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Oct
6
How to buy yourself time when under back-pressure
Posted by Amy Babinchak on 06 October 2017 12:00 PM

under back-pressure

One of the important skills in being a great tech is knowing how to keep things running while you sort out the root of the problem. Being able to work with outside resources like Third Tier depends on this skill. From Catherine Barr, one of our technical experts…

As the song Under Pressure by Queen plays through my head, I’d like to share a tip on how to buy yourself some time.

More than a few times techs have been plagued with server hard drives running low on resources. We all have those risk taking clients that treat their systems like a car and like to take a chance of driving on empty to see how far they can get with the gas light flashing brilliantly in their eyes. When the system finally starts to red line then you get the call.  If this happens to be an email server then you know that email flow will stop due to back pressure restrictions.

Back pressure is a process Microsoft built in to Exchange for system resource monitoring to keep the server from having a nervous breakdown. For example, on a Small Business Server email flow will stop when drive space is pushed to the limit and becomes limited. There have been times when facing this problem isn’t as easy as deleting logs or moving data to a different drive.

If you get a call from a client who has Exchange on-premises and complains about email flow problems then one of the first things you should check is hard drive space. If you know or find this to be the problem but need a bit of time to solve then a quick fix is to disable the back pressure.

Here are examples of how this could be done in Exchange 2007 or Exchange 2010.

Exchange 2007 (Default install to C drive) C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\Bin

Exchange 2010 (Default install to C drive) C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\v14\Bin

Modify a config file where your Exchange program files are installed. The config file is called edgetransport.exe.config. Probably best to make a backup copy of it first then open it in notepad. Search for “EnableResourceMonitoring”. Change the value from “True” to “False”. Save the file back to the same name config. The final step is to restart the Microsoft Exchange Transport Service. Email should start to flow again making the client happy and giving you time to solve the issue at hand.

About Third Tier

Established in 2008, Third Tier only works for IT Professionals by providing them with access to advanced support services. No one can know it all these days, so we give IT pros a place to go to get the hands on support they need in areas they normally don’t work in or problems they’ve never encountered. We also work on projects, fix their accounting practices and do many, many migrations and other installations. Our staff covers a wide range of technologies.

Website: http://www.thirdtier.net

Helpdesk: https://helpdesk.thirdtier.net

Blog: http://www.thirdtier.net/blog


Read more »



Oct
5
Creating a digial suggestion box using Office 365 apps
Posted by Amy Babinchak on 05 October 2017 02:35 PM

I recently wrote an article for TechGenix on how to use Sharepoint, Flow and Forms to create an online Suggestion Box. Once completed you could even embed it into your website if you’d like to.

A client wanted an anonymous digital suggestion box and was vetting various software packages when I heard through the office grapevine that this was occurring. My mind went immediately to Microsoft Forms, and I informed them to hold off because they already owned something that was going to work for this. Shadow IT is a real thing in businesses today where savvy employees are apt to solve their own problems through an Internet search rather than asking IT for their suggestions, so keeping an ear out for needs has become an essential part of a successful IT department.

Read the entire article over here: http://techgenix.com/designing-a-digital-suggestion-box/

About Third Tier

Established in 2008, Third Tier only works for IT Professionals by providing them with access to advanced support services. No one can know it all these days, so we give IT pros a place to go to get the hands on support they need in areas they normally don’t work in or problems they’ve never encountered. We also work on projects, fix their accounting practices and do many, many migrations and other installations. Our staff covers a wide range of technologies.

Website: http://www.thirdtier.net

Helpdesk: https://helpdesk.thirdtier.net

Blog: http://www.thirdtier.net/blog


Read more »



Sep
27
How to fix a business process with Office 365
Posted by Amy Babinchak on 27 September 2017 12:12 PM

All businesses have processes that are broken. You know it when multiple people are doing multiple things in multiple places to get a particular task complete. Ask around, I’m sure that your business has a few broken processes. Mine did. Our broken business process was related to tracking the purchases that we make for clients. I noticed a lot of email flying back and forth from different people asking for things.

“could you send me the receipt for __________”, “who did you buy ____________ for”, “what was the RMA# for _________”, “can you send me the quote for this order?” and on and on. This is how you know you have a broken process.

I wrote an article for TechGenix that starts with these paragraphs then continues to show you how to solve this problem using SharePoint, Flow and PowerApps. It's a very nice solution and once you implement a solution like this for a client they will think of many more processes that need fixing. 

Read the full article here

About Third Tier

Established in 2008, Third Tier only works for IT Professionals by providing them with access to advanced support services. No one can know it all these days, so we give IT pros a place to go to get the hands on support they need in areas they normally don’t work in or problems they’ve never encountered. We also work on projects, fix their accounting practices and do many, many migrations and other installations. Our staff covers a wide range of technologies.

Website: http://www.thirdtier.net

Helpdesk: https://helpdesk.thirdtier.net

Blog: http://www.thirdtier.net/blog


Read more »



Aug
31
CompTia will triple your Houston area donation
Posted by Amy Babinchak on 31 August 2017 10:42 AM

Our friends at CompTia have offer to match your donation to assist hurricane victims in the Houston area with 2 dollars of their own. This is a tripling in your donation! Just follow this link and select CompTia as your company.

http://bit.ly/CompTIACares

If you aren't a member of CompTia you should also consider joining. It is an excellent trade organization that provides many benefits, services, research and communities to IT firms. ThirdTier is a member, I'm on the executive committee for the Advancing Women in Technology group and we hope to see you at the future CompTia event. 

_____________________

About Third Tier

Established in 2008, Third Tier only works for IT Professionals by providing them with access to advanced support services. No one can know it all these days, so we give IT pros a place to go to get the hands on support they need in areas they normally don’t work in or problems they’ve never encountered. We also work on projects, fix their accounting practices and do many, many migrations and other installations. Our staff covers a wide range of technologies.

Website: http://www.thirdtier.net

Helpdesk: https://helpdesk.thirdtier.net

Blog: http://www.thirdtier.net/blog

 


Read more »



Aug
29
What defines a good backup for ransomware recovery?
Posted by Amy Babinchak on 29 August 2017 11:42 AM

From Dave Shackelford:

I’ve been responding to multiple ransomware outbreaks for clients, and there’s something I’ve been noticing: having backups isn’t enough. They have to be “good” and that deserves some explaining.

– A domain joined system with a “backup” share isn’t going to cut it. It will quickly be compromised.

– An external drive that remains attached to the server for a couple of months at a time isn’t helpful. We are seeing connected external drives regularly being encrypted. Cycling them offsite weekly is still a great practice, and saved one small firm we worked with last week.

– A 1.3 TB cloud backup may take you a week to download, which may exceed your recovery time agreements. Make sure you are also keeping a local, protected backup of your customer data. One client we worked with ended up paying the ransom rather than waiting for their cloud backup to be downloaded.

Some good backup options (using more than one is even better):

– Continuing the practice of regularly rotated physical media if you aren’t doing cloud backups.

– Having a NAS with its public shares disabled, and creating only a single backup user (with a complex password) on it that is only used with the backup software. That will keep it from being accessed and having its data compromised, even by a domain admin account. There are other ways to create this arrangement, but the key is having the backups be somewhere that a rogue account (even a domain admin) can’t reach. Lately we’re seeing hackers take more time to prepare an internal environment for thorough infection–many of these attacks are not automated!

– Separately doing a regular cloud sync of the primary file shares, so that individual folders can be retrieved as needed, instead of an entire backup base image needing to be downloaded.

– Having your backup software run on your non-domain joined virtualization host, so that a compromised domain account can’t affect how the backups are being done or access the backup software that contains the authentication creds for your NAS or backup target.

– Have a NAS/BDR or backup target that can also sync to the cloud on its own.

– Be disciplined and strict about correcting issues with backups immediately as they come up. If you have multiple people in your consulting firm, assign the person with the personality best suited for this sort of careful work. Doing this well could make or break your firm.

There are a lot of good products out there to help accomplish this kind of security. Lately I’ve been using either of two solutions: Altaro Ultimate running on HyperV hosts and backing up to a secured share on a Synology NAS. From there I’ve configured additional cloud sync to Amazon S3 storage. Alternately (particularly if the client has usable server hardware they recently moved off of), I’m using eFolder’s Replibit BDR product, which runs on an open-source OS and synchronizes to an additional eFolder-hosted cloud vault.

_____________

About Third Tier

Established in 2008, Third Tier only works for IT Professionals by providing them with access to advanced support services. No one can know it all these days, so we give IT pros a place to go to get the hands on support they need in areas they normally don’t work in or problems they’ve never encountered. We also work on projects, fix their accounting practices and do many, many migrations and other installations. Our staff covers a wide range of technologies.

Website: http://www.thirdtier.net

Helpdesk: https://helpdesk.thirdtier.net

Blog: http://www.thirdtier.net/blog

 


Read more »




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