success stories

 [Video] How Oxford Instruments regained control of their Microsoft 365 environment

Oxford Instruments is using ShareGate to proactively keep their environment of more than 1,800 employees on track, while making everyday Microsoft 365 management a breeze.

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Challenge

No visibility across sites and teams, and no sustainable way to keep track of permissions and unused teams.

Solution

Centralized visibility, a decluttered environment, and automated prompts help team owners review and resolve security risks. 

Results

Processes, resolutions, and everyday tasks are automated, recouping productivity time for IT and end users.

Astrid Gibbon, Communications Systems Manager at Oxford Instruments, can breathe a sigh of relief.

She no longer worries about her Microsoft 365 tenant sprawling unchecked and the risk of security vulnerabilities going unmitigated, or unnoticed.  

Since using ShareGate’s management features, she can keep her finger on the pulse of her Microsoft 365 environment, understand what’s going on across her organization’s 200 sites and 1,500 teams, and fix flaws quickly.  

But it didn’t start that way.

In fact, she told us she dreaded the thought of what she might find in her tenant.  

“It was a bit overwhelming…we had no idea, no control, no visibility. No one knew what was happening.” 

Astrid was already using ShareGate for a migration project when she noticed the Manage button, which helped her realize that her environment was close to spiraling out of control.

“It wasn’t until I opened ShareGate and clicked on the ‘Manage’ button that I realized I had a problem or potential problem and that it wasn’t going to get any smaller.”

As Astrid and her IT team started using ShareGate, they found themselves learning a lot more about their environment than they ever expected. And thanks to ShareGate, they could get on top of things within minutes. 

Watch Astrid’s success story, in conversation with Benjamin Niaulin, Microsoft MVP and Head of Product at ShareGate. Want a recap? Keep reading!

The challenges

No way to keep track of shared files, teams, permissions, and guest access

Before ShareGate, Astrid and her IT team didn’t know what their environment looked like or what security risks they faced. Who had access to what? What files were being shared internally and externally? And with whom?  

“We had no idea who had permissions, what teams had been orphaned, or what was being shared and where. Maybe we were hoping that if we ignored it, it was going to go away, but really it was just going to get worse.”

They tried getting those answers from the Microsoft 356 admin center but found it overwhelming to know what data to look at.  

“We’d log onto the [Microsoft 365] admin center and we thought, ‘Oh, my goodness, get me out of here.’ It wasn’t out of control, but no one knew what was actually happening. We didn’t even know we needed to know.”

Tedious, manual processes 

Astrid and her IT team were spending countless hours finding and fixing issues in their environment. 

“I can’t quantify the time. It was too much. Or else maybe it was never. In which case, it was even worse.” 

With governance tasks piling up on their to-do list, her team was constantly trying to keep up with an endless line of request tickets on top of all their other tasks. 

“We had tickets in each help desk across the world. We’d have to remind people and it just went on forever. Sometimes we were still trying to catch up on last month’s things the following month.” 

Despite having a user process for maintaining Teams, Astrid said it wasn’t enough to keep things organized and secure.  

“We had no control over what data was going in Teams or whether people were cleaning up or reviewing external links and guest access.”

The solution

Getting centralized visibility

Astrid said ShareGate made it easy to get a centralized overview of her environment.

She was able to find inactive teams and see details of each orphaned team, including the last owner, members, guests, and who to contact by email or via the ShareGate Teams chatbot.  

“I log on and have a quick look at my dashboard. It’s easy to get a quick overview, change the filters to see what’s happening, and then send out messages. I use the ‘Manage’ button to look at how many teams we reviewed, how many owners per team, and if any teams have been inactive.”

Automating tasks

The cherry on top? She was able to find new owners for orphaned teams and automate tasks to clean up her tenant.  

She could have tried automating certain things in her environment by creating PowerShell scripts, but this would have taken time.

And it wouldn’t have been nearly as user-friendly as ShareGate.

“I hate PowerShell, but I know when I click the button [in ShareGate], there are little things happening in the background and I’m doing PowerShell.”

Automating collaboration with team owners 

ShareGate’s automation has been critical in helping Astrid collaborate with end users and stay on top of things in Teams.  

She was able to enlist the help of owners and prompt them to take action on tasks quickly and easily, right in ShareGate – such as team inactivity and the review of guests in a team and links that have been shared externally. 

“I literally click one button and it sends all those people an email or a message in Teams, and I can sit back and watch it unfold in front of me.” 

The automated Teams external sharing management feature helped highlight the security risks in her environment that needed action.

It also saved her from collaborating with end users manually and allowed her to delegate tasks.  

“I haven’t had any ‘why on earth are you watching me?’ It’s been more like, ‘oh great, thanks for reminding me’ and ‘this is the best thing ever because we should definitely be looking at this.’” 

ShareGate’s automation makes Astrid’s life easier, and her end users like it, too. 

“ShareGate’s automation is fantastic. We’ve had such a good response [from our end users]…saying thank you so much for making me look because they actually found people that shouldn’t be in our Teams environment.” 

Recouping productivity time

Astrid and her team use ShareGate’s full-circle automation to review and clean up Teams, giving them greater peace of mind, not to mention more time in their day.  

The notifications are scheduled in the solution based on the policies established. ShareGate sends the notifications at the appropriate time to the end user, who’s then presented with simple decisions to make with all the information they need. Then, ShareGate completes the required action.  

It’s all hands-free for IT admins, and it’s easy for end users, too!  

“If it were a task that took 1 hour, no one would do it. [ShareGate] is really quick and easy for everyone.”

The results

107 orphaned teams found and assigned new owners

As it happens, Astrid was already using ShareGate for a migration project when she noticed the Manage button, which helped her to discover that she had 107 orphaned teams.  

“It wasn’t until I opened ShareGate and clicked on the ‘Manage’ button that I realized I had a problem or potential problem and that it wasn’t going to get any smaller. There were 107 teams that didn’t have owners. And I was like, ‘Oh, that’s a thing. I need to deal with that.’ And then really easy on the dashboard, I could see who they are, where they are…and even better is the automation.” 

100% of Teams under control

Since using ShareGate’s management features, Astrid’s been able to get her environment on track, stay in control of external sharing, and bring her inactive teams down to zero.  

“I feel completely in control…every team has two owners, every team has been externally checked in the last 6 weeks, we don’t have any inactive teams.”

On top of that, she said it takes her next to no time to generate a summary report from ShareGate and show her manager the contents and health of their tenant. 

“The nice thing is that if my manager asks for a report, I can do that in two seconds. It’s so clear, and no one can argue with it. I can sleep at night basically.” 

With ShareGate, Astrid and her team can move to a future where managing their tenant is actionable, quick, and easy so they can be proactive in maintaining a secure and organized environment.  

“If anyone is watching this, I’m not being paid for this. I really love this product…It’s fantastic and it’s easy to use. And I think it’s really good value as well…for what we are paying, what we’re getting out of it is absolutely brilliant.” 

Up next, she said she’s excited to use ShareGate’s latest management features, such as Teams Provisioning and SharePoint communication site management. And we can’t wait to catch up with her soon to get her insights! 

“I love opening ShareGate. It cheers me up every time because you feel you can achieve something quickly.” 

Learn from Astrid—get on top of Microsoft 365 management. Take action on risks, gaps, and clutter in minutes with ShareGate! 🙌

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Oxford Instruments is a provider of high-technology products and services to industrial companies and scientific research communities. With over 1,800 professionals worldwide, they’ve been delivering solutions to global challenges for more than 40 years.

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