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The Sony Hack: Vital Lessons for Microsoft Admins

windows server 2012

By: Paul Robichaux - 12/18/2014 

On November 24th, this post on Reddit announced that Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) had been hacked by a group calling itself the Guardians of Peace (GOP). Since that time, a steady stream of claims, counterclaims, data from the breach, and reports about that data has occupied both mainstream and IT-focused media. There are lots of open questions about what happened, who exactly is responsible, and what the long-term impact of the breach will be for SPE. The more important questions to ask right now, though, revolve around how to ensure that you’re not the next high-profile organization to have its security woes splashed across the front page of the New York Times and CNN.

How to Build a SCCM OSD Progress Report to Wow Your Boss - Part 3


If you haven’t read part 1 and part 2 of this article series yet I recommend you do. Reading part 1 & 2 are essential for this next part because I go over the first few steps in order to get you to this point.

How to Build a SCCM OSD Progress Report to Wow Your Boss - Part 1


Microsoft SCCM (and MDT) are great tools that provide a robust system to lay down OS images onto many clients. Once setup, SCCM admins and technicians can easily image computers all day every day without thinking about how much time and money they’re saving the company. Rather than just telling your boss you’re making progress on something like the Windows XP replacement project you’ve got going on why not give him real, hard numbers of how many devices you’ve been knocking out over the past 6 months?

How to Build a SCCM OSD Progress Report to Wow Your Boss - Part 2


If you haven’t read part 1 of this article series yet I recommend you do.
Once you’ve properly extended the SCCM hardware inventory you should now focus your attention on the clients. In order for the clients to pick up their new marching orders they will need to retrieve a new machine policy. You can either wait for this to happen naturally or force refresh a few immediately. I recommend refreshing a couple just to make sure the 2 new inventory classes you’ve created were configured correctly.

Once you refresh the machine policy on a few clients go ahead and request a hardware inventory cycle as well. If you know off hand a couple of clients you know were imaged via SCCM/MDT, use those as the initial tests as well as a couple you know were done via other methods. This way you can confirm if the imaged clients are reporting and the non-imaged clients are not.

Exchange Group Management Script


By: Adam Fowler - 12/10/2014

Email Group management is often a time consuming process. Exchange has two types of distribution groups, each with their pros and cons, and both out of the box may not be ideal for your organisation. 

The normal Distribution List has been around for a long time. It's a group that has a list of members, however has adds, moves and changes that are normally manual. This can either be a time consuming process for people to manage each time when members of lists change, and leaves along with room for human error...

How Can I Share My Knowledge With an IT Community?


By: Adam Bertram - 12/03/2014
”Doing nothing gets you nothing.” -Sean Reichle

If you're still reading by the third article in this series you have now drank the Koolaid.  You're all set on sharing your years of trials and tribulations with others in effort to make your tech community a little bit better place.  If you've never done this before you may not know where to get started and there may be some foundational work to setup before you can get going.  Let's break down the various ways you can get started from the most impactful to the least.

I Started Contributing to an IT Community and You Can Too


By: Adam Bertram - 12/03/2014

"Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success."-Henry Ford

An IT admin can encounter an automation opportunity, do some Googling around, write a Powershell script, save it to his computer and implement it without anyone ever knowing.  After the task is automated she tucks the script away in some directory on her file system never to be seen again.  That script is essentially disposable.  The IT admin has learned how to automate this task, automated it and soon forgot about it.  Does this sound typical to you?  It did to me my entire career until a little over a year ago.

I Don't Have Time To Give Back to My IT Community!


By: Adam Bertram - 12/03/2014

Give and you receive - Luke 6:38 (The Bible)

This article is second in a set of articles about participating in an IT community.  If you haven't done so already, I highly recommend you read the first article titled [The Powershell Community: Get Involved! : My Story].  It's not just for Powershell people.  It applies to anyone wanting to contribute to an online technology community.

When you contribute to an IT community it's not about you, per se. It's about what you give back but if you give back enough you will soon find out that you will receive more than you ever thought of both mentally and financially.

If you're reading this right now you're involved in IT.  You may be a junior helpdesk guy fresh out of college, a network technician/administrator or a CIO.  Wherever you are in the IT space you have a blog where you regularly share tidbits of information to your IT community of choice, right?  Well, if you don't have a blog you're at least tweeting out a paltry 140 characters at a time to your community on Twitter, right?  No?  Shame on you! Why?  Let me guess; you don't have time?  This is the worse excuse in the book!  It is the default excuse that everyone makes if they just don't want to prioritize something above watching all 5 seasons of Breaking Bad back-to-back or killing people on Call of Duty.

Microsoft Announces Skype for Business

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  • Lync and Skype Users all keep their favorite features and functionality 
  • Lync and Skype users can all communicate with each other through federated services
  • Complete unification of platforms will drive greater unified communication adoption

Back on July 10, 2014 new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella sent an email to all Microsoft employees that was published on the web for all to see.  His subject line: “Bold Ambition & Our Core

The Future of the Exchange Administrator


By: Tony Redmond - 11/13/2014

Anyone who runs an on-premises Exchange environment today would be forgiven for wondering how long their job will last, at least in its current shape. The sales pressure from Microsoft and other vendors to influence CIOs to consider moving workloads to cloud platforms increases all the time and the inevitable fear is that jobs disappear once work is transitioned.

The situation for an Exchange administrator is pretty straightforward. The company can stay with on-premises Exchange for the immediate future as Microsoft’s support policy means that Exchange 2013 will remain in extended support until 2022 while Exchange 2016, due for release in late 2015, will be supported until 2025. The same support window applies for hybrid deployments where some workload stays on-premises and some runs in the cloud. On the other hand, the company might decide to go "all in" and embrace the cloud by moving to Office 365 or another hosted Exchange solution.

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