Vol. 23, #30 - July 30, 2018 - Issue #1192

WServerNews Spotlight: Office 365 

Free Tool for Monitoring Exchange Server Status & Performance 

Image

SolarWinds® Exchange Monitor is a free tool that allows users to monitor Microsoft® Exchange™ Server 2013 and 2016. Get basic information about the server’s metrics, services, and database availability group (DAG) status. Add as many Exchange Servers as you wish. Simply click the “Add Server” button and fill IP address/domain name and credentials.

Download Free Tool


Editor's Corner

This week we focus our spotlight on Office 365. We also have a new Ask Our Readers question that one of our loyal 500k IT pro subscribers needs some help with, so please send us your suggestions if you have any for this reader. And we have lots of other stuff as well including a review in our Book Corner, so enjoy this issue of WServerNews!

 

2018 Global Office 365 Developer Bootcamp

Let's start off with something that began only last year, the Global Office 365 Developer Bootcamp, a free, one-day, hands-on training event led by Microsoft MVPs with support from Microsoft and local community leaders. It turns out that last year's bootcamps were such a success that Microsoft is making them an annual event. There are several of these bootcamps coming up in the fall and there may be one in your area, find out more here:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/mkvnmsqw/


Office 365 security concerns

As Office Watch recently indicated, the growing popularity of Office 365 is making the platform an increasing target for hackers:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/48j5173e/

One trick that hackers have been trying of late is using ZeroFont to hide text in emails:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/dtfzx10g/

Another form of attack called BaseStriker involves bypassing the Safe Links security feature built into Office 365. The Hacker News recently had the story on this:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/mzbe6cp6/

All in all this is probably just business as usual for most admins since these kinds of vulnerabilities have been present in the Microsoft Office platform since macros and VBA scripting were invented. What do our readers who are using Office 365 for their business or deploying it for their customers think about this? Email me at wsn@mtit.com

 

Office 365 - Problems and resolutions

Awhile back Tim McMichael in his blog posted some good info on how you can deal with email flow issues that can occur because of throttling limits in Office 365. These issues can arise when organizations send a large amount of email through Office 365. You can read more here:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/j72liad1/

Another issue that sometimes arises when Office 365 is used both on-premises and with Exchange Online is the problem of duplicate mailboxes begin created. Tim has several blog posts on this subject and this one is the place to start if you're experiencing this issue and/or want to avoid having it happen:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/75q2zkd1/

Tim's blog on TechNet is an invaluable source of information, and if you're an administrator who has deployed Office 365 in your organization or a consultant who sets it up for clients, I highly recommend that you follow Tim's blog:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/jkrmgzsm/

Another recent issue involving Office 365 is where a customer had problems sending mail from Office 365 to on-premises Exchange Servers but not the reverse. Microsoft's 250 Hello blog has the details of this incident and how it was resolved:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/miptfwx5/

While the cause of the problem turned out to be unrelated to Office 365 (it was the firewall) the steps outlined in the above blog post can help you better understand how Office 365 message queues work, so if you're an Office 365 admin I suggest you take a look at it when you have time.
Got any other Office 365 blogs you'd like to recommend to our readers? Email me at wsn@mtit.com



Using the Office 365 Planner

The Office 365 Planner is a dashboard you can view when you log on to your Office 365 tenant. The planner servers as a simple, visual way to organize teamwork by creating plans, inviting team members, and assigning tasks. For an introduction and video on the Planner, see this post on the Wiki Ninjas blog on TechNet:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/0edk7zkb/

 

Tip of the Week

Got any IT pro tips you'd like to share with other readers of our newsletter? Email us at wsn@mtit.com

What's my product key?

ShowKeyPlus is a UMP app available for Windows 10 from the Microsoft Store that can let you see the product key of your Windows installation:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/odb4y80d/

 

Admin Toolbox

Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without 

GOT ADMIN TOOLS or other software/hardware you'd like to recommend? Email us at wsn@mtit.com

Altaro VM Backup removes the complexities of backing up Hyper-V & VMware. Easy to use, sets up within just 15 mins & comes with the best deduplication in the industry! Download your FOREVER FREE copy!

http://www.wservernews.com/go/gi3i1rqq/


SSL Server Test is a free online service that performs a deep analysis of the configuration of any SSL web server on the public Internet:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/vuatblaf/


PerfectStorage is an intelligent storage management solution for thin-provisioned space reclamation:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/6lyxnqd4/


Rename Master is a freeware utility designed to rename multiple files with a just few clicks:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/kgngv72j/

 

 

Ask Our Readers - What can replace email now that GDPR is a reality? (more help needed!!)

A few weeks ago we shared the following question a reader named Robert who is the IT Manager for a chartered accounting company in the UK:

For anyone not serving customers who are citizens of the EU you might have missed the significance for us of the new GDPR regulations. For those of us dealing with confidential or sensitive information (like what people earn, their tax arrangements or their accounts) using email as a way of doing business and conversing with clients is no longer an allowable option. Admittedly, it's never been a secure option for this sort of thing, but the clients like it, and are complaining bitterly that we're ignoring them by trying to send queries and requests (as well as accounts and tax returns) by a secure Portal or encrypted attachments to email.

We really need a way of chatting with clients, like email, or SMS, or 'WhatsApp'. But email is insecure, and SMS and WhatsApp don't 'capture' the conversation in a way that we can file it into our DMS. We have to keep records of all such 'conversations'. And most of the senior people and the clients want to do everything on their phone, but have a full trail of it somewhere else where they can get someone more junior to file it later.

Encrypted email is pretty horrible, never works across all devices, and there is no point filing it into a DMS as when you need it in a couple of years time the encryption key won't be available. Skype for Business almost does it, it has an IM system that is automatically recorded into our Outlook Mailboxes from where we can file it, but if the message isn't read quickly enough it re-sends it as an email, so that counts it out. There is loads of 'collaboration' software out there, but none of it seems to let all your clients join in, just your colleagues.

Is there anything like email, or like any IM system, that you can use to chat to anyone, across devices, not worry about passwords once you've logged in as it is end to end encrypted, but easy/possible to file it away when finished?

This seems like a good question that other readers may also be worrying about, but so far we've only received one response, namely this one from a reader named Jeffrey:

Mitch, I know of several services that provide web-based secure e-mail. Essentially, they are e-mail systems built on a website, and available only to the users of the system to support secure transfer of files and sensitive information. Users of the system receive an e-mail message noting the sender, and a link to the system to check for the detailed message there.

One system is operated by Kiteworks:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/r3xnu13e/

Another one is Axway's SecureTransport product:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/3nohdr4a/

although I am not sure if this is a service, a product or an infrastructure capability (use their APIs on a server to implement the capabilities of a secure file transport service).

I am sure there are others out there, but those are two I have had personal experience with (in the case of Axway's, to actually transfer files to and from the company for one of their other products, rather than as a third party service).

Unfortunately the above solutions offered by Jeffrey won’t work for Robert as he explains here:

“This particular solution isn’t any good for us, as we need to be able to file the entire contents of all communications into our DMS unencrypted as it has to be accessibly for 7 to 10 years under our current regulation, and we have quite a few thousand conversation threads per day.”

So we'd appreciate it if other readers can weigh in with other suggestions if they have any. Email me at wsn@mtit.com

 

Ask Our Readers - Need good PDF compression software (new question)

A systems administrator named Susan in Minnesota, USA sent us the following question asking our readers for help:

Due to process changes in the company, we now have a lot of users scanning and saving PDF documents, and as you can imagine, they're chewing up space at a fast rate. I've been looking into options, but thought another tech might know of a good PDF compression software we could use. Something that could run as a scheduled task that I wouldn't have to babysit would be awesome. Looking for opinions and options.

If any of you readers have recommendations in this area please email us at wsn@mtit.com

 

Book Corner

>> Have you written and/or published a book you'd like us to review? Send us a free copy and we'll review it in an upcoming issue of WServerNews! For more info contact us at wsn@mtit.com

AWS: Security Best Practices on AWS (Packt)

This new title from Packt Publishing takes you end to end on how to secure your AWS environment. Each chapter deals with a major aspect of AWS security such as securing the components of your AWS virtual private cloud (VPC); securing your data stored in Amazon S3, EBS, Glacier and other AWS data storage services; securing your virtual server instances running in Amazon EC2; and securing your applications running in AWS. The book focuses throughout on best practices for AWS security and the final chapter zeros in on this to summarize these practices. The book is not for beginners and assumes you already have some familiarity with AWS. The Preface also says a working knowledge of Linux is assumed, but in my read-through I didn't see any real need for this. But you do need a good understanding of computer networking and cloud computing in general and the basics of AWS architecture in particular to benefit from security practices described in the book. That's because the author's writing is concise and somewhat dry, which makes it useful for readers already knowledgeable about cloud computing but somewhat difficult to follow for those who are still trying to grasp how all the various AWS components interrelate. One tip I found useful based on my own experience using AWS is how the author recommends you always leave the default VPC unconfigured and create a new VPC from scratch (the steps are provided for doing this). I suspect that many of the AWS data breaches reported recently in the media are a result of not adhering to this best practice. All in all this is a very good book for those who already have some familiarity with AWS and want to learn more so they can ensure their AWS environments are safe and secure. You can purchase this book in digital and/or electronic form directly from the Packt website here:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/tw24du5j/



Factoid - Does rebranding have any value?

Last week's factoid and question  was this:

Fact: Which in your opinion is the best online translation web page?

Question: When was the last time you saw a real old-fashioned mainframe computer? And when was the last time you used one?

A reader named Allan responded to this as follows:

Hi Mitch, if your looking for a very good translation service and your subscribed to Office 365, you need not look any further, for built into Word, Excel and Power Point you have the ability to translate a word, cell or entire document in a couple of steps as outlined in this article.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/qin77uus/

A translation from English to Traditional Chinese I tried had a 95% accuracy with only a few tweaks required.

OK but that's basically Microsoft Translator with different clothes on. I guess my question is which online translator (Microsoft vs Google vs ???) does the best job overall. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Email me at wsn@mtit.com

Meanwhile let's move on to this week's factoid:

Fact: Microsoft seems to be rebranding Office 365 as Microsoft 365.

Source: Go to the Office 365 Login page and select Office Blog under Resources in the menu and you'll get taken to a page that says "Welcome to the Microsoft 365 blog".

Question: Does this kind of rebranding bug you? More importantly, does rebranding help drive sales of a product or does it merely confuse and alienate customers? Share your thoughts with me on this topic by sending your comments to wsn@mtit.com

Email your answer to wsn@mtit.com

 

Conference calendar

North America

>> Got an IT conference happening in North America that you'd like to promote in our newsletter? Email us at wsn@mtit.com

Black Hat USA -- Aug 4-9 in Las Vegas, Nevada USA

http://www.wservernews.com/go/7sh7nwg1/

TechMentor -- Aug 6-10 in Redmond, Washington USA

http://www.wservernews.com/go/wxklbaqq/

SharePoint Fest -- Aug 20-24 in Seattle, Washington USA

http://www.wservernews.com/go/g2a0ve3a/

VMworld -- Aug 26-30 in Las Vegas, Nevada USA

http://www.wservernews.com/go/uxzv2p3k/

Microsoft Ignite -- September 24-28, 2018 in Orlando, Florida USA

http://www.wservernews.com/go/gazjf8nl/

IT/Dev Connections -- Oct 15-18 in Dallas, Texas USA

http://www.wservernews.com/go/gc41am7l/

 

Europe

>> Got an IT conference happening in North America that you'd like to promote in our newsletter? Email us at wsn@mtit.com

VMworld Europe -- Nov 5-8 in Barcelona, Spain

http://www.wservernews.com/go/o7th53ea/

Cybersecurity Leadership Summit -- Nov 12-14 in Berlin, Germany

http://www.wservernews.com/go/d5li13hw/

European SharePoint, Office 365 & Azure Conference -- Nov 26-29 in Copenhagen, Denmark

http://www.wservernews.com/go/qo5pp1z5/

 

Australia/Asia

>> Got an IT conference happening in Australia or Asia that you'd like to promote in our newsletter? Email us at wsn@mtit.com

No conferences listed at present.

 

New on TechGenix.com

Help corner: Timeout problems when initiating an RDP session

If your attempts at initiating a new RDP session times out, this real-life troubleshooting story may provide you with some tips on what you can do to resolve your problem.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/4pov6q6g/


Diagnostic tools and utilities to help you cure your ailing PC

Is your ailing computer making you sick? These diagnostic tools and utilities may help you find out what is wrong and nurse your poor PC back to health.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/g81xj9l4/


Cloud risk: A look at real concerns and exaggerated worries

The cloud is good. The cloud is risky. The cloud is the future. The cloud is an unproven technology. Many companies are onboard, but many are afraid to go.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/ssu7rrli/


If not now, when? Taking your IT career to the next level

Feeling stuck or bored in your job? You can stay there and be miserable or you can look for a new challenge. Here's advice from those who have made a

http://www.wservernews.com/go/0arkdx6b/


An ode to code warriors: What's it like being a software developer today?

Are you a software developer or thinking of becoming one? Let's take a look at the state of the industry today and how the skills you need to succeed

http://www.wservernews.com/go/fhet0cex/

 

Fun videos from Flixxy

Shin Lim's Unbelievable Card Tricks - Americas Got Talent 2018

Close-up magician Shin Lim surprises actress and model Olivia Munn with some of the best card tricks in America's Got Talent history:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/uici80k6/


Mind Reading Trick So Impossible It Fooled Penn And Teller

Timon Kraus fools Penn and Teller with a very cool mentalism trick involving a coin:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/lpmmdk7f/


Franky Zapata Going 100 Mph On His Flyboard Air

Franky Zapata - the inventor of the Flyboard Air - goes 103.4 mph with jet engines strapped to his feet:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/1wpx0rfz/


Vienna From An Eagle's Point Of View

Watch the spectacular 360-degree video of Vienna, Austria from the perspective of an eagle:

http://www.wservernews.com/go/06pnaunj/

 

 More articles of Interest

Cross-platform mobile app development is more viable than ever

Organizations today support such a variety of devices that they need a way to deliver apps more seamlessly. Cross-platform development is a new reality that can help. Learn more here.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/97wvtrt2/


Alexa for Business management coming to Citrix within 90 days

A look at management capabilities in Alexa for Business and Echo Devices

http://www.wservernews.com/go/aotasfgb/


Evaluate private cloud service providers in the market

Red Hat, Microsoft and VMware all provide private cloud environments that offer security and compliance, but it's important to consider other business needs, as well.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/dcl0f55s/


Desktop and mobile malware detection takes on high priority

End-user computing professionals must embrace modern Windows and mobile malware protection technologies to defend against ransomware and other attacks.

http://www.wservernews.com/go/0dnggxcm/

 

 

Need help from the IT pro community?

WServerNews goes out each week to more than 500,000 IT pro subscribers worldwide! That's a lot of expertise to tap into. Do you need help with some technical problem or are looking for expert advice on something IT-related? Ask Our Readers by emailing your problems and/or questions to us at wsn@mtit.com

 

Send us your feedback!

>> Got feedback about anything in this issue of WServerNews? Email us at wsn@mtit.com

 

WServerNews - Product of the Week

Free Tool for Monitoring Exchange Server Status & Performance 

Image

SolarWinds® Exchange Monitor is a free tool that allows users to monitor Microsoft® Exchange™ Server 2013 and 2016. Get basic information about the server’s metrics, services, and database availability group (DAG) status. Add as many Exchange Servers as you wish. Simply click the “Add Server” button and fill IP address/domain name and credentials.

Download Free Tool

WServerNews - Editors

Mitch Tulloch is Senior Editor of WServerNews and is a widely recognized expert on Windows administration, deployment and virtualization. Mitch was lead author of the bestselling Windows 7 Resource Kit and has been author or series editor for almost fifty books mostly published by Microsoft Press. Mitch is also a ten-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for his  outstanding contributions in support of the global IT pro community. Mitch owns and runs an information technology content development business based in Winnipeg, Canada. For more information see www.mtit.com.

Ingrid Tulloch is Associate Editor of WServerNews and was co-author of the Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking from Microsoft Press. Ingrid is also manages research and marketing for our content development business and has co-developed university-level courses in Information Security Management for a Masters of Business Administration program.