Office 365 Mass Deletion Notification

Lew Smith, Director of Consulting Services | August 31, 2018

Microsoft, in January 2018, announced a new feature associated to OneDrive for Business, whereby end users could recover deleted files themselves (within the prior 30 days).  Earlier this week, within the Office 365 Admin Center’s Message Center, Microsoft accounced a useful feature to complement the January announcement.  Mass deletion notifications for SharePoint and OneDrive for Business.

According to details provided within this announcement, mass deletions within either SharePoint or OneDrive for Business will trigger an email to specific people.  For OneDrive deletions, the owner of that OneDrive library will receive an email notification, and for SharePoint, the site owner or a site member (whoever deleted the files) will receive a notification.

Two thoughts on this announcement.  First, given the challenges with increased Office 365 account compromises, this is a great addition.

OneDrive data is fair game for any hacker who accesses a user’s Office 365 account.  Obviously, the bad actor could delete OneDrive data and then delete the notification email upon receipt, but at least there is a chance that the actual end user might see the notification and be able to take action.  Second, there is no mention of notifications to “other parties” within an organization. It would be nice if Administrators could add other notification recipients for such activity. Considering the challenges that some organizations have experienced with “rogue employee” behavior, this option would be welcomed.  We’ll have to monitor the Message Center for more updates as they come.

One last point regarding this announcement.  Based on the documentation available at this time, I’ve not been able to pinpoint details associated to the threshold that governs the initiation of these notifications.  According to the announcement, these notifications are triggered “when a higher than usual number of files are deleted per hour.” As details surface we’ll post updates.

According to the details, this release is on its way to Targeted Release tenants and will continue rolling out to everyone else in late September.

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