AnalysisCloud: Discover Customizations in SharePoint Online and Office 365

3 min read

SharePoint is evolving like technology and business in general. Tech gets smaller in size but more powerful, and processes become optimized through automation. Soon, all businesses who utilize Microsoft SharePoint may wonder how they ever got through a working day without SharePoint Online and Office 365.

A comparison can be made to the gadgets SharePoint Online accommodates, for example, smartphones and tablets. 10 years ago, they were maybe considered a luxury item, but now they have a purposeful and immovable place in our everyday lives – communication and information are only ever a fingertip away.

SharePoint Online and Office 365 are platforms that allow vast collaboration with minimum resources. By this, I mean more customizations can be created and uploaded to the platform by various users worldwide, and there’s a significant reduction in hardware for your organization to incorporate. On the other side of the coin, the activity within your organization’s SharePoint environment must be properly governed in order to prevent poor customizations from being introduced.

Consequently, AnalysisCloud should have a place in the heart of your organization’s SharePoint Online customization governance and security approach because it can help keep poor customizations and bad practices in your SharePoint Online environment to a minimum. Poorly built customizations can leave your organization vulnerable to confidential and sensitive data being accessed knowingly or unknowingly by internal and external parties.

Enter AnalysisCloud

As product owner of AnalysisCloud, I would like to briefly summarize customization governance: it’s a way of ensuring that customizations in SharePoint, regardless if you know about them or not, remain in compliance to a set of rules, policies, and best practices. A customization can be anything from a business user tailoring the business processes according to their need, to a ‘power user’ or ‘citizen developer’ modifying and creating scripts ad-hoc. Establishing and enforcing customization governance policies allows organizations to abide by these set of rules that make working with SharePoint both a better and more secure experience.

AnalysisCloud – discovering customizations

The first step towards customization governance with AnalysisCloud is to make a discovery of your SharePoint Online tenant. This is achieved through an automated scan. It shows what customizations you have and determines what type of customizations they are, and who may have put them there. This is crucial because SharePoint Online permits admins in the organization, at their discretion, to give employees access to add scripts, configurations and other customizations. This means any type of user can tailor the business processes according to the needs of an organization.

Now, giving a variety of SharePoint users access shouldn’t be considered a bad thing – to the contrary: SharePoint is at its best if it’s tailored to your organization’s needs. You just need a robust governance plan in place to secure your SharePoint environment. It might be like building a large skyscraper, or the offices that you are sitting in right now, for example. The architect will design the building in accordance with safety regulations and there are safety procedures put in place to make sure it is considered safe – to not do so would be reckless and extremely dangerous. It’s the same for building customizations in SharePoint. The customizations are the foundation of what holds the structure of your organization together.

AnalysisCloud – mitigating the risk

Organizations have, and continue to ask for a solution that maintains, controls and keeps a robust SharePoint governance plan in place, and AnalysisCloud offers this. It provides deep insights into all activities of customizations, scripts and related artefacts, and it will provide an audit to track any customization or script changes over time – you can also learn where things happen – things that are most heavily customized in your organization.

A SharePoint environment has multiple processes happening across the board – from governance changes and provisioning routines to end users making modifications to pages and scripts. These activities could potentially expose your organization’s data to security risks, so the key is to mitigate these risks by understanding where things are happening, where they are being modified, added or removed across your entire SharePoint environment.

Over to you

Whether created by the development team or business users, applications are often the root cause of poor SharePoint health. A great place to start identifying them would be to run the free Rencore SharePoint Applications Health Check App on-premises or online. For more information and how to download, click the button below.

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Tobias Zimmergren

Tobias is Head of Technical Operations, and is responsible for the cloud analysis architecture of the Rencore platform. He has the lead on building a cloud platform for Rencore, where our customers can securely and easily use our tools and offerings as services on demand. For his contributions to the technical Microsoft communities as a blogger, speaker, and developer, Tobias is a recipient of the Microsoft MVP award since 2008