WServerNews: Are certifications still relevant?

In this issue:

Certifications are big business. Reporting cybersecurity incidents. Strengthening cloud security. Group Policy issues with Win10/11. Important deadlines to know about. Hot tools. Tutorials for users and sysadmins. More freebies. IT Bookshelf: Linux: The Textbook. Factoid: Killing vampires. And finally…Zulu? Plus lots more — read it all, read it here on WServerNews!

Hate studying for exams? I sure do. But you might need to if you want to get certified in some area of IT. Photo by Jeswin Thomas on Unsplash

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Editor’s Corner

Are certifications still relevant for the IT profession? That’s the question that was raised in an article on ITPro Today which asks whether the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) certification is still relevant for professional IT workers. Now I have to confess that I don’t know many IT pros who are ITIL certified, though I suspect that’s because I live in Canada not over in Europe or the UK. I know lots of colleagues however who hold CISSP, CCIE, or CCNP, a few holding ISACA, a couple with Microsoft or VMWare, and a bunch having various CompTIA certifications. But overall it seems to me that the days of listing a long string of certifications in your email sig are fading fast.

Yet when I tried to dig around on the subject it seems like certifications are still very much around, except they seem to have evolved. For instance, a recent article by Eric Eissler on TechGenix asks which are the most popular DevOps certifications these days. DevOps certs? I didn’t know you could even get certified in that quickly evolving (and somewhat poorly defined) area of computing. Then there’s this article by Mattias Andersson that asks Which AWS certification is right for me? Again, I wasn’t aware of the broad range of different AWS certifications available, and they’re likely proliferating as rapidly as new features are appearing in the AWS platform. And Microsoft certainly thinks its bevvy of certifications are still relevant based on this FAQ they recently published on the Microsoft Learn Blog.

So certifications certainly still seem like a big business even today. Or are they? Is it mostly certification vendors who are pushing this? Or does having the right certifications really matter today for getting a job in the IT profession? What are your thoughts about this? We love to hear from our readers – email us.

Anyways, we hope that you enjoy this week’s issue of WServerNews, feel free to email us your comments or questions about anything in this newsletter.

This Week in IT

A compendium of recent IT industry news compiled by Your Editors. Feel free to email us if you find a news item you think our newsletter readers might be interested in.

Several things in the news caught our attention this week. First up comes the announcement by Dell in early April about Dell Optimizer, their collection of solutions for hardware issues and specifically for laptops. We had missed this announcement until we read it here on TechGenix. Next comes this news from Krebs on Security about Google allowing people to ask to have their phone number, email address or physical address removed from search results upon their request. And Tom’s Hardware has a fascinating article about a new 10 year warrantied write-once external SSD from by Verbatim that’s designed to ensure data retention against accidentally deleting or overwriting files and data loss from SSD wear—pretty cool!

On the international scene we’re intrigued to hear that the Indian government is now requiring organizations to report their cybersecurity intrusions to CERT-IN within—get this—just six hours. Even if it’s only a port scanning incident targeting your infrastructure, which we know happens about, oh, every ten seconds on average for most companies. The Hacker News has details plus a link to the official government news release. Get ready for organizations to automate the generation and submission of such reports, and for CERT-In to cry uncle when their inbox overflows in abundance. Fortunately banks in the USA have it easier, they can dilly-dally for up to 36 hours before reporting a breach (Gov Info Security).

And speaking of reporting such things as bugs, vulnerabilities and security intrusions, Threatpost reports that a group of security firms supported by the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) are proposing that the Common Vulnerability and Exposures (CVE) system be extended to include security bugs involving cloud providers. This, I think, would be a really good idea—if we can trust the big three cloud providers (Amazon, Google and Microsoft) to fully and transparently support a CVE-like cloud bug system then this could be a big win for strengthening cloud security for those of us who are using the cloud.

And in miscellaneous security and privacy news, we hear that:

Windows news

***ALERT*** Enterprises that use Group Policy to manage Windows devices may encounter problems if their environment includes a mix of Windows 10 and Windows 11 systems. This issue was raised as a question recently by Günter Born and we’d be interested to hear if any of our readers have experienced such problems.

More stuff:

The new Efficiency Mode of the Task Manager app in Windows 11 helps you ensure running processes are all “good citizens” and don’t stress out your CPU (Perf and Diagnostics blog).

New Group Policy settings in the upcoming version of Windows 11 will make it easier to customize your Start menu and taskbar (BleepingComputer).

Upgrading to new versions of Windows 11 in the future should result in fewer language-related UI issues as a result of changes in how language packs are implemented in Windows 11 (Michael Niehaus).

Version 1.2 of Windows Package Manager has just been released with improved error handling, more security when using a local manifest file, and support for ARM64 devices (Windows Command Line blog).

And finally here’s something to think about regarding the cloud PC side of the Windows platform. Are cloud-based PCs the future of the enterprise? That’s the question asked in an article on ITPro where they examine which industries might benefit from standardizing on Microsoft 365 Cloud PC or Google’s Chrome OS Flex as the move towards hybrid work continues to make headway in many organizations. What do you think of Microsoft cloud PC?

Windows Server news

***SOME IMPORTANT DEADLINES BELOW!***

Time is running out to stop using Basic Auth for Exchange Online. In just five months from now Microsoft is finally going to turn it off (The Exchange Team).

If you use the Windows diagnostic data processor configuration to help ensure update compliance for GDPR or other legislation, be aware that Azure AD required for Update Compliance after October 15, 2022 (Windows IT Pro Blog).

And while this may not be happening soon, you should still keep it on your radar: Microsoft plans to phase out NetBIOS name resolution and LLMNR in the future (Born’s Tech and Windows World). So I guess that mean’s it’s time to get ready to say farewell to the Windows Internet Name Services (WINS) and other fond relics of network name resolution in Windows networks. *sniff*

Upcoming webcasts, events and conferences

Got an event, conference or webcast you want announced in our newsletter? Email us!

Cloud Expo Europe Frankfurt – May 11-12. Last chance to register!

Live Broadcast by SC Media: Securing Cloud-as-Infrastructure – May 17-18. Find out more.

SANS Dallas 2022 – live and virtual event June 6-11 – Register now.

Also be sure to check out Redmond Channel Partner’s calendar of upcoming Microsoft conferences for partners, IT pros and developers!

Got comments about anything in this issue?

Email us! We love hearing from our readers!

Meet the Editors! 

MITCH TULLOCH is Senior Editor of WServerNews and is a widely recognized expert on Windows Server and cloud technologies. He has written more than a thousand articles and has authored or been series editor for over 50 books for Microsoft Press and other publishers. Mitch has also been a twelve-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award in the technical category of Cloud and Datacenter Management. He currently runs an IT content development business in Winnipeg, Canada that produces books, ebooks, whitepapers, case studies, courseware, documentation, newsletters and articles for various companies.

INGRID TULLOCH is Associate Editor of WServerNews. She was co-author of the Microsoft Encyclopedia of Networking from Microsoft Press and collaborated on developing university-level courses in Information Security Management for a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) program. Ingrid also manages Research and Development for the IT content development business she runs together with Mitch.

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IT Workshop – tools, whitepapers and more

Got a product or solution or some other resource you’d like to tell our readers about? Email us!

Our TOOL OF THE WEEK is WSUS Automated Maintenance (WAM) from AJ Tek. If you are currently using Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) to keep your Windows systems updated, you can use WAM to automate the maintenance required for maintaining WSUS effectiveness. Find out more.

Version 12.7 of GFI LanGuard has just been released with several important improvements and bug fixes. Read the Release Notes here.

If you are a systems integrator, IT consultant, Managed Services Provider or run some other where B2B sales are important, you need some surefire ways to reach your prospects successfully. Check out these client engagement tips from IgniteTech!

Protect your data center from cyberattacks against physical infrastructure with these tips from Data Center Knowledge!

From the Netwrix blog comes this list of the Top 11 NTFS Permissions Tools for Smarter Administration.

In the digital age, it’s more important than ever to take precautions to protect your online presence. One way to do this is by implementing a SOAR security strategy. Find out more in this article on TechGenix.

Here are some MORE TOOLS our IT pro colleagues have recently recommended:

  • Ventoy is an open source tool to create bootable USB drive for ISO/WIM/IMG/VHD(x)/EFI files.
  • SetACL Studio is a management tool for Windows permissions that works with files, folders, registry keys, printers, network shares, services and WMI objects.
  • Can’t get the latest Windows 10 Feature update? Need to find out what’s blocking you? Try using WhyAmIBlocked.

Tips and Tutorials

This week’s tutorials for users and power users:

And here’s some stuff just for sysadmins:

Got tips or tutorials you’d like to recommend for our readers? Email us!

Freebies!!

Got a freebie you want to offer our readers? You can reach almost 200,000 IT pros worldwide with our newsletter—email us!

Free training for Windows Client Desktop installation, support and troubleshooting (ITOPs Talk Blog)

JavaScript Notes for Professionals – Download for free from The Hacker News!

Get ‘Linux for Networking Professionals‘ ($44.99 value) FREE for a limited time (BetaNews)

IT Bookshelf: Linux: The Textbook

There’s not much love for Windows Server these days; Linux seems to be everywhere. Which is why I decided to make it a priority recently to become more familiar with Linux and other elements of the Open Source platform. And since I’m an old-fashioned kinda guy, I like to follow my preferred method for learning about a subject: namely, by finding a good book and reading it cover to cover.

Linux: The Textbook, Second Edition (CRC Press, 2019) is one such book that has a high place on my reading list. The book’s chapters provide a comprehensive introduction to the Linux operating system including all the basic areas (CLI, file system, processes, networking and security) plus chapters on Bash programming, system administration, compilers/interpreters, and system programming. There’s even a whole chapter devoted to systemd that most argued about feature of modern versions of Linux. And there are even a series of additional chapters available online with tutorials on Wayland, the ZFS file system, CUPS printing, Python programming, virtualization and containers, and GitHub.

In short it’s got everything for everybody. Which means of course that I won’t really be reading it cover to cover because some of the topics the book covers aren’t very relevant at the moment to my particular needs. My main focus at this point is to learn more about Linux system administration so I know my options should we eventually plan on migrating the infrastructure for our business away from the Windows Server platform to Linux. Which is what we’re actually think of doing even on the desktop end of things as we haven’t been very happy with Microsoft in recent years with the direction they’ve been taking Windows. We still have real privacy concerns with Windows as it becomes more cloudified. And reliability concerns too, given what’s happened with certain updates for Windows that Microsoft has released in the last few years.

But getting back to the book, the chapters I’ve read so far have impressed me in a number of ways. For one thing, they start with a solid presentation of background info on the topic they’re going to cover. Sections and subsections are numbered in logical ways e.g. 5.4.2 Types of File Operations/Access Permissions in chapter 5 explains the nine bits used for file permissions and includes examples to illustrate. Tables are used extensively (but not overused) to present information succinctly, and commands are introduced with presentation of their purpose, syntax, and commonly used options. (I especially like that last part about only including the most important options because some Linux commands have dozens of different options!) Each chapter finishes with a well-crafted summary of what’s been covered followed by a set of self-test questions, advanced questions/problems, and projects you can think through and try on your Linux computer. And the book uses a variety of distros from the Debian and Red Hat family so you can use your favorite distro if you have one when you want to follow along by trying out the examples in the book.

Since the book is titled as a textbook, one would expect that instructor’s materials would be available as well for those who want to use the book for teaching Linux to students at their institution. This is in fact the case—there’s a lab manual and a test bank as well as solutions for both of these that are available for qualified instructors. I’ve taken a look at these as well, having been an educator myself in an earlier life, and I can confirm that these additional materials are very well done.

If you enjoy learning from a good textbook—or teaching others with the help of one—this book will be a good way for you to get a full understanding of the capabilities of the Linux platform. You can purchase Linux: The Textbook, Second Edition on Amazon here.

Factoid: Killing vampires

Our previous factoid was this:

Fact: Navigation tools could be pointing drivers to the shortest route — but not the safest (Science Daily)

Source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/02/220223164554.htm

Question: Do you use and trust nav software? How reliable do you find it to be?

Wayne Hanks from Western Australia responded to this as follows:

Hi Mitch, GPS is the bees knees! I have been using it in my cars for nearly 10 years and still rely on it. As a busy MSP, we are often going to a client and need to get there as soon as possible, and using apps like google maps or WAZE allows us to get the quickest route, as these apps update with crowd sourced information. For example, my drive home is through a number of construction sites and they can regularly be held up if there is a minor crash or breakdown. Waze uses user input to generate a traffic map showing congestion points and speed camera locations, which saves many speeding tickets 🙂

The only problem can be that GPS tries to avoid turning across traffic by making you turn in the opposite direction if it is safer. Also there are times when road blockages are not shown as they are temporary or have not been incorporated in the maps. Many times the cost of upgrading the GPS in the car nav unit cannot be justified when you can use a free app on your mobile phone that is updated regularly.

My other job is putting out signs for the local real estate office for their weekend home opens, and GPS helps to set up the most efficient routes to do this.

Now let’s move on to this week’s factoid:

Fact: UK households could save an average of £147 per year by switching off so-called vampire devices, British Gas research suggests (BBC).

Source:https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-61235367

Question: Unfortunately just switching something off doesn’t always stop it from using power or draining its batteries. For example, I’ve been a big fan of Reverse Polish Notation (RPN) calculators from Hewlett-Packard since my days as a Physics undergrad (my ambition at the time was to pursue a Ph.D. in Astrophysics). The one I own today is the HP 27S Scientific Calculator, and although I rarely use it, I’ve often been annoyed that I had to replace the lithium-ion batteries in it every nine months to keep it working. That is, I was annoyed until one day I happened across The Museum of HP Calculators. I quickly discovered that they have a forum where you can post stuff and ask questions, so I registered myself and logged on and posted a complaint about how my calculator was draining my batteries even when it was turned off. A knowledgeable expert soon responded by informing me that there was a secret 3-key keypress sequence (^ + CLR) that overrode such behavior and turned the calculator off completely, preventing any battery drain. I’m happy to say that my calculator batteries now last almost a decade before they need to be replaced! Anyways, this is all probably neither here nor there unless you’re a nerd like me, so let me now frame a question: What hacks, if any, have you found or discovered for saving on your electricity bill (or battery purchases) by shutting off so-called vampire devices in your home or workplace? Email us your answer and we’ll include it in our next issue!

And Finally

The odd, the stupid and the remarkable. Good for your mental health.

First chicken-free egg white product reaches US markets (New Atlas)

https://newatlas.com/science/world-first-chicken-free-egg-white-every-company-macarons/

[I guess this puts a kibosh on the question of which came first, the chicken or the egg.]

Microsoft Translator adds Zulu and Somali translation (OnMSTF)

https://www.onmsft.com/news/microsoft-translator-adds-zulu-and-somali

[Ngani? Waayo?]

Workers Are Trading Staggering Amounts of Data for ‘Payday Loans’ (Wired)

https://www.wired.com/story/payday-loan-data/

[Well at least it’s better than selling a body part!]

Can’t get hold of a shiny new Raspberry Pi? Here’s why (TechRadar)

https://www.techradar.com/news/cant-get-hold-of-a-shiny-new-raspberry-pi-heres-why

[Simple solution, just build better bots.]

Dyson launches Zone air purifying Bluetooth headphones with visor (The Guardian)

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/mar/30/dyson-launches-zone-air-purifying-bluetooth-headphones-with-visor

[A cheaper solution would be to hang a car air freshener from each ear.]

One-Third Of U.S. Netflix Subscribers Share Their Passwords, Survey Finds (Deadline)

https://deadline.com/2022/03/netflix-password-sharing-subscribers-survey-streaming-1234990125/

[And the other two-thirds lied when asked the question.]

Hey reader! Got an amazing or weird or funny link you’d like to suggest for this section of our newsletter? Email us! But please make sure that it’s G-rated as in “Gee whiz”, “Golly!”, Good grief!”, “Gaaahh!!” and so on. Thanks!

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