Distribution Groups Test

A Distribution Group (DG) is a group that contains two or more people, has an email address and appears in the Global Address List (GAL) for a company. Internal and External users can send emails to the DG and it will go to all members of the DG.

Typically, a Universal Distribution Group is a distribution group that is created only to serve as an email distribution group in Exchange. A security-enabled distribution group (or security group) on the other hand is created so that you can assign permissions to a large group of users instead of assigning permissions to individual users one at a time.

With the help of the Distribution Groups test, administrators can easily and efficiently audit distribution groups. For each DG type (Universal and SecurityEnabled), this test reports the count and details of new, deleted, and modified groups of that type. Additionally, empty groups and orphaned groups are also brought to the attention of administrators. This way, administrators can identify groups that may have to be assigned new owners and groups that are still awaiting members.

Target of the test : Exchange Online

Agent deploying the test : A remote agent

Outputs of the test : One set of results for each DG type in the Office 365 tenant being monitored

First-level descriptor: DG type - this can be Universal or SecurityEnabled

Configurable parameters for the test
Parameters Description

Test period

How often should the test be executed

Host

The host for which the test is to be configured. By default, this is portal.office.com

O365 User Name, O365 Password, and Confirm Password

For execution, this test requires the privileges of an O365 user who is vested with the View-Only Audit Logs, View-Only Recipients, Mail Recipients, and Mail Import Export permissions. Configure the credentials of such a user against O365 User Name and O365 Password text boxes. Confirm the password by retyping it in the Confirm Password text box.

While you can use the credentials of any existing O365 user with the afore-said privileges, it is recommended that you create a special user for monitoring purposes using the Office 365 portal and use the credentials of that user here. To know how to create a new user using the Office 365 portal and assign the required privileges to that user, refer to Creating a New User in the Office 365 Portal.

Domain, Domain User Name, Domain Password, and Confirm Password

These parameters are applicable only if the eG agent needs to communicate with the Office 365 portal via a Proxy server.

In this case, in the Domain text box, specify the name of the Windows domain to which the eG agent host belongs. In the Domain User Name text box, mention the name of a valid domain user with login rights to the eG agent host. Provide the password of that user in the Domain Password text box and confirm that password by retyping it in the Confirm Password text box.

On the other hand, if the eG agent is not behind a Proxy server, then you need not disturb the default setting of these parameters. By default, these parameters are set to none.

Proxy Host, Proxy Port, Proxy User Name, and Proxy Password

These parameters are applicable only if the eG agent needs to communicate with the Office 365 portal via a Proxy server.

In this case, provide the IP/host name and port number of the Proxy server that the eG agent should use in the Proxy Host and Proxy Port parameters, respectively.

If the Proxy server requires authentication, then specify the credentials of a valid Proxy user against the Proxy User Name and Proxy Password text boxes. Confirm that password by retyping it in the Confirm Password text box. If the Proxy server does not require authentication, then specify none against the Proxy User Name, Proxy Password, and Confirm Password text boxes.

On the other hand, if the eG agent is not behind a Proxy server, then you need not disturb the default setting of any of the Proxy-related parameters. By default, these parameters are set to none.

DD Frequency

Refers to the frequency with which detailed diagnosis measures are to be generated for this test. The default is 6:1. This indicates that, by default, detailed measures will be generated at every sixth test execution cycle if no problems are reported, and also every time the test detects a problem. You can modify this frequency, if you so desire. Also, if you intend to disable the detailed diagnosis capability for this test, you can do so by specifying none against DD Frequency.

Detailed Diagnosis

To make diagnosis more efficient and accurate, the eG Enterprise suite embeds an optional detailed diagnostic capability. With this capability, the eG agents can be configured to run detailed, more elaborate tests as and when specific problems are detected. To enable the detailed diagnosis capability of this test for a particular server, choose the On option. To disable the capability, click on the Off option. The option to selectively enabled/disable the detailed diagnosis capability will be available only if the following conditions are fulfilled:

  • The eG manager license should allow the detailed diagnosis capability
  • Both the normal and abnormal frequencies configured for the detailed diagnosis measures should not be 0.
Measurements made by the test
Measurement Description Measurement Unit Interpretation

Modified groups

Indicates the number of groups of this type that were modified during the last measurement period.

Number

Use the detailed diagnosis of this measure to know which groups were modified and when.

Newly created groups

Indicates the number of groups of this type that were newly created during the last measurement period.

Number

Use the detailed diagnosis of this measure to know which groups were created, when.

Soft deleted groups

Indicates the number of groups of this type that have been soft-deleted.

Number

If you have deleted an Office 365 group, by default it's retained for 30 days. This 30-day period is called "soft-delete" because you can still restore the group. After 30 days, the group and associated content is permanently deleted and cannot be restored.

During the "soft-delete" period if a user tries to access the site they will get a 403 forbidden message. After this period if the user tries to access the site they will get a 404 not found message.

Use the detailed diagnosis of this measure to know which groups were soft-deleted and when.

Total groups

Indicates the total number of groups of this type.

Number

 

Orphaned groups

Indicates the number of groups of this type that are orphaned/ownerless.

Number

If a group owner leaves your company the group could find itself without an owner. Such a group is called an Orphaned group. The content in the group is unaffected by this - the content belongs to the group and isn't tied to the owner's account. But not having a group owner means there's nobody with permissions to manage the group.

Use the detailed diagnosis of this measure to know which groups are orphaned / ownerless.

Empty groups

Indicates the number of groups of this type that are empty currently.

Number

Use the detailed diagnosis of this measure to identify the empty groups. If any group is found to be empty for too long a time, you may want to delete such a group.

The detailed diagnosis of the Modified groups measure reveals the names of the groups that were modified recently, when such groups were created, and when the modification occurred. This enables administrators easily track changes to groups. Also, the current status of each group is revealed, so that administrators can accurately pinpoint inactive groups.

Figure 1 : The detailed diagnosis of the Modified groups measure reported by the Distribution Groups test

The detailed diagnosis of the Empty groups measure reveals the names of the empty groups, when such groups were created, whether/not the group configuration changed recently and if so when, and the current status of the groups. If an empty group is found to be inactive as well, you may want to delete the group.

Figure 2 : The detailed diagnosis of the Empty groups measure reported by the Distribution Groups test