A Microsoft Account is a generic term that refers to an account in any Microsoft cloud based Active Directory. You might know your account(s) as belonging to one or more services you use. Examples of these services are:
- Office 365 for your work or school
- Xbox LIVE
- Windows Phone
- many more
Types of Microsoft Accounts
Microsoft Personal Accounts
Microsoft Work or Services Accounts
Accounts that are created for you by an organization such as your work or school are considered Work or School Accounts (surprising we know - kind of like the White House is white, who knew!?).
These accounts are very important as they are required to access specific content that is not available to everyone in the world. Additionally, being given a Work or School account means you qualified in some way.
This is issued to you by the Department of State's proper authority and is managed by the Department of State. Your account is valid for as long as the Department of State allows you to participate on their network and/or with their services. This is the account that allows you Single Sign-On to Department of State computers, devices and networks! That's nice when it works, isn't it?
Why Do I Care?
I'm glad you asked! You should care because your Department of State issued account is available for you to use in approved applications on or off the Department's network. Yep, you read that right! You will be able to login to approved Department Services with your regular @state.gov account! Awesome! ADG Applications such as ATLAS Workflows, ATLAS Housing, and GoMBC allow you to login from anywhere using your Department Organizational Microsoft Account!
We wish that this section was not necessary but there are challenges to those of us who actually have more than one Microsoft Account of any kind. Let's face it, most of us do.
In order to make sure you are logging in with the correct account, you will need to pay attention to the specific Microsoft Account your browser "thinks" you want to use. If you accidentally continue on with the incorrectly identified account (such as using a Personal Microsoft Account like firstname.lastname@example.org rather than the Microsoft Work or School Account email@example.com) your experience will not be as good as expected. Unfortunately, it may look like you are unable to access the desired Department Service, but really, this is expected as only the firstname.lastname@example.org Department assigned Microsoft Organizational account is allowed to access the Department Service. Yikes!
Another common problem is most modern web browsers cache your login values. This means that you may login to your Xbox LIVE Personal Microsoft Account and then try to log into a Department Service wanting to use the Microsoft Organizational Account but the browser is still remembering your Xbox LIVE Personal Microsoft Account. Oh man! But worse, perhaps you did not fully log off your Xbox LIVE Personal Microsoft Account and then the browser automatically tries to log you in with that account. Double Yikes! Thankfully, all is not lost! Just remember to pay attention to the account that the browser thinks you are using, change the account with the provided on screen links (if it is not correct) and log off your sessions fully when you are done. No sweat! :)