Tips, news, and community resources for messaging admins
Pining Away for Product Coverage?
Exchange & Outlook Administrator's goal is to deliver hands-on, how-to solutions that can make your life as an Exchange Server admin a bit easier—every day. But did you know that you can also access great Exchange-related product coverage through our sister publication, Windows IT Pro? The December 2005 issue of that publication includes a vendor briefing with Shavlik Technologies (http://www.shavlik.com) regarding its antispyware product, Shavlik NetChk Spyware; a review of the Akonix Systems (http:// www.akonix.com) Akonix L7 CM5000 Appliance, which lets you restrict and monitor IM and peer-to-peer (P2P) traffic; information about the release of Zenprise (http://www.zenprise.com), a real-time, automated Exchange diagnostic solution; and the following reader contribution to What's Hot, a column that includes write-ups of readers' favorite products. (See the sidebar "Get More Online" to learn how to access the full content from all these articles.)
Jennifer Mocherman of Bryan, Ohio, has recommended ModusGate from Vircom as a product that she can't do without. She says, "I found a product that has helped tremendously with our spam problem: Vircom's ModusGate. I previously tested three other products, and ModusGate was by far the best! The program runs on its own server, so I don't have to worry about mail getting to my Exchange server. ModusGate sends every user a report in the morning to review what they have in quarantine, which saves me a lot of time because I no longer have to manage the quarantine. If a user finds an email on the report that he wants, he just clicks the recovery button and the software will release the message. ModusGate also gives users the option to add the address to their whitelist. The software does a very good job of detecting spam and has a very low false-positive rate. In addition, I can add a script to block spam that might get through. I also use ModusGate to quarantine executable attachments. Compared with the other products I tested, ModusGate did everything I needed it to without my spending a lot of time managing it."
Live from the Front Lines: Recovering from an Exchange Server Crash
Alan Sugano is president of ADS Consulting Group, which specializes in networking, custom programming, Windows .NET Framework Web development, and Microsoft SQL Server development. In the Windows IT ProUPDATE email newsletter, Alan recently covered a real-life Exchange crisis and its solution.
"About 2 weeks ago, I received a call from a client saying that a remote server in San Francisco had Microsoft Exchange Server databases that wouldn't mount. Lately, this particular server has become unstable and freezes every few weeks. The server had frozen again, and the administrator rebooted it. Although the server came up, the Exchange private and public databases refused to mount. Usually when both stores refuse to mount on a server, the problem is server-related and not necessarily related to the Exchange databases themselves. But, because this was a remote server and I wanted to get it up and running as quickly as possible, I tried to run Eseutil against both the private and public databases. Unfortunately, the databases didn't mount after running Eseutil." You can read the rest of the story online (see "Get More Online" for details).
Exchange Tip: Stop Users from Sending Forged SMTP Mail
This month's Exchange tip comes from resident Exchange expert Paul Robichaux. This tip was originally published in the November 2005 issue of Windows IT Pro.
A: The SMTP protocol was never designed to provide strong authentication. Over time, SMTP has been extended with a variety of authentication and privacy-protection mechanisms, but in your case, you need only a very simple mechanism.
Users in your organization can reach your SMTP server, so you have a couple of choices. One option is to configure the SMTP virtual servers on your Exchange systems to accept traffic only from one another. A second option is to disable anonymous SMTP on those virtual servers so that users will have to authenticate to the server before they can send their messages. However, neither measure is appropriate for the machine that handles your Internet SMTP traffic. Incoming SMTP traffic is generally anonymous, and you can't typically predict the inbound IP addresses that your server will encounter.
You might consider upgrading to Exchange Server 2003, which includes a change to the SMTP engine that prevents it from attempting to resolve the sender address to a display name for messages that are submitted anonymously. This means that if I use Telnet to submit a message ostensibly from email@example.com to a Microsoft email server, the server will leave firstname.lastname@example.org as the sender address instead of resolving the address to the display name that would typically appear. To take full advantage of this functionality, you need to educate your users to be suspicious of mail that purports to be from internal users but that contains a plain SMTP address in the From field.
Mad for Mobility
Each month, Karen Forster (editorial and strategy director of our sister publication, Windows IT Pro) surveys readers about a Microsoft technology or product, then takes readers' concerns directly to Microsoft. In the December 2005 issue of Windows IT Pro, the question is whether Exchange 2003 Service Pack 2 (SP2) and the complementary Windows Mobile 5.0 Messaging and Security Feature Pack will make Exchange competitive with Research In Motion's (RIM's) Black-Berry and other mobile solutions.
Karen tells us the results show that "zealous users like me are causing IT pros like you support headaches and making you demand better management and security tools." Find out what other admins think—and what Microsoft has to say—in Hey Microsoft!, "Can You Hear Me Now?" December 2005, InstantDoc ID 48173.