Book Topics

Last year Dave Stork and I released our first book Practical PowerShell Exchange Server 2016. We even updated the book with 100 pages of new content in a Second Edition that was released on October. Now we are soon to release our book that has been completely retooled to focus on Exchange Online and its nuances as there are quite a few things different between Exchange on-premises and Exchange Online. That book is due out next month!

In addition to that, we are working with other authors to bring forth more books on PowerShell and they will focus mainly on Office 365. I wanted to put a poll up on my site to see what topics you, the reader, would be interested in see a book on PowerShell focus on. Please take a look below and provide me your honest feedback. Up to three answers are allowed. Thank you in advance for your feedback:


Public Certificates Changing to Two Year Maximum Renewal Period

In case you have not heard, if you have an SSL certificate that expires within the next month or if you purchase a new certificate, the maximum interval between renewing the certificate will be reduced to two years (plus a renewal interval). Why was this change made? The change was decided in the CA/B Forum. You can read what DigiCert published HERE.

Impact – How does this change actually affect the IT community/Corporations?

If you have a public facing server or any server internally that uses a SSL certificate from a Public CA, then after March 1, 2018, this will affect how you renew your certificate. Instead of having options to renew the certificate for a longer period such as 3, 4 or 5 years, you will instead be limited to a period of 825 days. This corresponds to two years and a few days buffer for renewing the certificate and replacing the certificate on the server.

Now, not every certificate will be affected. Some servers already have two-year certificates on them. So if you are accustomed to using two-year certificates, the you will simply get a few more days with which to renew your certificate. Your impact will be low. For those using longer certificates, then you will need to adjust your renewal process to 2 years (or 825 days).

Like the change from SHA-1 to SHA-2, the reduction in renewal period should help shore up the security expected in Pubic CA issues SSL certificates. By reducing the time to 825 days from 39 months, certificates have a smaller window in which they could be compromised and exploited. After March 1, 2018 (and earlier for some!) you will be restricted to two years or less for your renewal period. Keep this in mind the next time you need to renew a Public certificate.

Exchange Install Disappears?

Just this week I was updating a client from Exchange 2013 CU6 to CU19. Yes, this is not a great idea and takes a bit of effort in order to do. However, I’ve done more upgrades and installs of Exchange CUs that I can count. This one was strange. One of three servers was up to date and I was in the process of now upgrading the second node of a DAG. The server was in maintenance mode with all the transport queues drained and databases mounted on other servers. It was time to upgrade. However, we had one glitch. After the Check for Updates screen, the installation would disappear…. and not come back. This issue occurred on the Cumulative Update 15 installation.
The install process disappears after the update screen (shown below):
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Office 365 Admin – Mobile App

Just under three years ago I wrote about the Office 365 Admin app and what I thought of its operation on my Windows phone. Since those days, the app has changed drastically and the UI operation is much different from it was back then:

The newer one appears to be more in line with the current look of Office 365, which you would expect as the styling of Office 365 has changes in those two and a half years.
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Quick PowerShell Stuff 23

When it comes to PowerShell and Office 365 one thing is for sure, change is constant. Nothing can be more revealing that looking at some of the new cmdlets that are appearing in the various workloads for Office 365. For this article, we are covering a series of cmdlets that were released on Jan. 16, 2018 for Exchange Online. These cmdlets are all centered around the new ‘Client Access Rule’ concept:


Microsoft documentation on this feature:
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Quick PowerShell Stuff 22

This Quick PowerShell blog article will cover how to test that a server can receive a remote PowerShell request (like Invoke-Command), how to add this ability an at the end remove the changes if need be as well. The reason I wrote this code is that I am in the process of creating health check scripts that sometimes need to run code locally on a server because the code cannot be executed remotely. An example of this would be using PowerShell to run the various BPA PowerShell cmdlets. These need to be executed locally on a server to get the proper BPA to run and leave results to be collected later. As such, PowerShell needs to invoke cmdlets on the remote server.
I wrote a script to gather Event Log data and posted it here – Quick PowerShell Stuff 17. That script would fail if WinRM or remote PowerShell sessions were not allowed to connect to a Domain Controller for example. What I needed was a more automatic way to fix this as I am now automating my health check data collection process.
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GDPR and Secure Score

What a great way to start off the new year…. an article on Office 365 and new regulations coming before mid-year 2018.
For my past two blog articles I’ve covered quite a bit of details on what Secure Score can offer you and your Office 365 tenant. What I wanted to do for this article is tie this in with the new and upcoming regulation called GDPR. GDRP stands for General Data Protection Regulation. The regulation initiative was passed by the EU in April of 2016 and it goes into effect on May 18, 2018. The regulation is not solely for companies in the EU, but is intended to protect personal data for people in the EU. This means that if you have customers in the EU or have dealings with the EU, GDPR will affect you.
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