EXO Device Mailbox Security Policy Vs Intune management policy

While working on a customer requirement involving implementation of Intune APP (App Protection Policy) on BYOD (Bring Your Own Devices), I came across an issue on Android devices where on accessing Outlook for Android, the end user was being asked to 'Activate device administrator' as shown below.

Having dealt with Exchange device mailbox policy in the past, I immediately knew what the issue was and thought of blogging about it to save others some time.

If you navigate to Exchange admin portal > Mobile > Mobile device mailbox policy, then you should see a policy that is present in every tenant by default and set as optional.

However, in case your users see the prompt to Activate device administrator, then chances are that either you have a separate custom policy created and assigned OR the default policy is modified requiring an encrypted device instead of being optional. As it was in my case.

So what is happening here?

One can use mobile device mailbox policies to manage many different settings. These include the following:

- Require a password

- Specify the minimum password length

- Allow a numeric PIN or require special characters in the password

- Designate how long a device can be inactive before requiring the user to re-enter a password

- Wipe a device after a specific number of failed password attempts

However, if you are configuring any of the above settings using Intune as well and if they do no match, then this will result in a conflict. To avoid such conflicts and the fact that Intune provides more features and granularity, it makes sense to only use Intune managed policies.

What is the fix? It is an easy one to begin with. Either make the default policy optional or remove the custom policy. 

Note: It is always better to test this out, so I will suggest to create another custom policy, assign it to a mailbox and test it against that. Once tested, you can go ahead and delete the custom policy and the assignment will revert to the default device mailbox policy.

That is all for now. Until next time..


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