Exchange & Outlook UPDATE, September 1, 2005

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Protecting Your Company by Managing Your Users' Internet Access
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Eliminating Overlooked System Vulnerabilities
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1. Commentary
    - Messaging and Hurricane Katrina

2. Peer to Peer
    - Featured Thread: Determining Number of Messages Sent and Received
    - Outlook Tip: Using Voting Buttons in a Public Folder

3. New and Improved
    - Configure and Maintain Outlook Installations

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Editor's note: Share Your Exchange Discoveries and Get $100
    Share your Exchange Server and Outlook discoveries, comments, or problems and solutions for use in the Exchange & Outlook Administrator print newsletter's Reader to Reader column. Email your contributions (500 words or less) to [email protected] We edit submissions for style, grammar, and length. If we print your submission, you'll get $100.

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==== 1. Commentary: Messaging and Hurricane Katrina ====
    by Paul Robichaux, Exchange Editor, [email protected]

Last year, I wrote a column about disaster preparedness in the face of large-scale destruction (see the URL below). The horrifying reports about Hurricane Katrina that have been coming out of New Orleans, Louisianna, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast have painfully reminded me of what I wrote then. Fortunately, my family members who live in the area are safe, even though it isn't clear whether they'll be able to return home and, if so, when. Many other people in the area are in similar, or worse, circumstances, and my thoughts and prayers are with them.
    http://www.windowsitpro.com/Article/ArticleID/43921/43921.html

Although many experts predicted catastrophic damage to structures and huge loss of life in New Orleans because of Katrina's winds and the accompanying storm surge, it initially looked like the worst had been averted for that city when the storm took a more easterly path. Now, a few days after the initial strike, a better picture of conditions is emerging, and those conditions are pretty horrifying.

I'm sure you've been following the news as closely as I have. By looking deeper into the story, however, Exchange administrators can learn some valuable lessons from this experience. The biggest and most immediate lesson: Continuity isn't forever. For example, take emergency power. If you have an on-site generator, how much fuel does it have? It might be adequate for short outages caused by temporary conditions, but you probably don't have enough fuel for long-term operations. In the same vein, you might need a lot of other supplies or resources to implement extended operations, and those resources might not always be available. Accordingly, your business continuity plans should always include a "lifetime" that specifies how long your operations can be maintained before either shutting down or moving completely to an alternate implementation.

The second lesson: The infrastructure you need might not be there. In New Orleans, cell phone service is almost nonexistent, and my understanding is that terrestrial wireless devices such as BlackBerry handhelds aren't working, either. Short-range VHF radio is the primary communication tool that emergency agencies are using, but you probably don't have any in your own disaster operations kit.

The third lesson: You can never prepare too early. Companies that signed on for services such as MessageOne's Emergency Mail System (EMS) before Katrina struck were able to get notification to their employees before conditions worsened. As with flood insurance, if you wait to sign up for a notification, monitoring, or continuity service until you really need it, it will probably be too late. The fourth lesson: Don't depend on having people on-site. When Louisiana Governor Katherine Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin ordered a mandatory evacuation, almost everyone who could leave did. In the event of a similar disaster in your area, you should assume that your staff will have both means and incentive to get out of town if ordered to do so, so your planning should include provisions for making an orderly shutdown and retreating to a safer area, taking copies of backup media with you, if possible.

The fifth--and most important--lesson: Some forces are beyond our control and can affect our lives in ways we don't expect. The lessons learned from Katrina will probably have an affect on your organization's disaster-recovery planning process; you should consider now what that affect might be.

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==== Events and Resources ====
    (A complete Web and live events directory brought to you by Windows IT Pro: http://www.windowsitpro.com/events )

SQL Server 2005 Roadshow Is Coming to a City Near You
    Get the facts about migrating to SQL Server 2005. SQL Server experts will present real-world information about administration, development, and business intelligence to help you implement a best-practices migration to SQL Server 2005 and improve your database-computing environment. Attend and receive a 1-year membership to PASS and a 1-year subscription to SQL Server Magazine. Register now!
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High Risk Internet Access: Are You In Control?
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Get Ready for SQL Server 2005 Roadshow in Europe
    Back By Popular Demand--Get the facts about migrating to SQL Server 2005! SQL Server experts will present real-world information about administration, development, and business intelligence to help you implement a best-practices migration to SQL Server 2005 and improve your database-computing environment. Receive a one-year membership to PASS and a one-year subscription to SQL Server Magazine. Register now!
    http://www.windowsitpro.com/roadshows/sqlservereurope/index.cfm?code=0831emailannc

Discover SQL Server 2005 for the Enterprise. Are You Prepared?
    In this free, half-day event you'll learn how the top new features of SQL Server 2005 will help you create and manage large-scale, mission-critical, enterprise database applications--making your job easier. Find out how to leverage SQL Server 2005's new capabilities to best support your business initiatives. Register today!
    http://www.windowsitpro.com/roadshows/sqlserverdba/index.cfm?code=0831emailannc

==== Featured White Paper ====
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==== 2. Peer to Peer ====

Featured Thread: Determining the Number of Sent and Received Messages
    A forum reader wants to know whether a script or tool is available that lets you determine the number of internal and external email messages a group of users has sent and received during a particular time frame. Join the discussion at
    http://forums.windowsitpro.com/web/forum/messageview.aspx?catid=40&threadid=43128&enterthread=y

Outlook Tip: Using Voting Buttons in a Public Folder
    by Sue Mosher, [email protected]

Q: Can I use voting buttons to tally responses to a post in a public folder? For example, if I have a public folder that contains restaurant reviews, could a user post a review that includes voting buttons so that everyone else can simply cast a vote instead of responding to the thread? Long threads make it hard to get a picture of how many are voting for or against an idea.

Find the answer (and links to more great tips) at
    http://www.windowsitpro.com/MicrosoftExchangeOutlook/Article/ArticleID/45072/45072.html

==== Announcements ====
    (from Windows IT Pro and its partners)

Get All the Exchange Tips You Need
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==== 3. New and Improved ====
    by Carolyn Mader, [email protected]

Configure and Maintain Outlook Installations
    Published by Digital Press, "Configuring Microsoft Outlook 2003" by Sue Mosher is a book that's designed for network and Help desk administrators who need to configure and maintain Outlook installations. The book is also useful for power users who want to tweak their Outlook settings to the max. For administrators planning an Outlook deployment, the appendices include a complete listing of Group Policy and user preference settings that they can configure with the Group Policy editor, Custom Installation Wizard (CIW), or Custom Maintenance Wizard (CMW). For developers, the book features a number of scripts for deploying Outlook mail profiles, setting a default signature, adding a secondary Exchange mailbox, setting the text labels for Calendar color-coding, and performing many other Outlook configuration tasks. Ordering links and a complete table of contents are posted at
    http://www.turtleflock.com/olconfig/index.htm

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