The notion of SharePoint governance and the pressing need for a governance plan have always been essential, for those looking to get the most out of the platform. However, understanding exactly what SharePoint governance is, how it works, and how you should apply best practice principles is far from evident. That’s why a couple of years back we published a 5-part series regarding governance plans, which you can read right here.
As we covered in Part 1 of that series, creating a governance plan is an essential element of SharePoint, necessary for carrying out migrations, monitoring users, sites and more. Despite this insistence on the importance of a plan from Microsoft, a lot of users are still unsure what exactly a governance plan entails, let alone how to build an effective one.
This is quite understandable, as the field of governance is a very large (and very detailed) area of SharePoint. For a condensed explanation, though, here’s the definition from Microsoft:
The SharePoint governance plan is a guidebook outlining the administration, maintenance, and support of (your) corporation’s SharePoint environments. It identifies lines of ownership for both business and technical teams, defining who is responsible for what areas of the system. It establishes rules for appropriate usage of the SharePoint environments.
So, essentially, a governance plan is a set of rules that help simplify the process of using and maintaining your SharePoint environment. With a plan in place, it becomes much easier to set expectations, thereby offering a clearer and more defined outlook for you and your team.
A Strong Governing Body
With governance being such a broad topic, there are a number of different areas to consider (Microsoft has its own detailed TechNet page regarding the components of a company governance plan). Equally, all companies are different and have different needs, so no two governance plans will be the same. In essence, though, a governance plan is put in place to do three things:
- Streamline the deployment of products and technologies
- Help keep your organization’s system secure and compliant
- Help ensure the best return on your investment in technology
Managing something so wide-reaching takes time and patience; and doing so successfully is an ongoing process. Fortunately, reporting functionalities in SharePoint and Office 365 can help streamline this process, and take some of the weight off your shoulders. In this post, we’re going to explore just a few of the reports that can help keep your system secure and compliant and maintain a strong governance plan.
Five Reports to Keep Track of Your Governance Plan
Site Collection Hierarchy
Subsites can very quickly snowball, piling on top of each other and making navigating through them all an incredibly difficult and time-consuming task. For this reason, SharePoint Administrators should aim for as few SharePoint subsites as possible – the more there are, the more difficult navigation, filing and permissions management become.
Site hierarchy and permissions inheritance are important elements of your governance plan. With the Site Collection Hierarchy report, you can keep up with compliance by quickly finding any Site Collection hierarchy that exceeds a set level of subsite depth.
Office 365 External Users
External users in Office 365 add another layer to SharePoint security – causing content to be more at risk through the possibility of any users being able to share content or sites with people outside of the company. There are numerous ways to share the same content to an external user, with differing permissions on content. It’s quite a complex subject (you can read more up on it here) but there are reports available to help you out.
By comprehensively listing all Office 365 external users that have access to your content or sites, this offers admins an overview of where external users exist in your company’s tenant. Providing you with the user’s name and site addresses they have access to, it can help validate security and prevent breaches.
When it comes to migration, identifying which SharePoint and Office 365 sites are actually being used can prove to be a big time-saver. Migrations are a lengthy process, so migrating only the content you need and the content that will actually be used is critical.
Users are quick to create new sites, but less hasty when it comes to deleting them. As a result, your environment is more than likely full with sites that are very rarely – if ever – visited, and can quickly become slow and clunky.
As an administrator, deleting sites is a pretty painless task. The tricky part is deleting the right ones – especially in large organizations with different physical offices or sectors. An unused sites report can do the hard work for you – finding old and unused sites in Office 365 and SharePoint so you can streamline your environment to its essentials.
Site Collections Inventory
One of the most integral parts of a SharePoint Administrator’s job is monitoring their farms. Understanding the size of site collections, the number of subsites, compliance and so on. Building a Site Collections inventory will help you gain valuable insight on your SharePoint and Office 365 environment, but there is currently no way of doing this within SharePoint.
A Site Collections Inventory report will help you maintain an inventory of your farms, providing you with information to help keep everything in check and maintain your governance plan.
Sites With Explicit Permissions to Users
As the name suggests, explicit permissions hold long-lasting implications, and as such should be granted modestly. Organizational and personnel changes happen in every company, and granting new permissions or changing existing ones quickly becomes an arduous process for administrators.
With this report, you can search through all your sites and find those which have given explicit permissions to users. You can then see whether or not these sites are in line with your governance security policy.
For a complete lists of Office 365 and SharePoint reports and the insights you can learn from them, check out our reports page.