Message tracking in Office 365 (Exchange Online)

Message tracking, or message tracing, as it is called in Office 365, is one of the most basic tools used by administrators to monitor the email flow. As emails travel through Office 365, some information about them gets stored in logs and is available for administrative purposes. No matter if users delete or purge messages, the administrator is able to view basic information about sent and received emails.

Message tracing in Office 365

Message tracing does not allow you to peek into a message’s contents. Still, it can provide quite a lot of important data about emails:

  • Sender and Recipient
  • Send and receive dates
  • Subject and size
  • Status and details of events. There are seven possible values in the delivery status field: delivered, failed, pending, expanded, quarantined, filtered as spam and unknown.
  • IP address used to send the message
  • Message ID a unique number identifying a message. If a message is sent to more than one recipient, it will display once for every recipient in the message trace search, but all those entries will have the same Message ID and different Message Trace ID

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Cloud vs local backup – which one is better?

Which backup solution is better? If you are looking for a simple answer, pointing to the better solution, this article isn’t probably for you. Cloud and local backup solutions are different and to decide which one is better for you, you will have to consider all their pros and cons. The comparison below shows you all the good and dark sides of those different approaches. Let’s leave the marketing mumbo-jumbo for others – neither solution is simply the perfect one for everyone.

One rule of thumb is to back up data residing in the cloud to a local storage and to create cloud-based backups for the on-premises servers. This is a reasonable option, but still, it will not be perfect for all situations. That is why it is best to analyze your specific deployment and see what will work best for you. What is more, the comparison between the cloud-based and local backups is just the first step. The next phase is checking if the specific tool has all the features you need.

Cloud vs local backup - which is better?

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Exchange 2016 and SharePoint 2016 integration (part 1.) – Email alerts & Email-enabled library

Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint are powerful platforms which form the base for collaboration in many organizations around the globe. Exchange provides email service and organizes inbound and outbound communication, while SharePoint offers a highly configurable system used primarily for storage and cooperation. The best part is that those two platforms get even more functionalities when you configure them to work together. Despite that, they often are treated as two separate beings and are not in any way connected. This article presents how to integrate these two services.

SharePoint Exchange Integration - alerts & email-enabled libraries

But first things first – what can you get from the Exchange 2016 and SharePoint 2016 integration?

  • Email alerts – it lets users and administrators track changes in documents and learn immediately whenever a new document is created or deleted. It is also possible to set email notifications to inform of any problems occurring on the SharePoint server
  • Email-enabled library – SharePoint libraries can receive emails. This lets you save email and attachments directly in SharePoint by simply sending them to a library. The emails can also be sent from external addresses, as such a library has its own SMTP address.
  • Calendar – you can configure an Exchange calendar to be displayed directly on a SharePoint site.
  • Site Mailbox – this functionality is available starting from Exchange 2013 and SharePoint 2013. Site mailboxes counter the problem of emails and documents being in two different repositories. Thanks to this option, users can access emails and docs using one interface, either Outlook or a browser. This way, you can greatly improve productivity and collaboration by removing the need to jump from one interface to another. It also simplifies searching for specific items.

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Office 365 litigation hold vs retention policy – what’s the difference

[Update] This post was updated on October 18, 2017.

Office 365 and on-premises Exchange offer some native means of protection against losing precious data. Lately, a lot of changes have been introduced in the Exchange Security & Compliance Center. A retention policy and a litigation hold can be used to add a layer of protection against data loss. At first glance, they seem similar: they both are accessed from Office 365 Security & Compliance Center and serve the same purpose. However, in the table below you can see that there are some differences and they are not minor.

Litigation hold vs retention policy in Office 365

But before the actual comparison, let us look at those features separately.

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How to migrate Exchange public folders to a shared mailbox in Office 365

This article shows, step by step, how to easily migrate Exchange public folders to an Office 365 shared mailbox using CodeTwo Migration software. The article also contains a guide on how to create a shared mailbox in Office 365 and how to access it from a mobile device.

Why migrate public folders to a shared mailbox?

You might wonder why should you even bother. How is this migration better than a straightforward transition to the target server public folders? There are two reasons why you might prefer shared mailboxes over public folders:

  • You can easily access shared mailboxes via a mobile device
  • They can let you save money, as shared mailboxes do not require separate licenses in Office 365

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How to migrate mailboxes between Office 365 tenants

No matter what the reason is, recently more and more companies decide to migrate their organizations to Office 365. And as the businesses operate in the cloud, companies more frequently ask for the steps to go further and migrate from one Office 365 organization to another.

But surprisingly there is no convenient native way to perform this type of move. Even Microsoft suggests using a third party tool to accomplish this administration task. Having this in mind, I will show you how to easily migrate mailboxes between Office 365 tenants using CodeTwo Office 365 Migration.

Migrate mailboxes between Office 365 tenants

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How to prevent internal email spoofing in an Exchange organization

Disclaimer: This article is not an “Email Spoofing 101”. Spoofing examples are presented only for testing and prevention purposes.

Ensuring email security might be one of the most important and most difficult tasks an administrator must face. Every day, servers process thousands of emails and controlling such a big mail flow is not easy. No wonder hackers focus on this channel when they plan attacks. They use various tricks to make users think that opening a suspicious attachment is a good idea.

One of the tricks they use is email spoofing.

Prevent Internal Spoofing in Exchange organization

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Using PST files to back up Office 365 – why it is a bad idea

Personal Storage Table files (PST) were introduced to the Microsoft world back in times of Exchange 4.0, as Outlook exclusive, storage files. They were meant to store individuals’ non-enterprise data coming from IMAP and POP3 mailboxes. Soon enough that became a quick fix to stacked up corporate Exchange Servers allowing users to store excess mailbox data to their local drives. What seemed like a brilliant solution, soon proved itself to be quite the opposite. In this article, I’ll show you why it is a bad idea to use PST files as a backup for your Office 365 data.

PST files were never meant for across network management

Any type of an over network management of PST files is an unsupported, highly not recommended, and time-consuming process, often resulting in corrupted files. Its administration over LAN or WAN is very heavy on servers causing network overheads and even server crashes. Learn more about it from the Microsoft Knowledge Base. Having multiple operations like this proceed simultaneously also significantly slows you’re your computer operations down. There is no possibility to automatically synchronize these files between devices in Microsoft Outlook. And saving them to the Cloud results in nothing more but an overfilled cache.

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How to merge an Office 365 account with an on-premises AD account after hybrid configuration?

Once you have completed a hybrid configuration in your company, it turns out that the job is not done yet. After a quick verification whether the hybrid is set up correctly, you notice that some of the users are not synchronized properly. And if that is the case, you need to do some additional adjustments. If you hit the roadblock during the synchronization it is most probable that the problem will be related to user synchronization between local Active Directory and Azure AD. Common causes for this are:

  • Lack of rights to Organizational Units (OU) or AD objects (users, groups or computers) for a service account used by Azure AD Connect (AAD Connect)
  • The improper scope of objects synchronized with Office 365. In other words, perhaps an OU that contains a certain user object, group or computer was not selected in the AAD Connect configuration wizard.

You can encounter these problems when you run the synchronization from on-premises AD to Office 365. But this can also happen the other way round when you run the synchronization from Office 365 to on-premises AD or in both directions. Look at the most common scenarios here:

In this article, I will show you how to manage these situations in an environment with hybrid configuration and Centralized Mail Transport enabled.

A user has an account in Office 365 but not in local Active Directory

Merging AD account with Office 365

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Back up Office 365/Exchange emails before it is too late!

For some of you this may sound a bit disturbing, for some may be exaggerated, but preserving emails is one of the essential tasks any business should be aware of. In most organizations, emails hold very important or even critical data, which guarantee business continuity. That is why having a backup copy of emails seems to be something obvious, but it also seems to be underestimated at some point.

Backup Office 365 data

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