Categories
Governance Identity and Access Organizational Effectiveness

Extend Audit Log Retention From 1 Year to 10

Read Time: 2 minutes

Advanced Audit in Microsoft allows retention of the Unified Audit Log for a period of 10 years.

Audit logs. We need them for investigation and compliance purposes, and we generally need them for a very long time (e.g. 10 years). Up to recently, we did not have much flexibility.

Very recently announced is the Advanced Audit in Microsoft 365 services. There are two key takeaways:

  • Advanced Audit in Microsoft 365 will provide a one-year retention period of audit logs for user and admin activities, with the ability to create custom retention policies for other Microsoft 365 services
  • An additional add-on (at additional cost) will provide the ability to enable a retention period of 10 years.

Required Licensing

Accounts with any of the following licenses can be included in Advanced Audit capabilities:

  • Office 365 E5
  • Microsoft 365 E5
  • Microsoft 365 E5 Compliance
  • Microsoft 365 eDiscovery and Audit

As mentioned above, an additional licence is required to extend and ensure retention of audit logs for 10 years. The additional license is expected to be available early this year (2021).

High-bandwidth API Access

Large organizations may notice an improvement in performance when using the audit log API. Every organization will have allocated bandwidth for accessing their audit log based on the number of seats (licensed users) and number of E5 licenses.

Key Benefits of the Advanced Audit Log

  • A standard retention term of 1 year for all auditable activities
  • The ability to extend retention of audit logs for 10 years without having to manage an additional service or application (e.g. Sentinel or Splunk) strictly for long term storage of all activity logs for compliance/policy purposes
  • Improved bandwidth for accessing the Audit Log via API.

Resources

Thank you for Reading

Questions? Comments? Feel free to reach out.

    Categories
    Governance

    Stay on top of Change in Microsoft 365

    Read Time: 4 minutes

    Change is Constant

    M365 apps and services are constantly being updated with new functionality and changes to our end-user experience. We may not need to worry about system downtime, but we do need to consider how we are going to lead our organization through frequent and impactful change.

    Whether we are change practitioners, M365 service owners, or simply advocates for cultural development within an enterprise, we need to:

    • Understand how changes will impact our organization, people, and their processes
    • Proactively planning to lead through the change rather than follow it
    • Communicate changes effectively to support our clients (e.g. users) and have them understand what is changing, why it is changing, and how they will be affected
    • Have a framework for measuring success based on the impact (e.g was there an increase in support calls due to a significant user experience update).

    Stay Ahead of Changes

    Microsoft provides multiple resources for us stay informed and understand upcoming changes to M365 services. We can access different information sources to collect, organize, and inform our required activities to manage change.

    Imminent Change: The M365 Weekly Digest (more info) provides summarized but critical information related to changes which should be planned for or communicated. This is typically only available to accounts with access to the Office 365 admin centre, but it can always be configured to email other users (or ideally a Microsoft Team for governing M365 without your organization).

    Future Change: The M365 Roadmap (link) provides a regularly updated list of features on the M365 Roadmap by application. Not only can we see what new features or tools which are in development (or rolling out) we can see the frequency of changes which are going to be implemented. For example, at the time of writing this, MS Teams has 22 features rolling out and 143 in development. The M365 Roadmap can also be used as a planning tool to identify and help prioritize (or de-prioritize) requests for custom development (when an out of the box tool may be available soon).

    Long Term Potential Change: Microsoft Office 365 User Voice (link) provides not only an opportunity to give feedback for consideration, but to see what activities have been added to the product backlog or are under consideration. It is not uncommon to have a capability requested by staff be an existing feature request in User Voice.

    Plan for Change

    Most organizations will establish a Microsoft 365 governance committee or steering committee to manage enhancements and updates to existing software or addition of new software and features. There is significant benefit to creating this group prior to M365 being implemented to ensure members are informed and aligned with decisions once operationalized.

    It is important upcoming changes and user impacts be reviewed and discussed with non-IT subject matter experts to ensure a well rounded understanding of the change and how it will affect the organization. Non-IT groups which can assist in planning can include cross-functional representation from teams such as Human Resources, Privacy, Information Management and Legal.

    Governance of M365 applications reaches far beyond technology needs and should have not only alignment, but cross-functional support. Cross-functional support is important not only to provide a unified front and incorporate business needs from different role groups within the organization, but also to incorporate organizational requirements not necessarily within the purview of IT staff. For example, some organizations disable recording of MS Teams meetings either due to internal privacy policies or information management retention requirements.

    Summary

    M365 services are regularly updated and added to. Microsoft provides us the tools to under the changes, but we need to engage our organization’s experts to appreciate their impact and plan accordingly to ensure good adoption of tools with practices aligned to our organizational needs.

    Resources

    Microsoft 365 change guide (Microsoft Docs)

    Becoming a Service Adoption Specialist (Microsoft Course)

    M365 Weekly Digest (Microsoft Docs)

    M365 Roadmap

    Office 365 User Voice

    Thank you for Reading

    Questions? Comments? Feel free to reach out.

      Categories
      Collaboration General Organizational Effectiveness

      Scheduling Meetings Effectively

      Read Time: 3 minutesUsing Technology to facilitate meetings in a geographically dispersed and complex environment solves many challenges.

      Establishing common practices, guidelines, and maintaining an awareness of technological limitations will provide a more productive experience.

      Below are some guidelines with best practices and limitations specifically around:

      1. Scheduling a Single or Series of Meetings (using Microsoft Outlook)
      2. Virtual Meetings (using Microsoft Teams)
      3. Maintaining a Series (recurring) of Meetings (using Microsoft Outlook)
      4. Making Changes to Meetings as an Attendee (using Microsoft Outlook)

      Scheduling a Single or Series of Meetings

      • Provide an agenda and the expected outcome of the meeting: Agendas and expected outcomes will provide participants context to the discussion and enough information to prepare in advance to use the meeting time (their time and your time) productively and effectively
      • Use the Scheduling Assistant to identify an appropriate time and location for the meeting: The scheduling agent will identify availability to ensure desired attendees are able to attend, sending invites and creating conflicts in people’s schedules will result in attendees not being present
      • Schedule recurring meetings with an end date: Distribution lists, attendees, agendas change over time, keeping a maximum length of 6 months minimizes excessive instances of recurring events across all user mailboxes
      • When a series of recurring meetings is over, edit the end don’t, don’t cancel the meeting: Cancelling a meeting series eliminates the historical records of meetings in the calendars of all attendees
      • Send Modern Attachments, not attachments to meetings when you can share via OneDrive for Business, Teams, and SharePoint: Sending attachments means updating invitations and sending multiple copies, it means a static document that is not intended to be updated. Inserting a Link to a meeting invite allows for a single source of truth and won’t require redistribution of content in the event of an update

      Virtual Meetings (using Microsoft Teams)

      • Create MS Teams meetings directly via Outlook or Teams, do not copy and paste meeting links into invitations: Copying and pasting links from different meetings creates uncertainty and security concerns. Meeting titles may be incorrect, attendees will not know who has access to the meeting call or chat

      Maintaining a Series (recurring) of Meetings

      • Do not cancel recurring meetings when no longer necessary, set an end date: Cancelling a reoccurring meeting will remove the meetings from the calendars of all participants and they will no longer be able to review the details. Rather than cancel or delete, the organizer can update the meeting to provide an end date.
      • Do not make changes to the day and time of a recurring meeting, set an end date, and create a new series: Changes will remove historical information from all attendees calendars. Rather than edit a series, the organizer can update the meeting to provide an end date and schedule a new series of meetings if necessary.
      • Always “send updates to all attendees” after changes are made: Ensure all attendees always stay informed on any changes.
      • Use the Outlook application or Web version as often as possible to make changes to meetings: Mobile applications can have undesired effects when makes changes. Calendars for Outlook on IOS and Android should be primarily used for review and information rather than scheduling or changing meetings.

      Making Changes to Meetings as an Attendee

      • Request the meeting organizer add additional attendees: Do not forward meeting invitations to additional participants as updates will not necessarily be provided to the unofficial participants should the organizer make changes.
      • Do not edit a meeting event to include notes: Create a separate meeting in your calendar to ensure your notes are not overwritten or lost.