Exchange & Outlook UPDATE, Exchange Edition--Cetificates and Exchange, Part 1

-------| Exchange & Outlook UPDATE |------

*Commentary: Certificates and Exchange, Part 1
*Exchanging Ideas: Readers' Choice: Messaging
*New and Improved: Give Free Hosted Office a Try



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***COMMENTARY: Certificates and Exchange, Part 1
by Paul Robichaux, Exchange Editor, [email protected]

I'm generally a big believer in the power of a free market. In most market segments, competition between sellers makes things better for the buyer. In the computing industry, look no further than the x86-based hardware that you're probably using to read this email newsletter.

One area in which competition has only recently made its mark is the market for Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates. If you want an SSL certificate, you have basically two choices: You can create your own or you can buy one from a third-party certificate authority (CA). For many applications, a self-issued, self-signed certificate will do fine. For example, many companies use self-signed certificates for signing Microsoft Office macros and protecting intranet Web servers. The potential security risk of clients accessing your Internet-facing services will determine whether you should use self-signed certificates or certificates purchased from an external CA such as Comodo,, or VeriSign. The cost of these certificates varies quite a bit; for example, Comodo sells a 128-bit server certificate for $139 per year, whereas a similar certificate from costs about $20 per year. The strength of the certificate, its renewal period, and the reputation of the certificate issuer all influence the final price.

Exchange uses certificates in several ways. The most common use, of course, is to protect access to Microsoft Outlook Web Access (OWA). Exchange Server 2003 and earlier releases don't require you to use SSL with OWA, but if you don't use it you're needlessly exposing yourself to the possibility of an attacker stealing credentials to your network. (When you turn on form-based authentication for Exchange 2003, however, SSL is required or the authentication won't work.) You can also use certificates to apply SSL protection for POP, IMAP, and Exchange ActiveSync.

Requesting and installing certificates is fairly straightforward, although it might require more knowledge of the Internet Services Manager for Microsoft IIS than you might voluntarily gain on your own. After you install a certificate and enable it for the Exchange services you want to protect, you're done.

Exchange Server 2007 changes the game significantly because it automatically generates and installs its own set of self-signed certificates. This is a great boon for novice administrators (or lazy ones) because it means that Exchange 2007 OWA is automatically protected from the minute you install the Client Access server role. However, the addition of this new feature introduces several additional wrinkles that you need to know about; I'll cover those in next week's column.


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Focus: Readers' Choice: Messaging

Here are the products the readers of Windows IT Pro designate tops for antispam/mailserver, antispam/client, mail server, collaboration, IM solution, mail archiving, Exchange backup/disaster recovery, and Exchange migration.

See all the 2006 Readers' Choice picks in the September issue of Windows IT Pro.

Have a question? Got answers? Join your peers in the Exchange discussion forums:
Current Threads:
Delegate to view other folders
How to go beyond 128 accounts when creating dst. list
Applying Size Restrictions to Individual Mailboxes

Don't forget to sound off in our Instant Poll. This month's question is "In a typical work week, how much time do you spend managing SharePoint?"

~~~~ Hot Spot: ~~~~

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by Blake Eno, [email protected]

Give Free Hosted Office a Try
Singlefin announced the launch of its free Hosted Office service for small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs). The service provides enterprise-class email hosting with built-in antivirus and security, in addition to online access to calendars and contacts. Singlefin saves you money, eliminating the high costs of building your own Exchange infrastructure. Plus, Singlefin's in-house messaging experts provide the knowledge you may not be aware of. You can self-provision the Hosted Office service at Singlefin's Web site in less than five minutes. For more information, contact Singlefin at 858-346-1055 or 866-566-3346.

Wanted: your reviews of products you've tested and used in production. Share your experiences and ratings of products to "[email protected]" and get a Best Buy gift certificate.


These Windows-related events, papers, and resources will help you keep your knowledge and skills up to date and help you deploy, secure, and maintain the latest Exchange- and Windows-related technologies. For additional resources, visit

Attend the 2006 Cross Platform Data roadshows to learn about optimizing 64-bit database computing, business intelligence for SQL Server and Oracle, high-availability proof points for database computing, and implications of architectural differences between Oracle and SQL. Coming to 12 US cities in September and October.

Windows Connections Conference
Now in its seventh year, Windows Connections returns November 6-9 to Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Don't miss your chance to interact with industry experts and hear the latest information on Windows Server 2003, Windows 2000 Server, and Windows XP Professional! Register, then attend sessions at Microsoft Exchange Connections FREE!

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Make sure that your DR systems are up to the challenge of a real natural disaster when you learn from messaging survivors of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. On-Demand Web Seminar:

Imagine never losing an email, even during short, unplanned outages. If you aren't getting 100% coverage against lost or missing messages, you might be jeopardizing your messaging system's integrity and your company's productivity. Learn how to manage disruptions to your messaging environment without breaking the bank in the process. On-Demand Web Seminar:



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