Q&A for SPDockit’s live session: Maintaining your SharePoint environment

In our recent live demo and Q&A session, the Syskit Team showcased how SPDocKit helps maintain your SharePoint environment. We've put together all the questions and answers from the session into this blog.

The main SharePoint admin concerns we addressed were:

  • Usage and Analytics Reports – Find the usage trends of your farms, site collections, and subsites and get an overview of important adoption metrics.
  • Workflow Inventory and Usage – Find all the workflows on your farm and workflow usage statistics. See which are actively used before you migrate.
  • Clean Up and Best Practices Reports – Check if your farm is configured properly and ensure a healthy SharePoint environment.

Questions and answers

As always, the attendees were truly active and asked us a lot of questions during the session. Here are all the questions and answers below:

Q: Are the snapshots delta snapshots or full?
A: SPDockit snapshots are full, they collect and store all the selected settings each time a snapshot is created.

Q: What kind of permission or account is required to configure SPDockit in order to access all farm and site information?
A: Here are the permission requirements to run SPDockit properly: https://docs.syskit.com/spdockit/requirements/user-permissions-requirements

Q: How long I can keep audit logs?
A: This depends only on your storage capacities and data retention policies you wish to enforce. SPDockit can save audit logs for as long as you need it.

Q: Any audit reports for who changed the term store?
A: Unfortunately no, Microsoft has not yet added support to log changes on the term store. You can find the full list of what is currently available at https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/administration/using-administrative-actions-logging-in-sharepoint-server-2016#types-of-administrative-actions-logged

Q: Can we use auditing to determine when a user last logged in?
A: No, not directly. SPDockit only shows audit events related to SharePoint while the login event is tied to the Active Directory. But you can filter SPDocKit audit reports by user and see the first activity the user made on SharePoint (like opened a file).

Q: How do I collect logs from the farm? Do I need to have auditing enabled for each site collection?
A: Yes, if you wish to audit specific site collections you need to enable auditing on them. SPDockit provides functionality to do it in bulk using SPDockit.

Q: Can I compare two snapshots and report the changes?
A: Yes, using the Compare Wizard you can compare two snapshots of the same farm, or even two different farms in select time points.

Q: Does SPDockit need to be installed on a SharePoint server, and what impact could it have on performance?
A: Yes, SPDockit needs to be installed on a SharePoint server. The impact on farm performance is minimal, but if you want to be sure that you are not impacting your end-users at all you can schedule snapshots to be run outside business hours.

Q: Do I need a full second license if I also want to use SPDockit on a test farm?
A: Our sales team can give you more details, but we do offer non-production SPDockit licenses as well. Contact us for a non-obligatory quote.

Q: Can you please show me how to send SharePoint Security Certificate Expiry alert notifications.
A: Inside SPDockit you can find the best practices report called Expired Certificates located at Best PracticesConfigurationServersExpired Certificates. Once you navigate to that report simply click the Alert Me in the Home ribbon.

Q: Can I use SPDockit to resolve Missing server-side dependencies?
A: If you want to validate the deployment of your farm solutions you can use the Solution Assembly Deployment Valid best practice inside SPDockit located at Best PracticesConfigurationSolutionsSolution Assembly Deployment Valid. You can also check the Solutions report on the Farm Explorer located at Farm ExplorerFarmSystem SettingsFarm ManagementSolutions. From there you can simply start the Validate Assembly Deployment action in the Home ribbon.

Q: Can SPDockit report on Nintex/K2 workflows?
A: SPDockit can detect Nintex/K2 workflows.

Q: Hi, are Auditing and Reporting part of this tool?
A: Yes, auditing and reporting are a part of the SPDockit Farm edition.

Q: Are some reports not available in SP2013?
A: Of course, depending on the SP2013 features, SPDockit follows the availability. For example, since Administrative Action audit logs are available from SP2016, this report won’t be available for any older SharePoint versions.

Q: Can you demo PowerPivot capability?
A: Here is an example of the PowerPivot Report.

Q: How does the farm license differ from the consultant license? Do they have the same functionality?
A: The SPDockit Farm license contains all available product features. The Consultant license does not contain any features that require continuous farm monitoring such as Audit, Usage and Analytics reports, scheduled reports, etc. Read more about it here: https://www.syskit.com/products/spdockit/pricing/#consultant

Session recording

In case you missed our session, here’s the recording to see why SPDocKit is the ultimate SharePoint on-prem admin tool.

1. Document Farm Settings and Track Changes (3:09)

SPDockit can gather an entire inventory of your SharePoint farm and collect all the settings across the multiple SharePoint servers in your farm. All this will help you further down the line when creating various reports and give you the ability to create SharePoint documentation of your environment.

Use manual or automatic snapshots to collect all farm configuration settings and permissions structure on a regular basis. Easily schedule documentation in Excel, PDF, or Word format and receive a detected changes report to your email or desired document library.

Using the Compare Wizard, let SPDockit detect all configuration changes in your environment. Multiple comparison options are available, including a comparison of two different farms or keeping track of your permission changes.

2. SharePoint Best Practices (15:55)

Validate your farm configuration against Microsoft recommendations and Community guidelines. SPDockit provides more than 150 best practices in a report with a centralized dashboard for a detailed overview and improved issue detection.
When in doubt how to fix or resolve detected issues, use the SharePoint Best Practices library provided by Syskit.

3. Permission Reporting and Management (19:45)

Use numerous permission reports to check user permissions or to report on who can access what down to the file level.
SPDockit provides additional permissions management options as well. Use the Permissions Explorer to edit, remove, or delete any suspicious permissions. In addition to regular management activities, we created the option to copy or transfer user permissions which comes in handy when dealing with many users onboarding or offboarding in your company.

If you wish to do management on a larger number of objects or users, use our Permissions Wizard and finish your tasks in a matter of seconds.

Use the Restore permissions action to revert all unwanted permission changes to a selected time period when permissions were structured properly.

4. Analytics and Usage (32:29)

Find out the usage trends of your site collections and get an overview of important adoption metrics such as storage trends, number of subsites, and hits that your content gets.
Keep track of unused content and keep your content owners informed. Clean up unused sites, lists, and documents and find the biggest storage consumers that could be removed.

5. Audit Logs (41:36)

SPDockit collects all audit logs from your SharePoint environment and presents them in an easy to use interface.
Audit how content is being used & track important security actions. Filter, sort and analyze what your users did or changed on sites, lists, libraries, list items, and files – see what was affected and Configure alerts to receive audit reports to your email.

Want to give SPDockit a try for yourself? Try our 30-day free trial and see it in action.

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