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

Advertisements

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

 

 

Monitoring Geographically Distributed Office 365 Tenants at Office365Mon.Com

One of the questions we see from time to time is around where and how we monitor Office 365, and what all gets monitored.  In a nutshell, what we deliver out of the box is monitoring from a set of Azure cloud services, that will then go and do performance and availability monitoring of your Office 365 tenant, where ever those resources may be.

In terms of what gets monitored, that really boils down to “how many” of a particular resource type are we going to watch for you.  Some people have misconceptions around that, thinking that they may want to monitor every single SharePoint site, or every single mailbox, in an entire organization.  While some companies may have used solutions like that when all of their services were on premises, that is a model that doesn’t really make sense when the data is hosted in the cloud.  The reasons why, and the way we DO look at ensuring coverage for a tenant, dovetails nicely into a broader conversation about “how do we do that” when you have parts of your tenant distributed geographically.

To begin with, let’s talk a little bit about why you really don’t need, want, or even should try monitoring every single resource in your tenant.  Here are a few of the most obvious reasons:

  • Security – in order to monitor a resource, you need to have access to the resource. Opening up your tenant and granting access to your entire corporate email and document repository set to a monitoring service (or any application for that matter) is about as bad an idea as you’ll come by.  This is how data gets leaked people.
  • Signal overload – over time, you’ll see many short, transient errors with your cloud resources. It doesn’t mean the service or even your tenant is going down; it’s just the nature of life on the Internet.  If you try and wade through tens, hundreds or thousands of these signals a day, you’ll be worn out probably before your first coffee break.  You need to be able to establish an appropriate cross section of your service offering to sample, not gorge yourself on data.
  • Necessity – frankly, it just isn’t necessary. What I’ve seen from my many years working at Microsoft, and then subsequently at Office365Mon, is that you will get an excellent view of the health of your tenant by monitoring one to a few resources based on data center.  For example, in most cases (but not all), if one SharePoint site is up, they are ALL up.  It’s incredibly rare to have only one or two site collections within a tenant down and all the others up, or vice versa.  With Exchange it’s a lot of the same thing – while it’s more likely there that you may randomly have issues with one or two mailboxes now and again, in most cases when one mailbox is up within a data center, they’re all up; when one is down, they’re all down.  Again, this is not true in all cases (and Exchange itself has some other factors based on its architecture that can contribute to more of these outages than SharePoint), but it’s a good general rule to follow.

So how does that pertain to monitoring geographically distributed Office 365 resources?  Like this – today, Exchange can have mailboxes for a single tenant split between different data centers.  In the future, SharePoint Online will support having different segments of its service split across multiple data centers.  For more details on what’s happening with SharePoint Online in this respect, see this TechNet article:  Multi-Geo Capabilities in OneDrive and SharePoint Online in Office 365.   At Office365Mon, we tackle this in a couple of different ways:

  1. Cloud probes – when your data is split across multiple data centers, create multiple Office365Mon subscriptions. With each subscription we can target a different resource or resources in the different geographic locations where you have resources.  All of our licenses at Office365Mon support having multiple subscriptions; for more details see our Pricing page.  By pulling a representative resource or two from each different data center and configuring Office365Mon subscriptions to monitor them, we can track all of your data centers with our cloud-based probes.
  2. Distributed Probes – we also have a feature that you can download and install locally called Distributed Probes and Diagnostics. This can be installed on as many different devices in as many different locations as you want.  So you can install the agent on different physical or virtual machines that are in or near the same regions where your Office 365 resources are at.  Each of these devices issues health probes from the location at which it’s installed, and then it “reports back” with both performance and availability data so you can keep track of what’s happening with your Office 365 tenant worldwide.

When you start breaking down your monitoring plan by mapping it to the geographic regions in which you have data, and then matching that to Office365Mon subscriptions and Distributed Probes, you can pretty easily and pretty quickly develop and deploy your Office 365 monitoring in a way that will keep you in the know and in the control, no matter how big your organization is.  As always, the first step is to create your Office365Mon subscription, which you can do at https://www.office365mon.com.  The first 90 days is free and you don’t need to provide any payment information up front.  You can continue to add additional subscriptions during your trial period and map out a workable, sensible monitoring strategy.

As always, we love to hear feedback so if you have questions feel free to shoot them to our support staff at support@office365mon.com.

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

Azure Performance and Availability Monitoring Released at AzureServiceMon.Com

After a great beta test period, we are happy to announce the general availability of AzureServiceMon.  AzureServiceMon provides performance and availability monitoring for your Microsoft Azure cloud resources.  It’s built on the same proven enterprise class architecture of Office365Mon.Com to provide you the most secure and scalable monitoring solution around.

We’ve also tried to stay true to the design and user experience principals that have made Office365Mon so successful, which is to make everything super simple and very quick to get up and going.  After you create your AzureServiceMon subscription, you tell us where you want notifications to go, grant us permission to monitor your Azure resources, and that’s pretty much it.  We take it from there and do an immediate inventory of all of your Azure resources.  Then you can simply check boxes next to the types of Azure resources you want us to monitor, as you see here:

azmonrelease1

After that, we continue to regularly inventory your set of Azure resources.  That – again – makes it super simple for you, because as you add and/or remove web sites, databases, virtual machines, etc., you never need to come back and configure monitoring for it.  We automatically pick up on those changes and will take care of it for you.

After you’ve set up the types of resources you want us to monitor for outages, you can configure how you want the performance monitored.  Doing that is also designed to be quite simple, so you merely tell us what thresholds to look for when monitoring different metrics of your Azure resources.  Here’s a sample screenshot:

azmonrelease2

As you can see, all you need to do is check the box to monitor the metrics for a particular type of resource, and then set thresholds at which you want to get alerted.  For example, in the screenshot above it is configured so that if the average response time of pages in my web sites exceeds 22 seconds, I will get alerted.  There are different metrics that can be measured for each type of Azure resource, so you just click on the section title – like “SQL Database Metrics” – to expand it, then set up your monitoring thresholds.  Again – we do the rest.  When you add or remove Azure resources, we keep track of that and will monitor the performance on all of them.

All of this availability and performance data rolls up into our report gallery, which features over a dozen reports, pivot tables and pivot charts.  Here’s a snapshot of our gallery:

azmonrelease3

In addition to that, when you are also monitoring Office 365 with Office365Mon, you can use our new Cloud Command Center view to get the latest outage and performance information across all of your Microsoft cloud services, as shown here:

azmonrelease4

You can see your latest Office 365 outages, latest Azure outages, latest Office 365 performance metrics, current Office 365 availability, current Azure resource availability, and latest Azure metric alerts.  It’s all wrapped up in one simple view.

If all of these reports aren’t enough, we’re also working now on a new Power BI dashboard to display all of your Azure performance and availability monitoring data.  Expect that within the next couple of months.

We hope you’ll take a couple of minutes to try out AzureServiceMon and see how it can give you tremendous insights into your Azure subscription.  Combine it with Office 365 monitoring from Office365Mon and you have a true end to end pulse on the health of all of your Microsoft cloud services.  You can get started today by visiting https://azureservicemon.com and clicking the big Start Now link on the home page.  That will start a trial subscription that you can use for 45 days and try every part of the AzureServiceMon service.  We never take any payment information up front, so you can simply try it out.  If you like it, you can convert it to a paid subscription; if you don’t, there’s nothing else you need to do – we’ll just stop monitoring your Azure subscription for you.

As always, thanks for the many great ideas and suggestions you all have provided to us to help build a really comprehensive set of monitoring services.  I hope you’ll keep them coming, because we read each and every one of them and incorporate many of these wishes into our services.

From Sunny Phoenix,

Steve

New Comprehensive Health Snapshot of All Your Microsoft Cloud Services from Office365Mon

When we started our new Azure monitoring services at AzureServiceMon.Com, one of our goals was to be able to provide a more comprehensive view of all the Microsoft cloud services you are using.  At Office365Mon.Com we already monitor a wide range of Office 365 services, such as SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, One Drive for Business, Power BI, and Skype for Business.  The number of services we monitor there has grown steadily over the last couple of years and will continue to do so.

Spinning up a new service to monitor Azure though gave us an opportunity to give much broader coverage across the Microsoft service line, because many customers that use Office 365 also use Azure.  We went through the first iteration of the service features and brought on availability monitoring for Azure services this summer.  Based on feedback from that, we added a pretty extensive second set of features around monitoring the performance of services in Azure, down to the level of things like disk IO, CPU consumption, memory consumption, network IO, etc.

Up to this point, these two monitoring services served as “islands of data” with information on your different Microsoft cloud services.  Today, we are bringing those together in a new comprehensive view we call the Microsoft Cloud Command Center.  This feature is currently available in Office365Mon.Com, and will soon also be available in AzureServiceMon.Com.  To start with, here’s what the Command Center looks like:

ccc

As you can see, what we’ve done is brought together information from these two services and loaded up all of the key metrics that you need about everything that’s going on with your Microsoft cloud services.  We start with outages, because customers generally care about that most.  You can quickly see when your last few outages for both Office 365 and Azure were, and for what resources.

As you keep going down you can see what the most recent – like last 90 minutes or so – performance has been like in your specific tenant in Office 365.  Next to that we show you what the latest availability is for all of the Office 365 resources that we’re monitoring for you. This is near real-time data of your live tenant based on our own health probes that fire off every minute or two.

Down below that you can see the latest availability status of all of your Azure resources that we’re monitoring.  You can drill into each of the different resource types you see there – such as web sites, SQL databases, etc. – and find out the status of each one.  Finally, next to it you can see the latest set of metric alerts that were triggered.  Metric alerts are a feature of AzureServiceMon that lets you set performance thresholds for metrics, and when they go outside those boundaries you are notified and we track it for you.

The new Cloud Command Center provides a true all-up, single pane of glass view of the health of all of your Microsoft cloud services.  We have other features on the roadmap for Office365Mon and AzureServiceMon, and as we bring them online we’ll continue to expand the Cloud Command Center as appropriate.

We think you’ll find this single snapshot view of your cloud services very valuable.  You can start with it today by visiting Office365Mon at https://www.office365mon.com/Features/CloudCommand.  If you haven’t created an Office365Mon subscription yet, then just go to our home page at https://www.office365mon.com and click the big Start Now link.  If you haven’t created an AzureServiceMon subscription yet, then try it out now by visiting the site at https://azureservicemon.com and clicking the Start Now link on the home page there.

Bringing this wide range of critical operational data into easy to use views is one of the things we do best at Office365Mon and AzureServiceMon.  As we say, you need to stay in the know to be in control, and the new Cloud Command Center will help you do just that.

From Sunny Phoenix,

Steve