:


Creating a Runbook that Authenticates with Service Principal to Azure AD

Now, let’s create a PowerShell runbook using the Azure Run As Account for connecting to Azure AD.

First, I set the connection name  “AzureRunAsConnection”, and then save that as a variable for holding my service principal details using the Get-AutomationConnection cmdlet.

Then, logging in to Azure AD is done with specifiying TenantId, ApplicationId and CertificateThumbprint parameters, as shown below:


This will log in my service principal to Azure AD and I’m ready to run some commands, for example getting some organization details for the tenant, or counting different types of user objects:


Running this runbook will for example show me this output for my tenant. This shows that I successfully authenticated with the Azure Run As Account service principal:


Here is a link to a Gist where I have included the above PowerShell runbook script:

Role Permissions for the Service Principal

Depending on what kind of automation you want to do against Azure AD, especially if you want to write data, you will have to add the Service Principal to an Azure AD Role. Here is a couple of examples, using the object id for the service principal I told you to note earlier from the Azure Run As Account:

# Get the associated Service Principal for the Azure Run As Account
$runAsServicePrincipal = Get-AzureADServicePrincipal -ObjectId ""

# Add the Service Principal to the Directory Readers Role
Add-AzureADDirectoryRoleMember -ObjectId (Get-AzureADDirectoryRole | where-object {$_.DisplayName -eq "Directory Readers"}).Objectid -RefObjectId $runAsServicePrincipal.ObjectId

# Add the Service Principal to the User Administrator Role
Add-AzureADDirectoryRoleMember -ObjectId (Get-AzureADDirectoryRole | where-object {$_.DisplayName -eq "User Account Administrator"}).Objectid -RefObjectId $aaAadUser.ObjectId

# Add the Service Principal to the Global Administrator Role
Add-AzureADDirectoryRoleMember -ObjectId (Get-AzureADDirectoryRole | where-object {$_.DisplayName -eq "Company Administrator"}).Objectid -RefObjectId $runAsServicePrincipal.ObjectId

That concludes this short blog post, hope it has been helpful! Thanks for reading and remember to share if it was useful Smile

Azure MFA Report Dashboard in Azure Portal–The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

If you are working with EMS and implementing Azure AD, Intune, MDM, MAM, Information Protection and more, you can build yourself some great dashboards in the Azure Portal using tiles and pin blades to your customized dashboard. This is an example from my own workplace:


Often when I work with projects implementing Identity & Access, Conditional Access and Azure MFA, I wish I could have a dashboard to report on MFA registration, and be able to pin that to my EMS dashboard as shown above.

It might be in the future that Azure MFA registrations and methods will be native in the portal, but for now this information have to be retreived in another way. In this blog post I will show you how you can set up a solution for showing this information. I will use the Markdown Tile from the gallery for displaying this information, and in the end it will look like this:

I referred in the title of this blog post to the good, the bad and the ugly, and by that I mean the process of setting this up, because it starts easy enough in the beginning but it will get more “ugly” in the end 😉

The Good – Setting up the Markdown Tile

I will use the Markdown Tile for the content in my customized dashboard in my Azure Portal. The first part is easy to set up, just click Edit and find the Markdown tile from the gallery, as shown below:


Drag the tile to a place you want it on your dashboard, and the Edit the title, subtitle and content as prompted:


There is a sample content provided, other than that you can write your own markdown. I will not get into details on markdown format here, there is a lot of good guides for learning the format, for example this: I will however provide you with a sample for reporting MFA registrations and default methods. This is how I set up my markdown tile:


And here is a link to my github repository where you can get the complete file sample:

Now we need to fill that markdown tile with some real Azure AD MFA report data to report on.

The Bad – PowerShell Script for getting MFA registration and methods to Markdown

So the “bad” news is that we are reliant on running some Azure AD PowerShell commands for getting user details for MFA registration and methods. For now we are also reliant on the Azure AD v1 PowerShell (MSOnline) Module, as the new v2 AzureAD Module does not yet have any methods to get MFA authentication data. We cannot use the Microsoft Graph API either to get MFA user data, but I expect that to change in the future.

So lets look at the script I use, and after authenticating and connecting to Azure AD in my tenant with Connect-MSOLService, I will run the following commands to get details from each user where there has been configured one or more StrongAuthenticationMethods, and Group on those methods and save the results to a hash table. The results are stored in the $authMethodsRegistered object variable. Similarly I run the command once more, filtering on only showing the methods that are set to default for each user, and save to the $authMethodsDefault variable.

# Connect to MSOnline PowerShell (Azure AD v1)

# Get MFA Methods Registered as Hash Table
$authMethodsRegistered = Get-MsolUser -All | Where-Object {$_.StrongAuthenticationMethods -ne $null} | Select-Object -Property UserPrincipalName -ExpandProperty StrongAuthenticationMethods `
| Group-Object MethodType -AsHashTable -AsString

# Get Default MFA Methods as Hash Table
$authMethodsDefault = Get-MsolUser -All | Where-Object {$_.StrongAuthenticationMethods -ne $null} | Select-Object -Property UserPrincipalName -ExpandProperty StrongAuthenticationMethods `
| Where-Object {$_.IsDefault -eq $true} | Group-Object MethodType -AsHashTable -AsString

# Create a Custom Object for MFA Data
$authMethodsData = New-Object PSObject
$authMethodsData | Add-Member -MemberType NoteProperty -Name AuthPhoneRegistered -Value $authMethodsRegistered.TwoWayVoiceMobile.Count
$authMethodsData | Add-Member -MemberType NoteProperty -Name AuthPhoneAppRegistered -Value $authMethodsRegistered.PhoneAppOTP.Count
$authMethodsData | Add-Member -MemberType NoteProperty -Name OfficePhoneRegistered -Value $authMethodsRegistered.TwoWayVoiceOffice.Count
$authMethodsData | Add-Member -MemberType NoteProperty -Name AlternatePhoneRegistered -Value $authMethodsRegistered.TwoWayVoiceAlternateMobile.Count
$authMethodsData | Add-Member -MemberType NoteProperty -Name OneWaySMSDefault –Value $authMethodsDefault.OneWaySMS.Count
$authMethodsData | Add-Member -MemberType NoteProperty -Name PhoneAppNotificationDefault –Value $authMethodsDefault.PhoneAppNotification.Count
$authMethodsData | Add-Member -MemberType NoteProperty -Name PhoneAppOTPDefault –Value $authMethodsDefault.PhoneAppOTP.Count
$authMethodsData | Add-Member -MemberType NoteProperty -Name TwoWayVoiceMobileDefault –Value $authMethodsDefault.TwoWayVoiceMobile.Count
$authMethodsData | Add-Member -MemberType NoteProperty -Name TwoWayVoiceOfficeDefault –Value $authMethodsDefault.TwoWayVoiceOffice.Count

# Write to Markdown file
"## MFA Authentication Methods`n" | Set-Content .\ -Force -Encoding UTF8
"### Registered`n" | Add-Content .\ -Encoding UTF8
"The following methods has been registered by users:`n" | Add-Content .\ -Encoding UTF8
"| Method | Count |" | Add-Content .\ -Encoding UTF8
"|:-----------|:-----------|" | Add-Content .\ -Encoding UTF8
"| Authentication Phone | " + [string]$authMethodsData.AuthPhoneRegistered + " |" | Add-Content .\ -Encoding UTF8
"| Phone App | " + [string]$authMethodsData.AuthPhoneAppRegistered + " |" | Add-Content .\ -Encoding UTF8
"| Alternate Phone | " + [string]$authMethodsData.AlternatePhoneRegistered + " |" | Add-Content .\ -Encoding UTF8
"| Office Phone | " + [string]$authMethodsData.OfficePhoneRegistered + " |" | Add-Content .\ -Encoding UTF8
"" | Add-Content .\ -Encoding UTF8
"### Default Method" | Add-Content .\ -Encoding UTF8
"The following methods has been configured as default by users:" | Add-Content .\ -Encoding UTF8
"" | Add-Content .\ -Encoding UTF8
"| Method | Count |" | Add-Content .\ -Encoding UTF8
"|:-----------|:-----------|" | Add-Content .\ -Encoding UTF8
"| OneWay SMS | " + [string]$authMethodsData.OneWaySMSDefault + " |" | Add-Content .\ -Encoding UTF8
"| Phone App Notification | " + [string]$authMethodsData.PhoneAppNotificationDefault + " |" | Add-Content .\ -Encoding UTF8
"| Phone App OTP | " + [string]$authMethodsData.PhoneAppOTPDefault + " |" | Add-Content .\ -Encoding UTF8
"| TwoWay Voice Mobile | " + [string]$authMethodsData.TwoWayVoiceMobileDefault + " |" | Add-Content .\ -Encoding UTF8
"| TwoWay Voice Office Phone | " + [string]$authMethodsData.TwoWayVoiceOfficeDefault + " |`n" | Add-Content .\ -Encoding UTF8
"Last reported " + [string](Get-Date) | Add-Content .\ -Encoding UTF8

"" | Add-Content .\

The complete PowerShell script can be found at my GitHub repository here:

So now we have a script where we can get MFA authentication details for each user and create a markdown file that we can use in the tile in the Azure Portal custom dashboard. But it is all a manual process now, and it works fine for an ad hoc update. If we want to automate however, we have to get into the “ugly” stuff 😉

The Ugly – Automating Markdown creation and update Dashboard

This part requires multiple steps. First we need to schedule and run the PowerShell commands from above. Then we need to find a way to update the customized dashboard tile with the updated markdown file. To summary, this is what we need now:

  • Schedule the PowerShell script to run automatically. We can use Azure Automation for that.
  • Programmatically change the markdown tile in the customized dashboard. We can use Azure Resource Manager Rest API for that.

Lets get into the Azure Automation solution first. To run a PowerShell script I will need to create a Runbook, and in that Runbook I need to authenticate to Azure AD. I can define a Credential Asset with a username and password for a global admin user, but I like to use the least privilege possible, and besides that all my global admins are either protected by Azure AD PIM and/or MFA, so that won’t work. I prefer to use a service principal whereever possible, but after testing extensively with Connect-MSOLService that is not supported either.

So I tested with a dedicated Azure AD credential account, first by only adding the user to the Directory Readers role. I was able to list all users with Get-MSOLUser, but not any StrongAuthentication info. Neither did it work with Security Readers. In the end I added the user account to User Administrator role in Azure AD, and I was successful getting StrongAuthentication methods.

So, in my automation accont I will add or reuse my credentials:


Next, I will create a new PowerShell script based Runbook, basically I will use the PowerShell script from earlier in the blog, but with a couple of added parameter and getting the credential using the Get-PSAutomationCredential method. This is how it looks, you will get link to the complete script later:


And after testing, I can see that I successfully will get the content (added a Get-Content .\ at the end to display the output):


Now that we have a solution for running the PowerShell script and generating the markdown file, the next part is how to update that data in the custom dashboard. And for that we need to look into programatically changing Azure Portal dashboards. There is a good resource and starting point for that in this article:

First you need to share the custom dashboard, remember to include the markdown tile we set up in the first part of this blog post. At the top in the portal dashboard, select the Share button:


By sharing the dashboard will published as an Azure resource. Specify a name, select the subscription and either use the default dashboard resource group or select an existing one:


Go to Resource Explorer in the Portal:


Navigate to Subscriptions, Resource Groups, and find the resource group and resource containing the custom dashboard. From there you will be able to see the JSON definition of the dashboard and specifically the markdown tile containing the content we want to update:


So for next process now we need to copy this complete JSON definition containing all your tiles including the markdown tile. Locally on your computer, create a .json file in your favorite JSON editor, I use Visual Studio Code for this, and paste in the content. I have named my file DeploymentTemplateMFAReport.json.

Now we need to change this template to be ready for deployment, and for that we need to add or change a couple of things. First, in the start of the JSON file, add schema and versioning, and parameters, variables and resources section like I have shown below in line 1-17:


I have chosen to use 3 parameters, the markdown content itself, and name of the dashboard and the title of the dashboard.

Next, find the tile for the markdown content, and change the content value to the value of the parameter, like I have done at line 113 here:


And last, at the end of the json template, add and change the following settings, I have used my parameters for the dashboard name and the dashboard title here in the lines 401-411:


My deployment template for the customized dashboard is now completely general and can be used in every environment. In fact you are welcome to borrow and use my template from above her, I have included it in my github repository:

Working locally in my Visual Studio Code editor, I can now test the deployment using Azure PowerShell, as shown below and described with these simple steps:

  1. Connect to Azure Resource Manager and select the Subscription
  2. Specify a variable for the Resource Group you want to deploy to
  3. The file (which we created earlier) need some converting to JSON format, I’m removing all espace characters and any uneeded special characters
  4. Specify variable names your environment for name and title for the dashboard
  5. Deploy the custom dashboard to the resource group


However, now that we can test the deployment, I want to schedule a deployment using Azure Automation, and I will continue on my previous runbook from before. But first we need to set up some connections for authenticating to Azure and some variables.

I Azure Automation we can create an Azure Run As Account, this will also create a service principal. If you navigate to your Automation Account in the Azure Portal, and go to the section called Run as accounts, you can create an Azure Run As Account automatically, as I have done here:


If I look more closely at this generated Run As Account, I can see details for Azure AD App Registration, Service Principal, Certificate and more. This account will also automatically be assigned Contributor role for my Azure Subscription. If you want more control over Azure Run As Accounts, you can create your own as described in the following article:


I will use this Azure Run As account in my environment to deploy the dashboard resource, I’ll just need to make sure the account has contributor access to the resource group. Next I will set ut a few variables under the Variables section for my Automation Account, I will use these variables when I deploy the resource:


Now we are ready to finally put together the complete Runbook and test it. You will have the complete link later in the blog post, but I will share some screenshots first:

After I’ve connected with Connect-MSOLService I’m creating a variable for the markdown content, so I’ve changed from earlier when I saved a .md file temporarily, now I just adding lines using the newline special character (`n):


The next part is for logging in to Azure (using the Azure Run As Account mentioned above), and then getting my variables ready for deployment:


Then I convert the markdown content to Json format, and removing any escape characters that I don’t need:


And then deploy the dashboard resource with parameters for markdown content and dashboard name & title. Note that I’m using my deployment template as a source from my github repository via the TemplateUri property:


You can use any TemplateUri you want, for example from a more private source like a storage account blob etc.

Testing the Runbook gives the following output, which shows it was successful:


When I now go and refresh the dasboard in the portal, I can see that the markdown tile has been updated:


That leaves me with just publishing and scheduling the runbook:


When creating a new schedule specify a name and recurrence:


Link the schedule to the runbook and any needed parameters, I have to specify my credential that are allowed to Connect-MSOLService:


That concludes this lengthy blog post. The script will now run regularly and update my custom markdown tile with MFA report data.

Here is the link to the PowerShell script used in my Azure Automation runbook, enjoy your MFA Reporting!


Getting started with Azure AD PIM PowerShell Module

This is a short blog post showing how you can get started and some examples of using the PIM PowerShell Module for Azure AD Privileged Identity Management.

You can read more about Azure AD Privileged Identity Management here:, or by just using the following short URL:!

Installing the Azure AD PIM PowerShell Module

Since there are no PIM related commands in the AzureAD or AzureADPreview PowerShell Modules, we will have to install a separate module for PIM. You can find this module at the PowerShell Gallery here:

To install the module just run the following command in an elevated PowerShell session:

Install-Module Microsoft.Azure.ActiveDirectory.PIM.PSModule


After installing you can list the available commands in the PIM module:

Get-Command -Module Microsoft.Azure.ActiveDirectory.PIM.PSModule


Here is a short explanation of the available commands:

  • Connect-PimService. Prompts you to log on with an Azure AD Account that might have any PIM roles assigned. You can optionally specify a username, tenantname or credential object as parameters. Especially tenantname would be useful if you are a guest user with roles assigned in another tenant.
  • Show-PimServiceConnection. This will show the active PimService session details you have, after connecting with Connect-PimService.
  • Get-PrivilegedRoleAssignment. This would list any permanent or eligible role assignments the user you connected with using Connect-PimService has.
  • Enable-PrivilegedRoleAssignment. This command will enable a specified role assignments. It is required to specify which role either by RoleId or by a RoleAssignment variable. It is also required to specify a Duration for activation. Optional parameters includes Reason, TicketNumber, TicketSystem and StartTimeUtc.
  • Disable-PrivilegedRoleAssignment. If you previously have activated one or more roles with Enable-PrivilegedRoleAssignement, you can preemptively deactivate these roles again before the duration expires. You must specify a RoleId or RoleAssignment variable.
  • Disconnect-PimService. Disconnects any previous sessions to PimService.

Examples of Azure AD PIM Commands

In the following I will show some examples of using the Azure AD PIM Module.


In the following I’m connecting with a specified username, if it is required to use Azure MFA for this user I will be prompted for that as well:

Connect-PimService –UserName <username>



After authenticating, PIM service connection details are returned, here slightly masked:


The above returned is exactly the same as would be returned by running the command:



This command will list any role assignments, permanent or eligible your user might have. Here is a couple of examples for outputs for two different admin users. The first user is eligible for Security Administrator and Privileged Role Administrator, and permanent for Global Administrator:


The second admin user is eligible for Exchange Administrator and Global Administrator:


If I want to assign a variable to a role assignment, I can do it like the following command:

$roleAssignment = Get-PrivilegedRoleAssignment | Where {$_.RoleName -eq "Privileged Role Administrator"}

I now have a role assignment variable I can use in the following commands.


To enable one of my roles, I need to specify a duration (PS! keep inside the allowed role settings for max duration!), and specify which role either by RoleId or RoleAssignment variable. Optional parameters like Reason etc can also be specified.

Here is a working example:

Enable-PrivilegedRoleAssignment –Duration 1 –RoleAssignment $roleAssignment –Reason “Add crmadmin to CRM Administrators”

After running the command, if successful it will return as a submitted request for activating role membership.


By running Get-PrivilegedRoleAssignment again, we can now see that the role of “Privileged Role Administrator” is indeed activated (elevated), and with a ExpirationTime (UTC time):


PS! If you have required MFA on activation for the role, one of two things will happen:

  1. If the user already has verified the identity with Azure MFA when authenticating with Connect-PimService, the user will not be asked again. This is the same experience as by using the Azure Portal for activating roles.
  2. If the user hasn’t verified with Azure MFA, the user will be prompted when activating the role, similar to this example:



Any roles you have activated will automatically deactivate after the duration specified has passed. However, if you are finished doing administrative tasks with your role, you can deactivate the role manually.

To deactivate an active assignment, run the following command specifying a RoleId or RoleAssignment variable:

Disable-PrivilegedRoleAssignment –RoleAssignment $roleAssignment



To end your connection to Azure AD PIM Service, run the following command:


After running that command you can also see that there are no role assignments to list anymore.


Hope these commands and examples have been helpful, enjoy working with Azure AD PIM!

How to configure Conditional Access for Azure AD PIM

Azure AD Privileged Identity Management is a really great security feature for controlling those Azure AD and Azure Subscription administrator roles. By implementing Azure AD PIM you can let users with admin roles elevate themselves when they need to, using just in time (JIT) and eligible roles instead of permanent admin roles. You can even implement approval workflows and audit trails, so if you haven’t looked into it you should really take a look!

With Azure AD PIM you can require Azure MFA when activating admin roles, but outside that you cannot set conditions and access control scenarios like you can do with Azure AD Conditional Access.

But now recently there is a new option in public preview for assignments to users and groups for Conditional Access policies, you can assign the CA policy to directory roles!


So I was wondering how this would work together with Azure AD Privileged Identity Management, for example in the following scenario:

I have an Exchange Administrator that from time to time performs Exchange Online admin tasks, and have configured this admin user with Azure AD PIM and eligible for Exchange Administrator Role among others:


Lets say that I only want this user to perfom Exchange Administrator tasks from a Compliant Device. Even though the Azure AD PIM role is protected by MFA at activation, making the user secure and trusted, I really want the device he is using to be secure and compliant with any management profiles I have defined using Intune MDM. Especially when he is doing admin stuff in our Exchange Online tenant or even running some Exchange Online PowerShell commands.

Lets set up this scenario.

Creating Azure AD Conditional Access Policy for Directory Role

The first thing I set up is the CA policy for my specific Directory Role in this scenario. I specify a name and then select the Directory role of Exchange administrator as shown below:


Next for Cloud apps I select Exchange Online:


For Access controls I select to require the device to marked as compliant:


After that I enable the policy and save. We are now ready to test the user experience.

Testing Azure AD PIM Role Activation and Conditional Access

So now we can test the scenario. Remember that the idea is that the CA policy only will kick in when the user has activated his Azure AD PIM role assignment as Exchange Administrator.

PS! If this user also has a Exchange Online license and mailbox, the same CA policy will apply and require the device to be compliant as long as the Exchange Administrator role is active. That could pose some not intended side effects, requiring the devices that access Exchange Online for normal mailbox access to be compliant as well, but as long as the Exchange Online Admin isn’t available as a Cloud app in Conditional Access we have to do it this way.

With my admin user, I first go to, which will redirect me to my roles defined in Azure AD PIM. Lets sign in first:


And here is my eligible roles:


I select the action link to activate my Exchange Administrator role, and then to verify my identity with Azure MFA:


After verifying I can specify a reason or adjust the activation duration:


After that I’m activated and has an access valid for the set period of time:


Now, let’s go to to the Exchange Online Admin portal: After signing in, if I’m not already signed in, I will get this message:


The details will tell me that the access rules require a compliant device:


We could also check using Exchange Online PowerShell module, and I get the same message:


Note that this message only works with the Connect-EXOPSSession that use Modern Authentication. The “old” way of using remote PowerShell and credential object to Exchange Online use basic (legacy) authentication so we cannot control that information flow, but the admin user will be denied there as well:


To conclude this blog post, I have shown that by combining the new preview feature of Directory Roles assningments for Azure AD Conditional Access, and Azure AD Privileged Identity Management, we can implement more complex scenarios for conditions and access rules for using those directory roles. In my example I used compliant device, but you could also use any other of the conditions and access controls available.

Configure Azure AD Authentication for Project Honolulu version 1803

Just a few days ago a new version of Project Honolulu, technical preview 1830, was released for Windows Server Insiders,

One of the major updates to that version was the support for changing access control from local group/Active Directory to Azure AD Authentication. Configuring Azure AD Authentication will provide the ability to pre-authenticate users with their Azure AD credentials, as well as restrict access to selected users or even integrate with Azure AD Conditional Access.

In this blog post I will provide some steps, examples and screenshots for how I did that configuration in my own environment.

This scenario builds on the previous installation I have made with Windows Server 1709 (Server Core) and Project Honolulu, see blog article for how my setup is:

Update existing version of Project Honolulu to version 1803

Since I had an existing installation of Project Honolulu on this server, I downloaded the 1803 installation file, connected to the server and ran the following command to silently install and update the existing installation:

msiexec /i HonoluluTechnicalPreview1803.msi /qn /L*v log1803.txt SME_PORT=443 SSL_CERTIFICATE_OPTION=generate

After that I navigated to the url from my client machine, and verified that I could sign in and see that the Project Honolulu website was updated.


I also note the certificate warning I receive because my client doesn’t trust the self generated certificate the gateway server installation provided. This will be a problem when using Azure AD Authentication, so in the next step I will make sure the client trusts that.

Export and trust self signed certificate

First, start a PowerShell session on the Honolulu Gateway Server, and then run the command:

Get-ChildItem –Path cert:\LocalMachine\My | FL

This will return any certificates in the machine store. As I have previously installed and generated a self signed certificate for Project Honolulu gateway server, I see 2 certificates now, and can note the thumbprint for the most recent one:


Next I will run the following commands for getting the certificate and exporting it to a .cer file:

$cert = (Get-ChildItem –Path cert:\LocalMachine\my\<THUMBPRINT>)
Export-Certificate –Cert $cert –FilePath <path>\<filename>.cer.

In my enviroment I ran the following:

imageAfter that, transfer the .cer file to the client computer(s) you want to be able to connect to the Project Honolulu website, and run the following commands to get and import the .cer certificate into trusted root store:

$cert = (Get-ChildItem –Path <path>\<filename>.cer)
$cert | Import-Certificate –CertStoreLocation cert:\LocalMachine\Root

In my enviroment this looked like this (from an elevated PowerShell window):


I took the extra step of verifying that the self signed certificate indeed was imported into trusted root store:


Change Access Control to Azure AD

Now I am ready to change access control in Project Honolulu. Click on the Settings cogwheel, and under Settings click Access.

My current settings are set to Active Directory or Local groups, so I click on Change access control:


I then change to Azure Active Directory (AAD), and see the prerequisites for connecting the gateway to Azure:


I downloaded the New-AadApp.ps1 script, note that this script requires the modules AzureRM.Resources and AzureAD to be installed at the machine where you run the script. If you don’t have them installed, you can install these using Install-Module, as shown in this example:


I chose to run this script on my client computer (not on my server core gateway computer), and with the following command:

.\New-AadApp1803.1.ps1 –GatewayEndpoint

(PS! I didn’t have the AzureAD module installed, but the AzureADPreview module instead. A simple change in the Requires section of the script fixed that;)

Running the script prompted me to specify a Global Administrator account for the tenant I wanted to register the Azure AD App in, and after sucessfully authenticating I got confirmation. Note the AAD Application name and other Id’s:


Back at the Access Control settings, refresh the browser, note the changed instructions show in the dialog below, and then Save. This will restart the gateway service.


After refreshing the browser again, you will be prompted by the following consent for permissions (provided that you already had an active logged on session, or else you will prompted to log in to the tenant you registered the app in):


After successfully authenticating and accepting, I’m logged into the Project Honolulu website. Under Settings and Azure, I can verify that I’m logged in and sign out again if needed.


Logging on with other users from the tenant

Remember by default all members of the Azure AD tenant will have user access to the Honolulu gateway service. That includes any B2B Guest Users!

Each user logging in need to first time consent to permissions, in the following screenshots I have logged on with a normal user account and then a B2B guest account:


Only local administrators on the gateway machine will have administrator access to the Honolulu gateway.

Under Access Settings you can click on a link to go directly to the Azure AD App that got registered when you ran the script earlier:


Clicking on that link and logging in with a Global Administrator, you will get to your SME-<name> app. From there you can go to users and groups, and all users that have logged in until now will be listed. By default they will not have any role assigned, but you can change role between Gateway Administrator or Gateway User as I have done below:


If you want to restrict which users or groups that are allowed to log into the Project Honolulu site with their Azure AD Credentials, you can go to Properties and then enable the setting for require user assignment:


After enabling this setting users that aren’t added to the list of users or groups either directly or via group membership will not be allowed to log on to Project Honolulu.

Summary and next steps

In this blog post I have shown a first look for enabling Azure AD Authentication for Project Honolulu version 1803 technical preview.

The next step is to look into configuring Azure AD Conditional Access for this application, that will come in a later update to this blog article, stay tuned!

A couple of issues is also on my list:

  • I’m prompted to log on with local admin credentials in addition to the Azure AD credentials
  • When I follow the link from Access Control settings I’m able to find the Azure AD App, but I cannot see it by just browsing the Enterprise Applications list. Based on the documentation I this should have work. This means for now I cannot add that App to any Conditional Access policies as it is not browseable.
  • The .\New-AadApp1803.1.ps1 script cannot be run on the Windows Server 1709 core version, as there is no GUI and I get iframe errors, it could be that this is related to the issue above, as I ran the script on my client instead.

I will also look into these issues in an update to this blog post. Please comment below if you are seeing similar issues or have any other experiences. Thanks for reading 🙂

Install & Register Azure AD Application Proxy Connector on Windows Server 1709

I recently installed the new release of Windows Server, version 1709 on my Intel NUC, you can read about that here.

I have installed Project Honolulu for remote server management on that server, but as this Intel NUC is usually located on my home lab network, I want to be able to publish and access the Honolulu website using Azure AD Application Proxy.

As the Windows Server 1709 is Server Core, I need to install and configure the Azure AD Application Proxy Connector silently, and these are the steps I did to do that.

First, you need to download the Application Proxy connector install file, and transfer it to the server. You can access the connector download from Application Proxy section in your Azure AD portal:


After that, run the following command to do a quiet install of the connector, skipping registration interactively:

AADApplicationProxyConnectorInstaller.exe REGISTERCONNECTOR=”false” /q


Next we need to register the Application Proxy connector to Azure AD, and for that we need to run some PowerShell commands. There are two ways this can be done, with a Credential Object, or using an Offline Token. Using Credential is simplest, but has the drawback that you cannot use that method if your Global Administrator account is protected with Azure MFA. Lets look at both methods below.

Using Credential Object:

On the Server you want to register the Azure AD App Proxy Connector, start a PowerShell session and run the following commands for setting the Global Administrator user name and password, and then create a Credential Object.


After that, run the following commands to run the RegisterConnector.ps1 script for register the connector using Credential object as authentication:


You can copy the PowerShell commands used above using the Gist linked at the end of this blog post.

Using Offline Token:

If you can’t or don’t want to use a credential object, you have to use a offline token. The following commands will get an access token for the authorization context needed for Application Proxy Connector Registration.

Getting the Token can be run from any client, and then transferred to the server, but you will need to have the Azure Active Directory Authentication Library (ADAL) installed at the machine you are running the PowerShell commands. The easiest way to get the needed libraries installed is to Install the AzureAD PowerShell Module.

The following commands locates the AzureAD (or AzureADPreview) Module, and then finds the ADAL Helper Library: Microsoft.IdentityModel.Clients.ActiveDirectory.dll, and adds that as a Type to the PowerShell session:


Next, run these commands to define some constants, these values are the same for all tenants:


Now we can run these commands for setting the authentication context and then prompt user for AuthN:


Running the above commands will result in an authentication prompt, this is where you would specify your Global Administrator account, and if MFA enabled this will also work:


After authenticating we can check the result and save the token and tenantId in variables as shown below:


Next, copy the contents of the $token and $tenantId to the Windows Server 1709, and run the following command to create a secure string from the token:


And then run the RegisterConnector.ps1 script with AuthenticationMode as Token and using the secure token and tenant id as parameter values as shown below:


PS! According to the official documentation, there are no description or examples for the mandatory parameter “Feature”, but I found that it accepts the value “ApplicationProxy” as used above.

You can copy the above PowerShell commands from the Gist linked at the end of this blog post.

So to recap, after installing the Application Proxy Connector silently on the Windows Server 1709, and then registering the connector, I can now verify in the Azure AD Portal that the connector is available for use. I can see it has a status of Active, from my home IP address, and I have already placed it in a Connector Group.


I’m now ready to publish Azure AD Proxy Apps using this connector, and in my next blogpost I will publish the Project Honolulu management website using this!

Here is the Gist source for the above linked PowerShell commands:

Azure AD B2B Users and Access to Azure AD Application Proxy Apps

The purpose of this blog post is to show a practical approach and some guidelines for publishing Azure AD App Proxy applications to guest users using Azure AD B2B.

To keep this blog post short and to the point, I will make the following assumptions:

Demo scenario

I will first give a quick overview over the demo scenario for this blog post:

  • I will use my tenant, where I have configured a custom domain
  • I have invited an external user: to the tenant. This user has accepted the invitation and can access resources that will be shared.
  • I have published some App Proxy applications, and in this scenario I will use Cireson Portal, which is a Self Service Portal for SCSM.

In this blog post I will use both single sign-on disabled with forms based authentication, and single sign-on with windows integrated authentication for this guest user, but lets first verify that the guest user can log on to my application panel.

Using Azure AD Access Panel as Guest User

When I log on to the Azure AD Access Panel at as external account I will se all my published applications at my company Skill AS, and since I have been added as a Azure AD B2B guest to the Elven Azure AD tenant, I can switch to that tenant like this:


I will then be redirected to the Elven Azure AD tenant and all my published applications will show (but for now this is none):


So lets start by adding this external guest to a published application without single sign-on and Windows Integrated Authentication enabled.

Without Single Sign-On

First, this is the guest user I will add to the application:


Then I go to the App Proxy Application, and in the properties I have required that any user must be assigned to access the application:


Under Application Proxy I will require pre authentication with Azure AD, so that users can not access the URL without being logged on to the tenant (in this case as a guest):


In this first scenario single sign-on with Azure AD and Windows Integrated Authentication is disabled:


Then I add my guest user as an assigned user to the application:


In the meantime I have configured the Cireson Portal to use Forms Based Authentication, and now we can test the guest user:

In the Access Panel my guest user can now see and launch the Cireson Portal published application:


And my guest user can successfully get to the web application which now presents a user login form, which will require a on-premises AD user with access rights to the Cireson Portal.


In my on-premises AD I have created just that, a user with the account name jan.vidar.guest:


And I can successfully log on with the guest user:


So far we have seen that an Azure AD B2B user can successfully launch an Azure AD App Proxy application, and in the next step log on with a local AD user with access to the application.

I the next section we will see how we can provide single sign-on with Azure AD and Windows Integrated Authentication.

PS! I will also change the Cireson Portal to use Windows Authentication before this next step!

Azure AD Single Sign-On and Windows Integrated Authentication

First I will need to change the settings for the Azure AD App Proxy application.

Under Single sign-on I will change to Integrated Windows Authentication, specify a SPN for Kerberos Constrained Delegation, and specify to use User principal name for delegated login identity:


By now you might have realized that for single sign-on to work with windows integrated authentication in a Azure AD B2B guest user scenario, you will need to have a “shadow” AD user for this external scenario. In my first test above, I had created a “jan.vidar.guest” user. Remember that I chose to use User principal name as a delegated login identity. So I will need a UPN that will be a link between my Azure AD guest user account ( and the local AD user. If that link is missing, you will see the following in the Application Proxy Connector Log:


So this error message tells us exactly what user principal name is expected from the guest user. The error message below provide more details from this error:

Web Application Proxy encountered an unexpected error while processing the request.
Error: The user name or password is incorrect.

Transaction ID: {00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000}
Session ID: {00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000}
Published Application Name:
Published Application ID:
Published Application External URL:
Published Backend URL:
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/58.0.3029.110 Safari/537.36 Edge/16.16299
Device ID: <Not Applicable>
Token State: NotFound
Cookie State: NotFound
Client Request URL:
Backend Request URL: <Not Applicable>
Preauthentication Flow: PassThrough
Backend Server Authentication Mode: WIA
State Machine State: OuOfOrderFEHeadersWriting
Response Code to Client: 500
Response Message to Client: Internal Server Error
Client Certificate Issuer: <Not Found>
Response Code from Backend: <Not Applicable>
Frontend Response Location Header: <Not Applicable>
Backend Response Location Header: <Not Applicable>
Backend Request Http Verb: <Not Applicable>
Client Request Http Verb: POST

So, lets change the UPN of my local shadow user to that. You can either add the UPN suffix to your Active Directory Forest, or change the user principal name with AD PowerShell like:

Set-ADUser jan.vidar.guest -UserPrincipalName


Generally you will need to add Azure AD B2B users with user principal name in the form of:


So, lets try to launch the Cireson Portal again now, this time with Azure AD Single Sign-On and Windows Integrated Authentication:


And now the user will be logged directly into the Cireson Portal with SSO:


So now we have seen that we can successfully use Azure AD B2B Guests in an Azure AD Application Proxy published application scenario, with or without Single Sign-On, and that we require a link with the delegated identiy with a “shadow” user in the on-premises AD.

NB! Before you think that you should create that user as a disabled account, this is what happens:


This means, you have to enable the AD user account, but the password can be anything and don’t have to be shared with the external user.

Update: Require MFA from Guest Users

I have had some questions on how requiring MFA would affect guest users when accessing published applications, and decided to update the blog post on this.

First of all you would need to create an Azure AD Conditional Access Policy where you:

  • Target the policy to your guest users, for example by creating a group (assigned or dynamic) with all guest users in your tenant.
  • Target the policy to your selected published Azure AD App Proxy Apps.
  • Setting the policy to require MFA.

Your guest users will have to set up their security verification methods in your tenant before they can authenticate with MFA as guests to your published application. They will be prompted to do that if they haven’t done it before at first time, but they can also do that by accessing their profile in your tenants See below picture where my guest user can set up preferred methods for MFA in the elven tenant:


In this example I have set up Microsoft Authenticator on my mobile phone, and note the #EXT# identity which is the guest user for Elven tenant:


I can the select to launch the application as a guest user, and will be prompted authenticate with my selected method for MFA:


In my mobile phone I can approve, again I can see that I authenticate with my #EXT# guest account (most text in Norwegian, but you get the idea;)


See notes under for license requirements for MFA and guest users.

Notes and tips

Although Azure AD B2B is a free feature, creating local users in Active Directory and accessing resources like web servers, database servers and any third party applications you publish are not free and you will have to check your licensing requirements.

You shouldn’t synchronize your shadow guest users to Azure AD with Azure AD Connect.

Using Azure AD Conditional Access for require MFA is an Azure AD Premium feature, so you need EMS E3 or Azure AD Premium P1 licenses. You can then use up to 5 Azure AD B2B guests per EMS E3/AADP1 license you own, in a 1:5 ratio. So for example if you internally have 100 EMS licenses, you can require MFA for up to 500 Azure AD B2B guests.

And finally, Microsoft has noted that there will be guidance and documentation coming for best practice and governance for these Azure AD and on-premises AD guest users, as there can be a lot more complex enviroments than my example here, see this link: