(Cloud) Tip Of The Day

This tip of the day is cloud yo!  Straight from Evan Basalik, an Senior Support Escalation Engineer!

Today’s (Cloud) Tip…Security of customer data in Office 365

We employ all of the follow methods to secure customer data in Office 365:

1) Network segmentation to ensure physical separate of back-end services and devices from public-facing interfaces

2) BitLocker 256-bit AES Encryption for all email content at rest (i.e., on storage media)

3) Access to physical hardware is monitored and controlled by including badges and smart cards, biometric scanners, on-premises security officers, continuous video surveillance, and two-factor authentication

4) Our racks are seismically braced (I just think that is cool!)

5) Traffic Throttling to Prevent Denial of Service Attacks

6) Deleting unnecessary accounts automatically when an employee leaves, changes groups, or does not use the account prior to its expiration

The service is also certified by a number of independent compliance checks and validations such as:

1) ISO 27001

2) FISMA moderate Authority to Operate

3) HIPAA Business Association Agreement (BAA)

4) EU Model Clauses

5) Cloud Security Alliance (https://cloudsecurityalliance.org/research/projects/cloud-controls-matrix-ccm/)

See http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=26552 for all the details.

Windows 8 Tip of the Day: How to map a drive in Windows to a Skydrive folder or root.

1) Open a document in SkyDrive – such as an excel xls or word doc

2) File->Save As (Note folder – it will be something like https://d.docs.live.net/{your-id}/Documents

3) In Windows Explorer, click Map Network Drive and enter path

Note: I use https://d.docs.live.net/{your –id} as I have other files at one level higher than Documents.


Thanks to Tom Archer for this tidbit!

Windows 8 Tip of the Day, Storage Spaces Explained

From Robert Mitchell!

Storage Spaces is functionality built into Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 that allows you to pool together physical disks into a logical grouping and then carve out virtual disks (aka storage spaces or just spaces).  These spaces can utilize different RAID levels and even thin provisioning.

Today’s tip explains what happens in Disk Management and Device Manager when you step through the process.

So first we have some disks.  I added 4 small disks just so I could get the screen shots…

If you were to look in Device Manager, you could see the disks there as well.  They are listed here as Virtual HDs because I did this in a virtual environment.  You wouldn’t do that normally.

When the pool is created all 4 disks will disappear from Disk Manager, but will still be visible in Device Manager.  Then when you carve out a storage space, that space will appear both in Disk Management (shown here as Disk 8) and in Device Manager (shown here as ‘Microsoft Storage Space Device).

Then you can format it with whatever file system is supported by the your Windows installation and use it as a regular disk.  But it is a bit disconcerting that your disks in Disk Management will appear to skip some numbers.  In my case, they show up as disk 0, 1, 2, 3, 8….since disks 4 -7 are now masked away from me.

Windows 8 Tip of the Day–Sysinternals Updates!

Today’s Tip…

From Robert Mitchell!

A number of SysInternals tools were recently updated.  For those of you that use these tools on a regular basis, you might want to grab these updates and add them to your respective collections.

AccessChk v5.11: AccessChk, a command line utility for
dumping the effective permissions and security descriptors for files, registry
keys, processes, tokens, object manager objects, now prefixes Windows 8
application container SIDs with the word “Package”, and includes several minor
bug fixes.

Procdump v6.0: Procdump is an advanced utility for
capturing process memory dumps based on a variety of triggers including CPU
usage, memory usage, performance counter values, and exceptions. Version 6.0 is
a major upgrade that adds the ability to specify multiple filters, attach to a
process by service name, and display/filter on the message text of a CLR or
JScript exception.

RAMMap v1.22: RAMMap is a graphic utility that shows
the breakdown of physical memory usage across different dimensions. This
release fixes a bug that could cause a crash when accessing the cached files
page when a cached file’s name exceeded a certain length.

Strings v2.51: This update to Strings, a command-line
utility that prints a file’s embedded Unicode and ASCII strings, fixes a signed
file offset printing bug.

Windows 8 Tip of the Day–Understanding Startup Items

Todays Tip from Robert Mitchell…

First for Windows RT,

As part of the effort to improve battery life and PC responsiveness, the startup apps support in Windows RT was removed.

Change Description:

Windows RT does not honor startup app entries in the following locations:

· Run key under HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion

· Run key under HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion

· Run key under HKLM\Software\wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion

· Run key under HKCU\Software\wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion

· Startup folder under user profile start menu

· Startup folder under all user profile start menu



What does the startup impact mean in Task Manager?




Those values have to do with how much time is added to the startup sequence by that item.

· High impact – Apps that use more than 1 second of CPU time or more than 3 MB of disk I/O at startup

· Medium impact – Apps that use 300 ms – 1000 ms of CPU time or 300 KB – 3 MB of disk I/O

· Low impact – Apps that use less than 300 ms of CPU time and less than 300 KB of disk I/O

The ones that are marked as ‘not measured’ are new start up items from things I’ve installed since the last reboot.  Windows won’t classify them until my next reboot.

Tip of the Day for Windows 8!

A new blog series from the Great Robert Mitchell by way of the Dude!  Who is Robert Mitchell you may ask?!?!


He’s this guy:






Anyway, this is a series that runs internally for folks and the Dude said “hey, why don’t we socialize this?” and Robert was like “no way” and I was like “way” and he was like “dude” and I was like “righteous”…




Today’s tip…

In Windows storage spaces, a 2-way mirror requires at least 2 physical disks.  However, a 3-way mirror requires at least 5 physical disks.

The reason is that a 3-way mirror uses a quorum.  In order to keep running, the mirror space must keep over 50% of the disks functioning.  So a 3-way mirror must have at least 5 physical disks to be able to survive the loss of up to 2 physical disks.

A 2-way mirror does not require this type of majority vote.

NOTE:  This is the same in both client and server.