August 01, 2014

Pay Me Now, or Pay Me Later: DNS Edition

I hate most low-cost hosting providers. I've rarely have a great experience with one, but Web and DNS hosting providers are usually already established when I start working with a client, and migrating to another provider is typically not marked as a high priority project. I might change my mind on that after working with a client who used iPower and suddenly lost all public DNS resolution one day.

We called up iPower twice and spoke to two oblivious techs who spouted off nonsense and promised to call back after looking in to it further. Finally, on the third call a person finally told us why the client's SOA record wasn’t propagating (causing their domain name not to resolve anywhere, so no website, no e-mail, etc. for two days). Turns out they had failed to respond to their “domain verification” e-mail, which with most providers means nothing – they are just required by ICANN to prompt you to update it once a year, but most just don’t do anything if you ignore the e-mail. iPower took it a step further and deactivated their domain when there was no response.

Paul: So, if I understand you correctly, you all sent an e-mail to the registrant e-mail address to verify the registrant details. The e-mail address was wrong, so they didn't see it. So the domain was deactivated?
Paul: So you checked to see if you had the right e-mail address by ... sending an e-mail? And if the address was not correct, you just assumed we didn't need the domain?
Deepika B: Yes, you are right.
Paul: Fantastic, well done.
Deepika B: Thank you!

Bravo, iPower. Bravo.

January 15, 2014

Enabling Office 365 Message Encryption

Back in November of 2013, Microsoft announced Office 365 Message Encryption (OME) as a way to protect the contents of outbound messages to people in other organizations. This excellent update helps fence in it's predecessor, Exchange Hosted Encryption (EHE), to the Office 365 branding and management. Users of EHE had to work through more cumbersome configuration steps and were required to purchase it open volume licensing, whereas OME comes included as part of Azure Active Directory Rights Management  (AADRM) in the E3 and E4 packages, or purchased as an add-on to other enterprise SKUs with the normal subscription licensing.

Red Flags and the Value of Experience

One of the things I hear often said, and something I subscribe to as well, is the idea that a lot of technical knowledge in the world of IT ...