Connect to Exchange Online PowerShell with an Azure Managed Identity

Connect to Exchange Online PowerShell with an Azure Managed Identity

Recently the Exchange Online Module v2 came out with support for connecting to Exchange Online via a managed identity. The module has several parameters:

  1. ManagedIdentity
  2. ManagedIdentityAccountId
  3. Organization

When using the ManagedIdentity parameter you must also call the Organization parameter which is the initial, or ‘.onmicrosoft’ domain.

What You Will Need

  • PowerShell
  • Az PowerShell Module (install-module az)
  • The Microsoft Graph SDK (install-module Microsoft.Graph

Create the Managed Identity, Permissions, and Runbook

Connect to Azure

First thing we must do is connect to Azure using the Az module. Open a PowerShell window and run


Create a Resource Group

After we are connected we need to create a Resource Group to house everything. In my example I will create a new Resource Group in the Central US region.

$rgname = "rg-exchangeautomation"
$location = "centralus"
New-AzResourceGroup -Name $rgname -Location $location

Create the Automation Account

Next, we need to create the Automation Account that runs the runbooks. In my example I will place the Account in the Resource Group I created above, and call the account ‘exchangeautoaccount’

$accountName = 'exchangeautoaccount'
$rgName = 'rg-exchangeautomation'
$location = 'centralus'
New-AzAutomationAccount -Name $accountName -ResourceGroupName $rgName -Location $location

Install the Module

Next, we need to install the module into the automation account. I tried doing it manually and it didn’t seem to work properly. Note: You will need the preview version of the module which the latest preview version today is 2.0.6 preview7. You can always check here for the latest.

$accountName = 'exchangeautoaccount'
$rgName = 'rg-exchangeautomation'
$Name = 'ExchangeOnlineManagement'
$Version = '2.0.6-Preview7'
New-AzAutomationModule -AutomationAccountName $accountName -ResourceGroupName $rgName -Name $Name -ContentLinkUri "$Name/$Version"

Very Important! Verify that the correct version got installed. Go to your automation account > modules and verify ExchangeOnlineManagement is the correct version! If you are not on the correct version you may see an error similar to:

The role assigned to application ad423d0-dc5-4a6-a66a-20213fc7 isn't supported in this scenario. Please check online documentation for assigning correct Directory Roles to Azure AD Application for EXO App-Only Authentication.

Create System Identity

Next, we need to create/enable a system identity for our automation account to use. Using the name of our automation account from earlier, we can use PowerShell to enable it.

$accountName = 'exchangeautoaccount'
$rgName = 'rg-exchangeautomation'
Set-AzAutomationAccount -Name $accountName -ResourceGroupName $rgName -AssignSystemIdentity

Get Service Principal Information

Next, we need to get the Service Principal Information for our managed identity. Take note of the ID value (not the AppID). We will use it later.

$accountName = 'exchangeautoaccount'
Get-AzADServicePrincipal -DisplayName $accountName

Connect to Graph

Next, we need to connect to Graph using the SDK. Make sure to specify the tenant using the TenantID parameter.

Connect-MgGraph -TenantId '6438bc9-49-4c9851-fc45dc1f'

Assign Permissions to our Managed Identity

Using the ID we got earlier, we now will assign the proper permissions to our Managed Identity.

$MIAppID = 'f892abbd-c511-44e1-8ee4-89b70a5790f9'
$params = @{
    ServicePrincipalId = $MIAppID # managed identity object id
    PrincipalId = $MIAppID # managed identity object id
    ResourceId = (Get-MgServicePrincipal -Filter "AppId eq '00000002-0000-0ff1-ce00-000000000000'").id # Exchange online
    AppRoleId = "dc50a0fb-09a3-484d-be87-e023b12c6440" # Exchange.ManageAsApp
New-MgServicePrincipalAppRoleAssignedTo @params

Assign the Exchange Administrator Role

Lastly, we need to assign the role Exchange Administrator to the managed identity.

$MIAppID = 'f892abbd-c511-44e1-8ee4-89b70a5790f9'
$roleId = (Get-MgRoleManagementDirectoryRoleDefinition -Filter "DisplayName eq 'Exchange Administrator'").id
New-MgRoleManagementDirectoryRoleAssignment -PrincipalId $MIAppID -RoleDefinitionId 29232cdf-9323-42fd-ade2-1d097af3e4de -DirectoryScopeId "/"

Creating the Runbook

Now in the Azure Portal I will go to my Resource Group and select my Automation Account. From there I will create a PowerShell runbook. IMPORTANT! When selecting a runtime version, select 5.1. I tried PSCore and it could never import the ExchangeOnlineManagement module. This may be fix is future versions.

Using Get-AcceptedDomain as a test, we can now see if we are able to use the managed identity that is tied to the automation account to connect to exchange online via PowerShell. My Runbook has the following code

$organization = ""
Connect-ExchangeOnline -ManagedIdentity -Organization $organization
Get-AcceptedDomain | Format-Table -AutoSize


HUGE shout out to where I was able to read their article to understand how everything works. I spent quite a bit of time trying to find how to use the preview module’s parameters. How to connect to Exchange Online powershell with a managed identity |

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