Gartner Research

Mitigate the Hidden Challenge of Office 365 Groups

Published: 22 March 2019

ID: G00378227

Analyst(s): Mark Cortner, Andrew Garver


Deploying Microsoft SharePoint Online, Teams, Exchange Online and other Office 365 services comes with an often-overlooked complication: managing Office 365 Groups. This research helps technical professionals address the challenges of Groups and provides a roadmap for avoiding group sprawl.

Table Of Contents


  • The Top Five Things You Need to Know About Office 365 Groups
  • The Three Rules for Implementing Office 365 Groups Effectively
  • What Is Office 365 Groups?
  • Where Do Gartner Clients Struggle With Office 365 Groups?
    • They Don’t Realize They Need to Proactively Prevent Group Sprawl
    • If They’ve Ended Up With Group Sprawl, They Don’t Know How to Fix It
    • They Find It Difficult to Understand Because It’s Implemented Inconsistently
    • They Don’t Recognize Its Subtle Risks
  • Strengths
    • Cross-Service Integration
    • Extensibility via the Microsoft Graph API
    • Year-Over-Year Service Improvements
  • Weaknesses
    • Default Settings Lead to Sprawl
    • Azure AD Premium Is Required for Basic Governance
    • Poor Life Cycle Management
    • Poor Group Organization
    • Scripting and Third-Party Products Are Required for Sophisticated Management
    • Inconsistent Behavior


  • What to Do If You’re in the Middle of Group Sprawl
    • Temporarily Turn Off End-User Group Creation
    • Remediate Groups That May Pose a Security Issue
    • Set Groups to Expire
    • Retrofit Critical Policies Using Scripting
    • Consolidate Similar Groups and Objects
  • How to Proactively Mitigate Office 365 Group Sprawl
  • Prerequisites
    • Scripting and Graph API Knowledge
    • Serviceable Security Groups
    • Technical Architect Who Works With Office 365 Strategy and Governance Teams
  • Prep Work and Pilots
    • Establish Group Governance Policies
    • Use Pilot Groups to Control Pilot Participation
    • Identify Key Administration Configuration
    • Identify Graph API and Scripts for Group Management
    • Assess Groups’ Impact on Data Retention and Classification Policies
    • Build or Buy Workflow Integrations for Group Life Cycle Management
    • Identify End-User Trouble Spots and Build User Education
    • Create Predetermined Groups
  • Define an Acclimation Period
    • Recommendations
  • Ongoing Use
    • Detecting and Rationalizing Redundant Groups
    • Monitoring for Group Abuse
    • Detecting and Remediating Orphaned and Unused Groups
    • Setting and Monitoring Group Expirations and Deletions
    • Archiving or Deleting Groups or Services According to Data Retention Policies

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