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Ramblings from an IT manager and long time developer.

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Office 365 – Single Sign-On for SharePoint, Skydrive, CRM, etc. via Smart Links

Office 365 – Single Sign-On for SharePoint, Skydrive, CRM, etc. via Smart Links

 

Synopsis: One of the biggest problems I have seen
with Office 365 is ease in accessibility to all of the Office365
resources.  As pointed out on many of the Microsoft forums, SharePoint,
CRM, Skydrive, etc. do not automatically complete a single-sign on
request when browsing the website.

Problem: When a user
browses https://mydomain.sharepoint.com for example, the user is
prompted to enter in their email address.  What a user expects is that
they should automatically be logged in and see sharepoint when
navigating to https://mydomain.sharepoint.com  Additionally, for
whatever reason, users cannot remember the website address to
https://mydomain.sharepoint.com  Instead, they want to do something like
http://sharepoint.mydomain.com

Solution: Create name branded “fancy URLs” that will complete an idp claim to give the user a true SSO experience.

  • http://owa.mydomain.com
  • http://sharepoint.mydomain.com
  • http://skydrive.mydomain.com
  • http://crm.mydomain.com

Solution:

  1. Open up Internet Explorer
  2. Navigate to https://mydomain.sharepoint.com
    Sign into Office 365
  3. Press F12 to open up the developer tools console (I am running IE
    11, the console looks way different than previous versions of IE)
    Sign into Office 365 - Developer Console
  4. Scroll down and select the icon that looks like a little WiFi antenna
    Sign into Office 365 - Developer Console - Network
  5. Click the green play button
    Sign into Office 365 - Developer Console - Network - Start Capture
  6. Type in your email address as you would to login to sharepoint (myusername@mydomain.com)
  7. You should be redirected to your ADFS server and inside the network
    console, you should see a link like
    https://sts.mydomain.com/adfs/ls/?………………  Copy this link into notepad.
    Office 365 - Federated URL
  8. Remove the extra stuff from the debug console
    Before
    Office 365 - Federated URL - Notepad

    After
    Office 365 - Federated URL - Cleaned - Notepad
  9. Remove everything from cbcxt=….. to wa=wsignin1.0
    Office 365 - Federated URL - cbcxt removed
  10. Remove the ct%3D1386214464%26 and bk%3D1386214464%26 parameters
    Office 365 - Federated URL - ct and bk removed
  11. Next, open up another new notepad document named index.html and paste the following text into it
    1. <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN"
      "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"><html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"><head>
      <title>CRM</title>
      <meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”0; url=https://sts.mydomain.com link goes here” /></head>

      <body>

      </body>
      </html>
      Redirect to URL template

  12. Replace https://sts.mydomain.com link goes here with your new smart link and save the document.
    Redirect to federated URL
  13. Upload the index.html file to one of your your webservers
  14. Create a new A record called sharepoint.mydomain.com pointing to your webserver
  15. Now when a user browses http://sharepoint.mydomain.com, the user
    will automatically be redirected to your secure ADFS Proxy and
    authenticate automatically.

You will need to repeat the steps above for each of the Office 365
products your company uses.  The federated addresses do change, so you
will have to follow all of the steps over again for each Smart Link you
wish to create.

NOTES:
Here is an official article on creating smart links: http://community.office365.com/en-us/wikis/sso/using-smart-links-or-idp-initiated-authentication-with-office-365.aspx