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Microsoft Launches Revamped Office 365 Service Health Dashboard

Microsoft is beginning to roll out a new service health dashboard to Office 365 subscribers, the company announced on Wednesday.

The dashboard, accessed through the Office 365 Admin Center, is now at the "general availability" milestone. An older admin center dashboard is still around, but it's slated for eventual removal and soon won't be available.

Only Office 365 subscribers get to see the dashboard. It's a table that shows various "actionable" service incidents and advisories, along with icons that indicate a healthy state.

While it's not exactly clear how IT pros can act, given that Office 365 services are controlled by Microsoft, the dashboard at least provides more information than it used to provide.

"We are now providing an even deeper level of service health insights that are personalized for your organization," Microsoft's announcement claimed.

The dashboard now provides information about workarounds, as well as a history of incidents that's accessible over the past 30 days. Microsoft added a way to deliver feedback on the quality of information that's posted in the dashboard. Also, the number of users affected by a service incident is now shown.

The dashboard this month also gets the following preview features. First, there's a preview of the ability to get Message Center announcements (a weekly digest of notices) via e-mail, including the ability to get them sent to an e-mail distribution list. This capability is just available at this time to Office 365 "first release" testers that have "more than 50 subscribed users." Microsoft is also previewing an Azure Active Directory "tenant restrictions" capability that keeps wayward end users from accessing other tenants' Software as a Service applications, but it's just available for Azure AD Premium 1 subscribers.

There are some ancillary Office 365 Admin Center improvements available this month. Microsoft added an optional "Suggested Features" tile, which will show features that Microsoft recommends enabling. It's also now possible to use the Office 365 Admin Center (or PowerShell) to assign Power BI administrators. The Office 365 admin app now has "cert-based authentication and multi-factor authentication" capabilities. Lastly, Microsoft launched a page that provides Office 365 Admin Center learning videos.

In a future update to the dashboard, Microsoft plans to add a capability where "a full list of impacted users" can be viewed, and it'll be possible to send messages to those end users. A future update also will let IT pros run Office 365 service health checks for individual end users.

Another future addition to the dashboard will be the ability for IT pros to get service notifications via "text and/or email." If a problem isn't showing up in the dashboard, there will be a future "Tell us" feature to report the issue, Microsoft's announcement promised.

Microsoft is planning to enhance the Office 365 health dashboard over time. For instance, it's scheduled to get SharePoint and OneDrive for Business client access reports. That improvement will be arriving in "coming months."

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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