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IT Managed Services Provider Resource Recommendation Update on October 27, 2021

Free Tool

InfraRecorder is a CD/DVD burning solution for Windows that offers a wide range of powerful features with an intuitive interface and Explorer integration. Allows you to create custom data, audio and mixed-mode projects and record them to physical discs (including dual-layer DVDs) as well as disc images. Nice little tool to create iso’s, burn CDs, DVDs—available as a portable app.

Prime95 is a CPU bench-marking application that tests the power of your processor by finding prime numbers—those that are only divisible by 1 and themselves. This pushes a CPU to its limits and gives you a window into the performance level and stability of a CPU, and by extension, a PC.

OpenVAS is a vulnerability scanner featuring unauthenticated and authenticated testing, various high- and low-level internet and industrial protocols, performance tuning for large-scale scans and a powerful internal programming language that can implement any type of vulnerability test. Tests are pulled from a feed with a long history and daily updates.

EVE-NG Community Edition is the first clientless multivendor network-emulation software that can be run in a completely isolated environment so that network and security professionals can create virtual proof of concepts, solutions and training environments. The limitations [of the community version vs. pro] are ok for me. The only thing you need to think about is the connections/cables, but you get used to doing that at the beginning of the lab when everything is still shut down. Otherwise, I have the client side pack for Wireshark, which works great.

AS-Stats is a simple tool that uses Perl scripts to generate per-AS traffic graphs for one or more routers based on the NetFlow/sFlow records.

Certify the Web allows you to easily manage, install and auto-renew free SSL/TLS certificates from letsencrypt.org and other ACME certificate authorities for your IIS Windows and other services. Suggests it as a good Let’s Encrypt client, “if you are allergic to Linux…. It has built-in workflows for a lot of Windows software including Exchange, and I am phasing out paid certs for hybrid servers now.”

Certify the Web allows you to easily manage, install and auto-renew free SSL/TLS certificates from letsencrypt.org and other ACME certificate authorities for your IIS Windows and other services.

SSL Security Test is an online tool for testing the security of your web and email server SSL, SSL certificate and PCI DSS, HIPAA & NIST. Explains, “It is a scanner tool that runs externally and from a webbrowser … It is free, but to get printable reports, or to save results, it costs money. I recommend when using it that you check “hide from global results” as if you do not, your IP and vulnerabilities will become public info. This is a great assessment tool, and is basically just an external server that runs sslscan (Linux command line) on all 65k ports to see if anything is open. Will also tell you if your edge router has old encryption and such.”

OCS Inventory is an asset-management solution that discovers the soft and hard composition of each machine and server as well as the active elements on your network. A web console allows you to view inventory results and the detected network hardware and to create deployment packages.

EasyJob helps you organize and execute all your PowerShell and BAT scripts from a single interface. Its author, akshin1995, explains: “As a sysadmin, I use many PowerShell scripts on a daily basis. To make them more accessible, organized and easy-to-execute, I created this tool using .NET 5. Decided to share it with the community—maybe it might be useful for someone.”

Cheatsheet

The Complete Office 365 and Microsoft 365 Licensing Comparison is a quick navigator for the confusing world of MS subscriptions. Includes a list of updates to the chart, so you can always tell if the most-recent announcements have been added. For a lot of the M365 stuff, the Infused Innovations post (originally from 2019, updated regularly, most recent with changes in March, comments from maintainer as of this month), this gives a lot of detail. It does have the M365 Business plans split into two separate locations—Biz Premium with M365, the others under O365. Bear in mind that the original predates the rebranding of O365 plans.

The Complete Office 365 and Microsoft 365 Licensing Comparison

Tutorial

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Optical Networking is a tutorial that can provide a basic understanding of how fiber works, its power characteristics, how to work with optics, DWDM, dispersion and the latest state-of-the-art optical technologies and trends.

Structured Cabling, Plenum Spaces, and you: A *brief* guide to ethernet and fiber cabling in your building(s) is a comprehensive how-to on properly running cabling that also covers some relevant legal and code questions (from the perspective of a Florida contractor with an Alarm Systems 1 Electrical Contractor license).

Dave’s Garage is the YouTube channel of retired Microsoft engineer, Dave Plummer. Features useful DIY info and practical tutorials that make complex topics easy to understand. Offerings include Windows v. Linux comparisons, Arduino project tutorials, shop projects, ESP32 information, info on Windows history and more.

Lawrence Systems YouTube Channel offers lots of explanatory videos on firewalls, storage solutions, MSP tools, security tools and open-source topics. Also features a live show every Thursday. Videos about open-source firewalling solutions (and other sysadmin/homelab stuff).

Security Guide

NIST Password Guidelines and Best Practices are considered by experts to be the gold standard for password security because of how well researched, vetted and applicable they are for the private sector. Find out if your organization is using password practices that are outdated or even counterproductive, so you can keep your data safe. Who adds, “Honestly, it worries me the amount of IT pros glossing over these requirements.”

Tip

Some helpful advice: “Documentation feels less like extra work… if you do it up front while you are building a system. This helps to pause at each major step and document any whys or gotchas that can be difficult to remember once you hit the next bump in the road during setup.

Personally for each new system deployment I create a minimum of 4 pages:

  • The build process so others can see what I did.
  • Any topology or overview diagrams.
  • A page dedicated to systems info, requirements (system, firewall, permissions), service accounts, other dependent or connected systems.
  • A how-to page full of common admin tasks.

While it is a bit of a pain to always have to do this for every system, it is a far greater pain when something breaks and you don’t have this basic info ready to go.”

This suggestion can help ease user panic resulting from tech issues so you can improve outcomes: “Sometimes users don’t realize it, but they are looking for some emotional support along with a fix for their problem. We techies tend to believe that emotions have no legitimate place in a support call. But, hey, if it helps end the call faster, it’s in our interest to be a little supportive. A friend of mine, who supports complex software, gets frantic calls from one of her clients. After listening to the problem, first thing she does is ask the client about their cat. Client loves the cat and calms down talking about it. My friend interrupts (doesn’t make sense to ‘waste’ too much time) after a few moments, says something nice about the cat, and immediately asks a specific question about the problem. She gets much better results faster. As for users who have trouble following directions, shoot them a link from your KB which has both an illustrated step by step and a link to a screen video. Don’t have them? Your company should make it easy and efficient for you to create them and should incent your team to do so. You will still get pushback and obvious questions, but it can save you some time and aggravation.”

Script

Google App Script to set a signature template on domain users explains how you can apply a signature template to your Google Workspace users. The author, MrCaspan, encourages the community to modify as needed for their own environment, and adds, “I have added a bot to mine so that I can trigger a manual refresh of the signatures for all users using a bot command.”

The only command you will ever need to understand and fix your Group Policies (GPO) is a GPO cleanup script that analyses Group Policies using assorted methods to provide you with views from different angles. It also suggests how you might solve the identified issues, which can make it easier to fix what’s wrong.

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