Microsoft enhances troubleshooting support for Office365

There’s a new tool from Microsoft for Office365 that scans files for headache-inducing problems in OneDrive for Business

It appears that last week Microsoft added a new and largely unheralded capability to the Office 365 checker tool.

A change to Microsoft’s main troubleshooting article for OneDrive for Business, KB 3125202, added a reference to an option in the Microsoft Support and Recovery Assistant for Office 365 tool that can be used to scan for files that are too big, file and folder names that have invalid characters, for path names that exceed the length limit, and several other headache-inducing problems. This appears to be a new capability for the Office 365 checker tool.

Here’s what the new information says:

Microsoft Support and Recovery Assistant for Office 365

The Microsoft Support and Recovery Assistant for Office 365 is a tool that can diagnose and fix many common Office 365 problems. The OneDrive for Business option “I’m having a problem with OneDrive for Business” now scans for the following issues:

  • Checks the option to manually or automatically update the NGSC+B to its latest version.
  • Reports all files that have sizes exceeding the limit.
  • Reports all files that have invalid characters in the names.
  • Reports all folders that have invalid characters or strings in the names.
  • Reports all paths exceeding the limit and provides a link to this KB article.

The tool is available from When you run this tool, the initial page will display several options, including the new option for OneDrive for Business: “I’m having a problem with OneDrive for Business.”

This looks like an excellent tool for anyone troubleshooting OneDrive for Business problems.


This is a repost from InfoWorld

Microsoft to revamp its documentation for security patches

Microsoft has eliminated individual patches from every Windows version, and Security Bulletins will go away soon, replaced by a spreadsheet with tools

With the old method of patching now completely gone—October’s releases eliminated individual patches from every Windows version—Microsoft has announced that the documentation to accompany those patches is in for a significant change. Most notable, Security Bulletins will disappear, replaced by a lengthy list of patches and tools for slicing and dicing those lists.

Security Bulletins go back to June 1998, when Microsoft first released MS98-001. That and all subsequent bulletins referred to specific patches described in Knowledge Base articles. The KB articles, in turn, have detailed descriptions of the patches and lists of files changed by each patch. The Security Bulletins serve as an overview of all the KB patches associated with a specific security problem. Some Security Bulletins list dozens of KB patches, each for a specific version of Windows.

Starting in January, we’ll have two lists—or, more accurately, two ways of viewing a master table.

Keep in mind that we’re only talking about security patches and the security part of the Windows 10 cumulative updates. Nonsecurity patches and Win7/8.1 monthly rollups are outside of this discussion.

To see where this is going and to understand why it’s vastly superior to the Security Bulletin approach, look at the lists for November 8, this month’s Patch Tuesday. The main Windows Update list

shows page after page of security bulletins, identified by MS16-xxx numbers, and those numbers have become ambiguous. See, for example, MS16-142 on that list, which covers both the Security-only update for Win7, KB 3197867, and the Monthly rollup for Win7, KB 3197868. The MS16-142 Security Bulletin itself runs on for many pages.

Now flip over to the Security Updates Guide. In the filter box type windows 7 and press Enter. You see four security patches (screenshot below): IE11 and Windows, both 32- and 64-bit. They’re all associated with KB

In the Software Update Summary, searching for “windows 7” yields only one entry, for the applicable KB number (screenshot below).


Here’s why the tools are important. On this month’s Patch Tuesday, we received 14 Security Bulletins. Those Security Bulletins actually contain 55 different patches for different KB numbers; the Security Bulletin artifice groups those patches together in various ways. The 55 different security patches actually contain 175 separate fixes, when you break them out by the intended platform.

There’s a whole lotta patchin’ goin’ on.

Starting this month, you can look at the patches either individually (in the Security Updates Guide) or by platform (in the Software Update Summary), or you can plow through those Security Bulletins and try to find the patches that concern you. Starting in January, per the Microsoft Security Response Center, the Security Bulletins are going away.

Of course, the devil’s in the implementation details, but all in all this seems to me like a reasonable response to what has become an untenable situation.

This is a repost from


Cloud backup security concerns

Many CIOs are now adopting a cloud-first strategy and backing up and recovering critical data in the cloud is on the rise. If you don’t have a permanent CIO to manage your IT department, consider hiring an interim CIO. As more and more companies explore the idea of migrating applications and data to the cloud, questions like “How secure are cloud services?” arise. While there isn’t a standout number one concern when it comes to cloud computing, the one thing we can be sure about is that security is front and center in CIO’s minds. Veeam has identified the top two concerns from our recent 2016 customer survey to be security and price. See the graph of responses below:


Quite inevitably, cloud has come with new challenges and we’ll be exploring them all in this cloud challenges blog series. It has also come with some genuine security risks but as we will uncover, cloud backup security has more to do with your implementation of it to successfully ensure data security when moving to the cloud. With cloud, security has to be top priority. The benefits of flexibility and scalability you get from the cloud should not mean sacrificing any security at all.

What are the most important cloud backup security risks?

Stolen authentication/credentials

Attacks on data happen more often than not due to weak password usage, or poor key and certificate management. Issues tend to happen as multiple allocations and permission levels begin to circulate and this is where good credential management systems and practices can really help.

One-time generated passwords, phone-based authentication and other multifactor authentication systems make it difficult for attackers wanting to gain access to protected data because they need more than just one credential in order to log in.

Data breaches

Data breaches can be disastrous for organizations. Not only have they violated the trust of their customers by allowing data to be leaked, but it also opens them up to facing fines, lawsuits and even criminal indictments. The brand tarnishing and loss of business from such an event can leave a business with a long road to recovery at best.

Despite the fact that cloud service providers typically do offer security methods to protect tenants’ environments, ultimately you – the IT professional – are responsible for protection of your organization’s data. In order to protect even the idea of a breach, you need to become a fan of encryption. If you use cloud for storage, experts agree data should be encrypted at no less than 256-bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) before it leaves your network. The data should be encrypted a second time while in transit to the cloud and a third time while at rest stored in the cloud. It is important to do your research and enquire into the encryption used by the application, and by the service provider when the data is at rest in order to ensure safe and secure cloud backups.

Lack of due diligence

A key reason moving data to the cloud fails, becomes vulnerable or worse becomes subject to an attack or loss is due to poor planning and implementation. To successfully implement a cloud backup or disaster recovery strategy, careful and deliberate planning should take place. This should first involve considering and understanding all of the risks, vulnerabilities and potential threats that exist. Secondly, an understanding of what countermeasures need to be taken in order to ensure secure restore or recovery of backups and replication, such as ensuring your network is secure or access to key infrastructure is restricted. Due diligence in approaching the cloud should also involve an alignment of your IT staff, the service provider and the technologies and environment being leveraged. The service provider must be seamlessly integrated with the cloud backup and recovery software you plan to utilize for optimal security and performance of your virtualized environment.

Multi-tenant environment

Service providers offer cost-effectiveness and operations efficiencies by providing their customers with the option of shared resources. In choosing a service that is shared, it’s essential that the risks are understood. Ensuring that each tenant is completely isolated from other tenant environments is key to a multi-tenant platform. Multi-tenant platforms should have segregated networks, only allow privileged access and have multiple layers of security in the compute and networking stacks.

Service provider trust and reliability

The idea of moving data offsite into a multi-tenant environment where a third party manages the infrastructure can give even the boldest IT professionals some anxiety. This comes with the perceived lack of control they might have on cloud backup security. To combat this, it is essential to choose a service provider you trust who is able to ease any security doubts. There are a variety of compliance standards a provider can obtain, such as ISO9001 or SOC 2 & SSAE 16 and it’s important to take note of these as you search for a provider. In addition to standards, look for a service provider that has a proven track record of reliability – there are plenty of online tools that report on provider network uptime.  Physical control of the virtual environment is also paramount. You must seek a secure data center, ideally with on-site 24/7 security and mantraps with multi-layered access authentication.

So, is the cloud secure?

Yes, the cloud is secure but only as secure as you make it. From the planning and the processes in place, to the underlying technology and capabilities of your cloud backup and recovery service.  All these elements combined can determine your success.  It is up to you to work with your choice of service provider to ensure the security of your data when moving to cloud backups or DRaaS. Another critical aspect is partnering with a data management company experienced in securely shifting and storing protected data in the cloud.

Veeam and security

We provide flexibility in how, when and where you secure your data for maximum security matched with performance.  With AES 256-bit encryption, you have the ability to secure your data at all times: During a backup, before it leaves your network perimeter, during movement between components (e.g., proxy to repository traffic), for when data must stay unencrypted at the target and while your backup data is at rest in its final destination (e.g., disc, tape or cloud). It is also perfect for sending encrypted backups off site using Backup Copy jobs with WAN Acceleration.

You have a choice over when and where you encrypt backups. For example, you can leave local Veeam backups unencrypted for faster backup and restore performance, but encrypt backups that are copied to an offsite target, tape or the cloud. You can also protect different backups with different passwords, while actual encryption keys are generated randomly within each session for added backup encryption security.

Here are some links with more details on encryption and related information:

This article was provided by our service partner Veeam