Shared mailboxes provide an excellent tool for collaboration, both internally in your company and towards external customers and partners. But what’s the best way to create shared mailboxes in a hybrid Office 365 environment?
Create a Shared Mailbox in Less Than a Minute
With Easy365Manager, you can create a synchronized on-premises user with a shared Office 365 mailbox directly from AD Users & Computers. In less than a minute!
Create a user account in AD and open up the properties of the account.
Easy365Manager is an extension to AD Users & Computers that provides two new tabs.
Select the Office 365 tab and click “Create in Office 365…”. Then select “Shared Mailbox”:
Yup, that’s it – within a few seconds, the mailbox is ready.
You can then start configuring all necessary settings, like delegation, custom mail addresses, etc. (which is also possible with Easy365Manager).
Easy365Manager is a simple extension for AD Users & Computers. There are no changes made to your infrastructure or AD schema.
Create a Shared Mailbox Using Standard Tools
There are various approaches to creating hybrid Office 365 shared mailboxes depending on your liking.
Two of these require that you still have a functional Exchange on-premises.
You can create an on-premises user mailbox, migrate it to Office 365 and convert it to a shared mailbox (danger ahead: Potential data loss!).
You can create an on-premises user account, synchronize it to Azure AD, assign an Exchange Online license, convert it to a shared mailbox and remove the license (works well if you have removed your on-premises Exchange Server).
Finally, if you still have your on-premises Exchange Server, you can create a remote shared mailbox from the Exchange Management Shell using the New-RemoteMailbox cmd-let and the -Shared switch:
New-RemoteMailbox -Name "Finance" -Shared -UserPrincipalName email@example.com -OnPremisesOrganizationalUnit "skrubbeltrang.com/Shared Mailboxes"
Create the Shared Mailbox As Cloud Only
An alternative is to create the shared mailbox directly in Office 365 with no linked on-premises object.
This doesn’t make much sense if you’re running hybrid Office 365, but we include it here for completeness.
To create a cloud-only shared mailbox using Exchange Admin Center (EAC), perform the following steps:
This will generate a cloud-only user account that is not synced to your on-premises environment. For some admins, this is just fine. Others like to have their resources visible in on-premises for better management.
You can accomplish the same using PowerShell.
Use the following commands to create a cloud-only shared mailbox:
Connect-ExchangeOnline New-Mailbox -Shared -Name "Finance" -DisplayName "Finance Team" -Alias "Finance" Disconnect-ExchangeOnline
Although this may seem simple at first, be warned: Creating shared mailboxes directly in Office 365 can cause problems with accessing the shared mailboxes and sending emails to the shared mailboxes.
How to Easily Manage Shared Mailboxes
The standard management tools for shared mailbox management are very cumbersome.
- Some configurations (e.g., email addresses) require Exchange on-premises.
- Some configurations (e.g., access delegation) require the Exchange Online Admin Center.
- Some configurations (e.g., calendar permissions) require PowerShell.
For each of these tools, you need first to authenticate and then identify the shared mailbox object. This consumes a lot of your precious admin time.
Easy365Manager consolidates AD and Office 365 management in a simple, well-known graphical user interface:
With Easy365Manager, all daily tasks can be performed directly from user properties in AD Users & Computers.
The following example shows calendar permissions configuration using AD Users & Computers with the Easy365Manager snap-in:
Without Easy365Manager, this can only be done via complex PowerShell scripting.
You can download a 30-day trial here.
You can install Easy365Manager in less than a minute and start delegating hybrid management to your first-level supporters today.