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Commentary - ActiveSync Architecture and You

Resources - Featured Thread: Partition Sizing - Outlook Tip: Enabling and Disabling Attachments New and Improved - Sync Your Palm with Outlook BCM

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==== Commentary: ActiveSync Architecture and You ==== by Paul Robichaux, News Editor, exadmin@winnetmag.com

An increasing number of people that I know are toting Motorola's MPx200 Smartphone, which is powered by the Windows Mobile OS. This nifty phone can do some valuable things, chiefly synchronize your email, calendar, and contact data wirelessly through Exchange Server 2003's ActiveSync component. I've written about Exchange ActiveSync before (see the UPDATE commentary "Improving Mobile Access to Exchange 2003," http://www.winnetmag.com/article/articleid/40674/40674.html )--and my editors will kill me if I try to turn this column into "Smartphone UPDATE"--but with ActiveSync's popularity on the upswing, I want to mention some interesting subtleties that you'll need to be aware of if you're considering using ActiveSync on your network. First (as always) is security. Exchange ActiveSync uses TCP port 443, period. There's no way to make it use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) over an alternate port, so you need to make provisions to allow SSL traffic from the Internet to the Exchange server running ActiveSync. Having SSL accelerators or termination devices (such as Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration--ISA--Server 2000 or later) in the path is fine, as long as you've properly configured those devices. If you like, you can use a self-issued certificate for SSL, but doing so will require you to install the root Certificate Authority (CA) certificate on your phones. Using a Thawte- or VeriSign-issued certificate (or one from another CA whose root certificate is preinstalled on the phones you're using) is well worth the additional expense from a life-cycle-cost standpoint. Loading certificates onto phones is a manual process and doesn't scale well. Second is segmentation. You can quickly enable or disable ActiveSync for individual users through Exchange System Manager (ESM) or by setting the value of the msExchOmaAdminWirelessEnable Active Directory (AD) attribute to 4. The latter approach works well for enabling ActiveSync access by group. Another suggestion: Set up a separate DNS name, such as wireless.mycompany.com, for your ActiveSync users. Doing so gives you the flexibility to change some aspects of your Exchange topology without breaking the users' wireless access. Fortunately, you don't have to completely move off earlier versions of Exchange to get ActiveSync for your users. Exchange 2003 is perfectly happy to use ActiveSync to serve mailboxes in a mixed-mode Exchange organization, although you will need to update the organization with Exchange 2003's schema changes. In conjunction with a separate DNS name space, using a separate server gives you an easy way to pilot ActiveSync: Add an Exchange 2003 server, publish its SSL port through your firewall, and set up a separate DNS name. The ability to get Exchange data wirelessly is becoming more and more popular, and I expect continued and widespread adoption of ActiveSync, especially as more manufacturers roll out devices that can use the feature. If you've got stories to tell--good or bad--about deploying ActiveSync in your organization, I'd love to hear them.

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==== Announcements ==== (from Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

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==== Resources ====

Featured Thread: Partition Sizing A forum reader has some questions about partition sizing in preparation for an Exchange Server 2003 deployment. To offer your advice or join the discussion, go to the following URL: http://www.winnetmag.com/forums/rd.cfm?cid=40&tid=117292

Outlook Tip: Enabling and Disabling Attachments by Sue Mosher, exadmin@turtleflock.com

Q: How can I control which attachments Outlook 2002's security feature blocks?

A: Outlook 2002 supports a Level1Remove string value in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\10.0\Outlook\Security registry subkey. If you enter a semicolon-delimited list of file extensions (e.g., url;lnk) for the Level1Remove value, users can access and save file attachments that Outlook usually blocks. However, if the value DisallowAttachmentCustomization exists in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\10.0\Outlook subkey, attempts to change to the Level1Remove value have no effect. Outlook also supports a Level1Add string value, which lets you enter a semicolon-delimited list of file extensions to add file types to the blocked list. This feature doesn't work in the release to manufacturing (RTM) version of Outlook 2002, but Microsoft Office XP Service Pack 1 (SP1) restores the functionality. For more information about these changes, see the Microsoft articles "OL2002: The 'Level1Add' Registry Key Is Missing from Outlook 2002" ( http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=312834 ) and "OL2002: You Cannot Open Attachments" ( http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=290497 ). Before you implement any registry changes, I recommend that you read any relevant Microsoft articles, back up the registry, and test thoroughly. You can also use administrative tools to control attachment blocking. The Outlook 2002 security form includes an option that lets you stop users from customizing attachment security settings. You can also use a policy to prevent users from customizing attachment blocking. For more information about these tools, see Outlook Tips & Techniques, September 2000, http://www.winnetmag.com/article/articleid/9581/9581.html . See the Windows & .NET Magazine Exchange & Outlook Web page for more great tips. http://www.winnetmag.com/microsoftexchangeoutlook

==== Events Central ==== (A complete Web and live events directory brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine: http://www.winnetmag.com/events )

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==== New and Improved ==== by Carolyn Mader, products@winnetmag.com

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