We have a request from our IT Compliance team to report on SharePoint Online use and look for noncompliance. Our original strategy for site management was not the best and there hasn't been any strong governance or control enacted, so we have some runaway site collections with hundreds of subsites.

My thought is we need to export a list of documents and list items then look for keywords that would imply the document should be in a controlled storage repository and not SharePoint, but I am curious if there's recommendations on how we can do the export. The PnP PowerShell cmdlets are an option but it will require resource time to develop and test this before we can rely on it, then of course the effort to analyze the data is another significant task.

I am looking for any recommendations on how we can either export this information to process, or if there's other utilities out there that can help achieve this task.

PS: I do feel a little bit like John Wick being given an impossible task - but that discussion would be best had at happy hour.

2 Answers 2


With your description, I assume you want to check for keywords in documents according to pre-configured compliance policy. Just like Josh said, there shall be tools useful for you in Security & Compliance center. Data loss prevention policy will help you to check for sensitive information and start actions you set for following process. E-discovery may also be an approach for you. Instead of exporting all the contents to local, which will consume great resource, you may have a try with these data governance features.

  • This is the direction I expect we will try going - assuming I can be given the access. I don't believe we can limit access to just SharePoint queries, similar to the O365 audit logs I would be able to query everything.
    – Taylor
    Commented Jul 15, 2020 at 12:49

I would recommend looking into the Security and Compliance center. You can setup DLP and Retention polices to achieve this.

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