Industry News

Traditionally, ExchangeDefender has been an email security platform, first and foremost. In order to secure your email on its way to/from your email infrastructure, your MX records needed to point at us and all your mail was secured using our platform. In May of 2020, that changed.

As of June 2020, you can offer ExchangeDefender solutions without ExchangeDefender or mail going through to us at all. It’s no secret that all the add-on cool features in ExchangeDefender (LiveArchive, Web File Server, Encryption, Compliance) are in their 3rd or 4th generation, and those services are in huge demand on their own.

You will shortly be able to purchase most of our offerings directly without the complexity of joining our partner program and without needing to implement a bunch of other features if you only need a way to securely collaborate. Our web site, ExchangeDefender.com will remain a partner-centric experience and we are introducing a new site used to manage ordering and processing of subscriptions to our a la carte services.

Our partners will be able to continue provisioning and ordering ExchangeDefender services as is. As a partner you’ll also have a choice of placing orders through the new a la carte service as well (if you don’t want to be involved in management, support, etc for your users) just without discounts and incentives (since we’ll be doing all that work now).

We strongly believe that our partner ecosystem provides a lot of value to the organizations that consider IT security to be critical to their success. The reality is that many do not, and our partners tend not to sell services to clients they deem too small or too unprofitable for the overall offering: now we have the means and ways to help them through service bundles and individual service offerings specifically designed for the cloud.

If you’d like to be on a beta test, please let us know, the new platform will launch next week!

Employees are suddenly finding themselves working remotely due to the current health crisis of the Coronavirus that is sweeping nations across the globe.

As we protect thousands of businesses from the drastic uptick of phishing emails and ransomware attacks claiming they are from verified sources, we have noticed new tactics that hackers are using to fraud employees working from home.

Here are our top 3 cybersecurity implications of working from home:

  1. The lack of authentication and authorization

    There is an increased need for two-factor authentication, monitoring access controls and creating strong passwords. Managed Service Providers should encourage their clients and end users to add additional security safeguards.

    We recommend changing your password every 90 days, and enabling OTP/2FA to improve your account security.  To manage this for ExchangeDefender, view user guide.

  2. Increased risk to cyber attacks

    There’s an increase risk to attacks like phishing and malware, especially since employees will now likely receive an unprecedented amount of emails and online requests.

    ExchangeDefender Phishing Firewall (EPF) automatically secures inbound mail by rewriting HTML links so they are forced through our firewall when you click on them in Outlook, Gmail, or any web-enabled email application.

    To add a new web site to the Whitelist or Blacklist click on the + Add New button in your ExchangeDefender Admin portal. To learn how to manage this setting, click here!

  3. Unsecured BYOD (Bring your own device)

    Remote working can successfully widen an organization’s attack surface. Mainly due to employees who use their own devices for work can introduce new platforms and operating systems that require their own dedicated support and security. As a result of so many devices being used, it’s likely that at least some will fall through the security cracks.

    ExchangeDefender Pro offers users a VPN server to connect to in a secure manner no matter where they go. Public Wifi hotspots tend to have questionable security at best and can be used to compromise a device that is connecting blindly across the Internet. Connecting your phone automatically to a VPN can assure that email access (and all the confidential data in the email) can never be snooped on. 

Webinar Announcement: ExchangeDefender solutions will soon be available “a la carte” to clients. Attend our webinar on Tuesday, March 31st at 12:00 PM EST. Register Now!

ExchangeDefender Real Time Blacklist Process Change Report

Change Synopsis:

ExchangeDefender has changed how our inbound nodes will handle emails delivered to our server when the sending server is on a Real Time Blacklist (RBL). Previously, RBL listings would cause emails to be rejected and not able to be delivered to the recipient (even if requested). Now, when a server is listed on a public RBL, the message will score high enough to classify as SURE SPAM instead of rejected back to the sender.

Changes to how ExchangeDefender handles Real Time Blacklisting (RBL) of the senders server will be visible to both the and MSP Customers.

Customer:

Customers with STORE / QUARANTINE see a dramatic increase of items in the SURE SPAM quarantine, including email quarantine reports.

Customers with TAG AND DELIVER will see a dramatic increase of sure spam items delivered to their inbox.

MSP:

MSPs will have two settings to control how RBL listings are handled with regards to matching whitelist rules. By default, whitelisted senders will override the RBL listing and will allow the scanner to ignore the RBL entry. MSPs will have an option within the domain’s phishing configuration with regards to handling whitelisted senders who wind up on an RBL.


Everyone on record by December 31st, 2019 will be grandfathered into the service.

You’ve got 45 more days to sign up for ExchangeDefender Essentials and Exchange Hosting Essentials in their current form with all the current benefits and features.

In 2020, we will start offering a new Essentials service that is more competitive with the entry level offerings from Microsoft, Google, etc.

New accounts will not be compatible with Office 365, Gmail, or other cloud based email services, a territory that ExchangeDefender Pro is far better suited for.

The service will be slightly more affordable but will no longer have options to add on Encryption, Web File Sharing, LiveArchive, Compliance Archive, corporate & MSP branding, and other enterprise-ish features. If these features are important to you and you have open leads, please make sure the orders are placed by Christmas.

Between the lines:

ExchangeDefender Essentials line has had a great run but over the past two years we’ve noticed a trend – clients are either going for the cheapest option, or they are signing up for all the bells and whistles that come with the Exchange and ExchangeDefender Pro line of services. The original intent behind Essentials was to create a “make it your own” version where companies that didn’t need Encryption or LiveArchive could save a few bucks and get an enterprise product that scaled with the organization as it’s demands grew.

We’re hoping that announcing the phasing out of the current licensing will give existing leads an incentive to get signed up and grandfather in the features at a discount.


Our last webinar announced our strategy for expanding the level of protection we offer to our ExchangeDefender users that goes far beyond just email. Our three-pronged approach will now include software, services, and training. We are best known for our email security service “ExchangeDefender” but as the email threats escalate in frequency and evolve in complexity, it is time to add a software component.

Over the past decade we have been developing Wrkoo (codename: “Shockey Monkey”), a business management solution centered around helpdesk and service delivery. As that product has grown to better manage accountability and task tracking, it became a perfect solution for us to use to help our ExchangeDefender users be more secure. Specifically, ExchangeDefender knows about your preferences and security policies – Wrkoo has the capabilities to help your entire organization work better together to create a more secure environment. You will see this distinction and the advantage in action later this week when we announce the Password Vault.

Our implementation is very simple and straight-forward. Every ExchangeDefender Pro protected organization will get it’s own Wrkoo portal (ex: https://exchangedefendercom.wrkoo.com) absolutely free of charge. All the users in ExchangeDefender will automatically be added to the Wrkoo portal and same login credentials will work on both sites.

As we add business-level features that help improve user security, they will be available via https://admin.exchangedefender.com portal under the Shortcuts dropdown (same place you find your Web File Server, LiveArchive, ComplianceArchive, Encryption, etc) as well as via direct login to the Wrkoo portal. This will help our clients quickly navigate between their files, passwords, archives, and all other services.

ExchangeDefender admin portal has been designed from the standpoint of email security and corporate policy enforcement and it is very quick, efficient, and easy to use. Once you look at securing your business beyond just SPAM filtering, things get complex and importance shifts to communication, training, and overall awareness. These are the areas that Wrkoo shines at through its calendars, tasks, tickets/cases/issues, knowledge base, and the ability to help the entire organization communicate and be on the same page. It really is a perfect medium to help everyone in your business manage their information in a more secure and practical user -friendly way.

Our mission remains the same: to keep you safe online. As the threats evolve and management of compliance, reporting, audits, and training becomes more complicated – our solution is there to help you scale and address those issues without spending more money. ExchangeDefender and Wrkoo are here to make that possible.

We have listened to our partners and decided to redesign our invoicing system so it works better for our partners. One of the many benefits of having both Wrkoo and ExchangeDefender teams working together, (more details in our next webinar on September 10th, 2019) is that we can take great ideas from all sorts of businesses and adapt them to serve our IT partners better. Specifically, new ExchangeDefender invoices will be grouped by client:

This will give you a clear indication of how many services each client is subscribed to, what type, amount, etc. For deeper dives by your CPA, you can filter and group by service and client so you can get exactly what you’re looking for (by default everything is sorted alphabetically, by the client):


And for the full details, just tap the title:

We’ll shortly be adding the ability to move services around, adjust titles, and for even more functionality as well as branding options you will have the ability to customize literally everything in your own Wrkoo portal.

Wrkoo and ExchangeDefender teams have been rolling out new features, listening to our partners needs, and you’re going to start seeing a lot of new features that result from that one-of-a-kind collaborative effort.

The best news though – as this is just a taste of what is coming – you’ll have to tune into our webinar on September 10th at NOON EDT. Trust us, you’re going to love what we’ve got coming!

As noted nearly two months ago, ExchangeDefender is starting Automated ExchangeDefender Provisioning. In the long, long ago when everyone ran their own Exchange servers, ExchangeDefender offered XDSync to automate creation of ExchangeDefender users as soon as they were added to the Active Directory.

Fast forward to 2019: Few people still run their own Active Directory and most users are now on cloud-based email services that don’t use Active Directory. This puts a burden on our CIO/MSP/IT personnel that has to manage users manually – so we solved that problem with ExchangeDefender. Here is the user experience.

Automated Provisioning – User Experience

When ExchangeDefender detects a new email address from your domain sending outbound mail, it will automatically provision the account for you. This way nobody has to deal with the account management and maintenance, nor do they have to filter and audit the list as local accounts, distribution groups, etc do not send out external emails anyhow. If they do, from the licensing standpoint, it’s treated as a user. When we detect a new user, they get this email:

The email contains branding and contact information of an MSP if the client is managed by an MSP. Otherwise, only the domain administrator and ExchangeDefender basic contact info is provided.

At this point, the user is added and configured for ExchangeDefender services according to the domain defaults the IT department configured for this domain.

Clicking on the “Complete Enrollment” button takes the user to the website to setup basic settings. This part is actually VERY cool and something our clients have been begging for – something that shows the user how to actually use the product.

The enrollment wizard is only 2 steps long and gets the essential settings that 99% of users change.

Setup your password, tell us what to do with SPAM, tell us what time you want the email report (if enabled by CIO/MSP/IT) and that’s it – user is done. We’re also working on additional customization/templating of the welcome emails which should be launching later this year.

Keeping up with ExchangeDefender subscriptions used to be relatively easy back in the day when everyone had their own server.. and while we still proudly support XDSync, the new usage scenarios and new platforms are making user management a chore for IT people and those in charge of reconciling billing alike.

Starting with July 2019, ExchangeDefender will automate the provisioning, billing, and enrollment of new users automatically.

How will it work? How ExchangeDefender will be monitoring outbound flow of mail from the organizations that are protected by ExchangeDefender. Whenever we encounter a new email address sending email, we will check the existing users table and if we find someone new we’ll start the enrollment process. It will work as follows:

(1) ExchangeDefender finds a new email address on a protected domain.

(2) ExchangeDefender creates a new account and provisions default domain security policy.

(3) ExchangeDefeneder sends the user a welcome email with an enrollment link.

(4) ExchangeDefender sends the domain administrator and CIO (or service provider) a notification.

That’s it, we’re keeping it that simple. And since you never get billed for ExchangeDefender accounts added in the middle of the month you can always correct any mistakes and lock down mailboxes that get created as a result of a security breach for example.

FAQ

Q: Will the bill for the new user be prorated?
A: We never bill during the partial month, so if you sign up a new user on the 14th, they will not be billed for the service for the part of the month.

Q: Will this automatically categorize printers, devices, etc?
A: Printers and smart devices are free if they are setup as an IoT device.

Q: What if this is just an alias on someone else’s account?
A: In ExchangeDefender, inbound aliases are free (terminated employees email addresses, vanity accounts, department or distribution groups, etc) as long as they are associated with another users account. If for some reason they both receive AND send mail, those accounts under our licensing model are indistinguishable from users and must be billed as such.

Q: Will I have the chance to review the new additions?
A: Yes, you will get an email from enrollment@exchangedefender.com when the account is added and remember, you will not be billed for it until the 1st of the month. So long as you delete the account more than 72 hours before the end of the month, it will not be billed.

Q: What will the user experience be like?
A: Identical to the way it is now. They will receive the same welcome email they would get if you manually added them at https://admin.exchangedefender.com

Q: So which address should they email to start the enrollment?
A: Any address you wish.

Q: How about automatically deleting accounts that aren’t being used? A: We are working on it. As we’re dealing with folks email (and compliance, encryption, archiving, contacts) automatic deletion is never a good idea but we realize that billing and account management is a pain. The way we’re currently designing it is with the expectation that the domain owner will set an inactive date in the portal. Any user that hasn’t sent email in the quarter or in a year (depending on policy) will automatically be removed from the active roster and you’ll be able to nuke them all through a review process.

ExchangeDefender Phishing Firewall officially launches tomorrow, June 12th, 2019.

Every service provider and every user will be contacted with the information about the new service. Since some users may see the redirection site, we wanted to assure everyone was aware of the service, how it works, what it looks like, and what it does to protect them.

Note from Vlad: We hate changing the user experience. We understand that every time we change anything there will be an issue, folks don’t like having their cheese moved, I get it. However, this isn’t a futile exercise in self-promotion, up-selling, cross-selling, or useless noise: we are doing this to eliminate the problem that 90% of security compromises are triggered by. This implementation comes down to ethics: If I know that something is 90% likely to hurt you, and I have the means to protect you, and I choose to let you get hurt anyhow… why would you ever do business with me or ExchangeDefender? I understand we may lose some business over this, and I am willing to make less money in order to do a better job for people that trust us with their business.

Here are the answers to some questions we’ve already received:

Q: Does ExchangeDefender PF work on every device I receive email on?
A: Yes, ExchangeDefender PF automatically encodes all links sent through our system in HTML messages and redirects them through ExchangeDefender PF. This means that the link will be secured no matter which device you use to access your ExchangeDefender-protected email.

Q: Does ExchangeDefender PF protect me from non-email links?
A: ExchangeDefender only protects you from email links in HTML messages sent to your email address through ExchangeDefender. If your mail client downloads mail from 3rd party external services (Yahoo,
AOL, Microsoft, Google) that are not protected by ExchangeDefender, you will not be protected.

Q: Is ExchangeDefender PF available in ExchangeDefender Essentials?
A: ExchangeDefender PF is only available in ExchangeDefender Pro and ExchangeDefender Enterprise.

Q: Is there any way to turn off URL encoding for specific domains or users?
A: ExchangeDefender encodes the URL at the edge, as the message is being scanned for malware and other phishing forgeries.

Q: I don’t want to see the ExchangeDefender PF warning/site, can I bypass it?
A: Yes, you can simply whitelist the domain and ExchangeDefender PF will not be displayed. Whitelisted domains are automatically displayed without ExchangeDefender PF. ExchangeDefender maintains a list of known good/legitimate domains so the likelihood that you will see a dangerous (or questionable) website is very low. Additionally, your IT department or IT Solution Provider has access to organization-wide whitelist and can bypass ExchangeDefender PF to any site you need to visit.

Q: Is it possible to still get hacked/compromised even with ExchangeDefender PF?
A: ExchangeDefender PF simply applies your organizational policies to traffic and gives you additional information about the link you have clicked on. If you ignore warnings, or if you proceed to a dangerous site as a part of your organizational policy, you can still be compromised.

Q: Is there anything special I need to do on my network in order to support the redirection?
A: No, you should not have to make any modifications to your clients network in order to support this. If you do something exceptionally unusual (we would have contacted you separately, DoD requirement) and only have an allow access policy while blacklisting the rest of the Internet, redirection happens through https://r.xdref.com domain that needs to be in the safe sites.

Q: Can I turn URL rewriting off?
A: The ExchangeDefender URL rewriting code is implemented at the edge without regard for domain/user policies. In order not to introduce delays in processing, this is a global rule. If you are concerned about your clients seeing the redirection screen, whitelist the domains they typically go through. If we get complaints about it, we will look at deploying this policy further down in the scanning path which will slow down processing times for domains that opt out of the service and that feature is already in the development queue.

Q: Can I see the copy of the messages you are sending users, so I know what to expect?
A: Here is a copy of the message in PDF and Outlook format.

Q: Will the links stay live for X number of years for compliance purposes?
A: There is no expiration date for the links, as clearly stated in our Privacy Policy we do not collect or archive the links that you click on or that we encode, they will stay in your downloaded / cached / archived messages. While many regulatory requirements have message retention policy expectations, those requirements do not extend to external content, ie: you have to archive the message, you DO NOT have to archive the documents that are externally linked on third party sites. Either way, messages will continue to redirect as long as we stay in business.

Q: Can I get a list of good/bad sites for my compliance records?
A: Please contact our compliance officer at compliance@ownwebnow.com with the letter from your regulatory body and we will do our best to provide this confidential information ASAP.

This Thursday, June 6th, we will be announcing a major overhaul in the way we deal with spear phishing SPAM. No, it’s not a mind-blowing patent-pending stroke-of-genius sort of stuff, it’s much closer to what your parents told you growing up: Don’t get into a car with strangers don’t click on links or open attachments from strangers.

In a way, ExchangeDefender has had protection from this issue for years. If you had a decent IT Solution Provider implementing ExchangeDefender for you, they would have setup your SPF record and eliminated this issue – but many don’t. Or they would have turned on ExchangeDefender protection where all messages spoofing/forging your domain would automatically get junked – almost none of them do. Which is why ExchangeDefender as a service has become less of an IT tool and more of an end user suite of services to get stuff done.

When features like this are left disabled “because they might become support issues” it becomes really difficult to secure users. But I get it, IT companies have a business to run too, which is why we’ve really stepped up our support efforts and are going to be there to help folks get things done without becoming an additional problem for the IT department. Doing so has really made us rethink how we implement features and how the service behavior needs to speak the same language as the end user. Which brings me to phishing beyond forgeries.

Can you spot a stranger?One of the new phishing protection features in ExchangeDefender will allow you to flag messages that are coming from outside of your organization. You will have two settings – to modify the subject and to modify the header of the message so when you look inside of your mailbox you’ll know what came from a stranger right away. Try it:

Even from the message listing you’ll know which messages shouldn’t even be opened. But suppose you ignored even that – you can set another warning, printed inside of the message, giving the user even more of an instruction of what to do.

Warning: Message was sent from outside of the organization. Do not click on links or open attachments if you don’t recognize the sender.

Far from subtle. And it has to be – because most people check email quickly, between tasks, or are simply interrupted by it. ExchangeDefender has your back, and we’ll make sure we alert you to possible issues before they become problems. Which we hope everyone will be aboard with.

Please join us, June 6th at Noon, for our NEW webinar featuring ExchangeDefender’s Phishing and Spoofing protection, plus see what’s new with Encryption, WFS, and Wrkoo!