-------| Exchange & Outlook UPDATE |-------

IN THIS ISSUE
*Commentary: The Legal Implications of RBLs
*Virtual Event: SharePoint Pro Online—LIVE!
*Exchanging Ideas: Better OWA Attachment Security
*New and Improved: Sherpa Software Increases Efficiency While Archiving Email

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Email Is Down: Now You're Out of Compliance!
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***COMMENTARY: The Legal Implications of RBLs
by Paul Robichaux, Exchange Editor, exadmin@windowsitpro.com

Sometimes it's hard to find a good topic to write about for the UPDATE; other times, something just jumps out at me and I almost can't help writing about it. This week's column is the result of the latter: A respected legal scholar, Jonathan I. Ezor, has written an interesting paper that covers the legal implications of Realtime Blackhole Lists (RBLs). The paper, "Busting Blocks: Appropriate Legal Remedies for Wrongful Inclusion in Spam Filters Under U.S. Law," (http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=944551) is interesting to Exchange administrators for several reasons, not least that Professor Ezor "argues for a higher standard of care among block list vendors"—something that an administrator for any mistakenly blocked business would no doubt welcome.

The paper begins by defining spam and presenting a brief history; it's probably safe to say that most UPDATE readers can skip that part. Ezor goes on to discuss the Internet tradition of finding self-policing technical solutions to behavioral problems whenever possible, and he places RBLs in this tradition. However, as with many other self-regulated environments, there's no guarantee that all the involved parties will either follow the regulations or act reasonably in the context of the environment. Thus we've seen a rise in litigation involving RBLs, including several companies who have sued claiming that they were wrongly added to a list. (My own ISP, Buckeye Express, has filed such a suit, but it's still pending.)

Ezor explains that entities wrongly added to an RBL have sued for defamation, "intentional interference with prospective business relationships" (which is just about what it sounds like), restraint of trade, and a variety of other grievances. There's no doubt that when your server's IP address is added to a blacklist, you'll have trouble exchanging legitimate email with other organizations; the only real questions are how fast you'll figure out what the problem is and how fast you can fix it. Filing suit is certainly an extreme measure, but some RBL providers take a surprisingly casual approach to fixing mistakes. Clearly the good professor is on to something when he says, "For the sender, though, the consequences \[of a mistake\] can be severe, and without the ability to use the courts to force a change, the sender may have little recourse."

Instead of spamming the courts with litigation, Ezor proposes an alternative solution:

  • RBL vendors should use objective standards to decide who they add to their lists.
  • Senders who complain should be automatically delisted unless there's proof that they're spammers.
  • RBLs should list the IP address of only the offending sender, not another party who might benefit from the message (such as the advertiser whose product is being touted).
  • Providers should "be held to professional standards of conduct, including objectivity, reasonable care, and (to the extent their activities cause harm) accountability."

This is a pretty strong set of suggestions, especially the last one. The Internet, and the IT world in general, has a long history of trouble with the idea that "professional standards of conduct" should apply. It doesn't seem likely that RBL providers (many of which are operated by volunteers) who have historically refused to apply these standards will suddenly start doing so unless someone makes them, and in that case the cure might be worse than the disease.

However, it's an interesting argument, particularly in light of the complaints I've been hearing from administrators who have been incorrectly added to blacklists. What do you think? Would you be willing to pay a fee to subscribe to an RBL service if you could find one that followed these recommendations? Drop me a note and let me know.

One last reminder: This is the final week to submit proposals for the spring 2007 Exchange Connections show, which will be held April 1–4 at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando, Florida. If you're interested in speaking or would like to see particular sessions presented, drop me a note at connections@robichaux.net. (Note that this address is different from my regular email address.)

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***VIRTUAL EVENT

SharePoint Pro Online—LIVE! will be a premier virtual event for developers and administrators of SharePoint products and technologies. Brought to you by MSD2D and the Windows IT Media Community, this event will demonstrate, showcase, and exhibit the premier companies in the SharePoint market. The conference will bring industry experts to the desktops of attendees, educating them on various SharePoint topics.

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***EXCHANGING IDEAS

Focus: Better OWA Attachment Security

Remote users love OWA. You'll love these tips that limit the risks.
OWA is a handy tool for remote users, but its attachment handling leaves networks vulnerable to malicious code and intruders. Here are some tips to reduce the risks.
http://www.windowsitpro.com/Article/ArticleID/93000/93000.html

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Have a question? Got answers? Join your peers in the Exchange discussion forums:
http://forums.windowsitpro.com/web/forum/categories.aspx?catid=40&entercat=y
Current Threads:
Estimating message volume
Change data fields in PST
Backing Up Exchange: What to Do?

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Don't forget to sound off in our Instant Poll. This month's question is "Which topic will be most important to you in 2007?"
http://www.windowsitpro.com/MicrosoftExchangeOutlook/Index.cfm

~~~~ Hot Spot: ~~~~

Email is Down: Now You're Out of Compliance!

An Executive Guide to Avoiding the Unexpected and Harmful Effects of Email Outages
When your email systems go down, do your employees stop communicating? Of course not—they find alternate methods—which may not be compliant with your messaging regulations. Download this free Executive Guide to discover the impact of email outages on compliance and provides methods for establishing continuity in your corporate messaging environment.
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***NEW AND IMPROVED
by Blake Eno, products@windowsitpro.com

Sherpa Software Increases Efficiency While Archiving Email
Sherpa Software announced updates to its email archive solution, Archive Attender for Microsoft Exchange, to reduce the time and increase efficiency while using this solution. Archive Attender 3.0 introduces a new, simplified architecture that, according to Sherpa Software, can be installed and up and running in less than 15 minutes. This is due to the product's limited reliance on Microsoft components and its ability to monitor and configure settings within the OS. Additionally, Archive Attender requires no additional database or hardware requirements. The software can process tasks on multiple mailboxes simultaneously and can query Active Directory (AD) to target your archive policies. For more information, contact Sherpa Software at 412-206-0005 or 800-255-5155.
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Wanted: your reviews of products you've tested and used in production. Share your experiences and ratings of products to "whatshot@windowsitpro.com" and get a Best Buy gift certificate.

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***EVENTS AND RESOURCES

These Windows-related events, papers, and resources will help you keep your knowledge and skills up to date and help you deploy, secure, and maintain the latest Exchange- and Windows-related technologies. For more Exchange related resources, visit
http://www.windowsitpro.com/go/exchangeresources

The Event log (for Windows systems) and Syslog (for UNIX/Linux systems) contain a wealth of information. In this free Web seminar, you'll learn about the processes, challenges, and benefits of consolidating events on a centralized server and we'll identify the 50 critical events that should be monitored in your enterprise. Live Web seminar: Wednesday, December 13
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When disaster strikes, do you feel like you're digging for buried treasure to recover your data? Test your disaster recovery skills, and you could win! Each week we'll give away a USB flash drive to one lucky treasure hunter. You'll also be entered to win the full treasure chest, including Bose headphones! Test your skills now!
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Learn the basics of Linux and Windows interoperability, and find out more about how to use Linux and open-source tools such as Samba and pam_ldap with Microsoft tools such as IdMU, MSNFS, and SUA. Register today for this free seminar with industry expert Dustin Puryear, and get access to three additional seminars discussing virtualization, single sign-on, and database replication. Find out more today! Live event: Thursday, December 14
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Incorporate Virtual Machines into Your Disaster Recovery Plan
Join us for a free Web seminar to learn how incorporating virtual machines into your disaster recovery plan can reduce your TCO by 50 percent or more, reduce hardware cost, and simplify management. Find out more from industry leaders at VMware and CA XOsoft. Available now!
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You know you need to manage your email data, but how to do it? What steps should you take? What additional measures should you enact? What shouldn't you do? Get answers to these questions and get control of your vital messaging data. Download the free eBook today!
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