Ideally, users can enter the same credentials to access all their IT resources, including their workstations and email accounts. This approach is more simple for them — they only have to remember one secure password — and more secure from IT’s perspective because administrators can centrally manage and revoke access across their environment. You can consider adding multi-factor authentication to this identity where possible to make it even more secure.
In heterogeneous environments, this approach includes the ability for a user to log into their Mac® system with the same password they use to access their Microsoft 365™ resources. Here, we examine solutions IT admins can deploy to ensure credentials are synchronized across their environments.
Using Microsoft Credentials for Systems
In environments with Microsoft 365, and thereby Azure Active Directory®, admins don’t automatically have the tools they need to synchronize Microsoft identities with and manage Mac machines. They might leave Mac machines unmanaged or maintain separate directories for resources outside Azure AD. However, IT security best practice research indicates users should have one digital identity to access the tools they need to get their jobs done.
Users’ machines serve as the gateway through which they access most other resources, so the machines and the credentials used to access them should be centrally managed and monitored. Although users can access productivity suites via their cell phones, they are more likely to use their laptops for most tasks, including editing and file sharing, so it’s crucial that their laptops and productivity logins are synchronized. Admins have various solutions they can use to manage Mac machines (and Windows® and Linux®, if needed).
How to Integrate Microsoft 365 & Mac
If you’re using Azure AD/Microsoft 365, you’ll need to select additional Microsoft solutions or a third-party tool to synchronize those identities with Mac machines. You might be able to leverage Apple Business Manager with Azure AD to create authentication for Macs from AAD, but you still will lack control over the identity, as well as the system itself.