What is a modern workplace these days without having your personal- or group data synced to OneDrive and taking the full advantage Microsoft’s cloud storage has to offer!? One of the most asked feature is silently configuring your OneDrive client to automatically synchronize your (personal) data.
Over time the silent configuration of OneDrive for Business has been improved. In the early days we were designated using semi-automatic methods using registry keys and scripts by Per Larsen, old school group policies, or by custom OMA-URI policies to do the magic. Nowadays OneDrive can easily be configured using Administrative Templates (31 settings) via Microsoft Intune. (almost the same as GPO but wrapped in a modern UI called Microsoft Intune 😉)
Last week I was preparing a modern workplace demo fully automated and managed by cloud. This puts Windows Autopilot on the menu including automatic enrollment & management, encryption, policies, software deployment and…silently configuration of OneDrive for Business client.
But what if silent configuration isn’t working as expected? This might become challenging where traditional and modern workplace comes together, you can end up in a situation where they do not fit. This will be the case when you’re preventing managed computers to sync OneDrive which are joined to a specific (Active Directory) domain(s).
It’s a no-brainer to opt-in for automatically (silently) configure the OneDrive for Business client. But in this case the OneDrive for Business client configuration was far from silent if you asked me! We ran into a challenge where OneDrive for Business client won’t be configured silently. Even when we tried to configure OneDrive sync manually, we didn’t succeed and ran into the following error “Sorry, OneDrive can’t add your folder right now“. So I reached out and contacted support 😉
After some research I came across a blog of Chen Tian Ge who used Fiddler to take down a similar scenario. So after installed Fiddler myself, it was clear to me what caused the problem. I had found the undisputed proof. The reason for the failure is the fact the customer had implemented OneDrive sync client restrictions by using (AD) domain GUID. The modern workplace of course, did not meet the domain GUIDs requirement because it belongs to an Azure AD domain instead of AD joined domain.
Restrict OneDrive syncing to specific domains
This feature works fine for computers which are joined to an Active Directory (AD) domain, but causes challenges when shifting to a modern workplace joined to Azure Active Directory (Azure AD).
The underlying reason for implementing these controls is to make sure companies remain control of where your corporate data is going through. Lastly, preventing from ending up at unmanaged or non-compliant devices. Allow syncing only on computers joined to specific domains works for AD joined devices but doesn’t fit for a (native) modern workplace which is Azure AD Joined.
Azure AD Conditional Access control capabilities in Azure AD offer simple ways for you to secure resources in the cloud. The OneDrive for Business client works with the Conditional Access control policies to ensure syncing is only done with managed and/or compliant devices. For example, you might require sync to be available only on domain-joined devices or devices that meet compliance as defined by Microsoft Intune.
Alongside Conditional Access, Microsoft Cloud App Security (MCAS) can be used to implement complementary data leak prevention (DLP) policies to make sure you stay in control no matter where your corporate data goes.
Get out of the old, get in with the new
Shifting from a traditional to a modern workplace isn’t just a matter of migrating the current, but a real transformation. Controls which worked well for many years in a traditional environment are often outdated by modern solution(s) that often work better and meet the revised needs/standards according a modern workplace.
Happy & safe syncing!