Keeping Your Organization Secure with a Remote Workforce

Thursday, March 26, 2020

I wrote an article with security tips for admins, users, and organizations who are now working in the "new normal" - working from home. You can read it now on Enow Software's ESE Blog here.

If you or your organization need help setting up remote access solutions, you can reach out to me at EXPTA Consulting.

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Make a clickable link for Teams chat in Outlook or a website

Friday, February 7, 2020

Here's a handy tip on how to make a one-click link that opens a Teams chat to you or someone else.

Simply use the following URL for the hyperlink:
For example, I use a  Teams icon in my Outlook signature that opens a Teams chat to me.

The link will open a web page where the user will sign-in with their Microsoft account. If the Teams app is installed on the client's computer, the web page will offer to open the chat in the Teams client, otherwise they can use the Teams web browser experience.

Teams launcher in browser

Teams chat in a browser

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'Hybrid Configuration Service may be limited' error in HCW

Wednesday, February 5, 2020
You may see the following error in the Exchange Hybrid Configuration Wizard saying:
Note: Hybrid Configuration Service may be limited

If you examine the HCW logs you will see the following errors:

2020.02.05 18:52:00.006         10265 [Client=UX, Page=Credentials, Thread=1] START via Next
2020.02.05 18:52:22.992         10306 [Client=UX, ValidateHybridServiceRequest=StandaloneHCWGetClientNetInfoCommand, Thread=1] START
2020.02.05 18:52:23.789 *ERROR* 10308 [Client=UX, ValidateHybridServiceRequest=StandaloneHCWGetClientNetInfoCommand, Thread=1]
                                      FINISH Time=797.0ms Results=System.Net.WebException: The remote name could not be resolved: ''
                                         at System.Net.HttpWebRequest.GetRequestStream(TransportContext& context)
                                         at System.Net.HttpWebRequest.GetRequestStream()
                                         at Microsoft.Online.CSE.Hybrid.Provider.HybridConfigurationService.HttpClientProvider.Client.Microsoft.Online.CSE.Hybrid.Provider.HybridConfigurationService.IHttpClient.ValidatePostRequest(String requestUri, StringContent content)
                                         at Microsoft.Online.CSE.Hybrid.Provider.HybridConfigurationService.HybridConfigurationService.ValidateHybridServiceRequest(ServiceRequest request)
2020.02.05 18:52:23.852 *ERROR* 10309 [Client=UX, Thread=1] HCW8108 Hybrid Configuration Service may be limited.
If you do an NSLOOKUP on you'll see that it resolves to in DNS.

I reached out to Office 365 support and was told that the endpoint is deprecated and is no longer being used. An update will be coming out soon for the HCW.

I also confirmed that running the HCW completes without error.

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Progress on syncing Outlook signatures

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Microsoft is finally making progress on storing your Outlook signature in the cloud. Strong emphasis on "cloud" -- I don't expect this to come to Exchange Server on-premises anytime soon, if at all.

Unifying the Outlook signature experience so users don't need to setup their signature every time they use a new device is the number 1 most voted request in UserVoice.

According to this Microsoft 365 Roadmap notice, we should start seeing it in February 2020!

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How to Block Self-Service Purchases in Microsoft 365

Thursday, November 21, 2019
On October 23, Microsoft announced that they were going to introduce self-service purchase options for Microsoft 365 users on November 19, 2019. Microsoft says this was "due to customer demand," but I don't know a single customer that has EVER asked for this. <snarkymode>It was likely cooked up by someone at Microsoft who thought this would be an excellent way to boost adoption and help make their revenue targets.</snarkymode>

After getting a ton of REAL feedback from customers, Microsoft decided to delay implementation of this change till January 2020 and, more importantly, give tenant administrators a way to turn it off ahead of time. While this opt-out model is welcome, I believe an opt-in model is more appropriate. Organizations should be in control of their corporate data by default.

Fellow MVP Michel de Rooij wrote an article for the Enow ESE Blog explaining how to block self-service purchases. It only takes a few minutes to read and implement. Do it now or spend a lot more time explaining why you didn't do it later.
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Recap of Microsoft Ignite 2019

Friday, November 15, 2019
I had a GREAT time at Microsoft Ignite 2019 in Orlando! I hope you were able to attend or at least catch some of the online sessions that were streamed in real-time.

One of the big highlights for me this week was attending the ENow VIP dinner where I sat between Greg Taylor (Exchange Marketing Lead extraordinaire) and Jeffrey Snover (the father of PowerShell).

I was very pleased to see how many people made the trek to Theater 9 to see my two sessions, "Reading SMTP Headers Like a Boss" (please ignore the fact that they got the photo wrong - I have no idea who that is) and "Twenty minutes to a secure environment".

Please read my recap of Microsoft Ignite 2019 on the ENow ESE Blog and learn about some significant improvements coming to Exchange Online.

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Come see me at @MSIgnite in Orlando!

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

I'm pleased to be speaking at Microsoft Ignite in Orlando next week. This will be a fabulous conference with lots of fantastic content!

BRK3145: IT burnout - the state of the industry panel (45 minute breakout)
Have you been working non-stop and never taking a break? Do you go on vacation, but still find yourself working? Does your leadership expect you to be available all the time even when you are not on-call? Do you go home, answering email in between all of the family things going on that evening? Are you truly present in all the things you do?
Recently, our team conducted a survey about IT burnout to get a real sense of how IT professionals are functioning and managing their personal well-being. We learned some interesting things that will surprise you, and have some statistics you won't want to miss.  Join me and a panel of MVPs to have a discussion on this tough topic.
Session ID: 78641
When: OCCC W224 F-H
Where: Tuesday 10:15-11:00am

THR3033: Reading SMTP headers like a boss (20 minute theater session)
Learn how to read SMTP headers for fun and profit! In this demo-tastic session, learn how to read SMTP headers to troubleshoot mail flow, SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. Also, see some of the online tools available to analyze headers and turn you into an SMTP rock star.
Session ID: 78655
When: Thursday 11:30-11:50am
Where: The Hub - Theater 9

THR3034: Twenty minutes to a secure environment (20 minute theater session)
Legacy authentication is an attacker's best friend. Learn how to secure your environment using modern authentication in the cloud and hybrid modern authentication for on-premises. Then, learn how to turn off legacy authentication in your Microsoft 365 and Exchange 2019 environments to keep the bad guys out!
Session ID: 78663 
When: Friday 12:05-12:25pm
Where: The Hub - Theater 9

In addition to my sessions you'll find me at the Exchange booth on the expo floor and at various Exchange and identity sessions throughout the week. I hope you'll come to these great sessions and say hi!

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