July 28, 2021

5 ways Microsoft 365 could be costing you money… and what to do about it.

Mark Pattie
Modern Work Practice Lead
One of the great advantages of investing in powerful, cloud-based software like Microsoft 365 is its time and cost saving potential. It’s designed to make your people more efficient, enable effective communication and collaboration, enhance security, and simplify day-to-day work for your IT teams.

However, these benefits only come when the software is licensed properly and implemented and managed correctly. In a staggering number of cases, this simply isn’t the case. It’s an unfortunate reality that many businesses are paying far more than they need to, and aren’t maximising the benefits of their investment.

Why is this happening? What can be done?

Let me take you through the biggest challenges we typically encounter in the way businesses are using Microsoft 365, and an explanation of how CoreView – a sophisticated Microsoft 365 management solution – can help.

Challenge #1: Incorrectly configured licensing

One of the biggest challenges we see at Data#3 is that of poorly configured and mismanaged Microsoft 365/Office 365 licensing.

In fact, on average, 56% of a business’ Office 365 licenses are inactive, under-utilised, oversized or unassigned.1

Often, end users are given an edition of the software that’s too comprehensive for their needs or role, and which therefore includes features and tools that they simply don’t need. Or perhaps the business has paid for too many licenses, or fails to cancel licenses when employees leave the business.

In 2019, for instance, Toyota Motors Europe engaged CoreView to run an Office 365 Health Check against the entire Toyota Motors Europe environment.

The exercise also uncovered the fact that the business had 3,000 unused E1 licenses, and over 9,000 unused E3 licenses. The Health Check report projected total yearly savings, through license optimisation, of a staggering US$1.7 million.

A quick and easy way to stay on top of your Microsoft 365 licensing is to adopt CoreView. This solution has been specifically developed to help customers more effectively manage and control their Microsoft 365 infrastructure. When it comes to licensing, CoreView:

  • Supports automated workflows – with options for automated provisioning and deprovisioning processes to help you keep licenses and access up-to-date.
  • Reduces license waste – put an end to overspending on inactive, oversized and duplicate licenses by finding them quickly and reallocating them efficiently.
  • Encourages customisation – IT admins can write their own custom PowerShell script covering any management action on their tenant, and then distribute those scripts securely and easily within the CoreView management toolset. This means other admins will be able to run them within their segmented, virtual-tenant without having global admin rights.

Challenge #2: Lack of insight

While extremely comprehensive and feature-rich, Microsoft 365’s admin centre can also be quite complex – with up to 12 different consoles that need to be managed. As a result, many IT professionals may not be using it to its fullest, nor extracting the insights they need to make smarter and more cost-effective decisions regarding their software.

CoreView can help overcome this challenge, as it gives IT teams at-a-glance, consolidated information regarding their Microsoft 365 licensing and provisioning details – all via a single pane of glass. This means IT staff can partition permissions, assign licenses and monitor usage from a single vantage point, which makes processes much more efficient.

Challenge #3: Poor security

Often, we see businesses facing some key security issues due to the way their Microsoft 365 accounts have been configured, updated and managed.

According to Forrester, 80% of SaaS breaches are caused by misconfiguration, inappropriate user behaviors, or incorrectly elevated user permissions. Correctly understanding your company’s existing configuration and management is the first step towards implementing solutions that immediately improve a tenant’s security.

CoreView’s Health Check of Toyota Motors Europe, for instance, found that malware was a significant but poorly-understood problem, stemming from users’ inability to identify malicious emails. In fact, the business had 337 mailboxes sending hundreds of malware messages every day.

Password management by individual users can also be a common problem. For instance, if users have ticked ‘password never expires’ in their settings, it can be an open invitation to hackers. The Toyota Motors Europe Health Check uncovered 935 accounts that had their password expiration turned off.

With CoreView, however, IT administrators can automatically enforce password resets, ensure password complexity, and regain control over the business’ overall Microsoft 365 security.

Challenge #4: Poor user permissions

As highlighted above, a particularly common issue for businesses can be the way individual user permissions are allocated and managed for Microsoft 365.

The Toyota Motors Europe Health Check found that the business had 852 users with secure access to over five different end-user mailboxes. While these may have been generic mailboxes for business purposes, they required inspection to ensure that the extended level of access for those individual accounts was appropriate.

With CoreView, you can very easily and quickly set role-based access control. You can also segment tenants into virtual sub-tenants, which limits the number of people with global admin rights, without limiting business unit autonomy.

Challenge #5 – Time consuming reporting

Reporting can be a considerable time and cost overhead for IT teams, especially given the increasing complexity of the modern technology landscape. For many businesses that are using Microsoft 365, reporting can become quite complex and time-consuming.

CoreView, however, includes more than 175 reports that you can customise straight out of the box. You can also run reports according to function, cost centre, and other metadata to quickly identify vulnerabilities and savings opportunities.

For instance, you can report on your company’s Microsoft 365 usage by department or business unit, and use CoreView to enable efficient reporting for back-charging licenses to individual departments. This fits the shared service IT model used by many large organisations.

Find out more

If you’re interested in learning more about CoreView and how it can help your business eliminate unnecessary costs with Microsoft 365, please get in touch.

1 Research, Global Office 365 Licence Optimisation Report