Workplace 365 Tips on how to Make the Most of Microsoft 365 Utilization Logs

“Return to the place you began, or way back to you may, look at all of it, journey your highway once more and inform the reality about it. Sing or shout or testify or maintain it to your self: however know whence you got here.” -James Baldwin

At any time when an motion is taken inside Microsoft 365, that motion will get logged. Exactly what will get logged relies on the kind of motion that’s taken and what that motion is carried out on. Nonetheless, each motion could have just a few properties in widespread such because the date and time it’s carried out, the kind of motion, the performing person, and the item that was affected.

Supplemental info can be logged relying on the kind of motion being carried out. For instance, an motion carried out on a SharePoint file may even include details about the SharePoint web site, the file identify, and so forth.

This will shortly add as much as a big quantity of knowledge to wade by. Not solely is that this pool of knowledge fairly extensive, protecting all of the workloads in Microsoft 365 and some from elsewhere, however it may be deep as nicely. Clearly, wading by this quantity of knowledge isn’t for everybody, and as such, Microsoft has supplied a number of mechanisms for accessing it.

Beneath are the ways in which utilization log information is surfaced in Microsoft 365. It must be famous that the phrases “audit,” “utilization,” and “exercise” might be used interchangeably under, as they’re all used inside Microsoft to discuss with the identical factor, the utilization logs.

In Context

When you have ever checked the element pane of a doc in Microsoft 365, you could have observed the Exercise part.

It is a view of the information within the utilization logs, scoped to the chosen doc. By default, all actions pertaining to the chosen doc throughout the earlier 90 days could be seen.

In-context reviews can even take totally different types. Choosing the Analytics button on a SharePoint web page will open a panel displaying a report detailing web page view exercise for that particular web page.

This report shows views of three metrics (web page views, web page viewers, time spent per viewer) throughout two dimensions (date and hour) and aggregated into three date-based teams (the final 7, 30, and 90 days.

In-context reviews have very particular scopes. Within the examples above, these are to a selected doc and a selected web page. They’re additionally restricted to particular, pre-defined measures. These reviews are all pushed by the information contained within the audit logs, however it’s not attainable to drill down on them or to drill up throughout a number of entities. To see that info, it’s essential to look elsewhere.

Admin Portal

The Microsoft 365 Admin portal accommodates a report part that has subsections for Productiveness Rating and Utilization.

The Productiveness Rating shows measures which are aggregated from throughout your tenant. Included in these visuals are common values from organizations “much like yours” for comparability functions. These measures are proven over time for the earlier six months and are up to date as soon as per week.

The Utilization part accommodates all kinds of measures from the assorted workloads out there in Microsoft 365. Knowledge from Alternate, SharePoint, OneDrive, Groups, and Yammer could be discovered right here, together with non-workspace measures like energetic customers and browser utilization. Most of those visuals permit you to drill down into larger element. For instance, the Microsoft Groups element web page could be seen under:

A person can choose one in all 4 attainable time durations: 7 days, 30 days, 90 days, and 180 days. On this report web page, you may see that the 30-day interval has been chosen and all the information displayed replicate that choice. The element part shows the mixture totals for the chosen time interval, which on this case are the entire variety of channel messages, chat messages, 1:1 calls, and conferences for every person.

It’s attainable to manually export the information behind any of those visuals by deciding on the export button within the desired visible. It will obtain a CSV with the information aggregated to the chosen time interval. No additional element is accessible.

Knowledge within the administration portal is day by day, each two days, or weekly, relying on the workload.

Microsoft 365 Utilization Analytics Software

In case your group makes use of Energy BI, the Microsoft 365 Utilization Software could be a substitute for the reviews out there by way of the portal. It is a Energy BI template app, and as such requires a Energy license; both Professional for customers or Premium for the group.

With this utility, pre-aggregated utilization information (the identical supply because the Admin portal) is introduced right into a Energy BI dataset, and customers can entry the information by a Energy BI report consisting of a number of tables. The information right here is workload-based, as it’s within the Admin portal, and is pre-aggregated on the month degree.

Microsoft 365 Utilization Analytics App

The bottom degree of granularity out there within the Utilization Analytics Software is by month. It offers all the identical dimensions and measures because the administration utility.

Microsoft Graph Reporting API

The identical pre-aggregated information that’s out there within the Admin Portal and to the Utilization Analytics Software can be out there programmatically by way of the Microsoft Graph Studies API. By way of this API it’s attainable to get information all the way down to the day degree of granularity, supplied that the dates are up to now 30 days. Different ranges of granularity are the identical as within the Admin Portal – 7, 30, 90, and 180 days. Knowledge past 180 days is unavailable.

Microsoft 365 Compliance Middle

All of the previous strategies for working with utilization information take care of information that has been pre-aggregated for particular time durations, dimensions, and measures. Nonetheless, in some circumstances, it might be essential to entry the uncooked information to reply questions that haven’t been anticipated by the built-in reviews or for detailed evaluation. The Compliance Middle offers this degree of element, giving direct entry to audit log information.

Audit logging is enabled by default, however it may be turned off. To confirm the standing of logging for a tenant, observe the steering in Flip auditing on or off – Microsoft 365 Compliance.

From the Microsoft 365 Admin Portal, deciding on “Compliance” will open the Compliance Middle, and the Audit Logs could be accessed by deciding on “Audit” within the Options part. This opens a question window, permitting you to look the audit log.

Search parameters embrace the beginning and ending date and time, actions to incorporate, customers that carried out the motion, and the URL of the objects to scope the question to. The next instance searches for in the future’s price of actions of the copy, accessed, and downloaded kind. Your entire tenant is included within the search scope.

Choosing the search button returns all audit information that fulfill the question parameters.

Detailed details about every file could be seen by clicking on the merchandise. The quantity of knowledge within the detailed window will fluctuate primarily based on the exercise kind, and deciding on the Export button will obtain a CSV file containing detailed outcomes. For extra particulars on looking the audit log with the Compliance Middle, click on right here.

By default, information could be retrieved for the previous 90 days. With the suitable license, it may be retained for as much as 10 years for some exercise varieties. For detailed info on organising retention insurance policies, see Handle audit log retention insurance policies – Microsoft 365 Compliance.

Use PowerShell to Obtain Audit Log Knowledge

Developing a question by the Compliance Middle is helpful for ad-hoc queries, but when automation is required, PowerShell can be utilized to question the audit logs utilizing the Search-UnifiedAuditLog cmdlet within the ExchangePowerShell module (see Search-UnifiedAuditLog (ExchangePowerShell) ).

PowerShell is topic to the identical retention because the Compliance Middle. By default, 90 days of knowledge is accessible.

Workplace 365 Administration APIs

Lastly, for full management, the audit logs could be queried by way of the Workplace 365 Administration APIs (no, they haven’t but been renamed to Microsoft 365 for some motive).

Utilizing the Workplace 365 APIs means that you can programmatically question all file varieties for all information with no throttling and embrace them in a customized utility.

All the identical file varieties can be found to the APIs as could be discovered within the Compliance Middle. It’s price noting right here that regardless of the “Workplace 365” identify, exercise information can be found for merchandise which are technically exterior of Workplace 365, together with the Energy Platform and Lively Listing actions.

The information out there to the APIs have one necessary distinction to that out there within the Compliance Middle and PowerShell. When querying the audit log by the APIs, not more than the newest 6 days of knowledge might be returned, whatever the group’s retention insurance policies.

Do It the Avepoint Approach

Although these Compliance Facilities present thorough reviews for utilization and exercise monitoring, it will be cumbersome to leap from one web page to a different. Admins have to examine every report and log to see if there are any possible dangers. With AvePoint’s Insurance policies & Insights, admins can simply discover attainable dangers with central reporting on Microsoft 365 information, thus lowering IT’s safety burden. Insurance policies & Insights aggregates sensitivity and exercise information throughout your tenant so your crucial points are prioritized for motion. You possibly can then edit in bulk and set insurance policies to be enforced robotically. 

With Insurance policies & Insights, you may drive IT effectivity by having a centralized and easy-to-use reporting dashboard. Study extra right here!

Closing Ideas

There are myriad choices for accessing Microsoft 365 audit information. These choices fluctuate from easy in-context info to advanced options relevant to builders. Ultimately, if you understand how to take advantage of the instruments out there to you, it is best to have the ability to discover the data you want. And may there be any blind spots within the out-of-the-box options, there are third-party merchandise reminiscent of tyGraph that may allow you to unlock the facility of the information discovered inside your utilization logs!

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