The proper way of managing Office 365 user accounts

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A stitch in time saves nine. The same logic (without the snappy proverb) applies to your organisation’s user account management. Most sensible administrators responsible for maintaining Office 365 systems will likely have been kept awake at night pondering the best, most efficient way to do their job. Because, if you don’t stay on top of maintenance, things can quickly spiral out of control.

In this post, we’ll look at what you need to do to ensure best practices are followed when it comes to managing Office 365 user accounts.

In small to medium-sized businesses where there are only a handful of employees, keeping track of who has access to what, who’s still employed at the company, and the structure of the workflow might seem like a relatively easy task. However, if you apply the same need for control and monitoring to a company with hundreds, or even thousands, of employees, you can appreciate how things might get out of hand quite quickly, and why admins could be forgiven for having the odd sleepless night.

When user account management is poor, certain issues can quickly arise:

Office 365 Security Risks

Office 365 Security Risks with User Accounts

When a new employee joins a company, they’re usually given access to information about the company, its clients/customers, and how business is conducted. Sometimes, this can include sensitive information.

When an employee leaves their place of work, it should stand to reason that their access to company information is restricted. If there isn’t a procedure in place to keep control of user profiles, then you run the risk of sensitive information falling into the wrong hands. And that could potentially affect you in a myriad of unappealing ways – including from a compliance or legal point of view.

Dormant Office 365 Accounts

There are likely a lot of accounts which aren’t being used, but are still taking up space, on your company’s system. These might be profiles of former employees that haven’t been deleted, old accounts of current workers, or those left over from a previous system. Their presence can crowd your database and be the cause of confusion (even mistaken identity!), and generally be a nuisance.

Lost Profits

Simply put, poor user account management can cost you money. Typically, when a new employee joins, they’re given access to the company’s in-house enterprise suite – Office 365 – costing the employer the price of a license. Licenses are transferrable, but if one of your employees leaves, and a second licence is bought for the replacement employee, that comes out of the company’s coffers.

While a single license for one worker won’t put you “in the red”, it’s an expense that can quickly add up in larger businesses. This is before even mentioning workflow inefficiencies (although leads us nicely onto our next section…)

Workflow Inefficiencies

Without proper user account management, it’s difficult to run an efficient workflow template. That means it’s difficult to organise and maintain a great system for getting work done.

Essentially, good user management comes from staying on top of the system you implement. As an Office 365 admin, you need to perform a multitude of tasks to keep your organisation running efficiently. Don’t lose control! Be organized, efficient, and secure. These are the key words when it comes to managing Office 365 user accounts.

Your User Account Management Checklist

Your Office 365 User Account Management Checklist

A lot of effort has been put into the management interface for Office 365. It’s designed with the regular user in mind, so managing the service doesn’t require fluency in IT. Being aware of these options will help you choose the best path to take for organizing the functionality of your business; from migrating to Office 365, to getting the very best out of the product.

1. Setup

  • Overview page – Use this to find information on setting up your Office 365 world. Here, you’ll find a good overview on configuration settings/services.
  • Custom Plan wizard – Guides you step-by-step through adopting and migrating to Office 365. Tailor a plan for your specific needs by answering questions about what you want to achieve.

2. Management

  • UsersCreate, edit and delete Office 365 profiles and users. If you’re using local Active Directory synchronisation, accounts should be deleted from the local Active Directory not Office 365.
  • Security – This can be configured in SharePoint Online to control access to sites. Protect content: control who can open, edit, copy, print, forward, etc.
  • Domains – Use your company’s domain name in your Office 365 account.

3. Subscriptions

  • Manage – Take care of the subscriptions and billing for your Office 365 rollout.
  • Licenses – Take the hassle out of trying to keep track of your licenses. Office 365 does it for you. Simply view the number assigned or expired across the board.
  • Purchase – Need to expand? Use the Purchase page to add additional plans or licensing.

4. Support

  • Overview page – Contains information about community forums, diagnostics, service requests, common issues, etc.
  • Service requests – Open and monitor service requests.
  • Service health – Here, you can view a dashboard of the health of your Office 365 services. See daily outlines for normal service, service degradation, interruption, service restored and additional information.
  • Planned maintenance – Provides an overview of maintenance history, as well as service scheduled for the future.

Still not enough?

Here’s an extra tip: why not create a SharePoint task-list to remind you to complete important tasks?

Alternatively, you could create an automatic workflow. Nintex offers a great program that will help you keep track and get what needs to be done, done.

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