As Microsoft deprecates Basic authentication, your Office 365 account will start to use Modern authentication when connecting to third-party applications. This has implications for your O365-connected accounts in Actionstep, primarily your Office 365 calendars.
To support this change, Actionstep has upgraded the way Microsoft Office 365 calendars are authenticated.
This article outlines what you need to know about the change and how to make it as seamless as possible for your organization.
|NOTE: If you have already upgraded your Calendar connection, you do not need to do this again.|
As Microsoft moves Office 365 to using Modern authentication, Actionstep too must make this transition.
|NOTE: See Microsoft documentation: Deprecation of Basic authentication in Exchange Online|
The current authentication method for Microsoft calendars in Actionstep is Basic authentication or “Basic Auth.” Basic authentication accepts a username and password to authenticate your account and connect with third parties like Actionstep. Once Microsoft discontinues Basic authentication or your account is set to only use Modern Auth, the Basic authentication method will no longer work to authenticate your calendar.
Modern authentication or “Modern Auth” allows your account to limit the scope of what can be accessed when authenticating with a third party. In part because you do not have to enter your full account access credentials, it is a more secure, modern standard that ensures you are not giving access to the parts of your account that could make you vulnerable to threats.
As not all Actionstep customers will start using Modern authentication at the same time, Modern authentication support has been added as a setting in your system. This setting can be enabled once your Office 365 account uses Modern authentication.
When to Upgrade
Microsoft stated that it will “begin to permanently disable Basic Auth in all tenants, regardless of usage, with the exception of SMTP Auth.” on October 1st, 2022.
If you are using Modern Authentication for your Office 365 account, the upgrade in Actionstep is necessary to keep using your calendar.
As Microsoft upgrades more accounts, your O365 account may be changed. Similarly, you may not know which authentication method is used by your account. In both scenarios, Actionstep will display a message when it is unable to authenticate your calendar with current credentials: “There are errors on this form that need to be resolved before the data can be saved. Access Denied (401) Please check your Exchange Server password and try again.
The message refers to the password, as it is being rejected. This is because Basic authentication uses usernames and passwords to authenticate. Once your O365 account is set to modern authentication, password logins will be rejected.
|Note: This error also displays when there are issues with a password for a calendar using Basic authentication. If you are uncertain, please contact your O365 administrator to confirm your authentication method before making a change. To update your password, navigate to the Edit Calendar screen to update your credentials.|
Once you know your account uses Modern authentication, you can upgrade your Actionstep calendar settings.
How to Upgrade
To upgrade with minimal issues and interruption, it is best to ensure that every member of your organization is aware of the upgrade and the upgrade process.
|Note: Modern Authentication must be enabled within your Microsoft system before upgrading in Actionstep. Please contact your O365 administrator if you are not sure if you are using Modern Auth or Basic Auth.|
Because some accounts still use Basic authentication, Modern authentication support must be toggled ‘on’ in your Actionstep system before connecting an account that uses Modern authentication.
|Note: All users must follow the upgrade process steps to update their calendars. If they have multiple Outlook Calendars connected to Actionstep they will need to upgrade each calendar separately.|
To enable Modern authentication, click the Get started button from the banner displaying above the calendar or open the setting menu next to your Outlook calendar and select "upgrade Calendar".
Click "Set up now"
Sign into your Microsoft account
Once you have selected your account you will be taken back to Actionstep to confirm the calendar settings.
Note: Settings and sharing permissions are automatically taken from your old Outlook calendar, so you do not need to edit these unless you want to change something.
Changes to Functionality
Previously upon creating an appointment, a dialog popup would ask the user whether they wanted to send an email invitation to the attendees. This option is no longer available, as this was an Actionstep feature – separate from Outlook functionality. With the implementation of Modern authentication, each attendee will be sent an invitation to the event, as this is the native functionality of Outlook.
Due to a limitation with Microsoft, only appointments from the last 6 years and 6 years into the future will be able to be migrated into Actionstep. Any appointments within this 12-year period will behave as normal and updates to them can be made in either Actionstep or Outlook.
Any appointments pre-2016 are not synced across with the modern auth calendar. However, any appointments linked to data collections or matters which are pre-2016 will still show on matters, using the exchange archive. These are not live and are purely there to maintain the historic record of a matter.
Q: I have deleted my exchange calendar and connected to the modern authenticator (following your old instructions) but lost all the data collection references. What do I do?
A: Please do not panic.
Switch off the preview flag - by going to Admin > General Settings
Add your calendar using basic authentication
Delete the modern auth calendar
Switch the preview flag back on
Re-add the calendar using Modern Auth
The exchange calendar can now be deleted
Q: I don't see the banner or option to upgrade a calendar?
A. Make sure the feature flag for Microsoft Outlook Calendar Plugin with Modern Auth support is switched on by going to Admin> General Settings
If you do not see this option in your feature preview list then please contact support.
Q: I see the following error message when trying to create an appointment?
A: If you are certain your username and password are correct and have not been recently updated then this error message means that your basic authentication has been disabled by Microsoft and you will need to use the Modern Authentication Method as described in this article.
Q: I see this error message when I go to edit my calendar.
A: Again, this error message means your Basic Authentication has been disabled by Microsoft. To continue synchronizing your calendar with Actionstep you will need to use the Modern Authentication Method as described in this article.