New Geo Aware Alerts for Office 365 Outages Available Now from Office365Mon.Com

Today we launched a new feature that is available to all Office365Mon customers.  We call this feature “Geo Aware Alerts”, and it’s yet another way we help keep you aware of what’s happening in the Office 365 ecosystem.  In this case, it’s rather like crowdsourcing Office 365 outage information.  The way it works is, you can configure your Office365Mon subscription to alert you when other Office365Mon customers within a specific distance from your users start experiencing an outage.  You get to define what that distance is and whether it’s measured in miles or kilometers.  Then, you can go install our Distributed Probes agent in all of the different geographic locations where you have users.  When you install the agent, it captures the physical location where it’s being installed.

Now, whenever another customer’s Distributed Probe agent detects an outage, if that agent is within that specific distance of one or more of your agents, you’ll get notified that an outage has started nearby.  This can be important because Office 365 outages aren’t always the fault of Office 365.  As we monitor Office 365 we see that sometimes they happen when there are regional Azure Active Directory issues, localized network or ISP issues, etc.  Being aware of a local issue can help you keep in front of trouble before it becomes a bigger problem for your users, or worse yet, catches you unaware that there’s any problems going on at all.  As you can see from the picture below, we already have customers with the Distributed Probe agent installed all over the world:

Office365Mon_Probes

That’s all part of our motto at Office365Mon – Stay in the Know, and Stay in Control.  Geo Aware Alerts are another way we help you do just that.  To start using this feature, you can visit our site at https://www.office365mon.com and go to the Configure Office 365 Distributed Probes page at https://www.office365mon.com/Configure/OnPremProbes.  From there you can configure when you want Geo Aware Alerts to fire, as well as download the Distributed Probes agent.  If you’ve already installed the Distributed Probes agent you don’t need to get a new version to take advantage of this feature.  However, you do need to run the Configuration utility for it again in each location where you’ve installed an agent.  You don’t need to change anything – just clicking the Save button will capture your agent’s location information for the Geo Aware Alerts feature.

From Sunny Phoenix,

Steve

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New Office 365 Network Performance Analytics from Office365Mon

One of the most commonly requested features we’ve had from our customers at Office365Mon has been something to help them better understand network performance with their Office 365 tenants.  Today we’re happy to announce that we have released a set of services, tools and reports to do just that.  You can breakdown the performance of your Office 365 tenant between what’s happening in the tenant itself versus the network transport of your requests.  You can compare what the network performance is like to your Office 365 tenant from the different geographies where you have users.  You can also set notification thresholds, so you can be alerted when network performance at any location becomes unsatisfactory.

We rolled out the first part of this suite of services in June, with support for monitoring tenant Health Scores and farm processing times for SharePoint Online and One Drive for Business.  We’ve extended that model now to include the following:

  • Set notification thresholds for network performance times from cloud-based probes
  • Set notification thresholds for network performance times from every geographic location where you install our Distributed Probes and Diagnostics agent
  • Capture network performance metrics for all cloud-based as well as Distributed Probes and Diagnostics agents
  • Monitor One Drive for Business – as well as SharePoint Online and Exchange Online – with the new version of our Distributed Probes and Diagnostics agent

With these new features turned on, we’ll monitor and capture tenant- and network-specific performance metrics with each health probe we issue for SharePoint Online and One Drive for Business.  This, coupled with our other performance and availability data, gives you a very clear picture of when and where problems or potential problems may be happening throughout your organization.  That helps you understand where bottlenecks are happening as they occur and gives you the insight needed to focus your resources where they can best be utilized.

Here’s a real-world example that occurred during an early release of these services.  Notifications were sent out for a tenant from multiple Distributed Probe agents in different geographies because the roundtrip time for the health probe exceeded the limits that had been set.  However, the network performance alerts did not fire, which meant that network transportation time was within limits even though the overall roundtrip time was not.  Looking at the reports in our Advanced Report gallery, you could also see that during this same time the tenant processing times had spiked.  In addition to that, the Health Scores of the tenants also were spiking (the higher the Health Score, the less healthy the tenant is considered to be, ironically).  By looking at these data points we could tell that in this instance the performance issue was all as a result of a bottleneck in the Office 365 tenant itself, not in the network.  That meant that there was no need for us to spend resources trying to evaluate our network, run diagnostics there, try to identify bottlenecks in it, etc. – in short, saving us a whole bunch of time and money.

In addition to the notification aspect, once these tools are up and running for your Office365Mon subscription, there are a number of interesting reports to look at.  One of the really interesting ones compares the network performance at different geographies, at different times of day:

np1

Here we can see the network performance from each of these locations, in 15-minute increments of the day.  The report is based on a 30-day rolling set of data, so you can see at a larger view how each location is doing relative to one another.  Also, you can also spot at a glance if you commonly have certain times of days, even if it only happens in certain locations, where your network performance is problematic.

Another similar slice of this data is to view it by day of the week:

np2

Again, many customers complain that on certain days of the week performance is worse than others.  These reports give you an ability to identify just such situations, also on a geo-by-geo basis.

Breaking down tenant processing times versus network transportation times is also done quite easily with other new reports we’ve released.  For example, here is one of the reports mentioned above, that lets you get the tenant processing times as well as Health Scores, broken down by SharePoint Online versus One Drive for Business.  This is also an important difference to highlight because we have seen performance differences between the two services:

np3

If you’re concerned about performance differences between SharePoint Online and One Drive for Business, we can also break that down further yet and show you what the performance is like for each, broken down by each geography where you have installed the Distributed Probes and Diagnostics agent:

np4

Finally, you can also get a comparison of the amount of time requests are spending on tenant processing, versus network transportation – and, you can get that also broken down by each geography where health probes are being issued:

np5

One of the other incredibly useful things about all of our charts, is that you can simply click on items in the legend to remove them, or add them back in, to any chart.  So if you want to do some drill down and compare 2 or 3 or however many different geos to each other you can do that.  Or compare a particular service across locations.  The ways in which you can slice, dice and analyze this data is extensive and incredibly useful as you analyze and work to maximize your connectivity with Office 365.

 

It’s Turned On – Go Use It!

The core health score, tenant performance, and network performance for our cloud-based probes are turned on for everyone, so go use them!  Notification thresholds for performance issues with tenant or network performance can be managed by going to the Configure Office365Mon page on our site at https://www.office365mon.com.  The new network performance and One Drive for Business monitoring features of the Distributed Probes and Diagnostics agent is also available immediately for all customers that are licensed to use this feature.  It does require you to download the latest version of our agent from the Configure Distributed Probes page on our site.  If you already have an agent installed, you’ll need to uninstall it and then install the latest version.

 

Stay in the Know, Stay in Control

These services, tools, and reports all fit in perfectly with our mantra of Stay in the Know, Stay in Control.  You’ll have amazing insights into the breakdown of performance across geographies with your Office 365 tenant, ensuring that you can deliver top quality service to your users.  I hope you’ll try it out and, as always, send any feedback or other ideas to us.  We love to hear them and incorporate as many of them as possible into our service.

From Sunny Phoenix,

 

Steve

Office365Mon Launches New Features for Storing Office 365 Logs and Monitoring Health Scores and Request Times

Today we are announcing the Preview availability of two new features at Office365Mon, both targeted at SharePoint Online (SPO) and One Drive for Business (ODB) in Office 365.  The first is our enterprise Log Shipping feature, which creates a copy of the log files of all your activity in SPO and ODB and will store up to 12 months’ worth of these logs for you, as well as provide some basic reporting on them.  The second is our Health Score feature, which provides Office 365 monitoring of health scores for your specific SPO and ODB tenant, as well as the processing time – just within your tenant – of each monitored probe we send.  This gives you a bird’s eye view of the performance in your tenant, without the extra baggage of networks, Internet congestion, ISP issues, etc.

 

Log Shipping

The Log Shipping feature is used in conjunction with our Threat Intelligence Monitoring feature.  As part of that, we capture all of the log entries that Microsoft generates for the activity on your SPO and ODB tenants.  You can then store these log files for up to 12 months and have that data available for download to deal with any kind of compliance, auditing, or other evidentiary needs of your tenant’s activity.  Once it’s turned on, we also provide some basic analytic reports of the data they contain.  That includes things like the top 10 most active sites, top 10 operations (like file download, upload, search, etc.), most active users, the browsers that are being used, and an operation trends report.  The trends report shows you which operations are being performed month over month so you can see which activities are trending up and down, as shown here:

logship

The Log Shipping feature has gone through two beta cycles at Office365Mon and is now ready for general consumption as a Preview feature.   During the beta we had the opportunity to validate the solution against a wide variety of tenants and organizations, from relatively small to extremely large.  We’ve captured logs up to several gigabytes in size and have successfully stored and downloaded all of them, so it can easily scale to meet the needs of any size organization.  The Log Shipping feature will be included with our Enterprise Platinum with Threat Intelligence Monitoring license.

 

Monitoring Health Scores

For those of you familiar with SharePoint on premises, you may be familiar with SharePoint health scores and request durations.  These are values that SharePoint embeds in each request you make that gives you metrics on the performance health of your farm.  SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business in Office 365 contain these same metrics, and we are now capturing that performance data for ALL Office365Mon subscriptions.  The health score is a value between 0 and 10 that represents the overall health of your tenant, where 0 is the healthiest, and 10 is the worst.  For example, if the farm is under duress from load or some other performance problem, then the health score will steadily increase.  The request duration tells you how long the farm itself took to process your request.  That allows you to eliminate all of the other transportation-related overhead when looking at the performance of your tenant.  With that out of the way, you can view the performance of your tenant in processing the Office 365 monitoring probes we issue and understand when there are issues, if there are certain times of day when performance declines, or even certain days of the week.  We provide reporting data on these metrics for the current day, day over day for each month, and month over month.  Here’s an example of a current snapshot of this performance data from our tenant:

healthscores

In addition, you can also set up notifications when the health score or request duration for your tenant exceeds a particular value.  It’s now part of where you configure your Office365Mon subscription, as shown here:

healthscoreconfig

This feature is also in preview, and as mentioned above, is included with ALL of our Office365Mon licenses.

 

Try It Today!

These features are available for you to try today.  Health Score monitoring is automatically turned on for all new and current Office365Mon customers.  Log Shipping is available for current customers with the Enterprise Platinum with Threat Intelligence Monitoring license, and is also included with our 90-day trial subscription for new customers.  To get a trial license simply visit us at https://office365mon.com and click the big Start Now button on the home page.

We hope you’ll take these features for a spin and let us know what you think.  Both of these features are another example of feedback we’ve taken directly from you, our customers, and incorporated into the product.  Please keep it coming, we love to deliver on your Office 365 monitoring needs.

From Sunny Phoenix,

 

Steve

 

 

Expanding Coverage for Malware Monitoring to SharePoint Online and OneDrive from Office365Mon.Com

Today we released the next phase of our Threat Intelligence monitoring features at Office365Mon.Com.  Office 365 monitoring has been a staple of ours at Office365Mon.Com for a number of years now, and recently we’ve expanded it to take advantage of the new Threat Intelligence capabilities provided to Office 365 E5 license holders.  Our initial offering included support for threats that were delivered via email to Office 365 customers.

As explained in our initial blog post here: https://samlman.wordpress.com/2017/12/04/stay-informed-with-new-malware-monitoring-from-office365mon-com/, the Threat Intelligence monitoring we’ve launched already allows you to do things like get notified the first time a new malware is sent to your organization, when you get more than a certain number of malware within a given time period, and when any user gets more than a certain number of malware in any given day.  All of that monitoring and alerting has been based on malware that arrives via email.  Today, we’re adding support for monitoring malware threats in SharePoint and OneDrive for Business.  By adding these additional services, you can be assured that when your monitoring Office 365, you’ll also be kept aware of when and where malware shows up in virtually all of the primary repositories in your Office 365 tenant.

In addition to the notification options described above, we’ve added a new one one that’s designed specifically for SharePoint and OneDrive for Business – alerting you when any individual user uploads and/or shares an excessive number of malware infected files in any given day.  You decide what an “excessive” number is, and we do the rest.  As always, configuration is incredibly simple for these features, as shown here:

spmalmon1

Every time any user uploads an excessive number of items, you’ll be given a notification along with details around who is responsible.  That allows you to take quick action in case one of your users’ devices has been compromised or they are otherwise unaware that they have pushed malware infected items into your Office 365 tenant.  You’ll get the information you need to focus your efforts on the individuals who are having the most difficulties so you can lock things down and disinfect their devices.

We’ve also rolled this data into several of our existing Threat Intelligence monitoring reports, as well as adding some new ones too.  Here’s a look at all of the Threat Intelligence related reports in our Advanced Report gallery; the one’s highlighted in green are existing reports that now contain additional data from SharePoint and OneDrive; the one highlighted in purple contains a set of new reports just for malware found in SharePoint and OneDrive.

spmalmon2

When you view the Other SharePoint Threats report, there are actually a number of different ways to view data points about the malware that’s made it into your tenant:

  • By author, or the person that uploaded the infected item
  • By site, so you know which sites are most problematic for having infected materials sent to them
  • By malware family, so you can see which types of malware are making their way into SharePoint and OneDrive for Business most frequently
  • By file type, so you can see which types of files are getting infected most frequently and then subsequently working their way into your tenant

You’re really getting a comprehensive view of your tenant when monitoring Office 365 with Office365Mon.Com.  The new release today further broadens the multitude of ways in which we keep you in the know and in control of your Office 365 tenant.

You can try out our new and improved Threat Intelligence monitoring features by visiting us at https://www.office365mon.com.  If don’t have an Office365Mon subscription yet, you can create one for free for 90 days with all of these features turned on.  We never ask for any payment information up front, so you can just click on the big Start Now link on the home page and get started.  If you’re an existing Office365Mon customer, just go to the Configure Threat Intelligence Monitoring page for your subscription at https://www.office365mon.com/Configure/Threats.

As always, if you have any questions or feedback on this or any other features, please reach out to our support team at support@office365mon.com.

From Sunny Phoenix,

 

Steve

 

Stay Informed with New Malware Monitoring from Office365Mon.Com

It seems like organizations of all types and sizes are under digital attack these days.  Using email to transmit malware and then compromise an organization is a common way in which these kinds of attacks strike.  Today Office365Mon is launching a new service to help keep you in the know of when and where these attacks are directed at your organization.  In conjunction with the Threat Intelligence features of Office 365, we have a new feature we call Threat Intelligence Monitoring.

The Threat Intelligence features in Office 365 are included for those users that have an E5 license.  The Office 365 E5 license includes numerous additional features beyond the basic email and SharePoint, and Threat Intelligence is one of them.  The Threat Intelligence feature in Office 365 is a collection of insights used in analyzing your tenant to help you find and eliminate threats, proactively.  The Threat Intelligence Monitoring feature in Office365Mon builds on that in some important ways.  For example, you can:

  • Get notified the first time a new malware is sent to your organization. Know when a new type of malware has been targeted at your company so you can make sure you have the tools and plans in place to defend yourself.
  • Get notified when you get more than a certain number of malware within a given time period. Set thresholds for malware volume so you know if you are being targeted for broader malware attacks.
  • Get notified when any user gets more than a certain number of malware in any given day. Be in the know and in control if any of your users are being singled out and specifically targeted with malware attacks so you quarantine and limit the potential damage.

Configuring these options, like all features in Office365Mon, is super simple.  A few mouse clicks and you are ready to go:

ticonfig

Once configured, you’ll have all of the standard Office365Mon notification options to keep you in the know when there’s a problem:  email messages, text messages, and our webhook feature.  In addition to the notifications, there are a number of interesting reports that we provide with Threat Intelligence Monitoring to help you analyze the nature of these attacks against your organization.

For example, here you can get the trend of malwares entering your organization during the current month:

CurrentTrends

In addition to the trend for the current month, there’s a similar chart that shows you a rolling two-month period so you can see what’s being targeted at you over a longer period of time.

You can also get an overview of the top 10 targeted users within your organization, so you can ensure that they are following security best practices:

TargetedUsers

There’s other reports that show you both for the current month as well as historically, data for different ways in which malware has been targeted at your organization.  For example, here’s one that shows the different malware file names that were sent into your organization:

MonthlyCount2

In addition to this, you can view this kind of summary data based on who sent malware infected messages, summaries of the Senders’ IP address, summaries based on the email Subject so you can look for patterns there, summaries on file type and file name as shown above, and also information on when the malware was detected.

We’re also taking this information and have added it into our Microsoft Cloud Command Center.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, the Cloud Command Center brings together information that previously existed as islands of data and loaded up all of the key metrics that you need about everything that’s going on with your Microsoft cloud services.  We’ve plugged in the malware trend report and user targeting report into the Cloud Command Center for a really great overview of the health of your organization and its cloud services:

ticloudcommand

We think features like Threat Intelligence Monitoring really expand and strengthen the base of important information you need to be in the know and in control of your organization and its cloud software services.  It all starts in Office 365, so you can help yourself get connected with this information by incorporating the E5 license in your organization.

The Threat Intelligence Monitoring service in Office365Mon is available in Preview today for everyone.  As with all new Office365Mon features, all existing customers have had this feature turned on for the next 90 days to try it out.  All new Office365Mon customers will also have this feature enabled for 90 days so they can see it working in their environment.  As always, we would still love to get feedback on how we can improve it and make it more useful to you, so please feel free to send it our way.  Licensing and pricing is not yet available for the Threat Intelligence Monitoring service; that will be set in Q1 of 2018.

We really have a wide and expansive set of tools to help you with your Microsoft cloud services now.  For monitoring Office 365 performance and availability, go to https://office365mon.com.  For monitoring Azure performance and availability, go to https://azureservicemon.com.  To monitor malware attacks using Threat Intelligence, go Office365Mon.Com and create your Office365Mon subscription, then you can configure Threat Intelligence monitoring at https://www.office365mon.com/Configure/Threats.

Thanks, and I hope everyone has a great holiday season!

From Sunny Phoenix,

Steve

Office365Mon Now Offers Monitoring Out of Regional Data Centers Starting with Germany

Office365Mon

Be in the know. Be in control

Office365Mon is now available to be run out of regional Azure data centers around the globe.  In addition to the US data centers, Office365Mon is available today via Germany data centers.

 logo

At Office365Mon.Com we’ve heard from customers of our Office 365 monitoring service that had certain data sovereignty restrictions placed upon them.  This means that in some areas, there are government regulations that require data for a company in that region, to be stored in that region.

In addition to that, today Office365Mon issues its health probes out of a US-based data center.  Customers can always (and in fact are encouraged) to augment that with our Distributed Probes and Diagnostics feature, which lets you issue probes from any location where you have users.  However, some folks were hoping to have our cloud-based probes issued from a data center closer to where their users live.

Today we’re happy to announce an option that solves both problems – you can now create Office365Mon subscriptions in regional data centers.  Our first data center is available now, and is located in Germany.  This means not only is your subscription created in Germany, and your health probes are issued out of Germany, but also all of the data we capture is also stored in that same German data center.  That allows you to meet data sovereignty requirements in that region, as well as potentially getting cloud-based probes closer to your users.

One of the first things to call out is that all of the features you get from our US-based service, you will also find in our German-based service.  So no matter where you go, you will find feature parity.  If you have users spread across the globe and want to create Office365Mon subscriptions in different geographies, that’s okay too.  One of the cool things we do is pull together data from all of your subscriptions in every data center when we show you our Power BI reports.  For example, here’s a screenshot the Outages report with data from every subscription in every region for our tenant:

powerbiall

Of course, one of the cool things about Power BI is that you also have a slew of filtering and report building features available to you.  Here’s a screenshot of that same report, only this time it’s filtered to show only data from the Office365Mon subscription that we have in Germany:

powerbifiltered

The net of this is that if you know Office365Mon today, it will look, work, and act exactly the same no matter what data center your subscription is located.

The next question we expect to get of course is – that’s great, but what if I want Office365Mon in a different geography?  The answer is…that’s great!  Email us and let us know what you are interested in, and we can provide you with an idea of when it can be done.  As long as the different regions have parity in the Azure features that Office365Mon requires, it should be possible to deploy Office365Mon to virtually any regional Azure data center.

There’s only one real difference with using Office365Mon in a regional data center – you have to work with our support team to enable you to get going.  If you contact us at support@office365mon.com, we will give you all of the details about the on-boarding process, pricing, etc.

We know that this has been in important issue for many of our European friends and customers, so I hope you’ll take a few minutes to take a look at our PDF from our US site or our German site.  Of course, you can also visit our US site directly at https://office365mon.com, or our new German site at https://office365mon.de.

Thanks as always for your great suggestions and ideas!
From Sunny Phoenix,

Steve

Now You Can Monitor OneDrive and Power BI with Office365Mon

Today we’ve released two new features that customers have been asking us about – monitoring for OneDrive for Business and Power BI.  These are just the latest set of services in an ever increasing stable of monitored features and services from Office365Mon.  Let’s take a quick look at each.

OneDrive for Business

Office365Mon has actually been able to monitor OneDrive for Business since our first release over two years ago.  However, many customers weren’t really aware of that and didn’t realize that when you configure monitoring for SharePoint Online, you could just tell it to go monitor a OneDrive site.  What we’ve done is to break OneDrive out as a separate monitored item on your Office365Mon subscription.  This gets you a couple of things – first, now you can monitor both a SharePoint Online site and a OneDrive site with the same subscription.  Second, it also allows us to give you a more granular breakdown of both performance and availability with your SharePoint Online tenant.  For example, here’s a report with the average performance across all Office365Mon customers for the primary Office 365 Services:

overallservice

As you can see with the yellow bar, now you can see what performance is like just on OneDrive sites vs. SharePoint Online sites from all of our customers.  Of course, you’ll also be able to see what performance is like just for your tenant in OneDrive.  We think breaking OneDrive out in this way will give you an even deeper view into the health and performance of your tenant, which is a great thing.

Power BI in Office 365

The second feature we added is brand new, and something that we’ve heard customers ask us about for a while now.  Power BI is increasingly becoming a critical part of the toolset that customers are using, so of course it’s important to know how well it’s performing and when it goes down.  Our new monitoring for Power BI does all of that, just as you’ve come to expect from Office365Mon.  The configuration of Power BI monitoring is drop dead simple, which is also something you’ve come to expect from us.  You literally click a single button – that’s it – as shown in this screenshot below:

powerbiconfig

Once you’ve enabled it, health probes begin a minute or two later; can’t get much easier than that!  Once we start collecting the data, details on performance and availability of Power BI show up in all of the same reports that you’ve already been using.  For example, here’s a screenshot of the recent health probes report, showing you the performance of your monitored resources:

perfmonchart

As you can see, you get the performance of your individual resources that are being monitored – including both Power BI and OneDrive – and that is overlaid on top of a bar chart with the overall numbers from all Office365Mon customers with the average performance for Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive and Power BI.  Our goal is always to show you as much relevant data as possible and then give you the opportunity to drill down and filter as best suits your requirements.  Also, like all of our reports, you can add this to your own corporate intranet for anyone you want to be able to see, by using our Dashboard Reports feature.  Meanwhile, should Power BI go down, you can also take comfort in the fact that you’ll get all of the same notifications from us as you do today for all of your other monitored services.  Power BI is just another one of “the team” now, and is monitored just like all of the other features and services we’re keeping an eye on for you.

 

Try it Out

Both the OneDrive and Power BI monitoring features are available for you to try out now.  All existing Office365Mon customers as well as all new customers will have access to these features for 90 days.  New customers can go create an Office365Mon subscription at https://www.office365mon.com.  No payment information is required up front, and if you choose not to use it there’s nothing you need to do – after 90 days we just stop monitoring stuff for you.

For all Office365Mon paid subscriptions, we will continue to monitor OneDrive for you.  Power BI monitoring requires the Enterprise Platinum license.  If you have that, monitoring Power BI will continue for you; if you don’t have that license, you can upgrade to it at any time by going to our Payments page at https://www.office365mon.com/Products/Payments.

 

Thanks Again

As always, thanks again for the many terrific suggestions you all have provided.  We’re always looking for ways in which we can do a better job meeting your needs, and the best way to do that is for you to let us know what’s important to you.  Office365Mon really has a wide range of monitoring features now, so I hope if you haven’t tried it yet, or maybe if it’s been a while since you’ve looked at it, you’ll come by and take it out for a spin for 90 days.  We think you’ll find that it’s well worth the 2 minutes of your time to get things set up and going.

 

From Sunny Phoenix,

Steve