Thursday, April 23, 2009

Virtual Convergence is LIVE (with EBS sessions)


New in 2009, Virtual Convergence is your online resource for all post-conference materials – and helps us deliver post-conference videos and information to you faster than ever before. Keynote presentations, general sessions and concurrent sessions are all available for viewing online in Windows Media video (WMV) format, so that you can revisit sessions you attended or view them for the first time. In addition, in case you missed any of the sponsors or exhibitors at Convergence Expo, all of their contact information and downloadable information is available within Virtual Convergence.

To begin your online experience:

  1. Click here. The initial screen loading of Virtual Convergence may take a few minutes to complete.
  2. To enter Virtual Convergence, choose the “Enter” button. This unsecured area provides access to keynotes, general sessions and the virtual Expo experience.
  3. To view all concurrent session Windows Media files, select the “Convergence 2009 Attendees” button in the lower left hand corner of the screen. You will be prompted to login to this secured area; please use your Convergence 2009 registration credentials. (If you’ve forgotten your credentials, go here and use the Forgot Username or Password links. Your credentials will be sent to the email address provided in your registration.
  4. Use that same button in the lower left hand corner of the screen to navigate between the secured and unsecure areas of Virtual Convergence.

You’ll have access to Virtual Convergence for one year. Be sure to maximize the value of attending by leveraging all the content and contacts available to you as a Convergence attendee.

Now that Convergence 2009 is Over – What Are Your Next Steps?

We want to once again thank you for attending Convergence 2009 and hope you enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about your Microsoft Dynamics solution. Throughout the thousands of networking opportunities at Convergence, surely there were hundreds of conversations taking place about new opportunities – new modules, new technology, new services, new editions. Convergence provided you the perfect opportunity to investigate everything in person.

We wanted to remind you that time is running out for the two great offers that are in place exclusively for Convergence 2009 attendees:

The Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Attendee Sales Offer expires May 21, 2009 - Receive up to 20% off. This offer is open to all Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Dynamics SL, Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Microsoft Dynamics AX attendees, and provides a 20% discount off the purchase of additional users, additional modules or granules, transitions to new product editions or Licensing Models or upgrades to higher service plans.

Don’t delay in taking advantage of this offer now – contact your Microsoft Dynamics partner or visit for more details.

The Convergence Attendee Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Sales Offer expires May 1, 2009 – Receive up to 75% off

Microsoft Dynamics prospects and customers who attended Convergence 2009 are eligible to receive up to 20 users of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online for 6 months at $9.99/user/month.

For more information regarding Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, visit or call 1-877-CRM-CHOICE.

Note: is an unmonitored alias. EventPoint, Inc. is the official Convergence CommNet vendor.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Free IT Network Health tool

Preparation Wizard is great free tool that was developed by Microsoft Essential Business Server team ( ) that scans your network,  identifies various networking problems (DNS, AD replication, AD configuration, configuration of network adapters, etc.) and provides links to knowledge based articles that explain how to correct these issues. 
The tool is not just for customers with Essential Business Server or those who are planning to deploy this solution in their environments. Preparation Wizard is for anyone with Active Directory in their network who would like to verify the health of their environment. The tool runs over 100 different checks which are based on most common issues resolved by Microsoft Customer Support Services over the past 10 years!
The tool is specifically designed for mid-sized networks (25-300 PCs). Preparation Wizard does not change any settings in your network, so it is safe to run at any time.  Unlike many other known tools which simply dump large amounts of networking data collected from a single source (such as event logs, for instance), Preparation Wizard is able to gather data from many different areas( Active Directory, DNS, SYSVOL, event logs, etc.), cross reference that data, and make conclusions about the overall health of the network.
Go get it – it’s FREE!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Microsoft discloses ambitious security strategy

Combo of identity, data/access protection at heart of Microsoft plan

By John Fontana , Network World , 04/16/2009

"Microsoft Thursday began detailing a security strategy that will see it combine its identity management efforts with its Forefront security products built for clients, servers and the network edge.

The company plans to integrate its security and identity products under the Forefront brand, offer software-as-a-service versions and present it all as a layered defense of access and control for its corporate infrastructure software..."

Read more here at image

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

OS X less secure than Windows? Hmmm.

I am not posting this because I see Mac as a major competitor for Windows EBS, but I am tired of Mac fanatic friends that blindly believe that Macs are designed to be more secure than Windows.  I thought this was an interesting article from the New York Times.


April 10, 2009, 5:13 pm

Mac Security Part II: It’s a Numbers Game

By Riva Richmond

Macs were more secure than Windows machines, but the tables have turned. Macs are safer than PCs because they aren’t targeted as much, but the latest versions of OS X are “inherently less secure than the latest versions of Windows,” says Rich Mogull, the Mac security expert who provided tips this week.

Read the entire article here.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Free E-Learning available for EBS

Free E-Learning course published here on April 7th, 2009.  This module is only 1-hour.  There are a several demos, including the Preparation Wizard.



This one-hour clinic introduces the features of Windows EBS 2008. It also describes the installation and configuration of Windows EBS 2008.  
This clinic covers the following topics.

  • Introduction to Windows EBS 2008
  • Features of Windows EBS 2008
  • Deploying Windows EBS 2008
IT professionals taking this clinic should have at least one year of experience deploying and managing a network that has:
  • Up to 300 users
  • Internet connectivity
  • Remote users or user groups
  • Messaging (Internet and Microsoft Exchange)
  • Antispam and antivirus protection (Microsoft Forefront)
Technical consultants taking this clinic should be familiar with Windows SBS 2003 Standard and Premium editions or the following.
  • Exchange Server 2003 or later
  • SQL Server 2000 or later
  • Windows Server 2003 or later, including Active Directory, DNS, and Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)
  • Windows SharePoint Services 2.0


At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Explain the purpose and key benefits of Windows EBS 2008.
  • Identify the features provided by Windows EBS 2008.
  • Explain how to deploy Windows EBS 2008.

Check out the course here:

Thursday, April 9, 2009

New Entry-Level Server Platform

Windows Server 2008 Foundation

Microsoft expanded its Windows Server family with Windows Server 2008 Foundation, designed and priced for small businesses with 15 or fewer employees. To see if Windows Server 2008 Foundation makes sense for your organization, check out the Compare Features, the Compare Server Roles, and the Differentiated Features charts.
Speaking of Windows Server, April is Windows Server 2008 month for TechNet Magazine’s daily tips. Here are some of the Windows Server tips you’ll find:

Commands and Tools for Managing Windows Server 2008 Server Core

Quickly Filter Event Logs in Windows Server 2008

Create System Startup / Shutdown and User Logon / Logoff Scripts

For tips on other products, including Windows Vista and Windows 7, check out the TechNet Magazine Tips library.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Dynamics CRM Add-in for EBS

Akvelon CRM Add-in for Microsoft Essential Business Server (EBS)

Akvelon CRM Add-in for Microsoft Essential Business Server (EBS) provides a single place to manage Microsoft Dynamics CRM servers in your Enterprise.

The Add-in is tightly integrated into the Microsoft EBS user interface. With this Add-in administrators can save time by performing all Dynamics CRM management activities using the familiar EBS management console user interface.

Akvelon CRM Add-in for EBS console allows to:

  • Manage multiple CRM servers.
  • Manage CRM organizations and business units.
  • Manage teams, users, edit user information.

Evaluate free trial here.

Announced and demo'd at Convergence 2009.  Join the EBS Facebook Group.

Monday, April 6, 2009

How to Invest in the IT Infrastructure You Have While Preparing for Tomorrow

Microsoft to kick off Webcast Series April 14th

On April 14, at 9 a.m. PST , Microsoft will kick-off a webcast series on 'How to Invest in the IT Infrastructure You Have While Preparing for Tomorrow.’ Part 1 is titled "One Server Does Not Fit All.”  This webcast will discuss the top ways to save on IT while still advancing the business forward and offer advice on how to pick the best server that will scale to your business.

Please note that there will be time set aside to get your questions answered by the participants.  To register, please visit:

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Protect your computer from Conficker Worm

Does this first article sounds too familiar?

How Much Is Conficker Really Impacting Enterprises?By Brian Prince
Given that Microsoft issued a patch for the flaw targeted by the Conficker worm and the use of strong passwords can prevent much of the spread, it seems odd that enterprises would be hurt by the worm. But sometimes enterprise security isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Looking for a more proactive way to prevent threats to your business operations?  Read this post.

Conficker Worm: Not Finished Yet

Ian Paul

Apr 2, 2009 7:55 am

April 1 has come and gone, and the Internet has not disintegrated and no major cyber-attacks were reported. But Conficker still remains a threat. Now don't panic, this doesn't mean cyber-Armageddon could strike at any minute, it just means you need to make sure your computer is fully updated if it isn't already. Feel better? Good, then let's take a look at what's going on.

Conficker Worm: Help Protect Windows from Conficker

Published: February 6, 2009 | Updated: March 27, 2009

This page is designed to provide IT Pro customers the information they need to help protect their systems from the Conficker Worm, or to recover systems that have been infected.

New Entry-Level Server Platform Gives Small Businesses Access to Big-Business Solutions

Microsoft introduces Windows Server 2008 Foundation, a foundation for business growth and the community.

REDMOND, Wash. — April 1, 2009 — Microsoft Corp. has expanded its industry-leading Windows Server family of operating systems with the addition of Windows Server 2008 Foundation. Built for small businesses with 15 or fewer users, Windows Server 2008 Foundation puts the reliability, security and manageability of the Windows Server platform within the reach of all businesses at an affordable price. Windows Server 2008 Foundation is initially available in 40 countries and will provide small business customers with the ability to run business applications and databases, host Web sites, and provide basic server functionality such as file and print sharing and remote access.  Read more from Microsoft here.

PC World:

Microsoft Introduces Windows Server OS for Small Businesses

Elizabeth Montalbano, IDG News Service

"Windows Server 2008 Foundation initially will be available in 40 countries once its OEM (original equipment manufacturer) partners release servers for the new OS, since it will be sold exclusively through them. Hewlett-Packard, Dell and IBM should have those servers out sometime in the second half of this year, according to Microsoft."

Information Week:

Microsoft Offers Server For Tiny Businesses

Windows Server 2008 Foundation, aimed at organizations with 15 or fewer computer users, will be sold through computer manufacturers.

By J. Nicholas Hoover
April 1, 2009 09:00 AM

"According to IDC, the market for this type of server is significant -- only 30% of the tens of millions of small businesses that could use a server actually have one. "There's a value prop for this type of system," IDC research VP Al Gillen said in an interview."

ZDNet Asia

Microsoft adds Windows version for cheap servers

By Ina Fried, CNET
Thursday, April 02, 2009 10:36 AM

"The new Windows version is Microsoft's answer to the server equivalent of netbooks, ultra-low cost servers aimed at the smallest of businesses. The product will only be sold preinstalled on new machines."

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

MSRT Released on 13JAN09 Addressing Conficker and Banload

Conficker Infection Diagram

Back on Oct. 23, 2008, Microsoft released a critical security update for Windows: MS08-067. Isolated attacks existed at the time of the bulletin release and in our blog we strongly recommended installing the security update as quickly as possible. Later, a few trojans that exploit this vulnerability were found and a month from the release of the bulletin we blogged again, this time about the first worm which exploited that vulnerability: Win32/Conficker (here and then here).

Read more at the Microsoft Malware Protection Center, Threat Research & Response Blog.

Protecting against Conficker Worm with Windows Essential Business Server

Despite the $250k bounty to catch the Conficker Worm (virus) authors and the guidance from Microsoft to "patch and clean, patch and clean" to to disinfect and protect computers infected by the Conficker Worm, aka Downadup, how confident are you that your company has updated all patches for Windows-based computers?  The Conficker worm is a computer worm that can infect your computer and spread itself to other computers across a network automatically, without human interaction.

Windows Essential Business Server (enterprise-class infrastructure solution for 300 or fewer PCs) helps a company update servers and computers with System Center Essential (SCE)EBS includes wizards to help make SCE simpler, providing you the full version of SCE but also helping you with the most common tasks in SCE.  SCE's top ten benefits may be found here, and include "Simplify your patch management". 


The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) recommends that Windows Operating Systems users apply Microsoft security patch MS08-067 ( as quickly as possible to help protect themselves from the worm.  SCE provides a central distribution of updates and software.

Windows EBS also includes Threat Management Gateway (aka ISA).  Threat Management Gateway provides web anti-virus and anti-malware features

  1. Clean files that are found to be infected
  2. Block files with low and medium severity threats
  3. Block suspicious files
  4. Block files that are found to be corrupted
  5. Block files that cannot be scanned
  6. Block all encrypted files
  7. Block files if the scanning time exceeds the user-defined maximum scanning time
  8. Block files whose size exceeds the user-defined maximum file size in megabytes
  9. Block archives whose unpacked content size exceeds the user-defined maximum unpacked content size in megabytes
  10. Block archives whose archive depth level exceeds the user-defined maximum level
  11. Flexibility to exclude sites from inspection based on IP addresses, domain name sets, URL sets
  12. Content trickling:  malware inspection may cause some delay in the delivery of content from the server to the client.  TMG MBE trickles portions of the content as files are inspected to improve the user experience during malware inspection.  TMG MBE can send progress notifications for specified types of files to reassure the user during this delay.
  13. User friendly progress notifications informing the user that the requested content is being inspected.

Read the MVP blog about TMG: Forefront Threat Management Gateway Beta 2 - Dieters Forefront Blog.

Windows EBS also includes Forefront Security for Exchange Server (FSE).  Forefront Security for Exchange Server includes industry-leading anti-virus engines from global security firms such as Kaspersky Labs, CA and Sophos. Businesses can run up to five scan engines at once, and in different combinations across the server system. This provides rapid response to new threats regardless of where the threat originates. Forefront Security for Exchange Server automatically downloads the latest signatures and selects the optimal combination of engines to use, ensuring a high level of protection, and reducing the window of exposure to any given threat. Diversity of anti-virus engines across messaging servers and client devices protects against a single point of failure in the IT environment.   FSE protection features include:

  1. Multiple anti-virus engines for advanced protection
  2. Premium spam protection
  3. Fail-safe protection
  4. Layered protection
  5. Protection against new and hidden threats
  6. Multi-vendor response to new threats

FSE team blog:

From DHS's CERT advisory for Conficker:



Home users may also call Microsoft PC Safety hotline at 1-866-PCSAFETY, for assistance.


US-CERT encourages users to prevent a Conficker/Downadup infection by ensuring all systems have the MS08-067 patch, disabling AutoRun functionality (see, and maintaining up-to-date anti-virus software.

In addition, US-CERT recommends that computer users and administrators implement the following preparedness measures to protect themselves against this vulnerability, and also from future vulnerabilities:

  • Keep up-to-date on security patches and fixes for your operating system. The easiest way to do this is to set your system to receive automatic updates, which will ensure you automatically receive security updates issued by Microsoft. If your system does not allow automatic updates, we recommend that you manually install the Microsoft security patch today through Microsoft Update at
  • Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software and keep them up-to-date
  • Enable a firewall which will help block attacks before they can get into your computer

To access the alerts for this vulnerability and for additional information on cyber security tips and practices, please visit

Other blog posts about Conficker

DHS: DHS Releases Conficker/Downadup Computer Worm Detection Tool - Department of Homeland Security News

Conficker War Room! Your Front Row Seat For Cyber Armageddon ... - Wired: Threat Level

Taming Conficker, The Easy Way : DoxPara Research - DoxPara Research