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Office 365 reporting strategies

The work doesn't stop after an Office 365 migration. Continued monitoring and reporting of the environment will ensure a project's success.

An Office 365 migration requires strategic planning.

Admins need to think out the pieces of the migration. This includes Active Directory and domain names, identifying groups and users, and deciding on the best way to move to Office 365. Plus, they'll need to look at the tools to do it.

The final piece of the migration puzzle involves Office 365 reporting and monitoring.

What's the best way to handle Office 365 reporting and monitoring after a migration?

The Microsoft Office 365 admin center offers a number of reporting options that can update local email admins or IT admins. Office 365 reporting typically involves four areas: mailbox activity, protection and security activity, custom rules activity and data loss prevention (DLP).

Mailbox and group reporting offers details about the number of active and inactive mailboxes, new and deleted mailboxes and groups, mailbox usage, and connection types. Protection reporting highlights the number of spam and malware incidents detected in email, identify the top malware encountered, and show the total amount of mail sent or received along with the most active email users (unusually high email volumes or activity with certain users may indicate possible user infection or malicious user activity). Office 365 reporting also shows rule matches, indicating the frequency that email matches the logical conditions email administrators define.

DLP was added to Exchange to improve email content security. Subscribers to Office 365 Enterprise E3 and higher can receive detailed DLP reporting, including top DLP policy matches, DLP policy matches by severity of violation, overrides, false positives and DLP rule matches. Administrators can see how much mail content violates DLP policies and where the violations originated.

Most native reporting is disabled for subscriptions smaller than Office 365 Midsize Business, so small business users will have access to little, if any, substantial reporting. However, organizations can also choose from a wide range of third-party Office 365 reporting tools, including Cogmotive Reports, AvePoint's DocAve Online and 365 Command. Another useful tool is Acceleratio's Governance Toolkit for Office 365.

Additional monitoring tools

Consider looking at ENow's Mailscape 365, Exoprise for Office 365 and GSX Monitor & Analyzer for full cloud deployments. 


Moving from local Exchange to cloud-based email services such as Office 365 can be a challenging. Invest the time and effort to research migration requirements, plan the best course of action and engage in comprehensive proof-of-principle planning to minimize disruptions. It's a tall order, but success starts by asking the right questions.

Next Steps

This is part five of a checklist to help organizations prepare for Office 365 migrations. Part one covers Active Directory and company domains. Part two covers options for establishing user accounts. Part three covers methods for Office 365 migrations. Part four covers migration tool options.

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I am not impressed with Office 365.  If for what ever reason the registered email address for it changes, you have to jump through hoops to get that changed.  I spent an hour and half on the phone with Microsoft over a two day period to get it changed over.Then you have reauthorize it on the local machine.