There are a few different reporting options available for Office 365 administrators:
- Built in reports accessed from the Office 365 Admin Center
- A downloadable spreadsheet from Microsoft that lets you see and query stats on Mail Protection (think spam and antivirus)
- API’s for using REST Reporting services
- 3rd party subscription services that connect into your office 365 tenant such as Cogmotive or 365 Command.
- PowerShell scripts
Built in reports:
The built in reports are good for a high-level overview and are presented in graph or table views, but really don’t provide details. For example, the chart below shows active and inactive mailboxes, but doesn’t list the names of the mailboxes. It also doesn’t take into account “room” or “shared” mailboxes that don’t take up a license which are not logged into like “user” mailboxes, making this a fairly useless piece of information:
Mail Protection spreadsheet:
The Mail Protection spreadsheet is very useful for tracking Spam and Virus traffic, and provides an easy way to query good mail, spam, malware and activity flowing through rules you have setup.
The API’s for the REST reporting services are useful to larger organizations and developers who have programming experience using Visual Studio 2012. The API’s essentially allow you to create your own web based reports.
3rd party services:
The 3rd party subscription services are great for any organization that doesn’t have programmers on staff or doesn’t want to pay a programmer to create custom web reports. These reports generally satisfy the majority of needs and are presented in nice web based charts and graphs with the ability to export to PDF or CSV, and set the reports to be delivered via email on a schedule. The downside to these would be cost and customizability. Pricing for 500 mailboxes runs anywhere from $40 to $110 per month. Also, if you are looking for very specific customized reports, hiring a programmer might be a better option.
Scripting is something that most system administrators should have some experience with. There are plenty of Cmdlets and examples to be found on the Web. Microsoft provides all the Exchange Online Cmdlets on TechNet, and a plethora of example scripts that can either be used as-is or modified for you needs.
In future blog posts I will share some of the scripts that I have setup for clients and explain how to modify them to suit particular needs.