General – ExchangeDefender Blog

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EMAIL SECURITY

Services that protects your mail from spam, viruses, and malware.

ARCHIVING

Secure long term message storage and ediscovery reporting.

BUSINESS CONTINUITY

Constantly archiving your sent and received mail.

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.

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.

It goes against all marketing laws to write a blog post about a service or product you’re trying to pimp. Thankfully, my marketing folks have a few days off for Thanksgiving and my blog publishing credentials still work.. so on behalf of the whole team at ExchangeDefender, thank you for a wonderful year. We hope you had a wonderful day and I wanted to share something we’re all thankful for from the business perspective because it’s not all about the money.

Happy ThanksgivingThank you for your faith – When I first started Own Web Now Corp, I only promised to get your yellow pages ad on the Internet for $99. Fast forward 20 years, we have entire companies (large ones at that) trusting us with their entire communications chain from email to backups to business continuity. We deliver and manage that service from three continents on what has traditionally been very unreliable software and perpetually breaking hardware. The level of faith our clients put in us to make their data safe and secure every day is something we’re beyond thankful for.

Thank you for your trust – Our very business exists out of the core distrust for the content on the Internet. Our tagline is “I kill SPAM for a living.” Yet in a world that is increasingly antagonistic and unpleasant, we’ve found people on every continent that trust us to get their mail around safely and securely. That’s a level of trust that is hard to express the appreciation for – seeing how nearly 20% of our time goes towards audits, checks, monitoring, adjustments, drills, and tests.

Thank you for your feedback – It’s hard to say this with a straight face since it’s become the industry joke in a way that Microsoft outright dismissed partners issues without an ounce of sincerity. Personally, I mean every word of it. We’re far from perfect. But I appreciate the feedback in all areas of our business and I always tell my employees to treasure it. “This is a business. Competitive business. If a client is complaining they are doing the dificult work of trying to make things work. Treat feedback as if your job depends on it – because that client could have taken the easy route – just moving it somewhere else that this problem doesn’t exist. It’s not bitching, it’s free troubleshooting!”

Thank you for your loyalty – We’re lucky to have a massive client retention rate – we don’t take it for granted either, we work very hard to maintain it and we still have clients with us that have been here since 1997. If there is a legacy behind this business it’s that when you do a good job and care about the service you’re delivering, people will stick with it because they know you’re on their side. That loyalty behind Own Web Now is what made ExchangeDefender possible, with ExchangeDefender we were able to build Shockey Monkey and with the new partners that brought us we’ve been able to become more valuable and get migrations, support, billing and soon every service you may need. Even the really stickly, legal and complex ones like Encryption and Compliance Archiving.

As a team, we’re thankful for this and much more. We hope you had a wonderful day, in US and abroad, and we thank you for your business. Always.

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

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.

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.

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.

EasterWe’re hoping our partners are enjoying leap into Spring and on behalf of everyone at ExchangeDefender we wish all the best to those observing Passover and Easter holidays. In this season where things come back to life, ExchangeDefender is enjoying a very exciting rebirth of its own and I wanted to have a honest explanation of what we’re up to.

If you’ve kept up with us over the past few years you’ve noticed that we’ve been developing more and more of a service infrastructure and a service business. Some of that is due out of necessity because partners are unwilling or incapable of rolling out complex consulting and encryption services, some of it is out of opportunity where partners have rushed to outsource migrations and management to us. Over the past few years we merely began to scratch the surface of what we’re capable of delivering in the messaging and security space and with that came certain opportunities and challenges.

Our primary challenge was that of infrastructure and management policies. Who cannot relate to that? In order to make us a process oriented machine, Shockey Monkey had to grow and have entire sections rewritten from scratch. So much so that towards fall Shockey Monkey (under new name, brand and model) will come out as it’s own standalone business. We added data centers, power, infrastructure – all at the same time that we’ve been upgrading and migrating to the latest and the greatest all around a new process that has truly changed the organization at it’s very core.

Which leads me to the biggest challenge we’ve had to overcome: Deeply skilled and long tenured staff really loves new processes, changes and sudden urge to move faster than ever before to take an advantage of new business opportunities. I wish. We lost a great deal of talent that had unfortunately grown comfortable in their roles – but as you know, opportunity waits for no one. After several months of brutal schedules, deadlines, changes and audits I am happy to say that we have the most talented staff I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.

This winter has been long, dark and full of challenges. But we’ve sprung forward in a way that I haven’t seen this company move in nearly two decades that I’ve ran it. Our opportunity, and our unique skill set, are making it possible for us to provide solutions to problems I never dreamed we could fix.

I wanted to take this opportunity to reconnect with you. If we haven’t spoken in a while, call. If we haven’t seen each other or chatted on Facebook, connect with me there. I’m excited about what we’re up to and look forward to showing you what we’ve been up to. But most of all, I wish you as successful of a spring season as we’ve had here. You can teach an old dog new tricks.

Sincerely,

Vlad Mazek, CEO

As some of you may have noticed with emailed notices, there is an issue with the billing this month. We are addressing this issue at the moment, updating invoices and correcting charges at the moment and expect to have it resolved by tomorrow.

We will update this blog post with the details of the issues that caused the problem and will be following up directly with the partners that were affected.

Update 3:22 PM EST: At this point we have correct invoices in the system and will be restoring order processing shortly. We are leaving both the correct and the voided invoice in the system for the benefit of those that were charged incorrectly so you can match up refunds with the correct charges.

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

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