TIP How to Configure Email Notification for Windows Server Backup

Although it does not replace enterprise grade backups systems like Veeam or StorageCraft, Windows Server Backup works quite well for basic backup tasks. But it lacks any notification system on the progress of the backups. Here are two simple ways to set that up. First, this option uses the Event Viewer task:

Configure Email Notification for Windows Server Backup

And here is a more advanced and flexible approach using Powershell:

Email Notifications with Windows Server Backup

 

 

TIP Fix Office 365 ProPlus Error a shared computer license isn’t available

This is error (or similar) can pop up on a Windows 2012 R2 RD Server farm.

All Technotes I found only referred to Office 15.0 (2013) not 16.0 (2016), which has a different Registry key.
Solution
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\ClickToRun\Configuration\
Create String Value
SharedComputerLicensing = 1
IMPORTANT: Make sure it is a String Value!

Using Saved Credentials in a Powershell Script

Purpose

Credentials stored in plain text format in a Powershell script is a security issue that needs to be avoided. This Technote describes a way to save the password in a file as a secure string which can be read back into a script for authentication.

Procedure

Check out this great post on this subject.

https://blog.kloud.com.au/2016/04/21/using-saved-credentials-securely-in-powershell-scripts/

Using Google Drive as a Corporate Knowledge Base

Drive

The main reason why Google Drive works so well as a Corporate Knowledge Base is because of the world class search functionality that comes along with anything Google. Posting articles is easy, just drag them into the appropriate folder, or use Google Docs to create them directly in the desired location using almost any mobile device. I prefer a simple folder structure, in fact, you may want to consider no folder structure at all and rely totally on search to find things. That has worked great for me for years with Gmail.

There are even some advanced search options you can read about here that can be useful. If you insist on structuring your documents rather than relying on search there are Third Party tools such as Collavate (I have never used it, but it looks like Collavate provides a lot of features to put structure into your Google Drive).

Also, there are free tools available out there to expand the functionality of Google Apps. One that I installed recently is a tool to send Emails as a PDF to a folder on Google Drive. This will allow users to save information from an email to the Knowledge Base with ease (a LOT of Corporate Knowledge is lost in the bowls of your mail server because it is not shared). Here is how:

  1. Click here to copy the Save Email as PDF Google Sheet into your Google Drive
  2. Change cell D4 from “PDF” to “KB”
  3. Click on “Step 1 – Authorize” under Save PDF. You will be prompted to authorize the script to perform certain tasks.
  4. Click on “Step 2 – Run Program” to start the script (NOTE: You can stop it any time by selecting Step 2 again).
  5. You can now close the Sheet. The script will run in the background.
  6. Create a new label called “KB” (Outlook users: Create a folder called “KB”)
  7. Now when you want to add an email to the folder:
    1. Using Google Mail:. Check off the emails you want to post and select Label->KB
    2. Using Outlook: Copy the email into the folder “KB”
    3. Posting a new email to the KB using Google Mail. Select Label->KB from the bottom right of the new email.

For more information on the Save Email as PDF script and many other useful tools look here.

Tips on How To Detect Encrypted Files (or The Battle against Ransomware)

The Problem

cryptolocker

Even with multiple lines of defense in place, someone in your network is inevitably going to click on that attachment or link prompting them to open that scan or document they requested (if they would briefly stop and think about it, they actually did not scan or request any document) and the next thing you know every document on the shared drive is encrypted. Welcome to the wonderful world of ransomware!

The only real solution to this problem up until now once the damage has been done is to have a good backup (and/or Volume Shadow Copy). Although I have heard stories that you can actually pay the ransom fee and you will get your files back that may work for home users, but I doubt very much that an organization with hundreds of thousands of files infected is going to get off the hook for $500.

So for now restoring from the latest backup seems to be the best line of defense against ransomware, I do however anticipate a future where things will become much harder to protect against. For example, what if a crafty hacker was able to detect documents that are important, but are only opened once a year for review?

What can you do?

  1. For Windows workstations turn on System Protection and also make sure users either do not store documents locally (that is what I recommend) or have a backup in place.
  2. From servers: As I mentioned above, make sure you have backups and/or Volume Shadow Copy turned on.
  3. Read this
  4. This Scan Tool should be useful to identify encrypted files (I have never used it, though).
  5. Use Powershell to test files for Crypto. Typically it is easy to find out who is infected by checking the owner of an encrypted file and also recording the time when the file was last modified. The script below can be modified accordingly to scan through your shared folders and find what has been encrypted. Edit the file, then Dot-Source the file to your Powershell session (http://mikepfeiffer.net/2010/06/how-to-add-functions-to-your-powershell-session/) then run it by using:
    Get-Postcrypto Path
    Example Get-Postcrypto “E:\shared\Company”