ENow Exchange & Office 365 Solutions Engine Blog (ESE)

Using Multi-Factor Authentication for Office 365

Posted by Nathan O'Bryan MVP, MCSM on Sep 27, 2016 6:05:00 AM

Multi-factor authentication has been available, at least for users with administrator roles assigned, in Office 365 since June 2013. The problem is that there is a confusing warren of options and configurations that greatly affect the MFA experience an Office 365 user will, or will not, see. In this blog post, I will explain what configurations you need and what MFA experience you will get based on those configurations.

The Problem With Office 365 MFA

I find when my customers think about MFA, they are thinking about the experience they have on a VPN, or maybe the experience when using MFA to sign into their workstations in the morning. They are thinking of protecting a “single sign-on” experience with two factor authentication.

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Topics: Office 365, MULTI-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION, Office 365 security

Advanced Security Management in Office 365 — Part 2

Posted by Vasil Michev MVP on Sep 20, 2016 3:15:08 PM

In the previous part of this series, we did a short overview of the Advanced Security Management (ASM) feature, we discussed how to enable and access it and then did a quick tour of the ASM Management portal. Now, let’s focus on working with Policies, Alerts and the Activity log.

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Topics: Security and Compliance, Office 365, Office 365 security, Office 365 security and compliance center

Advanced Security Management in Office 365 — Part 1

Posted by Vasil Michev MVP on Sep 14, 2016 12:09:08 PM

In a series of articles here on ENow’s blog over the past few months, we covered a wide variety of security and compliance-related features in Office 365. Those included improvements in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business, the Preservation policies, Azure RMS auditing, Activity Alerts and more. It only seems logical to end the series by reviewing the newest product, one that promises to take care of all your auditing needs. In this article we will take a look at the Advanced Security Management feature and introduce you to the functionalities it brings.

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Topics: Security and Compliance, Office 365, Office 365 security, Office 365 security and compliance center

Office 365 Hold Your Own Key

Posted by Nathan O'Bryan MVP, MCSM on Sep 6, 2016 5:15:40 PM

Encryption is hard. There is really no way around that fact.

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Topics: Office 365

A Practical Look at Exchange Database Internals Part 2: Transaction Logging and Recovery

Posted by Andrew Higginbotham on Aug 30, 2016 9:50:31 AM

In part 1 of this series, I discussed how to connect to the Exchange database cache and the importance of transaction logs in database transactions. In this next part, you'll learn how transaction logging and recovery work in Exchange. 

The following blog post is a trimmed-down excerpt from the e-book "Exchange Server Troubleshooting Companion."

Transaction Logging and Recovery in Exchange

Of course, there is another reason that Exchange writes transactions to the log files before being committed to the database (.edb) file. By quickly committing transactions to disk (via transaction logs), it means that the transactions exist in two locations; memory and disk. If a failure occurs that causes the Information Store to terminate unexpectedly, the most recent transactions are still available and can be replayed into the database from the transaction logs after the database is mounted and to bring the database up-to-date.

For a long time, it was recommended to place your Exchange database file (.edb) onto different spindles than your transaction logs. This is still the recommendation when only one copy of a database exists (non-DAG protected). In fact, this is not for performance reasons but to assist recovery in the event of a storage failure. Say you lost your database drive, leaving you only with the transaction logs. Technically, if you still had every transaction log present since the database was first created, you could use ESEUTIL to generate a new database and commit every transaction from the logs into it. However, this is not usually the case. People usually resort to an Exchange-Aware backup, which leads us to why an Exchange-Aware backup truncates log files. When a Full Exchange-Aware backup is performed against a database, the .edb file is copied to the backup location, as well as any transaction logs present for the database. With these files, the database can be restored and the database can be brought into a Clean Shutdown state, meaning all transactions in the logs have been committed to the .edb file and the database can be mounted. As the backup completes, it sends a command to the ESE database engine stating that any transaction logs older than a certain point can be truncated (deleted). These logs are no longer required on the Exchange server because we now possess a copy of them in the backup set.

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Topics: Exchange, MSExchange

A Practical Look at Exchange Database Internals — Part 1

Posted by Andrew Higginbotham on Aug 22, 2016 1:58:00 PM

The following blog post is a trimmed-down excerpt from the e-book "Exchange Server Troubleshooting Companion."

Exchange database internals might seem to be a complicated topic, but we’re going to briefly discuss database internals from a very practical perspective.

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Topics: Exchange, MSExchange

Upcoming Features for Skype for Business Online

Posted by Nathan O'Bryan MVP, MCSM on Aug 15, 2016 10:33:43 AM

Generally, I write about Exchange and Office 365 topics, but recently I’ve been doing more work in the Skype for Business Online area. That is still Office 365, but it’s an area I haven't paid much attention to in the past. Until the release of the E5 license with Cloud PBX, I don’t think there was a reason to pay attention to Skype for Business Online. It was really only good for IM and presence, and there was nothing to configure or set up there.

With the recent release of the Cloud PBX features, I’ve been spending a lot more time thinking about Skype for Business Online, so I figured I would start writing about it, too. In this post, I’m going to look at some of the upcoming Cloud PBX features.

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Topics: Skype, Skype for business

Activity Alerts in Office 365

Posted by Vasil Michev MVP on Aug 10, 2016 11:49:49 AM

With the ever-increasing number of services and features in Office 365, keeping up with all the changes can be a challenge. Keeping an eye on all the different ways a user can do harm, either willingly or by mistake, is not an easy task, either.

While the on-premises versions of Exchange and SharePoint do offer some form of auditing, many organizations were surprised to find out that things were quite different after their move to the cloud. There was barely any auditing in the beginning, even for tasks performed by administrators, and in other areas it was very limited. (For example, until recently, auditing owner actions was not possible in Exchange Online). It took several years for Microsoft to address those issues, but now we have a role-based, searchable, exportable, unified log across (almost) all Office 365 workloads and operations, as well as the corresponding APIs. In case you are not familiar with the unified audit log, this article is a good starting point.

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Topics: Security and Compliance, exchange online, Office 365, Office 365 security and compliance center

Get Your Top 10 Exchange 2016 Questions Answered at MS Exchange Con 2016

Posted by ENow Software on Aug 10, 2016 11:37:27 AM

As an Exchange administrator, keeping your finger on the pulse of leading business technologies can fall low on your list of priorities, especially as daily support tickets pile up. Often, admins also don't have the time or resources to spend a week at an out-of-state conference.

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Topics: MSExchange, Exchange 2016

New Features in Outlook and Exchange Online

Posted by Nathan O'Bryan MVP, MCSM on Aug 1, 2016 12:22:07 PM

Microsoft has been busy releasing features for Exchange Online over the last couple of weeks, so I thought this would be a good time to talk about three new features: Focused Inbox, Outlook Mentions and Certificate Based Authentication.

What is Focused Inbox?

Focused Inbox is a feature that came from Microsoft acquisition of Acompli in December 2014. Focused Inbox has been a part of the iOS Outlook app since it was launched shortly after Acompli was brought into Microsoft.

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Topics: exchange online, Outlook

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