FOPE Admin Center access in Office 365
One of the poorly communicated features of Office 365 is the differences between the P1 (small business) plans and E1 (Midsize – Enterprise) plans in regards to administrative feature access.
A good example of this is the fact the the P1 plan had access to the FOPE admin center pulled at the last minute when Office 365 was launched. Microsoft employees themselves were caught off guard by this when I called in last week about a client who needed email spam lists migrated. Ultimately, we had to take a step back and change the client to the E1 plan (scrapping about 2 hours of work).
Under the current rules, there is absolutely no access to the admin center in the P1 plan. The importance of this may not be immediately clear to some, here is why it matters: Currently there is no support for redundantly running spam filters in parallel with Forefront. For business owners who migrate to Office 365, this means they will have to scrap their current anti-spam software. In order to keep the blacklists, that user will have to use an E-plan subscription of Office 365. Effectively eliminating the cheapest plan as an option all together.
As a whole, there are a number of access limitations regarding the P1 plan, which I’ve come to think of as ‘cheap Office 365 with handcuffs on’. Be sure to educate yourself on these limitations before starting a migration process to a Office 365 P1 subscription.
Using the FOPE Admin Center in Office 365
First: Ensure you have an E-plan subscription or this won’t work (you can check this under “manage subscriptions”)
To access FOPE:
- Login to the Online Portal
- Click the Admin tab
- Click “Manage” under Exchange Online
- Click the “Mail Control” tab on the left
- Click “Forefront Online Protection for Exchange” on the right (if it isn’t there you may have the wrong subscription license)
This should open the FOPE Admin Center.
Under the “Administration” tab click “filters”. Here you can import “dictionary files from your previous email filter service. They must be a .csv file format, single column list of domains.
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