ISA in SBS - yes, it's secure

A central location for SBS ISA specific configuration information relevant to small consulting practices and others smart enough to use the best technology in the world.

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Monday, May 09, 2005

Creating and viewing Reports as HTML or Excel spreadsheets

ISA in SBS - yes, it's secure

In SBS Monitoring and Reporting you get some really nice reports to let you know what happening. But ISA isn't included in those reports. Fortunately ISA has some native reporting built in that you can automatically generate. You can generate these report for viewing as HTML or Excel Spreadsheets. In my experience business owners are interested in what their employees are doing on the Internet. So once you have these reports configured you can email them to the business owner or using them for your own report to the business owner is a quick and easy way to look like the hero. I find the HTML reports best for presentation to the business owner and the Excel Spreadsheet reports best for a techy look at what really going on.

Here's how to create a report:

Open up ISA Management
Expand Monitoring Configuration
Right click on Report Jobs

The Report Job Properties dialog box will open. Enter a Name and Description for your report job and make sure that the Enable box is checked.

Move to the Period tab.
Select the period that you'd like the report to cover, in this case Weekly.

Move to the Schedule tab.
Enter the schedule of when you'd like the report to be run. Saturday is when I run mine. This way it's available for viewing on Monday morning.

Move to the Credentials tab.
Browse to select a user with appropriate credentials to view the ISALogs folder on the server. Enter the password for this user.

Click OK, to close the Report Job Properties dialog box. You'll notice that the report now shows up in the report list.

So now we have a report and the report will run on Saturday.

Unfortunately Microsoft didn't build in the capability to customize what is being reported on or the ability to have those reports automatically emailed to you for review in the morning along with the other SBS reports. The reports are locked up in a database and can only be viewed within ISA Management unless you purchase a third party reporting tools. In future blog entry we'll look at some reporting tools that you may want to consider that will let you overcome these limitations.

Natively an ISA report can be generated automatically and viewed in ISA Management only. To view the report open up ISA Management and expand Monitoring. Then expand Reports. Reports are broken down into 5 categories: Summary, Web Usage, Application Usage, Traffic and Utilization and Security. These reports can be viewed simply by double clicking on the report that you wish to view. They can also be saved at HTML files. Saving the document as an HTML file allows you to present it to the business owner or edit it later for your own reporting purposes.

For a drill down Techy-er look at the report information you can save any report as an Excel spreadsheet. Sometimes it's handy to be able to sort the data to your own liking. To save the reports as an Excel file, open ISA Management, expand Monitoring, then click once on Reports. Here you'll see a list of reports that have been run. This is the unformatted data. Right click on the report that you want to export into Excel and select Save As. Choose a name and location for your Excel formatted report.


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