What is M365 Operational Governance & Do You Need It?

Post Date: 09/22/2022
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Your hard work is finally paying off: after months of planning, preparing, and piloting, you are finally ready to launch your new Microsoft 365 (M365), Microsoft Teams, SharePoint Online, or other collaboration platforms. Your team is on its way to better digital collaboration and streamlined productivity. Once it’s implemented, you can finally relax, right?

Wrong. If you decide to lean back and put your feet up, leaving your collaboration spaces to fend for themselves, your newly minted environment might be at risk. Now is the time to ensure the pristine environment you have created stays that way by implementing operational governance.

What is Microsoft 365 Operational Governance?

Operational governance, whether called that or not, is practiced by most organizations in all industries. Put simply, it is the rules that dictate business processes.

Microsoft 365 operational governance is no different – it’s a set of policies that an organization follows throughout its day-to-day use of the platform.

These rules should be designed with the goal of standardizing Microsoft 365 operations across the organization and ensuring your digital workspaces are controlled and secured.

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Why You Need Operational Governance

Rules are an important part of everyday life. They give us a framework of how to act and operate. The same can be said about rules in our digital workplaces.

As companies utilize Microsoft 365 more, they need to implement operational governance to optimize their investment, sustain ongoing management, and more effectively manage the data lifecycle, empowering users and reducing IT burden in the process.

Consider these benefits:

  • Control workspace creation: How many collaboration workspaces has your organization created since implementing M365? 100? 1,000? 10,000? Of these workspaces, how many were necessary and actually used? Operational governance helps you establish rules around who can create a new workspace in Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, and Groups, limiting sprawl and helping you meet compliance standards.
  • Manage workspace lifecycle: Is every workspace in your M365 tenant active? Does each still have a clear owner, utility, and permissions? If you answered no to any of these questions, you’re at risk of unnecessary storage costs, oversharing, and security threats. With governance, you can establish guidelines for recertification and attestation to ensure all workspaces are still active and intentional, and that all access is properly managed.
  • Protect your sensitive information: Do you know which of your workspaces have sensitive information? How about who has access to these workspaces with confidential information? If you’re storing and sharing sensitive information in your Microsoft 365 tenant, you need proper rules and guidelines to protect it. With governance, you can establish policies around the types of workspaces that can store this information and what sort of users – external or otherwise – can be invited to the workspace.

Proper, effective operational governance will help you protect your digital workspaces and your investment in M365.

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3 Steps to a Safer Microsoft 365 with Operational Governance

Instituting a new operational governance strategy can be a big undertaking, and it’s difficult to know where to start. The path to effective governance begins with the optimization of your Microsoft 365 environment, which can be achieved in three simple steps:

1. Discovery – Understand and Clean Up Your Environment

You need to understand your M365 workspaces – where your team is working, what they’re doing, and who owns what. The better you know them, the better you can build logical policies to manage them.

How to do it:

  • Create a workspace catalog
  • Establish data ownership
  • Gain visibility over activity

2. Ongoing Management – A Sustainable Path Forward

You must create an ongoing management plan that simplifies, preserves, and protects your environment. As you develop this plan, be sure to consider more than the needs of today; your organization will continue to grow and your environment will likely get more complex. Build a framework that is scalable and agile for long-term success.

How to do it:

  • Manage external sharing and guest users
  • Secure sensitive data
  • Preserve Microsoft Teams configurations

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3. Lifecycle Management – Reduce Your Workload With Good Beginning and End of Life Practices

This can feel like a lot of work, especially for busy IT admins. Reduce your workload with self-service, automated, and delegated lifecycle management.

Solutions like AvePoint Cloud Governance automate operational governance, with self-service IT resources for provisioning, moving, or restructuring content, as well as lifecycle and permissions management.

How to do it:

  • Enable self-service provisioning
  • Require continuous workspace renewal by the owner
  • Automate end-of-life practices

Bottom Line

It may seem difficult to implement operational governance, both in a soon-to-be and already released tool, but as your organization continues to increase its activity in Microsoft 365, it will be impossible to protect your investment if you don’t.

Without operational governance, your digital workspace will soon grow unmanageable and unruly. Without automated operational governance, IT will spend its days trying to get a handle on it. Avoid both while saving time and money with automated operational governance.

Cloud Governance automates your operational governance, empowering users to get more from their M365 tenant while maintaining security and control. Schedule a demo today.

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Kayla Haskins is a Content Marketing Manager at AvePoint, writing about all things cloud collaboration – including Power Platform, Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, and Salesforce. An advocate of operational governance and process automation, Kayla creates content that helps businesses manage technology to drive efficiencies in the modern workplace and make work/life balance a reality.

View all posts by Kayla Haskins

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