Exchange and Outlook UPDATE, Exchange Edition—brought to you by Exchange & Outlook Administrator, a print newsletter from Windows & .NET Magazine that contains practical advice, how-to articles, tips, and techniques to help you do your job today.
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November 8, 2002—In this issue:
- Use ISA Server to Secure Exchange
- Attend Our Free Tips & Tricks Web Summit
- Give Us Your Feedback and Be Entered to Win a Digital Camera
- Exchange XCCC: How to Configure Internet Security and Acceleration Server to Publish an Internal Exchange Server
- Featured Thread: OWA Not Connecting
- Results of Previous Instant Poll: Exchange Server Management Challenges
- New Instant Poll: MEC 2002
4. HOT RELEASES (ADVERTISEMENTS)
- Profile Maker Adds Extensive Printer Management!
- Raxco's PerfectDisk(R) — The World's #1 Defragger
5. NEW AND IMPROVED
- Learn More About Exchange 2000 Design and Deployment
- Submit Top Product Ideas
6. CONTACT US
- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
(contributed by Paul Robichaux, News Editor, [email protected])
In the old days, configuring remote access to email systems was simple: You couldn't. (UNIX-based systems gave command-line clients Telnet access, and Microsoft Mail—MS Mail—had a dial-in feature that worked slightly more often than not, but other than that, you were out of luck.) We've come a long way since then; you might even say that by comparison, Exchange 2000 Server offers an embarrassment of riches. Exchange 2000's Outlook Web Access (OWA) and IMAP and POP virtual servers give Internet-protocol access to clients using Web browsers or popular email programs such as Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora, and Pegasus. What none of these Exchange 2000 services can do, alas, is replicate the full Outlook experience. For example, remote users can't easily synchronize with a handheld or use Outlook's Journal, Tasks, or Notes features.
These shortcomings exist because Outlook is a Messaging API (MAPI)-based client and expects to be able to pass remote procedure call (RPC) traffic directly to the Exchange Server system. Exposing your Windows computers to RPC traffic directly from the Internet, however, is a Really Bad Idea, so administrators who want to offer Outlook to remote users either need to depend on direct dial-up connections or a VPN. VPNs work well but require a certain degree of care and feeding, particularly when you're deploying a VPN solution for many users or using hardware VPN devices that require special client software.
Another solution exists, though, to the dilemma of how best to provide access to remote users: Deploy Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2000. ISA Server functions both as a firewall for inbound and outbound traffic and as a Web-caching device; its primary value for Exchange lies in its ability to secure traffic at the application level. Ordinary firewalls secure traffic at the network layer: They block or accept specified types of packets from and to selected network addresses but can't look inside those packets. ISA Server, however, is designed expressly to analyze the contents of HTTP, SMTP, and RPC packets to make sure that the packets contain legal requests. And Microsoft and third parties are working to add filtering capability for additional protocols.
To better secure your Exchange 2000 or Exchange Server 5.5 systems, you can use ISA's application-inspection capability in two key ways. The first way is to publish the Exchange RPC ports so that Outlook clients can access them directly. The clients communicate with the ISA server, which forwards all legal RPC packets to the Exchange server. (This process is similar to the function of an Exchange front-end server, except that front-end servers can't proxy MAPI traffic.) If you take this approach, Outlook clients who connect directly to your ISA Server get much the same experience as operating on the LAN—they have full connectivity and access to all Outlook features. Every road warrior I know who has tried this feature has come away wanting it badly.
The second way to leverage ISA Server is to use it to publish OWA. In this mode, you can use ISA Server to proxy OWA traffic with additional Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protection, which lets the ISA Server decrypt and inspect incoming traffic before reencrypting and retransmitting it. This option provides a welcome degree of additional security.
You can also use ISA Server to perform more exotic tricks. With the right third-party plugins, the server product can filter and archive Exchange Instant Messaging (IM) traffic, scan inbound SMTP mail for viruses, and filter, quarantine, or block specified content. In the future, I expect Microsoft to enhance ISA Server so that it works with the next version of Exchange (code-named Titanium) to provide MAPI-over-HTTP mode and to support Outlook 11's roaming-user enhancements. In the meantime, you can go to http://www.microsoft.com/isaserver to download an evaluation version and a ton of application notes about the process of setting up ISA Server to work with Exchange.
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Join us on December 19th for our Tips & Tricks Web Summit featuring three eye-opening events: Disaster Recovery Tips & Tricks, Intrusion Detection: Win2K Security Log Secrets, and Merging Exchange Systems: Tips for Managing 5 Key Challenges. There is no charge for this event, but space is limited so register today!
Internet filtering is becoming a financial and legal concern for companies of all sizes. Complete our brief survey about the topic and you could win a digital camera. Click here!
Each week, Microsoft posts several Exchange Server how-to articles to its Knowledge Base. This week, learn how to configure Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2000 to publish an internal Exchange Server running Microsoft IIS and Outlook Web Access (OWA).
Ian's company has used Exchange Server 5.5 and Outlook Web Access (OWA) for more than a year, but users are suddenly running into problems connecting to OWA. No recent hardware or software changes have occurred, and the default site seems fine. To offer your advice or join the discussion, go to the following URL:
The voting has closed in the Exchange & Outlook Administrator Web site's nonscientific Exchange Instant Poll for the question "What's your greatest Exchange Server management challenge?" Here are the results (+/-2 percent) from the 732 votes:
- 38% Managing mailbox limits
- 11% Dealing with legal and privacy issues
- 20% Maintaining availability
- 25% Supporting users
- 5% Managing clusters
The next Exchange Instant Poll question is "Did you attend MEC 2002, and what was your opinion of it?" Go to the Exchange & Outlook Administrator home page and submit your vote for a) I went and was very satisfied with this year's conference, b) I went and was somewhat satisfied with this year's conference, c) I went but wish I hadn't, d) I didn't go but wish I had, or e) I didn't go and don't regret it.
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5. NEW AND IMPROVED
(contributed by Carolyn Mader, [email protected])
Aelita Software and Realtimepublishers.com announced Evan Morris's "The Definitive Guide to Exchange 2000 Design and Deployment," a free eBook that provides information about moving to Exchange 2000 Server. Morris, an author and speaker about Exchange Server, covers such topics as designing Exchange 2000 in a multiforest environment, solutions for synchronization, using third-party utilities and tools for management, and Exchange 2000 operations management and best practices. The eBook will be published monthly on a chapter-by-chapter basis. You can access your copy at Aelita's Web site. Contact Aelita at 614-336-9223 extension 1 or 800-263-0036. Contact Realtimepublishers at 707-539-5280 or [email protected]
Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Do you know of a terrific product that others should know about? Tell us! We want to write about the product in a future Windows & .NET Magazine What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions to [email protected]
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