What Is Office 365 Reporting? A Beginner's Guide to Tools, Best Practices, And More

What Is Office 365 Reporting? A Beginner's Guide to Tools, Best Practices, And More

August 11, 2023

Office 365 Reporting refers to the suite of analytics and auditing tools provided by Microsoft within its Office 365 (now Microsoft 365) platform. These tools generate various reports that provide insights into the usage, performance, and security of the Office 365 services within an organization.

The reports cover a wide range of areas, including user activity, email traffic, security incidents, device management, and more. They are crucial to both enterprise organizations and managed service providers, because they offer guidance on things like:

  • Insight into User Activity: Office 365 reporting provides detailed information about how users are interacting with the various services within the platform. This includes data on which services are being used, how often, and by whom. This information can help enterprises understand how their employees are using Office 365, identify trends, and make data-driven decisions to improve productivity and efficiency.
  • Security and Compliance: Office 365 reporting includes tools for monitoring security incidents and ensuring compliance with various regulations. For example, the reports can show failed login attempts, changes to user permissions, and other potential security threats. This is crucial for enterprises and MSPs to maintain the security of their data and comply with regulations such as GDPR.
  • Performance Monitoring: Office 365 reporting tools can provide data on the performance of various services, such as email delivery times, uptime of services, and more. This can help enterprises and MSPs identify any issues or bottlenecks and take steps to improve the performance of their Office 365 services.
  • License Management: Office 365 reporting can provide insights into how licenses are being used within the organization. This can help enterprises and MSPs ensure they are getting the most value from their Office 365 subscription, identify unused licenses that could be reallocated, and manage costs effectively.
  • Service Adoption: For MSPs, Office 365 reporting can provide valuable insights into how their clients are adopting and using the various Office 365 services. This can help MSPs provide better service to their clients, identify opportunities for upselling or cross-selling, and demonstrate the value of their services.

In this ultimate guide to Office 365 reporting, we dive deep into the various insights that can be gleaned from reporting on Microsoft Office 365, tools that can aid in the process, and best practices for achieving the most accurate results. Let's jump in.

How Office 365 Reports Actually Work

The Unified Audit Log is a feature in Microsoft 365 that records and stores user and system activity across the entire Microsoft 365 environment. This includes activities in services such as SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, OneDrive, Azure AD, Intune, Microsoft Teams, and others. The audit log contains entries for a wide variety of events, such as file modifications, sent and received emails, user sign-ins, changes to user permissions, and many more.

Monitoring the status and availability of the Office 365 portal and subscription is crucial for ensuring that your organization can continue to operate smoothly. By analyzing the data in the audit log, administrators can identify suspicious activity, investigate potential security incidents, and provide evidence for compliance audits.

Microsoft 365 provides a variety of audit reports that are crucial for monitoring and analyzing activity within your organization. These reports provide a more user-friendly way to view and analyze the data, with visualizations, summaries, and other features that make the data easier to understand. Examples include:

  • User Activity Reports: These reports provide information about user activity within various Microsoft 365 services, such as email, SharePoint, and OneDrive. They can show you who is using these services, what they're doing, and when they're doing it. This is important for understanding how your organization's resources are being used, identifying potential misuse, and ensuring productivity.
  • Security & Compliance Reports: These reports help you monitor your organization's compliance with various regulations and standards. They can show you things like how many emails were flagged for potential compliance issues, or how many documents contain sensitive information. This is crucial for maintaining compliance and avoiding penalties.
  • Device Activity Reports: These reports provide information about the devices that are being used to access Microsoft 365 services. This can help you identify potential security risks, such as unauthorized devices or unusual activity. This is important for maintaining the security of your organization's data and systems.
  • Mail Flow Reports: These reports provide information about email activity within your organization, such as the volume of email being sent and received, and any issues with email delivery. This is important for ensuring effective communication within your organization and identifying potential issues like spam or phishing attempts.
  • License and Service Usage Reports: These reports provide information about how your Microsoft 365 licenses are being used and which services are being used the most. This is important for managing costs and ensuring that you're getting the most value from your Microsoft 365 subscription.

Office 365 Reporting Tools to Consider Right Now

There are a number of dedicated built-in and third-party solutions that can help you generate detailed reports to make sense of the data collected and stored in Microsoft 365. These tools can help you gain actionable insights on license management, user management, configuration management, resource management, and more. Here are a few examples:

Microsoft 365 Usage Analytics

Microsoft 365 Usage Analytics provides organizations with valuable data and insights to track adoption, measure engagement, and optimize the usage of Microsoft 365 services. It enables organizations to make data-driven decisions, drive user adoption, and improve productivity within their Microsoft 365 environment.

  • Microsoft 365 Adoption: Provides an overview of the adoption of Microsoft 365 services within your organization, including the number of active users, active devices, and usage of services like Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Microsoft Teams.
  • Product Usage: Offers insights into how users engage with specific Microsoft 365 products, such as email activity, document collaboration, file sharing, and communication through Teams.
  • App Usage: Focuses on the usage of specific apps within the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, providing reports on app adoption, user engagement, and user sentiment.
  • Microsoft 365 Content Engagement: Provides insights into how users engage with content in Microsoft 365, including SharePoint sites, documents, and news articles. Reports on views, likes, comments, and sharing activity help evaluate content impact and identify areas for improvement.
  • Microsoft 365 Collaboration: Focuses on collaboration activities within Microsoft 365, offering reports on shared files, team collaboration, and co-authoring to help understand how teams collaborate and identify opportunities for improving productivity.

Simeon Cloud

Simeon Cloud is a tool that helps organizations manage Microsoft 365 environments. It helps you make sense of the unified audit log that tracks every action taken within the environment, helping organizations maintain security and compliance across the fold.

  1. User Activity Reports: These reports provide insights into the activities performed by each user within the Microsoft Office 365 environment. This could include actions such as file access, document sharing, and collaboration activities.
  2. Administrator Activity Reports: These reports track and document the tasks and activities performed by system administrators within the Microsoft Office 365 environment. This could include activities such as user management, permission changes, and configuration modifications.
  3. Security Reports: These reports highlight potential security flaws and breaches within the Microsoft Office 365 environment. They may provide information on suspicious login attempts, unauthorized access, or data breaches.
  4. Change Management Reports: These reports document all changes made within the Microsoft Office 365 system. They could include details on configuration changes, policy updates, or modifications to user settings.
  5. Compliance Reports: These reports ensure adherence to necessary compliance regulations within the Microsoft Office 365 environment. They may include information on data retention, access controls, and audit trails to demonstrate compliance with industry or regulatory standards.

AdminDroid Office 365 Reporter

AdminDroid is a reporting and analytics solution for Office 365. It provides over 700 pre-configured reports on various aspects of Office 365, including Azure AD, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, Microsoft Teams, and other services.

  • User Activity Reports: These reports provide insights into user activities across various Office 365 services. They can show who has accessed which resources, when, and from where.
  • Security and Compliance Reports: These reports help organizations maintain security and compliance. They can show who has access to sensitive data, track changes to security settings, and more.
  • License Management Reports: These reports help organizations optimize their Office 365 license usage. They can show which licenses are assigned, used, and unused.

ManageEngine M365 Manager Plus

ManageEngine M365 Manager Plus is a comprehensive Office 365 reporting tool that provides detailed insights on your Microsoft 365 setup. It offers reports on Exchange Online, Azure AD, Skype for Business, OneDrive for Business, Yammer, Microsoft Teams, SharePoint Online, and Security and Compliance.

  • Exchange Online Reports: These reports provide insights into your Exchange Online environment, including mail traffic, mailbox usage, security settings, and more.
  • Azure AD Reports: These reports provide visibility into Azure AD users, distribution lists, security groups, and licenses.
  • Skype for Business Reports: These reports provide detailed information about Skype for Business usage, including active users, features used, conferences organized and participated in, and devices used to access Skype for Business.
  • OneDrive for Business Reports: These reports provide a complete audit trail of user activities in OneDrive for Business, including file accesses, modifications, renaming, movement, uploads, downloads, and deletions.
  • Microsoft Teams Reporting: These reports provide detailed information about Microsoft Teams usage, including lists of all teams and channels, member details of each team, user count by device type and activity type, and daily user activities.
  • Security and Compliance Reports: These reports help organizations comply with various industrial mandates such as PCI-DSS, SOX, HIPAA, FISMA, GLBA, and ISO. They also provide insights into the security of Microsoft 365.

Quadrotech Nova by Quest

Quadrotech Nova by Quest is an Office 365 reporting software that delivers insights to monitor security settings, permissions, mail flow, storage optimization, user adoption, license management, and more.

  • Office 365 License Management Reports: These reports detect unused and incorrectly assigned Office 365 licenses, helping to optimize license spend.
  • Mail Traffic Report: Daily dashboards demonstrate if your tenant traffic is healthy by investigating the volume of spam and malware entering and leaving user mailboxes.
  • Inactive Users Reports: These reports help correlate with any 'Out of Office' or other user types, indicating where licenses can be recycled.
  • Administrative Roles: These reports help track who has administrative roles, particularly in large organizations, to avoid the critical issue of privilege creep.
  • Office 365 Security & Alerting: This advanced Office 365 security report also provides alerts for instances of suspicious sign-ins, such as improbable travel, login attempts against sensitive accounts, brute force attempts, password stuffing, and more.

Automate Office 365 Reporting With Simeon Cloud

Simeon Cloud is a comprehensive tool designed to automate Office 365 reporting, providing 360° visibility into your Microsoft 365 environments. It offers a single pane of glass reporting and management dashboard, generating daily documentation that allows you to validate the state of an environment at a glance.

Simeon's detailed reporting and daily alerting system is designed to provide impact across your organization, promoting security, consistency, and traceability. It's a tool that not only provides automated Microsoft Office 365 configurations but also offers features like lifecycle management, multi-tenant management, and automated provisioning.

With Simeon Cloud, you can deploy entire Microsoft 365 environments in a single click, establish and maintain baseline configurations for multiple environments, and even create replica non-production environments to promote changes seamlessly. Want to know more about how Simeon can help you establish better security and compliance standards through detailed reporting and analytics for Office 365? Talk to our sales team for an interactive demo today!