Rules to Better Exchange Server

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  1. Do you add a redirect from http to https for OWA?

    Do you configure redirection from HTTP to https for Outlook Web App (OWA)? To simplify OWA access for your users, you want to configure the Outlook Web App page to automatically redirect users to https. The HTTP redirect procedure in IIS Manager simplifies OWA URL and forces to SSL connection from http://mail.domain.com to https://mail.domain.com/owa.

    Step 1: Use IIS Manager to simplify OWA URL and force redirection to SSL

    1. Start IIS Manager.
    2. Expand the local computer, expand Sites, and then click Default Web Site.
    3. At the bottom of the Default Web Site Home pane, click Features View if this option isn't already selected.
    4. In the IIS section, double-click HTTP Redirect
    5. Select the Redirect requests to this destination check box.
    6. Type the absolute path of the /owa virtual directory. For example, type https://mail.domain.com/owa​.
    7. Under Redirect Behavior, select the Only redirect requests to content in this directory (not subdirectories) check box.
    8. In the Status code list, click Found (302).
    9. In the Actions pane, click Apply.
      OWARedirect.jpg
    10. Click Default Web Site.
    11. In the Default Web Site Home pane, double-click SSL Settings.
    12. In SSL Settings, clear Require SSL.
      OWARedirect2.jpg

    Step 2: Remove redirection from virtual directories

    1. Open a Command Prompt window.
    2. Navigate to:

      <Window directory>\System32\Inetsrv.

    3. Run the following commands:

      appcmd set config "Default Web Site/autodiscover" /section:httpredirect /enabled:false -commit:apphost
      appcmd set config "Default Web Site/ecp" /section:httpredirect /enabled:false -commit:apphost
      appcmd set config "Default Web Site/ews" /section:httpredirect /enabled:false -commit:apphost
      appcmd set config "Default Web Site/owa" /section:httpredirect /enabled:false -commit:apphost
      appcmd set config "Default Web Site/oab" /section:httpredirect /enabled:false -commit:apphost
      appcmd set config "Default Web Site/powershell" /section:httpredirect /enabled:false -commit:apphost
      appcmd set config "Default Web Site/rpc" /section:httpredirect /enabled:false -commit:apphost
      appcmd set config "Default Web Site/rpcwithcert" /section:httpredirect /enabled:false -commit:apphost
      appcmd set config "Default Web Site/Microsoft-Server ActiveSync" /section:httpredirect /enabled:false -commit:apphost


    4. Finish by running the command:

      ​​iisreset/noforce.

    Step 3: Test that HTTP to HTTPS redirect is working

    1. Open Internet Explorer and type in http://mail.domain.com
    2. DONE - You are then redirected to https://mail.domain.com/owa 
    iisnoredirect.jpg
    Figure: Bad Example, no redirect in place for OWA
    iisredirect.jpg
    Figure: Good Example, redirect from HTTP to https for OWA
  2. Do you turn off auto update on your servers?

    It is not a good idea to have Windows Update automatically updating your servers.  There are a few reasons.

    1. The hotfix could bring down a production environment. (This issue previously happened)
    2. In fact, even in a development environment this could be hours of lost work as the development team struggles to understand why only some of the developers' servers magically and mysteriously broke overnight.
    3. Windows Update could restart your server, or put your server in a state where it requires restarting - preventing any urgent MSI installs without bringing down the server.

    Windows Update remains the best thing for end-users to protect their systems.  But in a server, especially a production server environment - Windows Update patches are just like any new versions of the software that's built internally.  It should be tested and then deployed in a controlled manner.

    So recommendations:

    1. Windows Updates may be critical and should be kept relatively up to date.
    2. Have a plan where your awesome Network Admins schedule time to keep the servers up to date - including testing that the servers still perform its functions.
    3. Turn off Automatic Windows Update on Windows Servers