Microsoft 365 reports: An abundance of information at your fingertips

In any organization, managers, directors, information officers — they all want to see reports, especially on Exchange. They want to know how large mailboxes are and do they need to budget for more space. When you migrate to Microsoft 365, it is no different. There will now be different reports required as data is stored in the cloud, and they want to know what is going on, who has which license, who has access to mailboxes, and how data is shared. Do not despair — Microsoft 365 provides many reports, and this is available in the Microsoft 365 admin center.

While they provide reports for 7, 30, 90, and 180 days, they advise that it takes 48 hours for the report to be available. So, who can view reports out of the box? It is a handful of admins: Global admins and Exchange admins, SharePoint, and Skype for Business admins and Microsoft Teams admins. Reports are based on subscription and to list some of them, here is what you can get from the admin center:

  • Email activity
  • Mailbox usage
  • Office activations
  • Active users
  • OneDrive, SharePoint, Yammer, and Microsoft Teams reports

I have seen some customers ask for reports on when a user logged onto OWA, and these are available to you as well.

You have other reports that you can view if you head over to the Security & Compliance Center. These reports are:

  • Audit log report
  • Azure AD reports
  • Exchange audit reports

The audit logs will be an important one, as these give you information on what your admins are doing in all areas, whether it is Exchange Online or SharePoint or Azure AD as an example. Azure AD reports allow you to view your logins and see sign-in activity in your organization. Exchange audit reports basically provide reports on changes made in the organization (your tenant). Be aware that administrator audit logging is enabled by default.

There are other reports as well, and these are the supervisory review report and the data loss prevention reports. For more information on these, please head over to Microsoft 365 documentation.

If you want to know more about licensing information, you can head over to the licensing page and check their assigned information.

There are those admins who prefer to do things using PowerShell, and you can use PowerShell to create the reports for you. Take note that PowerShell for Microsoft 365 can provide additional information than what you can view in the admin center.

Here are some of the PowerShell reporting options:

  • Reporting on user accounts and licensing
  • SharePoint Online reports
  • Exchange Online reports

As an example, if you want to know which users have been allocated licenses, you can run the following command:

Get-AzureAdUser | ForEach { $licensed=$False ; For ($i=0; $i -le ($_.AssignedLicenses | Measure).Count ; $i++) { If( [string]::IsNullOrEmpty( $_.AssignedLicenses[$i].SkuId ) -ne $True) { $licensed=$true } } ; If( $licensed -eq $true) { Write-Host $_.UserPrincipalName} }

You could schedule the above script to be run monthly and provide the information to your team if they need it. I have provided one example, but you can view more examples on Microsoft 365 documentation. There are many blogs out there where IT pros have written scripts to get reporting information. Sometimes you do not need to provide everything in a report to management. Too much information is also not a good thing.

There are also third-party options available for providing reports in Microsoft 365, one of them being Manage Engine O365 Plus. If you want everything at the click of a button, then this might be the tool for you. Take note it is not cheap, but you do get over 700 reports that provide information on everything in Microsoft 365. They also provide a dashboard, and you can schedule reports instead of running them manually.

Another nice reporting tool available is called Office 365 Reports, and this can be found here. They provide over 950 pre-built reports on pretty much everything in Microsoft 365. They even have Skype information, which will be valuable to customers who have not transitioned to Microsoft Teams. This one is free. I have not tested it out yet, but they seem to provide some nice graphs in the reports from what I can see. It gives you the ability to schedule reports and export them in different formats.

There are many options for getting reports for your Microsoft 365 tenant, as you can see. IT admins who are comfortable using PowerShell will do so. Still, the people who prefer a GUI interface might be looking at the last two options. It also may be what the business wants — maybe they do not want so many reports and are only looking at the sections where the money goes, or compliance is needed because of the data in the cloud.

One last note: You may be wondering what happens when a user’s account is removed (or “closed,” as they refer to it). Microsoft keeps the usage data for 30 days, and after that, you won’t be able to view it for that user.

Featured image: Pixabay

Edward van Biljon

Edward van Biljon is an experienced messaging specialist working in the IT and services industry. He is skilled in WSUS, domain name system, datacenters, printer support, and System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM). He has a background as a strong IT professional and has an international diploma in programming focused on computer programming.

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Edward van Biljon

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