Distinguishing between business and personal Microsoft accounts

There’s a funny way that the word “obfuscate” obfuscates. And it does. If you’re wondering what this is all about, well, this is the exact situation that Microsoft has created by consolidating the access portal for many of their online services where you can use either your personal or work Microsoft account. To add to this mix, you can use your work email address to create a personal account. It can get complicated.

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But how is this relevant at work?

We commonly see our clients use one of Microsoft’s services, such as Skype, for external office communications – and this would have required a personal Microsoft account. As such, it is likely that a work email address was used to create the Skype account. If you’re on Office 365, this would then mean you have both personal and work accounts within the same login, namely, your work email address.

More recently, Microsoft is making the distinction more clear. For example, if logging into web services like OneDrive, it clearly gives you the option to sign into the correct account.

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However mobile devices are a different story, with many integrated applications not updated to clearly distinguish whether a personal or work account is being used. To avoid confusion, I’d recommend that your two accounts have different passwords. Or better still, avoid using your work email account as your personal Microsoft account.

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