ExchangeDefender recently announced changes to our LiveArchive service and its future as an email backup and archiving service that gives you control and ownership over your email. As you may know, no popular email solutions like Office365 and Gmail include a backup. If your account is accidentally deleted, hacked, or encrypted your data is lost – permanently.
Until now ExchangeDefender LiveArchive has served as a business continuity solution, enabling clients to send and receive email when their mail server or email cloud service experiences an outage or maintenance window.
When we first built LiveArchive in early 00’s the business Internet world was different. Clients overwhelmingly owned and managed their own email servers that ran on Internet connections and experienced frequent outages.
Our clients needed to send and receive email during these outages reliably but this was way before the era of smartphones, hotspots, reliable Wi-Fi, and secure Wi-Fi availability virtually everywhere. Naturally, clients needed a sophisticated web interface (first LiveArchive ran on an Exchange Server 2003 backend) and were usually working from LiveArchive for hours or days depending on the severity of the outage.
As many organizations moved their email hosting to the cloud the need changed from long-term powerful archiving to fast, secure, and mobile-friendly access to the latest messages and the ability to send and receive email during outages.
-Vlad Mazek, CEO ExchangeDefender
Last year we introduced you to ExchangeDefender Inbox, our next-generation live mailbox explicitly designed for reliable email access during outages. ExchangeDefender Inbox features a minimalist user interface that is fast, reliable, and intuitive – making it easy to work with from anywhere and on any device without having to set up or maintain anything – It’s just your Inbox live on ExchangeDefender.
If you can’t reach your email, Go to Inbox.
Need long-term backups and archiving? That’s LiveArchive’s new trick.
So what is LiveArchive up to?
Over the past few years of crypto locker and frequent Microsoft security exploits, many of our clients faced ransomware and lost email after getting hacked. Many found out the hard way that Microsoft and Google only offer the service but do not provide backup or mail snapshots – that’s your responsibility.
Enter new LiveArchive.
As many of our clients moved to the cloud we’ve become instrumental in providing them with a reliable backup solution for their Office365/M365 tenants as well as a wide variety of email servers and services.
For too many organizations LiveArchive became the last source of email data and the only emails they could recover after a security compromise that left their data cryptolocked and held for ransom. In working with them we were often asked to provide a more thorough email backup replication that could help organizations meet their new security objectives. At the same time, regulatory requirements and cyber-insurance got more demanding about keeping an offsite copy of all relevant company information.
We’ve built them all into the new LiveArchive.
Here are the main benefits:
- Live backup of all mail flowing through your organization (inbound and outbound messages are transparently archived through SMTP connectors)
- Email backups are stored on industry standard S3 data object storage service available in the cloud from Amazon AWS as well as free open source solutions, enabling you to store backups anywhere you want.
- The client owns all the email backups and storage accounts and can set data retention as they want. Because they are on a client-managed storage system messages can be connected to services for eDiscover, analytics, disaster recovery, record sharing, and more.
The key benefit is that you’re getting a free service that can archive your messages in real time to a data object storage service you own or control. Similar solutions cost between $30-50/year for each user/mailbox, enabling you to save on your backups while improving recovery.
ExchangeDefender Inbox is your new always-available, always-realtime email business continuity solution, enabling your users to continue sending and receiving emails during an outage. Just go to https://admin.exchangedefender.com and click on Inbox.
Next month (early November) we will be making the new LiveArchive available enabling you to make live and continuous backups of your Microsoft M365, Office 365, Google Gmail, and other business email.
Has it been a while since you last reviewed your email policies? Do you need to make sure that every user in your organization gets the same protection and the same service behavior and reporting?
We’ve taken some of our most popular features and wrapped them in a user-friendly wizard that will allow you to quickly configure ExchangeDefender. These settings establish the bare minimum configuration you need to reliably send and receive email on the Internet and instruct ExchageDefender how to sort your email.
Security Policy Overview
Our goal with the Security Policy wizard is to save time while configuring the major aspects of ExchangeDefender. While you still have access to hundreds of policies and can always configure new custom ones (as business requirements demand) it’s nice to know you can quickly adjust the features and make sure they apply to everyone in the organization.
You’ll be able to teach ExchangeDefender how to categorize mail, how long to keep it, and how to report it. Basic SPAM, malware, phishing, and address enforcement policies can be configured in seconds.
We’ve also added some of the settings that are exclusive to ExchangeDefender (From: policy enforcement) and some that always give IT teams trouble (DNS, DKIM + SPF records). The goal was to present all the required and support-intensive features in a friendly way so you can protect your network without knowing the details of the latest standards and security best practices.
Default Security Policy will automatically display the first time you log in as a Domain Administrator. It will load your current settings into the policy and allow you to review it or apply it to all the users in the domain. All the settings are still in their normal places so you can fine-tune your protection and features (https://www.exchangedefender.com/docs >remember the docs).
We hope this new wizard saves you time and gives you peace of mind that your protection is configured correctly.
Watch the full webinar episode >> Click here!
In a dynamic and informative session, our recent webinar shed light on the latest advancements in email management and security. Hosted on August 16th, participants gained a comprehensive understanding of key features and innovations that are set to reshape the way we interact with our email systems. Here’s a recap of the highlights from this engaging event:
1. Seamless Integration: LiveArchive Meets Inbox
A major focal point of the webinar was the integration of LiveArchive, our innovative business continuity solution, directly into the Inbox interface. This strategic move not only enhances user experience but also provides a streamlined pathway to essential features, ensuring business continuity even in the face of disruptions.
2. Long-Term Archiving Redefined: Introducing LiveArchive
Anticipation filled the virtual room as LiveArchive’s impending launch as a long-term archiving service was unveiled. Participants were introduced to this game-changing solution, designed to preserve crucial data over extended periods, elevating archiving capabilities to new heights.
3. Empowerment through Insights: Quarantine Email Reports
The introduction of Quarantine Email Reports was met with excitement. Attendees discovered how this addition empowers users with deeper insights into email management and security, enabling more informed decisions and improved communication management.
4. Crafting Policies with Precision: Enhanced Policy Creation
One of the webinar’s hands-on segments demonstrated the process of crafting allow policies for domains such as @xdreports.com and @xddiagnostics.com. This procedure showcased the delicate balance between streamlined communication and robust security measures.
5. File Sharing Made Effortless: WEBSHARE for Large Attachments
Participants were introduced to the upgraded support for large attachments through the WEBSHARE feature. This enhancement offers a more efficient and seamless method for sharing files within the platform, simplifying collaboration without compromising on security.
6. Simplified Security Configuration: Default Domain Security Policy Wizard
Navigating the complexities of security policies became a breeze as we explored the Default Domain Security Policy Wizard. Attendees gained a firsthand experience of how this user-friendly tool streamlines the configuration of essential security policies, ensuring a safer digital environment.
7. Unveiling Loopback Services: Insights and Applications
A deep dive into Loopback Services rounded off the webinar. From roundtrip latency testing to policy enforcement and delivery testing, participants gained insight into these multi-faceted services. Moreover, the critical role they play in phishing education and attack simulation highlighted their value in fortifying cybersecurity defenses.
In closing, the webinar provided an illuminating exploration of the evolving landscape of email management and security. Participants departed armed with knowledge and insights that will shape their strategies for more effective communication and enhanced protection. We extend our gratitude to all attendees for their active engagement and look forward to continually revolutionizing the way we interact with our digital communication systems.
ExchangeDefender will be discontinuing the current LiveArchive service on December 31, 2023. LiveArchive is being replaced by a new service in Q4 2023 (Oct-Dec 2023).
ExchangeDefender Inbox will be providing the business continuity aspect of LiveArchive. Inbox will give our clients the ability to send and receive emails in real time from the web interface during any outage or service issue.
ExchangeDefender Inbox has been in production for over a year with great customer feedback and partner sales success – clients love it because it’s fast, efficient, and simple to use (conveniently available at admin alongside their SPAM quarantine, bypass, virtual email addresses, and recurring email)
LiveArchive product had a great run for over a decade and numerous releases but it suffered in the SMB/MSP space because users only became aware of it when things blew up. Some faced issues with credentials, access, different UI were only compounded by the technical challenges. Furthermore, most of our partners relied on the product as the backup service and we’ve executed many projects helping our partners export their client’s email as a means of Exchange recovery.
LiveArchive has been used more as a live backup and data recovery service than a business continuity solution (note: NOT the case with Inbox, convenient access and ease of use has many users relying on it as their primary email)
Over the years the business recovery and email archiving projects we’ve helped our partners perform have inspired us to give LiveArchive new life as a reimagined email failover solution that addresses the technical and cybersecurity issues of the current decade!
I’d like to wrap this up with some good news – Yes, you will still have access to over a year of inbound/outbound email. Yes, it will still be FREE and included in the upcoming release which will be announced on September 1st, and remain included in ExchangeDefender free of charge (hint: start learning about Amazon S3 or Minio S3) Another bit of good news is that we’re not about to raise prices either, this new feature set is free to our partners who want to implement their own archiving or backup process.
As the throwback to the Victorian era implies, ExchangeDefender looks forward to providing your protection and prosperity. From September to November of 2023 we will be launching a ton of new features and we want to invite you to a webinar that will explain all the details you need to know:
The pricing will not change but you’ll get many new features and security settings.
We are responding to the demands and problems our clients face every day exchanging information across the Internet securely.
What worked a decade or two ago, heck even a week or two ago in some cases, is no longer adequate. That’s what you pay us for and the primary value we provide – keeping new exploits and attacks on your technology away from your server/cloud/tenant.
To get the same level of protection and monitoring you’d need a dedicated cybersecurity team for even the smallest of organizations – and we’re taking big steps to simplify that process and give you the ability to control your security without having to deal with every little detail.
We’re excited and hope you get a chance to join us for this webinar – we promise it will save you a ton of time and get you ahead of what will be a very busy quarter.
One of the most common complaints we get from our clients has to do with allow/whitelist policies and to make the long story short this happens because of the way your service provider configured ExchangeDefender. The long story, technical background, and best practices are outlined at https://www.exchangedefender.com/docs/whitelist. It usually sounds like this:
“I keep whitelisting this email address that sends me my OTP password / password reminder / login code / transaction confirmation / newsletter and they keep on ending up in SPAM!”
This happens for clients that configure ExchangeDefender to block email forgeries and spoofing.
You see, the email address that is showing up in ExchangeDefender and your Outlook/Gmail is not the actual email address that the message was sent from. Large volume emails (OTP, password reminders, notifications) are not sent by humans, they are computer generated and there is a random email address for every notification they sent out (so when/if it bounces they can track it).
These automated email addresses tend to have a long randomly generated identifier in them and generally look like this:
But in your Outlook/Gmail the spoofed/faked email appears to have come from DoNotReply@someotpsite.cz which has the domain you trust and attempt to allow/whitelist. If you pull up the SMTP headers from the quarantined email you can see this email address in the envelope-from field:
Solving this issue requires your ExchangeDefender admin to decide how permissive they want to be of email forgeries and fakes. ExchangeDefender provides two ways to manage this in the ExchangeDefender Domain Admin app at https://admin.exchangedefender.com (see documentation)
Option 1: Allow email from the bulk email network
ExchangeDefender enables you to automatically pass through messages coming from specific bulk/spam mail providers. It’s located at https://admin.exchangedefender.com under Advanced Features > Bulk Mailer Policy:
In our example SMTP header the message came from AmazonSES so if you change the policy from Scan to Allow, ExchangeDefender will simply deliver these messages to your mailbox without quarantining it as a forgery/spoof (which it is).
Option 2: Choose a relaxed From: policy
This is a less secure option that will allow forgeries and effectively lowers your security level to that of M365/Office365 – and we strongly discourage you from doing that. However, if the client requires it you can get it done under Advanced Features > From: Policy:
If you’re seeing notification emails in your SPAM quarantine even though you’ve trusted the sender repeatedly, it’s doing so because the message is being spoofed and your admin has configured ExchangeDefender to block that activity. You can relax the security restrictions by choosing to either allow the bulk mail network or you can build your trust rules on the less-secure From: address.
Our team is always here to help but they aren’t allowed to guess without seeing the SMTP headers first – so if you ever run into an issue that you’d like us to take a look at grab the headers and provide them at https://support.exchangedefender.com and we’ll advise from there.
We often get asked, “My email never got to the recipient or it ended up in their Junk/SPAM, how can I fix that?”
There are some MUST and some nice-to-have modifications you need to make to your organization and mail client (Outlook) to give your email the best chance of getting to your Inbox.
Your first step should be to look at Mail Log and Mail Error Log guide. These facilities will show you the actual error (or acceptance/message tracking you can provide to the recipient to determine the issue).
The following features are required if you intend to send an email
on the Internet in 2023 and beyond:
1. SPF Record
You should deploy a restrictive SPF record that only includes organizations you send mail from. Make sure it ends in -all. This prevents spoofing.
2. DKIM Record
You should deploy a DKIM record, this indicates the message went through the appropriate network and has not been tampered with.
3. DMARC Record
You should deploy a DMARC record and review any rejections/problems. This is “a canary in the coal mine” that will alert you when there is an issue.
4. No External Forwards
You need to disable/remove external mail forwarding (user@ your domain forwarding mail to firstname.lastname@example.org) and close any open relays/issues and any autoresponders/bouncers.
Nice to have
The following features are nice to have and will help you improve delivery.
This is a lot for smaller providers but it’s something we offer to our managed clients.
1. Separate marketing domain
DO NOT use your domain at Constant Contact, Mailchimp, etc, and also with your M365/Gmail services. Most email security providers will identify and treat the entire domain as bulk mail. Create a separate marketing/alerting domain if you send automated emails.
2. Simplify your email
Remove disclaimers, signature pictures, tracking pixels, and signature providers – if your email looks like a website it’s going to Junk. This is the least popular suggestion but if you want your email to get there drop the links and pictures.
3. Trim the thread
When replying or forwarding, delete all but the last part of the message. Each image, icon, and embedded element in the message increases the count and the likelihood that your message is SPAM.
4. No large pictures
All email security solutions look at the % of the message that is image vs. text. If you send a oneliner with a large image, it might end up in junk.
Lastly, simply ask your frequent contacts to add you to their allowed/trusted senders. This helps bypass any errors or problems with email security (which do happen!) on the receiving side but it does take some effort. When we sign up someone new they get a separate plain-text email asking them to either add the sender to allow list or forward the request to their admin (allow 22.214.171.124/28 and 126.96.36.199/28)
If none of this works, you have something that no other email provider
features – https://bypass.exchangedefender.com – try it today, helps with email
sending and receiving problems.
Modern email delivery has become complex in order to eliminate scams and minimize the impact of cyber threats. Unfortunately, those complexities can impact mail delivery: “I sent them an email and they never got it!!!”
First point the user to https://bypass.exchangedefender.com service that’s included with ExchangeDefender. Our users love it because they don’t have to wait on the tech issue to get sorted, they can send the mail right away (and it tends to have a far better delivery success rate because we strip everything that typically trips up SPAM and security filters).
Second, find the problem in the mail and error logs.
You can of course use our interactive mail log (tracing) search to locate the message and see where the problem may be. For larger tenants, we recommend downloading the logs so you can go through them faster on your PC:
Log access gives you raw access to everything we have on our backend but you get it faster (as our support doesn’t have access to your data including logs, and getting the access approved internally takes time).
If log analytics isn’t your thing please contact us about the ExchangeDefender Managed Service where you’ll have your own postmaster managing all these issues for you (service must be enrolled before requesting support).
Email delivery problems can be complex and at times out of your control. This is why we always first recommend going to bypass.exchangedefender.com (and ExchangeDefender Inbox) so you can actually do your work. After that, grab the logs and see what the problem is. As always, we’re happy to help!
Now and then Microsoft Defender will encounter something potentially dangerous when it’s processing your browsing activity. Most of the time it is just the URL of a site they’ve blacklisted.
Enter ExchangeDefender Phishing Firewall. We rewrite every URL going through our service to give our users an extra layer of security and prevent malware and phishing. If you’ve seen the xdref.com links in your email, that’s US keeping you from accidentally clicking on a legitimate link and getting a zero-day exploit compromising your PC. Well, Microsoft Defender looks at the same link and its contents and can flag an entire URL of your phishing firewall. Then you end up seeing this:
How do I get this resolved?
Since this URL is exclusively used by you and your clients, make sure you’re using ExchangeDefender Outbound Service to route outbound mail (our outbound service strips all the xdref.com URLs).
Next, please report the problem with the URL to Microsoft at this location:
How do I fix it?
There are two ways to solve this problem within your tenant at Microsoft 365. The fastest way is with PowerShell:
New-TenantAllowBlockListItems -ListType Url -Allow -Entries ~xdref.com~ -NoExpiration
The more user-friendly way to allow the URL is through the Microsoft Defender Portal at the following URL (make sure you’re logged in first):
Microsoft tends to move its security components around a lot so if the URL changes login to the Microsoft 365 Defender Portal and go to: Policies & Rules> Threat Policies > Rules section > Tenant Allow/Block Lists.
To learn more about Microsoft Defender and how to manage its security policies on this topic please see the following KB article.
Tip: ExchangeDefender recommends executing this process when the client is onboarded, but it will work at any time.
Can you believe that we’re almost done with the first half of 2023? We’re often asked by partners to catch up so you can see what’s moving and what’s working. We pulled up some stats and tickets and here is what you’re leveraging the most in 2023:
1. Inbox + Bypass
Nearly every email provider and every email platform/server has had issues in early 2023. Hackers and the weather haven’t helped either. All this has propelled Inbox (https://exchangedefender.com/inbox) and Bypass (https://bypass.exchangedefender.com) to our most popular sites.
Email down? It has been for a lot of people in 2023
Inbox is the new generation of LiveArchive, an always-on email service that’s replicating your live mail stream in the cloud. When our clients had problems with Outlook online and Exchange, Inbox was there to let them continue working.
When emails bounced for weird reasons, ExchangeDefender Bypass was there to help people send mail out with their email addresses. Couldn’t receive an email? Bypass helped there too.
2. Encryption + Secure Forms
Regulatory compliance and just better business practices are driving our ExchangeDefender Encryption service to the second most popular spot.
ExchangeDefender Encryption enables you to send secure messages via email, text/SMS, and web services. Whenever you need to send something that you have to track, something that should be protected by multiple passwords, that needs to expire – we’ve got you.
The most leveraged piece? Reporting when an email is read. People want to know who and when something important was actually read by the recipient. When you need to know they saw it 🙂
3. Check + XDNOC
We’ve become experts at troubleshooting mail flow and now that AI is coming into the picture everyone needs some help to integrate all the vast cloud services that are powering everything these days. In a nutshell, when email breaks they call us.
The third most visited ExchangeDefender technologies were https://check.exchangedefender.com and https://anythingdown.com – and mostly because all major email services had issues in 2023. Check site will help you configure your DNS authorizations that are the leading cause of email problems – check your stuff! The NOC is more of a canary in the land mine, stay on top of it to know when there are issues and how to work around them if your provider/server/network is having issues.
Thank you for trusting us with your email, we’re working hard to keep you secure and keep you running when issues pop up.