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World Backup Day – Protecting Valuable Data with the 3-2-1 Rule

Atlanta – did you know, World Backup Day is March 31st?

Nerdy, we know – but according to a leading backup company, only 15% of organizations back up data multiple times a day. Depending on your organization’s data security requirements, this could be a problem. How much is losing 4 hours of company-wide productivity worth to your business?  4 days? 4 weeks? What is more, most businesses don’t have a documented disaster recovery process in place, which can lead to catastrophic results in the event of a system crash or failure.

Why back up?

For companies that rely on their digital work product – such as attorneys, marketing professionals, and other service providers – keeping your organization’s data safeguarded is essential. If you have a storage issue, backing up information can be the difference between staying in business and closing for many, such as those in regulated industries, or where information is essential to business operations.

Cyberthreats are another big reason to keep your data backed up – with malware and ransomware threats on the rise in 2021 and beyond. If your organization is hit with an attack, it can relieve some of the burden if an additional copy is available of your stolen information.

Backup 101 – What is “good” backup practice?

It is important to discuss the pros and cons of different backup frequencies and retention policies – including the total cost, how often you will need access to the backup of your data (restores), and how frequent your backups should be. For some data-reliant companies, backing up multiple times a day makes sense, as you are harboring highly sensitive information that would cause major problems for your business and clients if you lost access. Other organizations with less sensitive information may only need to backup once a day or week, especially if they do not have compliance regulations they need to follow like those in legal, healthcare, and financial markets.

Euclid’s recommendation? Follow the 3-2-1 rule.

For our IT and Tech Support partners, we always recommend following the 3-2-1 rule for essential data protection, a best practices or guideline for safeguarding data.

  • 3 copies of data maintained (one copy “in production” – or active use, one local backup, and one “cold” backup stored elsewhere, ie the cloud)
  • 2 store data on 2 types of media (if you have an issue with one kind of media, you have another kind available to access your data)
  • 1 offsite copy (of your data, so that if a fire or on-site issue occurs a backup is available).

The idea of the 3-2-1 rule of data protection is to eliminate single points of failure – it is not a failproof policy or complete guarantee – but helps mitigate a large swath of potential data pitfalls.

How Euclid can help!

Contact us today for a cost-effective review of your current backup practices, and for our expertise with cloud and offsite backup. The “1” of the 3-2-1 rule can be difficult to implement, especially for small and medium sized businesses, but we’re here to help. And for larger organizations, our solutions cover both workstations and servers – including more complex SQL database and state-aware backups!


Microsoft Office 365 + On-premise Exchange Server Connectivity : Autodiscover not working

After migrating an e-mail account to Microsoft 365, or setting up a new account in Outlook 2010/2013/2016/2019/ Office 365, often times we find users unable to connect or – or Outlook’s web services don’t work as expected.

For example, when adding a new account, autodiscover will time out, saying it can’t contact the server giving the following message :

Outlook cannot log on. Verify you are connected to the network and are using the proper server and mailbox name. The Microsoft Exchange information service in your profile is missing required information. Modify your profile to ensure that you are using the correct Microsoft Exchange information service.

This, despite Microsoft’s (very useful) Remote Connectivity Analyzer reporting no configuration issues with Autodiscover, and being able to connect successfully using MS Activesync.

The issue we see here, is that Outlook is pre-configured by Microsoft 365’s profile configuration to prefer only M365 sources for autodiscover – ignoring DNS settings and local XML files.

This behavior is regulated by the registry, specifically keys under the Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\XX.0\Outlook\AutoDiscover location. XX.0 will vary, depending on the version of Office you have installed. Examples of these keys are :

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Outlook\AutoDiscover]
"ExcludeLastKnownGoodUrl"=dword:00000001
"ExcludeHttpRedirect"=dword:00000001
"ExcludeScpLookup"=dword:00000001
"ExcludeHttpsRootDomain"=dword:00000001
"ExcludeSrvRecord"=dword:00000001

By toggling these switches to “0” – or “do not exclude” these autodiscover sources, Outlook connectivity to on-premise or 3rd party Exchange providers will be restored.

More detail available via Microsoft at the following KB’s :

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/topic/after-migration-to-office-365-outlook-doesn-t-connect-or-web-services-don-t-work-3d9df009-597b-5d75-460c-4b7c64c833a1

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/topic/outlook-2016-implementation-of-autodiscover-0d7b2709-958a-7249-1c87-434d257b9087


Microsoft Outlook crashes with 0xc0000005 errors due to Office 365 Patch, how to resolve

We’ve seen on over a dozen machines today, Microsoft Outlook (Office 365 continual update version) crashes, with 0xc0000005 errors logged in the event log.

The full text of this error is below.

Faulting application name: OUTLOOK.EXE, version: 16.0.13001.20266, time stamp: 0x5ef262ee
Faulting module name: mso98win32client.dll, version: 0.0.0.0, time stamp: 0x5ef2aa2d
Exception code: 0xc0000005
Fault offset: 0x000474b2
Faulting process id: 0x4cf0
Faulting application start time: 0x01d65ac9b0e13874
Faulting application path: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16\OUTLOOK.EXE
Faulting module path: C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Office16\mso98win32client.dll
Report Id: 908e152f-636f-4f5a-9717-48a5576b3ccd
Faulting package full name: 
Faulting package-relative application ID: 

Microsoft had acknowledged this crash and documented a resulting fix on Twitter, and on the Office 365 Support portal :

Title: Users experiencing Outlook connection issues and crashes

User Impact: Users may experience crashes or may be unable to access Exchange Online via Outlook.

More info: Our analysis indicates that Outlook on the web and mobile clients are unaffected. Users may be able to leverage those protocols as an alternative means to access email and service features while we remediate this problem.

Current status: Our initial review of the available data indicates that recently deployed updates are the likely source of the problem. We're performing an analysis of all recent service updates to isolate the underlying cause of the problem and to determine the most expedient means to restore service.

Scope of impact: This issue may potentially affect any of your users attempting to use Outlook.

The immediate fix for this is to roll back Microsoft Office versions, which can be done by opening a command line as Administrator and typing : cd "\Program Files\Common Files\microsoft shared\ClickToRun"

officec2rclient.exe /update user updatetoversion=16.0.12527.20880

After rolling back versions, Outlook should open and function as normal!

If you’re in need of a proactive, IT Support company in the Atlanta area, don’t hesitate to contact us today!


Using a Synology NAS as a Backup DNS Server for Active Directory

As we onboard any new IT support partner, one of our security and network assessment tasks is to validate a client’s server and disaster recovery environment.

As part of this assessment, we often find a customer will have a single point of failure with their active directory environment – most small businesses don’t have the resources to afford multiple servers, and often times previous systems administrators will have not had the foresight to follow best practices regarding building server resiliency.

One example of a point of failure with a single-server environment that we see all too often is DNS. In many cases, the Primary Domain Controller (PDC) will serve as the sole internal DNS provider. Meaning, if a power outage occurs, or if a PDC goes down for any reason, the entire office will “lose” internet connectivity – often a costly outage until technical help can arrive!

Many of these clients do, however, have secondary “server”-like devices – NAS units, Linux machines, et cetera. While using these as a “backup” DNS provider is not a best practice, we aim to provide the best tech support we can while utilizing resources a client already has in place – thus saving them money!

In the following, we outline steps to convert a Synology NAS device into a backup DNS server for an Active Directory (Windows Server 2019) environment.

1. Install DNS Package on Synology NAS – straightforward, by opening Package Manager.

2. Set up a “Slave Zone” – Within Synology’s DNS manager, create a slave zone, set domain type to Forward Lookup Zone, and enter your PDC’s DNS information.

3. Set up DNS Resolution and forwarding on the NAS – In the below, we have enabled the resolution service, and also forwarders. In our lab, we actually do have a backup local DNS server (192.168.1.8 here), but also forward on DNS requests to Google (8.8.8.8/8.8.6.6) to allow for internet connectivity during PDC downtime.

4. Configure DNS Forwarding on PDC – On your server, open DNS, select your AD’s forward lookup zone, open properties.

4.1 Under Zone Transfers, ensure Allow Zone Transfers is enabled, to servers listed in the DNS Tab.
4.2 Under Notify – Ensure the same setting is enabled.
4.3 Add your Slave Name Server to the list of configured name servers. Important – ensure your server validates, with a green check once its FQDN is added.

5. Verify DNS records and Zone Transfer has completed On the Synology DNS Manager, under ‘Zones’, select ‘Edit’ and open ‘Resource Record’ you should find propagated records.

Optional but recommended – repeat steps 2-5 for the Reverse Lookup Zone (EG, 1.168.192.in-addr.arpa) and _msdcs.yourlocal.domain. You *do* have a reverse lookup zone configured, don’t you? =)

6. Add your New DNS Server to DHCP – Don’t forget to configure your DHCP leases to include your new backup DNS server!

7. Test out DNS resolution – Finally, test your new server to ensure it’s resolving external domain names correctly, and test a failure of your PDC by taking it offline. Success!

If this writeup has been helpful to you, please share your comments below. And as always, if you’re looking for proactive managed IT service in Atlanta, Euclid is here to help!


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