Microsoft's Office 365 has been around for a few years now, and has certainly matured into one of Microsoft's best products as it regularly fine-tunes and adds features and improves the user interface. However, there are certain administrative and reporting tasks that simply cannot be performed via the web interface. Instead, they have to be done via PowerShell. While there are tons of resources online to get an administrator familiar with enough Office 365 PowerShell commands to get them going, admins often find themselves needing to get a task done faster, easier, or in bulk. This is where an Office 365 cloud management tool called 365 Command
comes in. 365 Command was launched by a company called MessageOps in January 2013, and is hosted in Microsoft Azure
- Microsoft's cloud platform. Microsoft Partners (like Bit-Wizards
) and customers worldwide quickly found value in their offering and integration with Office 365. The popularity and growth of the tool caught the attention of Kaseya
who acquired 365 Command just 9 months after it was launched. This was a great addition to Kaseya's already impressive portfolio of other IT management software.
365 Command replaces the command line interface of PowerShell, along with its complexity, with a rich, HTML5 graphical user interface (GUI) that is very easy to navigate and makes it very simple to perform actions such as changing mailbox settings, monitor usage, and run detailed reports.
Here is a look at the administration features currently available:
- Reset Passwords (with options for never expire)
- Set Mailbox Permissions (Send As, Full Mailbox Access)
- Set Mailbox Folder Permissions (Reviewer, Editor, Owner, etc)
- Convert Mailboxes to Shared, Room, or Resources
- Forward Mail to an Alternate Mailbox
- Create Shared Mailboxes
- Create Role-Based Access to Administrative Functions
- Change a Directory Synchronized User’s ‘user principal’ Name
- Request a Refresh of New User Objects
- View ‘Member Of’ Information (see what groups the various objects are a ‘Member Of’)
- View the Total Number of Devices and Device Types
- Assign Licenses to Existing Accounts
- Change User Names on Federated User Accounts
- Create New User Accounts in Office 365
- Purge Deleted Users
- Modify Group Membership
Let's go a little deeper on a couple of those features. First we'll look at converting a mailbox from regular to shared. We often use this with our clients after an employee leaves the company and the management/supervisor/owner wants to retain all of the email, but re-assign the Office 365 license to another employee and not have to purchase another one. If the mailbox is under 10GB (doubled from the 5GB it used to be in 2013 - for FREE!
), it can exist as a shared mailbox which do not require a license (read: FREE
). Here are the steps you would take in PowerShell to convert my mailbox to a shared mailbox:
- Launch PowerShell as an Administrator
- Enter Set-ExecutionPolicy -ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted
- Enter $UserCredential = Get-Credential
- Enter your Office 365 admin credentials in the dialog box that pops up.
- Enter $Session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange -ConnectionUri https://outlook.office365.com/powershell-liveid/ -Credential $UserCredential -Authentication Basic -AllowRedirection
- Enter Import-PSSession $Session
- Enter Set-Mailbox email@example.com -Type Shared -ProhibitSendReceiveQuota 10GB -ProhibitSendQuota 9.75GB -IssueWarningQuota 9.5GB
- Enter Remove-PSSession $Session to properly remove and close the connection.
Here are the steps you would take in 365 Command:
- Click on Convert Shared Mailbox
- Enter the email address of the mailbox you're converting
- Select Shared as the Mailbox Type
- Click on Convert Mailbox
It results in half the steps, less complexity, and a lot less typing which means less time needed to get things done.
Another great feature is the ability to easily see an Exchange Permission Listing. This presents you with a table with all of your users, and what type of access they have to other mailboxes (Full, SendAs, etc
). It makes it so easy to do a quick audit. You would need to check each and every mailbox and its delegated permissions to gather the same data within the Office 365 Exchange Admin Center Portal, and it would certainly take you a lot longer than the mere seconds it takes to click on the link in 365 Command to generate the report. You're mouse and index finger will thank you.
Reporting has vastly improved within the Office 365 portal, but there is still room for improvement. The reports that 365 Command generates not only allow you to get a bit more granular and provide you great insight into your Office 365 tenant, they can be exported out as XML, CSV, PDF, HTML, Excel, Tiff, or Word files. Another nice feature is the ability to schedule those reports to be delivered to your inbox on a daily/weekly/monthly recurrence.
This makes it easy to stay on top of things like license usage, mail traffic, and mailbox sizes without having to access the Office 365 portal.
Here are some of the most popular reports that are available:
- User Licenses – Licenses and Services by User
- License Summary – Active and consumed licenses
- Mailbox Details Report – View and export all mailbox details
- Mailbox Logon Times – Mailboxes with their last logon date
- Mail Traffic Summary – Daily mail traffic totals
- Forwarding – All mailboxes that are forwarded
- Full Access & Send As to – Mailboxes with users who have full access
- Exchange User Properties – List and export Office 365 Users with extended properties
- Mailbox Size – Mailboxes by size
- Devices Details – Report View and export all device details
Kaseya continues to further enhance 365 Command by adding more features and reports. Some of the newest features include the ability to export mailboxes to PST (currently in BETA
), and tools to give you deeper insight and control of your SharePoint sites. Those are topics for a future blog entry.
Bit-Wizards is a 365 Command Partner and can get you started with a 30-day free trial to fully test it out with your own Office 365 tenant.