Exchange Server

The PowerShell Mess in the Microsoft Cloud

by Tony Redmond

PowerShell is a great way of automating common administrative Office 365 operations. That is, if you know what module to use and how to use the cmdlets in that module. Unfortunately things are a bit of a mess with too many modules and inconsistent behavior in areas like error handling. With so many development groups working on Office 365, the PowerShell situation might be inevitable, but it needs cleaning up.

Phishing Report Highlights Need for Sophisticated Anti-Malware Software

by Tony Redmond

A recent report by a security vendor says that 25% of phishing messages get by Exchange Online Protection (EOP) and arrive into Office 365 user mailboxes. This highlights the need to configure EOP properly and run multiple lines of defense. Microsoft would like you to use Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) alongside EOP. Offerings from other security vendors are also available. For better protection against phishing, you should consider something like ATP.

Exchange and the Turla LightNeuron Attack

by Tony Redmond

Turla, a Russian cyber-espionage group is reported as being behind an attack on Exchange on-premises servers that uses transport agents to capture and process messages for selected users. It's an attack vector that hasn't been seen before and raises the question of how often administrators should review transport agents active on their servers. The important point is that unless your network is compromised, hackers cannot install transport agents on Exchange servers and this attack is more theoretical than practical.

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    Office ProPlus Desktop Apps Get New Privacy Controls

    with 4 Comments by Tony Redmond

    Office ProPlus Version 1904 boasts new privacy controls and Microsoft has documented how it thinks about required and optional data collected from users. Office 365 still lacks privacy controls for the server apps. It remains to be seen if customers will be happy and consider that Microsoft has solved the GDPR issues identified in the Dutch DPIA report in November 2018.

    How Retention Impacts Office 365 Storage

    with 2 Comments by Tony Redmond

    Office 365 retention policies help organizations keep information for as long as needed. But retention consumes storage. This isn't a problem for Exchange Online, but it is for SharePoint Online, because files held in the Preservation Hold Library are charged against the tenant storage quota. This isn't a reason to not use retention policies, but you should be careful.

    Stick or Stay: Should I Upgrade to Exchange 2019?

    by Tony Redmond

    Exchange 2019 has been around for six months. It's a good time to consider if on-premises organizations should upgrade or stick with the version of Exchange they run today. Exchange 2019 is a solid release, even if Microsoft's engineering efforts are largely focused on the cloud these days. Of course, moving to Exchange Online is an option too, but perhaps not for the dedicated on-premises deployments.

    Exchange Privilege Elevation Vulnerability Addressed by Microsoft Patches

    with 3 Comments by Tony Redmond

    The recent exposure of a privilege elevation vulnerability that exists in the control Exchange has over Active Directory and EWS push notifications is fixed by cumulative updates for Exchange 2013, Exchange 2016, and Exchange 2019 and a roll-up update for Exchange 2010 SP3. These changes mark an architectural modification for Exchange, something that Microsoft is loathe to do outside major releases. Install the updates now!

    Why Exchange Transport Rules are a Good Way to Encrypt Email

    by Tony Redmond

    Exchange Online transport (mail flow) rules are a powerful way to ensure that email from Office 365 tenants to specific recipients are encrypted in a consistent manner. Using rules relieves the need for users to become involved and makes sure that email is protected in a way that recipients can read messages. It's a good way to use the protection features built into Office 365.

    Exchange 2010 Nears the End

    by Tony Redmond

    Exchange 2010 will become unsupported on January 14, 2020. It's time to decide whether to move to Office 365 or Exchange 2016/2019. Exchange 2010 was a really big and important release in the 23-year history of the product, so it's sad to see it heading to the software scrapyard.

    New OWA Makes Categories into Favorites

    by Tony Redmond

    Microsoft is still building out the new OWA (for Exchange Online) interface. One new feature is the ability to make categories into Outlook favorites. This seems like a small thing, but it's really quite useful if you make an effort to use categories. Some people will love it. Some will say "blah."