Managing a self-service environment can be complicated and time consuming. Discover the ShareGate features that can help you optimize your Microsoft 365 environment.
For the past several years, Microsoft has been encouraging their customers to enable self-service. So much so that it’s now enabled by default. There are lots of great reasons why: self-service offers end users more freedom, which often leads to an increase in productivity. It can also help save IT teams time by not having to answer a mountain of end-user tickets that could easily be performed by end users.
Of course, self-service has some shortcomings as well. This is the fourth blog in our series on Microsoft 365 self-service best practices. For a complete overview of self-service’s benefits and risks, best practices, and management methods, check out the first three blogs in the series:
- 5 Best practices for smarter IT governance in your Microsoft 365 self-serve environment
- 3 Methods to avoid sprawl and security risks in your Microsoft self-service environment
In this blog, we’re going to demonstrate the ways in which ShareGate, the out-of-the-box management solution for Microsoft 365 that just works, can help you manage and secure your self-service enabled environment without the headache. Because if you’ve enabled self-service, using ShareGate just makes sense.
Table of contents
How ShareGate’s automation can save you time with Microsoft 365 management
If you want to help your IT team transition from being in reactive mode, constantly putting out fires as they arise, and instead put them in proactive mode where they get to work on projects that add value to your organization, they need more time. The easiest way to give them that time is to take their repetitive, mundane, time-consuming tasks off their plate.
ShareGate’s automation that helps you manage sprawl in Microsoft 365
The ShareGate crawl automatically finds teams in your tenant that are inactive or orphaned, so you don’t have to. What does “inactive” mean? Essentially that there haven’t been any Teams messages, SharePoint activity in the site or its contents, or Outlook activity. And the timeline for inactivity is customizable, so you can choose what it should be based on the team’s purpose or sensitivity, whether that means 60, 90, or 356 days. And an orphaned team is simply a team that doesn’t have an owner.
Finding this information manually can take a lot of time. One of our customers, Arkin, used to try to do this on their own.
It was such an arduous task they eventually stopped doing it altogether, leading to sprawl in their environment. Especially since they had enabled self-service, and end users often tested out their new powers by creating new teams or groups for fun or to simply understand how it worked.
Using ShareGate, Arkin’s IT team was able to identify inactive and orphaned teams 96% faster. They found that 27% of their teams were inactive and 9% were orphaned. 98% of these were removed, clearing a ton of clutter from their Microsoft 365, saving them storage costs and making it easier for end users to find relevant, up-to-date content in their SharePoint searches.
ShareGate’s automation that helps you secure your Microsoft 365 environment
One of the main concerns many IT leaders have when it comes to enabling self-service is ensuring that their organization’s data will stay secure. If end users can create whatever resources they want, share whatever content they want, and invite whatever guest users they want to their teams, groups, or sites, and the only way to get visibility into who has access to what is to manually create reports about it, then of course you’re opening yourself up to security risks.
Thankfully, there are automations that can help you stay on top of your data security. While there are power automate scripts specifically designed for managing Teams, ShareGate offers a no-code solution. Here are 6 time saving Power Automate examples that are user-friendly for everyday tasks.
Similar to the inactive and orphaned teams features, ShareGate automatically finds externally shared links and guest access, so you don’t have to. This helps you see what company data is accessible to people outside your organization.
You can set policies about externally shared links and guest access based on team purpose and sensitivity, and you can also review these things at custom time intervals to make sure that the only people who have access to your data should.
BCAA, another one of our customers, told us that ShareGate’s security automations were gamechangers for them.
Within one month of setting up ShareGate’s management features, BCAA removed 33% of their external sharing links and 10% of their guest users. “That’s a lot of risk that’s been averted,” said Neda.
How ShareGate collaborates with end users to save your IT team even more time
It’s pretty obvious that having ShareGate find all of your inactive and orphaned teams, externally shared links, and guest users would save your IT team a lot of time.
But ShareGate goes a step further than that. For most IT teams, once they find these unused or potentially risky resources, they don’t know what to do with them. IT admins typically aren’t the ones who should decide whether the inactive team “Marketing campaign for women’s boots” should be kept, archived, or deleted or if a guest user should still have access to a particular site. Meaning IT needs to reach out to team owners, and hope they get back to them, and then act.
You can set up the “Ask the owner” feature in ShareGate so that team owners are notified about inactive teams, externally shared links, and guest access (and team members are notified about orphaned teams). And in our experience, end users actually respond to these automated notifications.
Across all of our customer data from September 2021 to September 2022, 70% of inactive teams that were kept or removed were acted upon by team owners, not IT. For certain customers, those numbers are even higher. For example, at BCAA, 92% of teams management tasks are performed by team owners.
With ShareGate’s automation features, you can enable self-service and empower end users to take ownership of the upkeep tasks required for the content they create, all while freeing up your IT teams’ time. Win-win!
ShareGate Provisioning gives end users freedom and IT peace of mind
ShareGate’s newest feature helps IT teams manage their environment while empowering end users using custom Teams provisioning templates. IT creates templates to ensure end users are creating their resources in the right way, right from the start.
Unlike Microsoft’s out-of-the-box Teams provisioning, ShareGate Provisioning is customizable. All IT admins that have access to ShareGate can create and edit teams provisioning templates, which helps increase productivity across your whole IT team.
With ShareGate Provisioning, you can choose:
- The minimum number of owners required
- Whether the team will be public or private
- The number of channels in a team
- The team’s channels’ name, description, and privacy
- The team’s prefix
- The team’s purpose (based on the tags you create with ShareGate)
- The team’s sensitivity (based on the tags you create with ShareGate)
End users can easily find the templates in the new ShareGate end-user app.
How the ShareGate end-user app helps take the burden off IT
The ShareGate end-user app is a workspace for your end users to create and manage their own Microsoft teams from start to finish. In the app, end users can provide additional info about their teams when prompted, resolve teams-related issues, and respond to external sharing review questions, so your IT team can spend more time on value-add projects.
Because the ShareGate end-user app is integrated right into Teams, your end users will be able to access it any time they open teams (once you’ve enabled it). They’ll get a bird’s eye view of the teams they own and are members of, as well as more details on all these teams, such as owners, members, and channels.
End users will also be able to create teams right from the homepage using your custom teams provisioning templates.
This offers end users a great balance between freedom to create the resources they need and compliance with your policies.
Get the visibility you need into your Microsoft 365 environment with ShareGate’s reporting and permissions management
Knowledge is power, right? ShareGate’s custom and pre-built reports give you the knowledge you need to manage your Microsoft 365 environment without the headache.
Instead of hopping from one admin center to another, ShareGate gives you one centralized place to view all of your Microsoft Teams and SharePoint information.
If one of our reports helps you find an issue, you can take direct action on it from the report, to help you fix it before it becomes a bigger problem.
And because security is a top priority for IT teams, our most popular report is the permissions matrix report, just one of the ways ShareGate helps with permissions management.
Managing permissions is easy with ShareGate
One of the best ways to keep your Microsoft 365 environment secure is to manage permissions settings. ShareGate’s permissions matrix report helps you maintain security during migrations and everyday access management. With it, you can validate, monitor, and edit permissions for internal and external users, run a site permissions security audit, and break or restore inheritance on entire lists or libraries.
With ShareGate, you can quickly see who can do what in SharePoint and Teams, and adjust in a few clicks.
You can easily adjust permissions in bulk, apply custom permissions, and copy permissions from one user to another for onboarding, offboarding, and employee moves.
Plus, you can go further than Microsoft’s one-size-fits-all permission settings by assigning or removing permissions by using ShareGate’s sensitivity tags to teams and groups—individually or in bulk.
Q: How do I provision a Microsoft Teams team?
A: For end users, you can only provision a team in Microsoft 365 if your organization has enabled self-service or your IT team has given you special permissions. If not, you’ll probably have to create a ticket with your IT team to provision the team for you.
If you do have permission to provision a team, you can do so, go to Microsoft Teams and follow these steps:
- Choose Teams on the left side of the app, then select Join or create a team at the bottom of your teams list.
- Hover over the Create a team card and select Create team.
- Choose From scratch.
- Decide whether the team will be public or private.
- Name your team and add an optional description.
- When you’re done, select Create.
As an IT pro, you can create custom teams provisioning templates to give your end users the freedom to create the teams they need but with your security and governance guardrails in place. There are ways to do this with Microsoft’s out-of-the-box tools, or you can create customizable provisioning templates with ShareGate.
Q: What are the limitations of Power Automate for Microsoft 365?
A: Power Automate can help you make repetitive tasks less time consuming. But first, you have to take the time to learn how to use Power Automate and create the workflows for your specific tasks. When you compare out-of-the-box tools, Power Automate, and ShareGate for managing Microsoft 365, ShareGate is the easiest choice that will save you the most time.
Q: Does Microsoft Teams have automation?
A: It doesn’t. You can use PowerShell or Power Automate to create your own automations, but this can be time consuming, and it requires a certain skill level that not all members of an IT team have. The best way to automate the governance and security of Microsoft Teams is to use ShareGate.
Q: How do I make my Microsoft Teams more secure?
A: There are lots of ways to increase the security of your Microsoft Teams. Using Microsoft’s out-of-the-box tools can be incredibly time consuming. ShareGate gives you great visibility into your environment, helps you manage permissions settings, and automates security tasks, saving your IT team time.
Q: Can I restrict guest access to Microsoft Teams?
A: Definitely! There are a few ways to do this. You can use the blanket approach and restrict all guest access, but we don’t recommend this as it usually leads to shadow IT. Alternatively, you can create sensitivity tags for your teams, and set rules about guest sharing based on team sensitivity. You can then create custom teams provisioning templates that require end users to assign a sensitivity to their new teams, to ensure that your most sensitive data stays secure.
With ShareGate, you can also easily review guest access across Microsoft Teams and send regular automatic messages to team owners to determine whether guests should be kept or removed.
Q: How can I manage sprawl in my new Teams environment?
A: In this blog, we compare 3 methods to avoid sprawl in Microsoft 365:
- Using Microsoft’s out-of-the-box tools
- Using PowerShell and Power Automation
- Using ShareGate
While each method has pros and cons, using ShareGate is definitely the most efficient!
Q: How can I increase productivity in Microsoft Teams?
A: One of the best ways to increase productivity in Microsoft Teams for both end users and IT is to enable self-service! Enabling self-service does come with some sprawl and security risks, but there are lots of ways to manage that, including using ShareGate’s management solution.
Q: How do I let end users manage their own Microsoft Teams teams?
A: The simplest way to do this is to enable self-service across Microsoft 365, but don’t do this on a whim. While we definitely think enabling self-service is the right move—since it can increase productivity for end users and IT—you probably want to put some guardrails in place to mitigate sprawl and security risks.