Tips for Working with the Graph Usage Reports API

This article offers some tips about working with the Microsoft Graph Usage Reports API. In particular, we cover how to detect if the concealment of display names setting is active and how to reset it to allow display names appear in reports. We also cover the strangeness of some of the numbers reported for Teams message counts.

Upgrading the Microsoft 365 User Activity Report with a 180-day Lookback Period

A new version of the Microsoft 365 user activity report PowerShell script is available. This version extends the activity lookback period to 180 days, which is helpful when assessing if user accounts are active when people might be on parental leave or sabbaticals.

Microsoft Forces Backup Vendors and Customers Toward Teams Export API

In a July 12 announcement, Microsoft says that they will restrict the use of Exchange Web Services to access Teams message data from September 30. Microsoft wants customers to use the Teams Export API instead. All that’s fine, but it means that customers have to change their Teams backup product to one that uses the new API – and they’ll be charged for the privilege of using the Export API.

Microsoft Graph Support for SharePoint Online Tenant Settings

The new tenant admin Microsoft Graph API allows access to read and update SharePoint Online tenant settings. Although the API offers limited capabilities for now, it marks the start of Graph support for tenant settings that are currently managed through admin portals or PowerShell. It’s a welcome development.

Use the Debug Parameter for Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK Cmdlets to Expose Graph API Requests

Cmdlets in the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK module can interact with many types of Microsoft 365 data using Graph API requests. Adding the Debug parameter gives you an insight into what happens when SDK cmdlets run Graph requests. The knowledge can help you write better code and avoid mistakes, and that’s always a good thing.

Microsoft Graph Explorer Boosted by New Features

The Microsoft Graph continues to grow in importance, as do tools like the Graph Explorer web application. The Explorer has received a couple of new and useful features recently, including the generation of PowerShell code snippets. This doesn’t work for every Graph API, but it’s a start and a great enhancement to what’s already a very useful tool.

Guest Accounts Can’t Update Their Photos with the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK

The Azure AD PowerShell module allows guest accounts to sign into target tenants and update their account photo there. The Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK includes a cmdlet to do the job, but it doesn’t work when connected to a target tenant. Permissions are the reason why, which is what we explain in this article.

Graph X-Ray Tool Helps PowerShell Developers Master the Graph

The new Graph X-Ray extension available for the Chrome and Edge browsers gives developers an insight into how the Azure AD admin center uses Graph API commands to retrieve user and group objects. The insight is invaluable when teasing out some of the syntax needed to get work done with the Graph. It’s much appreciated.

Using the Graph API to Generate Mailbox Folder Statistics

A reader asked if it’s possible to use PowerShell to return the unread count for the Inbox folder in user mailboxes. The standard Exchange Online PowerShell cmdlets tell you a lot about mailbox folder statistics, but they can’t look inside a folder. But the Microsoft Graph APIs can, so a combination of PowerShell and the Graph deliver a solution to the problem.

Basic Azure AD Group Management with the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK

The Microsoft Graph SDK for PowerShell includes cmdlets for management of Azure AD Groups. The cmdlets work, and in some places they are screamingly fast compared to Exchange Online or Azure AD cmdlets. In other places, the cmdlets are a tad bizarre and expose a little too much of their Graph underpinnings. Oh well, at least after reading this article, you’ll know where the holes lie.

Delete Azure AD User Accounts and Restore Them Afterwards with the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK

Microsoft has announced that it will be possible to recover a deleted service principal by the end of May. This is good news because it means that an accidental deletion can’t wreak the kind of havoc it can today. Microsoft hasn’t updated the APIs to manage soft-deleted service principals yet, but we can get an insight into what’s likely to happen by investigating how to manage deleted Azure AD accounts using cmdlets from the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK.

Microsoft Sets New Deprecation Schedule for Azure AD PowerShell

Lots of news has emerged from Microsoft recently regarding the deprecation of the Azure AD PowerShell module and the older MSOL module. Although dates have slipped from the original June 30, 2022 deadline, the signs are that Microsoft will retire the modules in early 2023. However, the Azure AD and MSOL license management cmdlets will stop working on August 26, 2022, so that’s the immediate priority for script upgrades.

How to Create a Report About Teams Tags

Teams tags appeared in early 2020 as a method to address subsets of a team membership in channel conversations. Microsoft doesn’t provide a method to report what teams use tags and what those tags are, but we can find out using the Graph APIs. In this article, we show how to use the Microsoft Graph PowerShell SDK to create a report of all teams which use tags, the names of the tags, and the team members assigned the tags.

Creating an Authentication Method Report for Azure AD Accounts

With the upcoming deprecation of the Azure AD and Microsoft Online Services (MSOL) PowerShell modules, it’s time to upgrade scripts which depend on the cmdlets from these modules. In this example, we use the Microsoft Graph SDK for PowerShell to create a report for Azure AD accounts showing the authentication methods each account uses. The idea is to highlight accounts not protected by strong authentication so that administrators can help users to upgrade their protection against attack.

How to Control the Display of People Insights in Microsoft 365

People insights is one of the three types of insights derived by the Microsoft Graph from signals gathered from user activity in Microsoft 365 apps. Some organizations don’t like to show people insights in the user profile card, and now you can update an organization setting to remove people insights from the card for all or just some users.

Understanding How App Certification for Microsoft 365 Apps Works

By now, Microsoft 365 tenant administrators realize the need to understand how apps use consent to access Microsoft 365 data. App certification helps by reassuring tenant administrators that third-party apps meet certain criteria set by Microsoft. Achieving Microsoft 365 certification is the highest bar in the program. It’s just a pity that many of the apps now appearing in the ecosystem don’t achieve this level of app certification.

How Microsoft Teams Displays Local Time in Profile Cards

A new Microsoft Teams feature means that local time zone information appears on user profile cards. While it seem simple, the feature is very useful when arranging meetings because you know up-front about the working hours of your colleagues. It’s a detail that makes sense!

Understanding What’s in an Azure AD Access Token

Access tokens are an important part of accessing data using modern authentication through APIs like the Microsoft Graph. But what’s in an access token and how is the information in the access token used by PowerShell when the time comes to run some Graph queries in a script? In this article, we look behind the scenes to find out what’s in the JSON-structured web tokens issued by Azure AD.

How to Report Groups Under the Control of the Microsoft 365 Groups Expiration Policy

The Microsoft 365 group expiration policy can remove inactive groups after a set period. This helps clean up Azure AD, but the removal of a group might come as a surprise. To help remind administrators when groups will expire, we can use PowerShell to create a report of groups within the cope of the expiration policy and their next renewal dates. And to speed things up, we can turbo-charge matters with a Graph query.

How Microsoft 365 Notifications Show Active User Data for Workloads Affected by Service Updates

Message center notifications for service changes posted to the Microsoft 365 admin center will include monthly active user counts for affected workloads. That sounds good, until you realize some of the downloads incurred by depending on the Microsoft Graph Reports API as the source of user data. Still, it’s better than nothing and a welcome advance.

How to Determine the Age of a Microsoft 365 Tenant

Finding the age of a Microsoft 365 tenant isn’t an important administrative operation. However, understanding how to retrieve this information (if asked) is an interesting question, which is why we spent several hours playing around with PowerShell and the Microsoft Graph to figure out how to answer the question. It’s the kind of in-depth analysis we do all the time to build content for the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook.

New Way Available to Fetch a List of Microsoft Teams with the Microsoft Graph

A new List Teams API is available in the beta version of the Microsoft Graph. In time, the new API might replace the existing methods used to fetch sets of teams for processing. For now, there’s no need to update any code as we wait for Microsoft to fully bake the new API. Maybe it will be more performant and functional in the future!

API Deprecations Signal the Demise of Exchange Web Services

A Microsoft October 5 announcement gives a clear signal that Exchange Web Services is on a short runway to oblivion. The first step is the removal of 25 APIs on March 31, 2022. It’s all part of the master plan to get Office 365 tenants and ISVs to move to the Microsoft Graph APIs. This is a perfectly laudable ambition but it’s complicated because of the lack of suitable Graph APIs to handle the volume of Exchange data involved in scenarios like backup/restore and migration. Teams has a new Graph Export API, but it introduces consumption metering and charging. Is a new Exchange API coming and will it use the same charging mechanism? We live in interesting times…

How to Manage Anonymized User Data in Microsoft 365 Usage Reports

The usage reports available in the Microsoft 365 admin center, Teams admin center, and other places now include anonymized user information by default. The new default became active on September 1, 2021 and the organization setting applies to any usage data generated by the Microsoft Graph usage reports API, which means that some scripts might create reports less interesting and useful than before. It’s a good change for privacy, but will organizations persist with the new default?

How to Find Delve Accounts with Disabled Document Insights

Microsoft has replaced the controls which disabled document insights in Delve with new Graph-based settings. However, you might still have a bunch of users with the Delve settings who need to migrate to the Graph settings. In this article, we explore how the settings work and how to query the Graph to find the set of users who disabled the setting in Delve. We can then use PowerShell to add those accounts to the group of disabled insights users for the Graph-based settings.

Microsoft Introduces Data Privacy Tag for Message Center Notifications

The message center in the Microsoft 365 admin center will soon use a new data privacy tag to highlight specific service updates to tenant administrators. No messages with the new tag have yet appeared, so it’s hard to know how Microsoft plans to use the new tag or what kind of attachments it will make available to administrators to help understand the sensitive data involved in data privacy. While we’re waiting, we took at look at the tags in use today and wrote some PowerShell to report which tag is most popular.

How to Upgrade Office 365 PowerShell Scripts to Use the Graph API

Many PowerShell scripts which access Office 365 data could do with a speed boost. Replacing cmdlets with Microsoft Graph API calls is one way to get extra speed. In this article, we take a PowerShell script to report the memberships users have of Microsoft 365 groups and replace some important cmdlets with Graph API calls. The result is a big speed increase.

Microsoft Launches Preview of App Governance for Cloud App Security

The preview of a new app governance add-on for Microsoft Client App Security gives Office 365 administrators insight into Graph-based apps. The add-on depends on information gathered from Azure AD and MCAS to generate insights about apps and their usage, including highlighting apps which are overprivileged or highly privileged. Although you can do some of the auditing yourself, the add-on makes it easier. It’s a preview, so some glitches are present.

Managing Third-Party App Permissions in the Teams Admin Center

The latest update for the Teams admin center includes the ability to manage the permissions used by third-party apps to access data via the Microsoft Graph. The updates also include the ability to manage resource specific consent (RSC) for Teams apps. While third-party apps ate the obvious target, LOB apps created by tenants are managed in the same way.

How to Report Microsoft 365 User Activity Using the Graph API and PowerShell

PowerShell hash tables are very efficient at retrieving data, which is just what’s needed when thousands of Office 365 accounts need processing. Our script to analyze usage data extracted from the Microsoft Graph was turbo-charged when we replaced list objects with hash tables, all of which makes it much easier to identify underused Office 365 accounts and save some money on licensing spend.

Preview of Teams Migration API Has Slack in Its Cross-Hairs

A preview of a new migration API for Teams is with ISVs. The API is to migrate data from other chat platforms (Slack is the obvious target) to Teams. There’s still no news about solid APIs for tenant to tenant migration or backup and restore for Teams. Microsoft is really interested in moving people off competitor platforms to Teams. It seems they are less interested in doing some of the heavy lifting involved in tenant management and restructuring.

Customizing Privacy Controls for Microsoft Graph Insights with the Graph Explorer

The Microsoft Graph collects huge amounts of signals about Office 365 user activity. Some of that data is used to generate insights into information that might be interesting to users. You can already disable insights in Delve, and now Microsoft allows you to disable insights elsewhere in Office 365. The downside is you’ve got to patch the Graph organization settings to limit insights, and that might just be outside the ability of the average tenant administrator. Unless they use the Graph Explorer to do the job.

How to Report SharePoint Online Site Usage Data with PowerShell and the Graph

It’s easy to retrieve storage data for SharePoint Online sites with PowerShell, but it’s faster with the Graph. Some disadvantages do exist, but it’s nice to have a choice. TheGraph is faster, especially with large tenants, but the SharePoint Online PowerShell cmdlets can deliver more data.

Combining Microsoft Graph and Flow for Better Office 365 Adminstration

The Microsoft Graph gives programmers a RESTful interface to Office 365 data. Flow allows even non-programmers to automate tasks by combining building blocks of Office 365 data and actions. Put the two together and you can generate some impressive results. In this example, we combine Graph and Flow to create some nagging emails to admins to encourage them to improve the tenant’s Secure Score.