Announcements – ExchangeDefender Blog

January 31, 2018

Client Support – Can’t someone else do it?

Filed under: Announcements,ExchangeDefender,Support — vlad @ 10:10 am

On February 1st, ExchangeDefender will officially start providing end user support for all email issues related to our platform. For our many partners and resellers this means that we will, under your name and brand, take and place calls and help your clients solve email problems. At no additional cost, across our entire Pro line of services: ExchangeDefender Pro, Exchange Pro, Compliance, and Encryption.

It just makes sense. Our entire service lifecycle is structured around ITIL, integrates into our partners support infrastructure seamlessly, is covered by our SOC1 and SOC2 audits, comes with advanced reporting, security/id, session and call recording… and a lot more that we cannot publicly disclose. But if you join me:

Wednesday, February 7th, Noon Eastern
Click here for the NDA & Instructions

This is going to be one of the denser webinars we’ve ever put together and the audience includes everyone from management down to helpdesk – what I have on deck is a layout of our service model, our scope, our escalation policies, our compliance protocol, authentication and validation service, etc. Consistency in this service is key so winging it or improvising isn’t an option.

-Vlad

P.S. I encourage you to check this thing out live. If you think this will be a service you offer down the road, this webinar (minus the Q&A) will be required viewing and the software will track attentiveness so if you even mildly care, I’d tune in or make someone at the office watch it.


December 20, 2017

Upcoming Service Changes

Filed under: Announcements,Development,ExchangeDefender,Shockey Monkey — vlad @ 9:21 am

We have some cool new stuff going live before New Years that you need to be aware of. It’s been a very busy season for every elf in the workshop so we’re taking some time off after Christmas, please read below I promise it’s important.

Encryption

This service continues to be our focus as we bring up massive changes to UI across the product line and Compliance stuff in general for one simple reason – it’s in heaviest demand. If you aren’t building a business on it, we should talk. In the meantime, we have a huge facelift to the Encryption Notifications.

Gmail - Browser - New MessageGmail - Browser - Message Receipt

Now I don’t know about you but our old encrypted mail notifications looked more like a Nigerian Prince scam than legitimate business notifications. We now have beautiful HTML/txt email notifications for the entire notification chain and of course your colors and your logo will be front and center. After the ExchangeDefender UI upgrade is complete, this branding will be customizable down to the domain-level so that recipients can identify the organization directly instead of the MSP/VAR/reseller. Mobile looks pretty good too.

Gmail - Phone - Message Receipt

We have some new stuff happening with reporting, audit and log control that’s coming to the Compliance Officer section of ExchangeDefender launching in early 2018. If you have any feature requests, we’d love to hear them.

P.S. We know, we know, you want to send attachments through portal replies. It’s in the works. In the meantime, Web File Sharing does this stuff safely, securely and with a ton more compliance flexibility.

Fake / Vanity / Service Accounts

If you have fake, vanity, group, service, dog and generally non-person accounts in our support portal, they will be suspended next week.

We’ve announced this change several times this year and it’s going live next Wednesday. The reason is long and boring but it showed up in our numerous audits that looked at the our change control, service order and change mechanisms… and long story short, we nearly flunked it because you cannot have unidentified personnel change control of service records. Ooops.

Now I know, I know, I hear you… “But Vlad, business case scenario, my techs all need to see the upda..”I know. And we have already solved that problem. If you have an engineering team that works as a group and all of them need to get updates when one person makes a change or request, we have a policy driven system in place to handle notifications. If you go to your company and edit company details you will see the following at the bottom:

notifyall

Put any email, distribution list, PF address, etc there and every update, order, notification or (insert reason for having a vanity account) will be copied automatically. You can also check the box if you don’t want admin-level updates being sent to the group account. If you do, you will see a new checkbox on every ticket update (Admin CC) that will allow you to manually forward ticket updates for that specific ticket to your group.

Chat

While I have you on that page disabling vanity accounts (click on your profile and write down your PIN somewhere), we are going a step further in terms of support. As I mentioned on many webinars this year, our product and our service is going to get a lot more chatty and user-oriented. No, we’re not going direct or trying to cut you out of the food chain but the reality is that in order for us (and you) to be more valuable to our clients we need to communicate faster to our users when there are issues. Hence the changes to support, additional services for support handling, more features for notifications and upgrades to all the UIs and so on. One new addition that is already live is our public chat – it’s available on every page at ExchangeDefender.com in the lower right hand corner.
image

Tapping this button will launch a live chat and my entire company (myself included) is available on it and can be pulled in on demand. If you use your email address AND your PIN, my staff will be able to help you as if you were logged into the support system and opening a ticket. They won’t make service changes for you (see above about SOC1 & SOC2 audits) but everything else will be the same as opening a ticket.

Google Suite / Gmail Compliance Archiving..

Finally, yes we’re now providing Compliance Archiving for people on the Google business mail platform. We’ve tested and certified on the Google G Suite Business Solution ($10 and up, it should also work with the $5 one)

Reoccuring Invoices

Finally, a bit of a bugfix (with some additional functionality) that should help with billing. Many of you use our Shockey Monkey platform to manage accounts, users and to do reoccuring billing. After the system upgrade to PHP7 our infrastructure for reoccuring invoicing didn’t allow for changes to reoccuring invoices (oops) so we’ve had to go back and not just fix the issue but add more flexibility to it. Here is the new look:

image

The new Last Time Generated field allows you to reset the clock so to speak and rerun any invoices you may have skipped.  This is very much a temporary fix but we’ve had a lot of good feedback from folks that aren’t on top of their billing that this new feature helps solve those problems so it’s staying. Lot’s of new stuff on the SM front in 2018.

2017

We hope you had a great one. For us, it’s been a rather arduous rebuilding year that has seen us make massive upgrades to our infrastructure, redesign of our data centers, upgrades to backoffice stuff, dropping a lot of vendors that weren’t up to the challenge and while I wouldn’t wish this kind of workload on any of you, I’m really in love with what we’ve been able to do this year and all the opportunities it now opens for us and for our partners. While losing some flexibility has certainly cost us some business, it has brought a lot of predictability and stability across the board. While outright replacing a lot of gear and subsystems was really painful, everything that we’ve redone has reduced our problems and issues to a nil. And while all of this has been rough at times, sticking with the process, standards, audits and the way we run the business has brought a new level of resilience and optimism that I haven’t seen here in a long time. I don’t recommend it, but the results are incredible.

With that, I’m confident that everything we have in the works now will make everyone we serve far better off in 2018. Next few years are going to be amazing as we bridge that gap between the old world of email, compliance and encryption with the new world of on-demand service and realtime communications.


November 17, 2017

New Corporate Encryption

Filed under: Announcements,ExchangeDefender — vlad @ 2:13 pm

It has been a while since we’ve upgraded the ExchangeDefender UI but as you’ve seen with our other products and services, we’ve got something big coming over the next quarter: redo of all of our web interfaces to be more responsive and more useful. We’re starting with Encryption simply because it’s our most popular service. Allow me to unpack this upgrade as it’s a lot more comprehensive than it seems.

Login Screen

First thing you’ll notice is that ExchangeDefender will begin integration with 2FA/OTP for an additional layer of security. Two factor authentication, one time / disposable passwords, security tokens and so forth allow the users to login and use the service only if they have their password as well as a company issues OTP device. If your users tend to use the same password on multiple sites or like weak passwords that they never change please give us a call and let us set you up with a device.

On the exact opposite spectrum of concern, there are recipients of encrypted messages that generally don’t want to provide their email, name, etc or fill out long forms. For sites that interact with third party recipients (Encryption, Web File Sharing, Local Cloud, etc) we’ll now allow social media authentication as a login.

Inside the product itself you will find a fully functional email client with a responsive interface that quickly loads data without page refresh or long delays.

Inbox Screen - 1

Since we have so many clients that actually live inside these interfaces and do bulk of their work there, we even have a lighter mode that hides a lot of the navigation and branding and helps you preserve some screen real estate.

Inbox Screen - 2

We’ve made massive improvements to the functionality of the product as well. With so many of our encryption clients (and corporate clients) demanding a more functional email experience we’ve decided to eliminate Outlook and Gmail from the equation entirely. With the new encryption product you’ll be able to send emails, attachments, respond, forward messages and print from the site directly.

Reply Screen

All these features are coming next week but we’re far from over: our Enterprise Encryption is getting a massive facelift as well. You’ll soon be able to create a full Compliance and Policy manager role that will be able to inspect and report on what is going through the encryption system. You’ll also be able to create specific encryption policies that will help route messages within the organization for manager approval, HR screening (man-in-the-middle role), content traps and much more very soon.

We hope you like it.. because it’s coming to the entire ExchangeDefender / Shockey Monkey universe. Our more ambitious goal is to build an entire application suite where organizations can more effectively manage their mail flow securely but also turn it into an actionable and accountable platform that doesn’t obsess with “inbox zero” and anxiety over email overload. The future looks bright.

Sincerely,

Vlad Mazek
CEO
ExchangeDefender


November 3, 2017

Remaining Relevant In Email Security

Filed under: Announcements,ExchangeDefender — vlad @ 5:28 am

Sometimes perspective matters. Allow me to offer you mine as the CEO of ExchangeDefender.

Last week we held a huge webinar to announce the biggest addition to our business in over a decade. One that will see our business grow exponentially over the next few years. The response from the people that have attended the webinar has been fantastic. But if we’re being honest, we had more partners apologize for not being able to attend the webinar and ask for the recording than we had in attendance for the webinar. As always, we provide a direct link to it a few days after the event but this time we did something different.

Recognizing that our partners are swamped and busy running their business, we went a few extra steps. We called every single attendee that came to the webinar. Less than 5% answered the phone or returned the voicemail. We shot a quick 5 minute video to summarize the content of the webinar for people that are too busy. We created flyers.

Today I wrote up a bullet list summary of our webinar, again for everyone’s convenience, but I buried the big announcement as a single line bullet point half the way through the writeup and asked the marketing department to use half the newsletter to highlight our marketing and advertising efforts.

Why?

I have no doubt our new support service will be a smash hit. In fact, we’ve already been overwhelmed with the response to it. Not only will it make partners that offer these services instantly more profitable (because we’re doing the work) but it will open up a marketplace for partners that didn’t have an expertise in email security, compliance, encryption and other “real business concerns” a venue to provide the service now that someone else is going to stand behind it. I’m not worried about us, we’re doing great.

I am, however, worried about many of you. I totally understand not being able to get to a webinar, an hour is too much to ask. But if you can’t answer the phone or return a voicemail.. what are you doing to give yourself a chance to grow a business? If you’re too busy to answer the phone or see what the vendor you already work with can do to make you more effective and profitable, how are you going to implement and promote those solutions that are designed to help you? If you’re too busy with work to actually improve your work and to make it profitable, then how do you grow? How do you improve your odds to survive and thrive in an environment where big players are working tirelessly to eliminate and displace you? How do you learn about delivering the new services clients need and how do you talk to them before someone else reaches them?

We owe our business to our partners. Loyalty is a pretty big thing for me personally because I’m here thanks to the thousands of people that chose to trust us. Our business responsibility is to have your best interest in mind.

And with that, I wanted to highlight marketing. The IT world is changing and the concerns businesses face with their technology are going beyond uptime and reliability. I have assembled a great team at ExchangeDefender not just to help you deliver these services but to educate you and to help you promote that service to the business community you serve. Helping you double profits on our services next year is a short term goal. Making sure you remain relevant, profitable and successful 3-5 years from now – that’s where my mind is at.

-Vlad

P.S. I don’t mean to criticize anyone; I understand the time is scarce and you have a million webinars, phone calls, emails, voicemails and social media notifications. You know best how to spend your time and the last thing on my mind is trying to offend or guilt you about not attending the webinar – if you read this that way I apologize and I hope you give it another shot. Truth is, we track this stuff: partners that show up for our webinars, that take the time to consider the solutions and work with us to implement them do 23x better financially a year out (from Aug 2016 to Aug 2017) than those that don’t show up or answer the phone. Those are the numbers I know and the numbers I can track. I want that kind of success for all my partners. I have no doubt we’ll be killing it with support next year – but I feel like my responsibility to you, to all of our partners, is to help you grow. And I can do that much better through marketing efforts than we are doing right now. Hence the highlight.


September 8, 2017

Schedule and SLA during Hurricane Irma

Filed under: Alerts,Announcements — vlad @ 11:02 pm

As many of you know, ExchangeDefender HQ is in Orlando, FL and as of noon today that office is closed until further notice. As of the latest hurricane projection, Orlando is likely facing the worst case scenario of being in the NE quadrant very close to the eye of the storm that will roll over the county next to us. Best case scenario, we will be returning to our Orlando offices on Tuesday, Septembrer 12th. Our capacity at that point is obviously questionable because roads, infrastructure and staff may be impacted.

ExchangeDefender is a global business and we have made several contingency plans and do not expect any interruption to our services. Although the majority of our staff is in Florida, we don’t have a single piece of computer/network infrastructure here so the show will go on as usual. The SLA for normal support cases will still be within 4 hours, we will still answer support tickets and phone calls. You should not be able to tell the difference for ordinary issues.

Where we expect to have the most significant challenge is in the areas of projects and special “courtesy” assistance that we typically go well above and beyond the call of duty – things like exporting mail, adding accounts by hand, reaching out directly to clients on your behalf, sales engineering and proposal writing, legal advisory services, compliance officer training, marketing collateral design and event support services are highly dependant on manpower which is something we may be lacking. We will still not say no but we do hope you’ll extend us some extra patience as we go on.

I feel it is my responsibility to be honest and up front about our priority process as we go through next week. This is the typical disaster priority schedule our entire staff is briefed and drilled on but with obvious bias towards Florida and the hurricane.

1. Most important priority will be given to the US and Florida government organizations that are coordinating efforts in the disaster zone. Staff is directed to drop literally anything else they may be doing to assist them.

2. Urgent tickets, system outages and performance issues will be treated as a secondary priority.

3. Ordinary support tickets will still be resolved within the SLA 4 hour window.

We understand that any issue impacting our service is a critical issue to those unable to go about their work because of something in our realm of responsibility. We have made numerous contingencies, failover and backup plans and expect to execute the plan accordingly. We do not employ warm bodies and people that do not care – everyone that is a part of a team understads service delivery is a team effort and wants to see everything continue to work for you as flawlessly and transparently as possible. Hopefully this blog post gives you additional insight as to how we will be handling that with regards to Irma. Personally, I understand that many of our partners in Texas are reeling, that many of our partners and clients in Florida/Alabama/Georgia/Carolinas are scared and we have been working unprecedented hours to make sure everyone has their contingency and failover plans implemented, tested and documented. To everyone in the way, we’re in this together. There is no hurricane party or a 5 day weekend for us, it’s all hands on deck with that deck now spanning 4 states. We’ll get through this. We may move a bit slower than usual, but we will get through this.

Sincerely,
Vlad Mazek, CEO.


May 10, 2017

New features and events

Filed under: Announcements — vlad @ 2:24 pm

With the events at the end of April / beginning of May behind us, we’re getting back to the new features and client requests in our core products. We executed a massive upgrade to the core of the ExchangeDefender network which now gives us the capacity to start implementing more layers of protection and functionality in email. Here are some news and a request.

.US tld – Over the past month we have seen a massive and coordinated SPAM storm using .us and new extended/vanity top level domains. They all follow the same pattern: all use .us tld, all are registered with a foreign agent/contact, all have properly setup rDNS, SPF records and DKIM auth (which even few legitimate .us mail servers have) and all come within a 24 hour window until the domain and VPS the storm originated from is destroyed. One interesting catch is that they do not process or acknowledge non-delivery receipts. We’ve had an unusual spike in complaints about SPAM levels all linked to the .US tld and since May 9th, 2017 we have rolled out a new set of rules to filter this content out. We are not blacklisting the tld, legitimate mail will still pass.

TLS issues on ExchangeDefender – We have finally decomissioned the TLS v.1 / SSL v.3 protocols on our inbound network and implemented more strict SPF record checking. This means that those old, unpached servers if any are still left will be forced to either send mail in plain text or upgrade their SSL implementation.

Public Folders, Shared Mailbox, etc – What do you hate about them? This is an open ended question, please feel free to send an email to vlad@ownwebnow.com with subject “Public Folders” and tell us what you’d like to see. As you may imagine, everyone uses and manages stuff differently so we want to see what we could change in our approach and control panels to allow for this to be done easier and quicker. We have folks using Outlook to manage them, we have folks using our control panel, we still have people that try to create a folder and give the whole world access to it (bad!) so if you’ve been frustrated by what we’re currently offering or if you’d just like to see something added, we’d love to hear about it.


September 8, 2016

New ExchangeDefender Exchange Essentials

Filed under: Announcements,Hosted Services — vlad @ 11:42 am

ExchangeDefender is excited to announce a redesigned Exchange Hosting Essentials service aimed at entry level market. By providing an affordable and hassle-free way to purchase, provision and budget Exchange services we are hoping to give our partners a better way to design solutions for small business email problems.

. . .

When we first introduced Exchange Essentials a few years ago, we created an offering with cost reduction in mind, by allowing the users to compromise on support, redundancy and features in order to get the product that fit their budget. What we found out with the product matrix is that interest is primarily polar – client either demands the lowest price or the highest set of features for the buck but nothing in between. In numerous discussions with our most successful partners we’ve come up with a better plan that more closely matches the way service providers offer Exchange services within their plans.

Matrix1

This old matrix is now history.

We agreed with our partners that the model needs to be simpler – to budget, to position and to customize with clients specific needs in mind.

We’re starting off with the low entry level price of $3.99 per user, billable monthly with no contract, commitment, minimum or maximum and a powerful Exchange platform to run their business on. This gives our partners a competitive pricing point to offer an entry level service and keep them under their control, brand, management and centralized billing.

We’re making additional features simple and easy to add on as well. As each client has unique demands and requirements, we’ve made each functionality easy to add on as necessary giving them predictable costs that are easy to budget as the business grows and needs more sophisticated solutions. Don’t want to deal with SPAM or want to keep vulgar content out? That’s just $1. Business continuity in the event of an outage? Just another $1 more. Compliance Archiving? Encryption? As the business demands grow these additional features can be added and removed as necessary giving our partners unprecedented control.

NewExchangeEssentials. . .

Our agenda is simple: We want to deliver the most affordable, most flexible way to get businesses running on Exchange in the cloud. We have a lot of partners that are still managing their own on-premise Exchange deployments that will need massive upgrades with low ROI and we believe that many will take advantage of this affordable way to get into the cloud while maintaining the profit margin and client control. We believe that many of our partners serve small business clients on older infrastructure that may have hesitated pulling the trigger on the cloud migration because of upgrade requirements, long contracts and commitments.

With our announcement today, ExchangeDefender is making a tremendous offer – come to the cloud and we’ll pay for the first year. No minimums, contracts, commitments or prepayments. The faster you act, the more you’ll save.  

Get in touch with your account manager today and let’s come up with a plan to get your clients to the cloud you own.

 

Link: Webinar: New Exchange Essentials 2017


December 9, 2015

Billing Compliance & Reporting Changes in 2016

Filed under: Announcements — vlad @ 2:56 pm

ExchangeDefender has always been a partner-focused organization and we’ve always done everything in our power to assist partners when bill payments became difficult. Unfortunately, with 2016 our upstream vendors are implementing stricter controls which will see some of our services stop to function on accounts that are seriously past due. Here are current policies as they stand:

Payments for all services are due on the 1st of the month. Any users with active service subscriptions at this point make us liable for licensing fees.

If your credit card is declined it will be automatically attempted on 1st, 2nd and 3rd of the month (regardless of whether it’s a weekday or the weekend).

By the 5th of the month you will receive an email, a support ticket and a personal phone call alerting you to the problem with the billing with an option to pay for the service with a new credit card, Paypal or check (United States only).

If the invoice is not paid by the 10th of the month, services are suspended and there is a $10 late fee.

If the invoice is further ignored by the 15th of the month, all services will be suspended with the account subject to deletion. Logging into the support portal will show you the following:

billDelinquency

While we regret the inconvenience these changes will be causing, they are not up to us. Our vendors, who control and own licensing that you may be renting on a monthly basis as a subscription, can deactivate their license if it is not paid. While we are liable for the entire license count, there are certain promotional licenses for trials, educational, non profit and special licensing and new management software (that come with new servers) give some vendors advanced control over their licensing.

But we really cannot pay because _____.

Unfortunately, there is no way to get around not paying the bill for the services rendered. The only way to maintain service is to transfer the service directly to us or one of our partners for billing.

What if we disagree with the invoice / items?

You have 30 days to contest items on an invoice. Pay for the seats you do not have an issue with to keep legitimate services free from any restrictions.


February 6, 2015

Windows Web Hosting Hardware Upgrade

Filed under: Announcements,General,Hosted Services — vlad @ 10:33 am

Platform Upgrade

If you follow our NOC you’ll notice that earlier this week we had a hardware upgrade to our Windows Web Hosting platform. Our team put in extra hours to minimize the amount of down time you and your clients would experience. The key components of the upgrade were RAM and CPU. This resulted in better performance for you and your clients.

Do I as the partner need to do anything?

There is absolutely nothing that you need to do on your end.  The upgrade took place on the server side and no changes need to be made on your end. It was a seamless transition and everything from data to host IP addresses remain the same. You and your clients can use the same great product as you always have.

Additional Perks

An additional perk is on the backend of things. The new hardware allows us to perform backups and recoveries more efficiently than what was previously available. This means less down time for you and your clients in the event of a disaster.

Moving Forward

The hardware upgrade was smooth transition. Over the past few days we have seen increased performance. In addition to performance enhancements we now have a more efficient way of backing up your data. As technology is always changing we look forward to making more improvements for you across all of our platforms!


February 2, 2015

ExchangeDefender – Licensing (Enhanced)

Filed under: Announcements,ExchangeDefender,General,Software — Tags: — vlad @ 10:24 am

Over the years we’ve always had a desire to increase the aspects of reporting in several areas. However due to time restraints and prioritizing our efforts towards ensuring we made our platform completely stable and continuing to provide a rock solid solution, we had to defer until later.

This has been the case for the last few years. We all worked insane hours to ensure that everyone had an awesome product, that they would be proud to call their own! Now we are enjoying the fruits of our labor and focusing on creating more of the eye popping visual features that will really help showcase our product!

As a result, I’m proud to showcase one of our latest ExchangeDefender features.

While signed in as a (Service Provider) account, you can view the licensing page located under: Licensing->Management. Here you could see the total seat count for the desired domain at a glance. We’ve expanded this to also include the ability to list each individual account under the domains. This is a toggle-able option that is off by default to help limit the initial page load for those who don’t want the extra information.

XD Licensing

Not only that, you also have the ability to save and download a PDF of the current view. This has been highly requested by several users as to provide them the ability to keep archived copies of their seat counts each month for financial records. Other users have simply expressed the need to print these reports, which we have also implemented with one click access.

XD - Licensing 2

Lastly we understand that our partner’s clients also like to be kept in the loop about their spam information from time to time. Listed next to every domain is the ability to view and print the current SPAM statistics for that account. All of this information is simply one click away, quick and easy access to the information your clients want to see!

Stay tuned we’re working on even more exciting features to help ease the load of bringing a new client on-board and continuing to manage that account!


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