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Understanding your options for Office 365 monitoring in Sacramento CA

There are three reasons you want to monitor your usage of Office 365. First of all, you want to keep a lid on costs. Secondly, you want to see how people are actually using the service to check if they’re actually getting the most out of it. Thirdly, you want to pay close attention to security, especially if you’re working in a regulated industry and/or need to think about compliance programs. Here’s what you need to know about your options for Office 365 monitoring.

Set up SMART goals for your reporting

Office 365 Monitoring Sacramento CA

You need to bring your high-level aims down to specific targets you can measure and obviously these need to be realistic ones. If you’re still getting to grips with the everyday practicalities of working in the cloud, you can start by setting fairly gentle goals for anything relating to finance and focus your efforts on ensuring security. As you gain a better understanding of how everything works, you can then start fine-tuning your costs and usage to get the best possible value for money.

Decide on a reporting schedule

Remember that you can set up different reporting schedules for different services and purposes. For example, you may choose to run security-related reports once a day but cost-related reports once a week and usage-related reports once a month. As a rule of thumb, if a report could lead you to take urgent remedial action (as can be the case with security), then you want to run it as frequently as reasonably possible). If, by contrast, a report will only have meaning if it contains enough data for you to separate anomalies from patterns (for example usage reports), then it usually makes sense to run it less frequently.

Decide on what approach you’re going to use for Office 365 monitoring

Office 365 contains a lot of monitoring tools, plus there are third-party tools you can buy plus there are third-party Office 365 monitoring services in Sacramento CA. Depending on your needs you may wish to use one or more of these.

Using Office 365’s own reporting tools

If you remember the days of running reporting through PowerShell scripts then you’ll be pleased to hear that the reporting tools in Office 365 are a huge step up. It would take far too long to list all the reports available in Office 365 but it’s probably safe to say that you can view and download reports about activity related to just about any application which is included in your Office 365 license.

The main benefit of these reports is that they are very easy to generate and equally easy to understand. The main drawback is that Microsoft only stores them for a limited period of time (although there’s nothing to stop you downloading your own offline copies of them) and that they are (currently) designed to be read rather than to be queried. For some reports, this may be a minor issue, but for anything related to security and/or compliance, either or both of these points could turn into a real pain. For example, if you’re asked a question by an auditor, you’ll have to go back and look through reports manually until you piece together the information you need, rather than just running a search query.

Using third-party Office 365 reporting tools

This may be a feasible option for companies with their own IT security team. The main selling point of these Office 365 reporting tools is that they take the data produced by Microsoft and turn it into a format which can be much more easily analyzed. As a minimum, this can make life a whole lot easier when it comes to audits as you can just query anything the auditor wants to know instead of having to prepare everything manually. Some tools even put together reports with specific compliance programs in mind, e.g. HIPAA, PCI/DSS and GDPR.

The minus point of these tools is that, as with all tools, they are only as good as the person using them. This is why they’re probably only a practical option if you have a solid in-house IT security team.

Using third-party Office 365 monitoring services

In simple terms, this is the option of having a capable third party do the hard work for you. The minus side of this, is, of course, that it comes at a cost. The plus side is that you know that the job will be done effectively. This can make a world of difference in security and compliance and can even be useful from the perspective of managing licensing costs and user behavior.

If you’re interested in learning more about your options for Office 365 monitoring in Sacramento CA, please click here now to contact Aperio.IT.