Support – ExchangeDefender Blog

February 10, 2015

Hosted Exchange – Configuration Checker

Filed under: Development,ExchangeDefender,General,Support — Tags: — vlad @ 9:39 am

Throughout the day we receive hundreds of requests for new services and  existing account modifications. Luckily we automated this process from a very early stage and this helped to prevent 99% of account provisioning errors. Believe it or not, there was once a time where everything was processed manually!

However on occasion when there is a hiccup, then it’s simple a matter of locating the source of the issue. While issues on our end are rather easy to diagnose and fix, it’s not always as simple  on the partner’s side. There can be a handful of issues that can arise if the account is not properly configured or contains an invalid parameter.

This is why we’ve implemented a well overdue feature integrated directly inside the service manager. If you select the drop down box next to any Hosted Exchange account, you will see a new option called “Check Configuration”.

check_address1

After selecting this option you will be brought directly to the “Check Configuration” page. It will automatically populate the email address from the previous screen and run the initial check. Also keep in mind that you are able to test other accounts without leaving this page.

It will perform several checks including: Syntax, Server Location, Provisioning, MX Record, Autodiscover and validates that the account is protected by ExchangeDefender. In the event an issue arises you have the option to either “Email” or “Open Ticket” which will automatically include the onscreen results.

check_address2check_address3

We believe that solving the issue promptly makes for a better long term relationship. So if there are any features or adjustments we can make to help smooth the transaction between you and your clients, don’t hesitate to let us know! Our support staff eagerly awaits the opportunity to speak with you about how we can continue to improve our process!


July 26, 2013

Large Scale Migration

Filed under: Consulting,Support — Carlos @ 1:24 pm

movingchangingThe most important aspect of a large scale migration is communication.  This can make a migration that either turns you into a trusted company relationship or the most recent “IT guy” that was fired by that company. There is a delicate balance that you must preserve between the needs of the technology and the needs of the business owner. The best way to do that is to be as meticulous as possible with your communication process.

Prep work, communicate.

The first thing you must do is map out an initial time line and start testing the process. This time line will start solely based on the IT departments recommendations. These recommendations are generally based on the hardware or support life cycles and the length of time to complete it. Once you have that sorted out, you probably want to add another two weeks to a month of notice and relay that information to the decision makers at the affected company.

Test, communicate.

Once you’ve received a response, you make adjustments as necessary to your schedule and begin a live test where permissible. We also see excellent guides on the internet on how to do any migration imaginable; the most important point to consider is that no two are alike. So you found a frame work to use on the internet, so you have to take the next step. What we typically do is use test mailboxes, we migrate them individually, and then we move them as batches, repeatedly. The bottom line is this; the more work you do before the migration the less likely you will have to pay overtime for a botched migration.

Execute, communicate, then communicate again

Once you’re satisfied, you reach out to your clients again and confirm that you’re ready to start as you previously agreed. This is where the process will vary when dealing with end users versus an IT partner. We can get away with the following notices: an announcement, a reminder, a start, a mid-point, a completion and a couple of follow-ups. We are about to do this due to the fact that we’re dealing with top notch technology professionals.  However, with end users you have to have a more controlling approach, depending on the size of the business, you may opt to have everyone come into the office and leave their mobile devices with you for the migration, or you can do appointments. The most important thing in the process is to check as often as your staffing will allow it, that everything is going smoothly and that the expectations you set are being met. I would even advise a follow up call at 1 week and 2 weeks out to pick up the “slow to report issue” folks.


October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Filed under: Support — Carlos @ 2:19 pm

helping-handsFirst off, our thoughts are with all of you and your families, and we hope you are all safe at least. We understand that a lot of the North East, which is densely populated, is out of power. Once an area or office is out of power obviously it means that mail servers are not online. Let ExchangeDefender be a helping hand in during this natural disaster. As subscribers know, we have multiple options to help you and your clients:

 

Mail Spooling/Bagging

ExchangeDefender will hold up to 7 days worth of your mail for you automatically. Remember once your server is online, there is nothing within ExchangeDefender that you have to do, it will spool down to you automatically in intervals.

Note: If you know you will be down for longer than a 7 day period please let us know via support ticket and we will see what we can do to help out with that issue.

LiveArchive

If your clients have employees that are out of the affected radius, remember LiveArchive is an option for them to at least lightly continue working if the majority of the company is within the affected area. Remember LiveArchive was designed for issues like this.

It is available at https://livearchive.exchangedefender.com/ with their ExchangeDefender credentials.

If you have any issues, please let us know you either call us or open a support ticket at https://support.ownwebnow.com.

Tips & Tricks:

We are talking about massive quantities of mail here so we do not want you to lose any. Remember when you bring your servers back online make sure all the settings are correct, meaning they accept mail from our subnets anonymously. We can only spool messages that are deferred, once a bad configuration outright REJECTS mail, it is no longer spooled. So a smart approach may involve bringing the server online with the WAN NIC unplugged to just be sure your settings are before you let it rip.

Carlos Lascano
VP Support Services, ExchangeDefender
carlos@ownwebnow.com
(877) 546-0316 x737


October 15, 2012

Garbage In, Garbage Out

Filed under: Support — Carlos @ 10:50 am

trash-canI am sure that we have all heard the adage of “garbage in, garbage out” when it comes to software.  However, based on my experience, the phrase also applies to support as well. It applies in all directions and regardless of perspective. Allow me to illustrate it…

End user #1: Hey local tech support, my _________ is not working right.
Local Tech: Ok I will call our service provider.
End user waits.
Cloud Tech: How can I help you?
Local Tech: Hey, Bob’s email is not working right! We are getting killed over here!
Cloud Tech: Ok who is Bob? And what exactly is not working right?
Local Tech: Umm… I don’t know, can you hold on?
The call goes on hold and at least 10 minutes go by.

Eventually the local guy comes back and tries his best to describe an image as you would to a blind person (because phones do not have video, completely). Mind you from your perspective as an MSP, while all these shenanigans are going on your end user is STILL down.

Now this is where I start yelling at my guys. Unfortunately, technology requires data not a verbal origami that somehow turns into a flying bird from a napkin. “Get that guy off the phone and tell him to paste you the headers, get the .msg file if you can, and get a screenshot.” Show me the problem!

It is at this stage that we either have a problem we fix, or a problem you fix. But sadly, we (yes both you and us) wasted 80% of the time saying something like this:

Tech 1: What does it say?
Tech 2: It says…
Tech 1: No no that line, the next line.
Tech 2: It says…
Tech 1: You skipped a line, I need the one in between.
Tech 2: Oh that one!

Trust me I get it, I love to “talk to someone” too, every day of the week. But you know what I would really like for myself and my customer every time? I would like for my problem to be solved in a timely fashion. And this is something that happens both ways, sometimes we ask bad questions, but other times we get a ticket that is composed of a PSA ticket forward that says “My email is down”, that’s it. That’s just as bad as reply that says “That sucks”. Yet they both contain the same amount of useful information.

Carlos Lascano
VP Support Services, ExchangeDefender
carlos@ownwebnow.com
(877) 546-0316 x737


September 7, 2012

Hosted Exchange Outbound Thresholds

Filed under: Development,Hosted Services,Support — vlad @ 7:18 am

This blog post is a follow up to Hosted Exchange Outbound Suspensions posted on June 20th, 2012.

Yesterday we began to roll out a custom transport agent on our Hosted Exchange network to perform automated monitoring of sent message counts for each user. The first phase of this roll out is to collect analytics and fine tune our threshold values.

Starting Monday, September 10th 2012 all hosted exchange users will be monitored for threshold breaches of outgoing (external) messages against a “Short time” and a “Daily” threshold value.

Short period
Monitor length: 15 minutes
Value: 100 messages

Long period
Monitor length: 24 hours
Value: 500

Any user who breaches threshold during the analytics period will receive a courtesy email to warn them about their threshold breach against our current threshold values. Once the analytics period ends (Estimated for the end of September 2012) we will send warning messages once the user is near 80% of the threshold and then an automated suspension will be issued once threshold is breached.

Travis Sheldon
VP, Network Operations, ExchangeDefender
(877) 546-0316 x757
travis@ownwebnow.com


September 4, 2012

Outbound SPAM Filtration

Filed under: Support — Carlos @ 2:14 pm

clip_image002In order to ensure on time delivery and limit the network’s exposure to items with a negative impact on the network reputation, we’ve started enforcing an additional layer of security. You may have come across a message rejection that looks like this.

“Rejected. Please contact your service provider: Your message contained a SPAM URL and was blocked by ExchangeDefender.”

ExchangeDefender scans all outbound messages for possible SPAM patterns. This particular message contained a SPAMvertised URL which is typically a compromised web site or URL used in thousands of confirmed SPAM messages by a third party authority (Realtime Blacklist). In order to keep you from blacklists and RBL systems, we automatically block messages with SPAM web addresses and return to the sender. This way your legitimate messages do not end up delayed or in junk folders with other service providers.

clip_image004ExchangeDefender outbound relays cannot deliver outbound mail with the SPAMvertised URL(s) in it until it is removed from the blacklists. In order to protect your server ExchangeDefender will automatically block these messages. You can choose not to use ExchangeDefender outbound servers but if you do so your mail server will likely end up on an RBL and then you will not be able to relay through ExchangeDefender even after you remove your server from the URIBL lists.

If you run into these rejections please give my staff the from, to, and relay IP and they will be able to help you find out the content triggering the rejection.

Carlos Lascano
VP Support Services, ExchangeDefender
carlos@ownwebnow.com
(877) 546-0316 x737


April 11, 2012

New Changes Coming to our Hosted Exchange

Filed under: Hosted Services,Software,Support — vlad @ 10:14 am

Today is a very exciting day for our Hosted Exchange team as we have finally approved the use of Address Book Policies in our provisioning process (Introduced in Exchange 2010 SP2).

mac-address-bookAddress Book Policies

Address Book Policies allow Exchange Administrators to easily assign and separate address lists for clients so that clients only see objects from their organization without using ACLs or AD splicing. Prior to the approval of ABP we’ve always used ACLs to control address list segregation in our Hosted Exchange offering. In short, when a new “company” is added to Exchange, we take their primary domain and group all users based on original domain. For the most part, this approach worked well.  However, there were certain situations that this would not fare well. For instance, if a new company was split into two sub companies and they joined hosted Exchange then each sub company would only be able to see their own users UNLESS all mailboxes were added with the same primary domain in the order.

With Address Book Policies we now have the ability to create an overall policy for the “Company” which links the appropriate address lists and offline address books to each user. This change will allow companies to utilize multiple primary domains and still see all users in the company. By default we will still create companies as “separate” organizations, but partners can now request that domains for a company be linked together.

The change to automation will be introduced to Rockerduck and LOUIE this week and monitored for a week before rolling the change to all 2010 servers.

Travis Sheldon
VP, Network Operations, ExchangeDefender
(877) 546-0316 x757
travis@ownwebnow.com


April 2, 2012

Support Refresher

Filed under: Support — Carlos @ 3:54 pm

Support RefresherHere we are again, another week and another quick reminder of how to test mail flow since it appears that ever week people forget the troubleshooting steps from last week.

Guys these steps are fool proof and give the answer every single time.

http://www.exchangedefender.com/blog/2011/12/where-is-my-mail-flow/

One of the tools recommended in the guide above is the Mail Log for Service Providers. Some of you are aware that we provide you with line by SMTP logs for every email. If your client is claiming their mail is not coming in this is the place to go. You log into https://admin.exchangedefender.com with your SP ID and its right there “Mail Log”. You put the to/from for the test message you sent them and voila. You have your answer, no opening a ticket, no calling anyone, no chatting with anyone. If the message isn’t listed there, check the MX record, if it’s not there then there are only two possibilities:

You typed the info in incorrectly.
We did not receive the message.

Please keep your eye on Social Media as we have a ton of new stuff coming down the pipe and that’s the best way to keep in touch.

Carlos Lascano
VP Support Services, ExchangeDefender
carlos@ownwebnow.com
(877) 546-0316 x737


March 7, 2012

Backup90: Offline Upgrades

Filed under: Server Information,Support — vlad @ 4:38 pm

Throughout the past week users with accounts on backup90 have noticed sporadic periods where service was interrupted (events were posted on the NOC blog), restored, and would randomly go back offline after 8 hours. Since this was an event that wasn’t reproducible on demand the amount of time to diagnose the issue was slightly longer than normal. Once the issue was discovered to be a faulty disk we elected to upgrade the entire storage controller for backup90. Over the past quarter backup90 has seen a 340% growth in accounts and doesn’t appear to be slowing down – unfortunately the current controller risks slower performance to clients as growth continues in the next month.

To alleviate this issue we’ve shutdown service on backup90 to start a copy process to the new controller. After all data has been copied to the new controller we will start a random write/read seek test to ensure the stability and performance of the new controller. Unfortunately since backups are an extremely intensive IO operation, leaving Ahsay service running while trying to copy would yield extremely poor results and more than likely would require multiple attempts to copy the data – all in all, it would eventually lead to a longer downtime for clients.

We estimate that the copy process will begin tonight (3/7/12) around 5:30 PM and is expected to continue throughout Friday and Saturday. We will create a new NOC entry once the upgrade process on backup90 has begun.

Travis Sheldon
VP, Network Operations, ExchangeDefender
(877) 546-0316 x757
travis@ownwebnow.com


March 5, 2012

Tips to a Speedy Resolution

Filed under: Support — Carlos @ 5:06 pm

Anybody that works in technology is familiar with ticketing systems and while at times they can be effective, it’s merely as effective as the two people interacting with the ticket. So here are some tips that can help make your tickets “one update” answer. The most important thing you can consider and rely on when opening your ticket is to maximize the effectiveness of the information you’re providing. If you give the person on the other end all the information they need, you’re improving your chances for a speedy resolutions. “But Carlos! I do this every time!”, well if you’re not following the guidelines below you’re now.

The Ticket Title has a character limit.

That’s correct if you write your entire ticket.
See? That didn’t help me get my point across, what I wanted to say is. If you type your entire ticket into the title we only see what fits in the title.

Please don’t copy and paste your end users report to you.

When we receive a ticket that says it’s from Mary (with no address) and it says I emailed Tom (with no address) and it bounced back, we basically have zero information. While we’d love to help, we don’t know your client and to that extent their clients on first name basis.

After you submit a ticket, click on it to see what we see.

This becomes pivotal, when you’re pasting data with markup codes in it, it’s important that you see what you’re sending us. Because sometimes your ticket may have too much markup to the point that it won’t render and we’re left with no content or partial content. And knowing your luck and mine, it’ll be the information we need to research your issue.

Carlos Lascano
VP Support Services, ExchangeDefender
carlos@ownwebnow.com
(877) 546-0316 x737


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