Exchange Online

No Surprise That Exchange Online Uses Windows Server Core

by Tony Redmond

A recent Microsoft post contained the news that Exchange Online uses Windows Server Core. That might be news to some, but not to anyone who's been following the advice of the Exchange product group. Exchange Online doesn't use virtual servers, follows a preferred architecture, wants to reduce the potential attack surface, and extract as much CPU as possible out of its servers. All good reasons why Windows Server Core helps.

Making the Exchange – Azure Active Directory Connection More Reliable

by Tony Redmond

Microsoft posted an odd blog on September 9 to announce improvements in the relationship between Exchange Online and Azure Active Directory. Many Office 365 tenants might have ignored the post, but it's actually about a piece of important work to help the service run better. Many updates happen to Exchange Online objects that need to be replicated to Azure Active Directory and onward to other Office 365 app directories. This work means that changes show up faster, which is good, but there's a small downside to note.

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    The Magic Behind OWA Likes

    by Tony Redmond

    OWA is the only Outlook client that supports "Likes." This begs the question how OWA supports likes and where the information about likes is stored. Some probing using easily accessible tools reveals the answer. You might think that the answer only interests Office 365 Trivial Pursuit nerds, but it's actually of real interest to eDiscovery investigators.

    Is Exchange Online Threatened by Ransomware?

    with 4 Comments by Tony Redmond

    Some people worry that Exchange Online mailboxes could be compromised by ransomeware and people will be forced to pay BitCoin to decrypt their messages. It's certainly a possibility, but out-of-the-box solutions exist if you're unlucky enough to be infected. That is, if you've done the necessary up-front planning to prepare for the worst to happen.,

    Microsoft Deprecating Exchange Online’s Search-Mailbox Cmdlet

    by Tony Redmond

    Microsoft has started to flag its intention to deprecate the Search-Mailbox cmdlet. It's probably the right time to remove this cmdlet from Exchange Online because Office 365 compliance searches can serve the same purpose. At least, compliance searches can do most of what Search-Mailbox does faster. Some functionality gaps need to be filled before we can bid adieu to Search-Mailbox, but its time is coming.

    The PowerShell Mess in the Microsoft Cloud

    with 1 Comment 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.

    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?

    with 1 Comment 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.