FAQs for External365 to EUM Conversion

Introduction

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The world of cloud operated technology grows at an increasingly rapid pace. As systems become more robust and complex, so do solutions and use case scenarios.

External365 is a user management product that was created to fill a gap that was missing in Microsoft's core offering when it comes to managing and maintaining external users in a Microsoft 365 tenancy. It offered some nice benefits and functionalities over the standard Microsoft out-of-the-box offerings to manage users outside of a Microsoft 365 organization, and by association LMS365 since it is reliant on the Microsoft ecosystem to function.

As time went on, our emphasis in supporting and maintaining External365 as a product began to no longer align with our core focus. We are a Learning Management System company and not a User or Identity Management system company. As such, we made the decision to discontinue our External365 product and replace with Extranet User Manager (EUM) made by our new Identity Management partner Envision IT.

At the end of 2022 (December 31st, 2022) External365 will officially be discontinued. EUM will be the recommend platform to manage External Users within LMS365 moving forward.

What is Extranet User Manager (EUM)?

Extranet User Manager (EUM) is a suite of products that allow for the ease and convenience of managing external users in a Microsoft 365 tenancy and contains many other benefits and features compared to what Microsoft has out-of-the-box as well as features that surpass External365's product offerings.

Featured Benefits of EUM

  • Customizable Email Templates

    • External365 only support basic plain HTML for its email templates. EUM features a full blown rich text editor that makes customizing and branding email templates easy.
  • Rich Auditing & User Reporting

    • All Administrative tasks as well as user activity is audited in log files that can be extracted into reporting solutions including Power BI, which is more rich and detailed than what External365 offered.

  • Simplified Login & Self Registration

    • User can input their email and then EUM does the backend work to pass them through to login or self register. This allows external users to be able to be self sufficient and not have to rely on their accounts being made explicitly by an Administrator, like it was in External365.

  • Request to Join Additional Groups

    • EUM landing is where public groups can be self discovered by external users. Users can request access to join the group and are notified when approved. This furthers the concept of self registration and emphasis on the external user to be self sufficient and was never possible on External365.

  • Mobile Friendly

    • Regardless of the device the user is accessing your portal on, the experience and user interface is optimized to work on both desktop as well as mobile devices. External365 was never designed to be mobile friendly and was only intended to be a backend desktop only experience for administrators.

  • Maintain Their Own User Profile

    • Users can access their user profiles and update their information as it changes. This continues the trend of allowing external users to be self sufficient and is another thing that was never offered in External365.

  • eCommerce Integration

    • EUM has built in eCommerce functionality with Stripe, making it easy for you to create ways to process eCommerce transactions in order to gain access to certain areas. This was never a functionality of External365 and was a hotly requested feature to further the concept of external users on LMS365.

When will External365 be discontinued?

End of 2022

Will I need to perform a migration to Extranet User Manager (EUM)?

A migration job is not needed in the traditional sense. EUM can actually be installed and used in tandem with External365 as EUM is tuned to be able to see all External accounts associated with your Azure Active Directory.

This means that EUM can actually already start leveraging accounts made from External365. However, some functionality will still require the External365 made accounts to be partially converted to be able to fully leverage EUM.

What exactly is this "Conversion" job and how is it different than a traditional Migration Job?

A migration job entails moving everything from one system to another completely and is typically very labor intensive and involves significant downtime of both systems.

However, with the Conversion into EUM this won't be the case. Since both External365 and EUM leverage your existing Active Directory, there is no moving of things needed. Instead, the approach is to convert your existing accounts and groups to be fully leveraged in EUM.

This means that we also reap the benefits of not needing to create new accounts nor would your users lose any data in LMS365 as the same accounts will be leveraged rather than moved over and recreated. This is why we consider it a Conversion instead of a Migration.

What exactly is involved in this "Conversion Job"?

    • Will their logins stay the same?

      • No, but there is a good reason for this. EUM has a significant approach change in comparison to External365. Instead of creating guest accounts with domains that are dedicated to your Office 365 tenant, EUM actually leverages the users own Email address for logging in.

        This means that your users won't have two separate addresses (one for their own email and one for logging in). Instead, they will simply use their own email address to authenticate.

    • Will I still need to use a custom domain login for accounts made in EUM?

      • EUM's approach to account management aligns with how Microsoft wants Azure B2B accounts to be treated. As such, we no longer require nor support Custom Domains and special login emails to be used in EUM, instead opting for the user to use their own Email Address to login externally into your environment.
    • Will I have to manage and reset things like passwords?

      • Unlike External365, EUM is tuned to authenticate in multiple ways with the main method of authentication being Single Use One-time Passcodes. These passcodes are emailed to the user as soon as they attempt to login and are more secure than the older approach of using a dedicated password.

        This means that the concept of using passwords in general for your users can be completely eliminated and you will no longer need to manage passwords for your users!

    • What about External365 Scope Groups, are those getting moved over?

      • No. Unlike External365, EUM has dedicated group management as a core to its design and is much easier to create and maintain. These groups will also create actual groups in your Active Directory which can be used in LMS365 easily.

        Because these groups operate very differently from External365 Scope Groups, our team will be providing assistance on getting these groups created and configured on EUM.

    • Are emails still going to be sent from EUM? I use SMTP/SendGrid instead of an Office login for emails, will that be a problem?

      • EUM leverages customizable Azure Logic Apps to handle email communications. The recommendation is to utilize an Office 365 Email Address, similar to LMS365 and can in fact be the same email address from the LMS.

        However, since it is an Azure Logic App, the Logic App can be modified to work with a variety of different Email options. If you want to use an alternative approach for emails, let our team know so we can assist with this.
    • Is there any anticipated downtime?

      • For the most part, no. Since EUM can be installed in tandem with External365, you can already start using EUM as soon as it is installed. LMS365 will continue to operate as expected and will not need to be turned off during this installation of EUM or the conversion process.

        The main anticipated downtime would be a short period of when the user will not be able to login while their account is being converted. Once converted, they will be able to login with their Email Address rather than the Custom Domain Email. Users will still be able to use their existing logins as expected prior to when their account gets converted.

    • How long will it take to convert all of my accounts?

      • We performed mock conversion jobs in our test environments to get a general estimate of how long the conversion process will take. In our tests, a tenancy with 10,000 users took roughly 10 hours to complete, so the estimate would be 1000 users converted per hour.

        Do keep in mind that this is just an estimate and the actual time needed may be longer or can even be shorter depending on various factors. Additionally, since accounts will be converted one at a time, they will be available for use as soon as they are converted.

        We will strategize with you on the cadence of the conversion job and will recommend taking the approach in phases. The basic approach being a phase where we convert a small number of accounts for testing and confirmation before executing bigger conversion jobs for the rest of the accounts.
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    • How does the conversion job work?

      • We crafted customized PowerShell Scripts that leverages Microsoft's own PowerShell commands to convert all of the accounts with the use of CSV files. We will help you in curating these files and executing the conversion through multiple working session meetings. There is no customized command code being executed, and all commands are heavily documented in Microsoft's Documentation site.

      • The main commands used are the following:

How can we get started converting over to EUM?

All External365 clients have been contacted and informed of the initial steps to get started in converting over to EUM with the first step being to complete the Conversion Form so that we can gather information on how to perform the conversion process. After you complete the form, one of our representatives will reach out to you for next steps and to schedule our initial Scoping call to see what the conversion process will entail.

To make things easier to understand, below is a graphic that will help you visualize the process of how the External365 to EUM Conversion will take place (click to enlarge the diagram).

External365 to EUM Conversion Flow Diagram.png

What is the cost associated with EUM?

What are updates like in EUM vs. External365?

    • EUM is a Cloud based Enterprise Application that is contingent on an Azure Subscription whereas External365 was a Cloud Software as a Service (SaaS) product. Because of these differences, EUM is not automatically updated like External365 was.

      Instead, when a new update to EUM is released, notifications will come out regarding the changes it brings and you'll be free to update it your own time and comfort or through the assistance with the EUM team.

How do I uninstall External365?

    • You can follow Microsoft Documentation linked below to remove any Enterprise Application, in this case External365.
      Quickstart: Delete an enterprise application - Azure AD | Microsoft Docs
    • Your External365 tenancy will be deleted at the end of 2022 or the end of your upcoming License Expiration, whichever comes first. If you are working with us to transition out of External365 and into EUM, your tenancy will be deleted upon successful conversion and confirmation of all of your External365 made accounts.
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