WServerNews: IT certifications revisited

In this issue:

Got questions? Ask our readers! (cartoon) Editor’s Corner—need help with Linux. Ransomware-as-a-service (yikes!) Protecting the Metaverse. Cloud news. Cool tools. Tips on Active Directory, Azure AD and Intune. Free guide for deploying Windows 10/11. IT Bookshelf: Practical Guide to IT Problem Management. Windows still has THAT?!? Fun videos from Flixxy. UFOs and the Pentagon. Plus lots more — read it all, read it here on WServerNews!

I’m proud of getting my Red Hat Certified System Administrator certification. How about you? Photo by Felipe Gregate on Unsplash

Got questions? Ask our readers!

WServerNews goes out each week to almost 200,000 IT pro subscribers worldwide! That’s a lot of expertise to tap into. Do you need help with some technical problem or are looking for expert advice on something IT-related? You can Ask Our Readers for help by emailing us your problem or question. Do it today!

Editor’s Corner

Back in our May 9th issue of WServerNews I asked whether readers thought certifications are still relevant for today’s IT professionals. Several readers responded to my questioning and we published some of their responses in the Mailbag section of our May 16th newsletter. Since that time I’ve continued giving this some thought and seeking input from others on the subject of whether IT certifications still matter. I let my own Microsoft certifications expire many years ago after I stopped working as a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) but lately I’ve been wondering whether trying for a few certifications might strengthen my motivation towards learning certain technologies that I’m still trying to come up to speed on (such as Linux).

Then recently I stumbled across an article in NetworkWorld that brought some clarity to my mind on why pursuing certifications can be helpful. The article is from about a year ago and is titled IT certifications: Popular and valuable but not for everyone, and in it the author says the following:

“IT certifications can help by providing a structure for learning and documenting your achievement.”

And when I read that I thought “Bingo, that’s it.” Because most of us who work in our crazy IT profession are pretty scatterbrained from being insanely busy most of the time, so adding some structure to our learning activities (or to any of our daily work and life activities) would probably be very helpful. Pursuing a specific learning goal and set of objectives can help keep you on track for achieving your goal and gaining mastery of those objectives. And while the piece of paper (or digital certificate) you receive at the end might not bring you a salary increase, it can give you a feeling of satisfaction and provide a launchpad for going for climbing the next technology mountain you want to summit.

When George Mallory was asked why he had wanted to climb Mount Everest, his droll reply was “Because it’s there.” Perhaps that’s also sufficient reason for becoming certified on IT platforms and technologies you have interest in even if you don’t need to know them to advance your career. And who knows anyway how valuable such knowledge and skills might be for you in the future?

What IT certification are you currently pursuing? Why are you going for them?

And which certs would you recommend pursuing for someone like myself who is currently trying to grow my understanding and experience with Linux and other open source software? I welcome your suggestions if you have any—let me know. Thanks!

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.

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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.

We’re catching up a bit on what’s been happening in the IT industry. Here are some of the stories we’ve been following recently.

Google is moving deeper into the enterprise space with its new Chrome Enterprise Connectors Framework that enables Chromebooks to work in Zero Trust environments (The Verge). Meanwhile the U.S. Senate has passed legislation allowing state attorney generals to choose the location where they hear federal antitrust suits—a move Alphabet had opposed (Data Center Knowledge).

Continuing with googly news we’ve learned that Google finally listened to feedback from their community and has decided to merge the password managers for Chrome and Andoid (ITPro). On the other hand Google together with Facebook and Microsoft appear to be opposing a giant wind farm initiative backed by Warren Buffett which they say would drive up electricity prices in Iowa and make running their datacenters more expensive. Guess you can’t always please everybody.

In the cybersecurity realm we hear that an expiring digital certificate resulted in a huge outage in a German retail payment processing system. Stars and Strips has some details and if you know German you can learn even more from Günter Born. Meanwhile a lobbying group has warned that China’s draft cybersecurity rules pose some significant risks for financial firms (Yahoo Finance).

Perhaps even more worrying and a sign of the times is this article we just found on VentureBeat which reports the following:

“Today, the Lockbit ransomware gang announced the launch of Lockbit 3.0, a new ransomware-as-a-service offering and a bug bounty program. According to Lockbit’s leak site, as part of the bug bounty program, the cyber gang will pay all security researchers, ethical and unethical hackers ‘to provide Personally Identifiable Information (PII) on high-profile individuals and web exploits in exchange for remuneration ranging from $1,000 to $1 million.'”

Yikes, sounds like a hitman-for-hire advertisement!

Anyways, next comes news that in a nod to the need for greater privacy in an increasingly intrusive world, Swiss-based ProtonMail has announced that they will now offer a single unified subscription for Proton Mail, Proton VPN, Proton Calendar and Proton Drive (MacRumors). All of these privacy-first products can be accessed from the single site And our world is indeed becoming increasingly intrusive if ad-company Glance follows through with their plan to team up with US cell carriers to serve us advertisements directly on the lockscreen of our phones—that is, providing they’re running Android (Android Police).

Finally if you’re thinking of leaving this world and dwelling in the Metaverse you might be glad to learn that Meta, Microsoft and several other large tech firms will be creating a Metaverse Standards Forum to address future cybersecurity threats to your meta-life (TechGenix). On the other hand this news might not make you so glad since commercialization seems to be the main driving force behind the Metaverse, and there’s already more than enough of that right here in our own physical universe. My two cents anyways.

Oh drat—that metaphor involved commerce, didn’t it? You just can’t win!

Cloud news

We’ll catch up on Windows news next week, but for now let’s find out what’s been happening with the cloud.

The Information recently reported that Microsoft Azure is suffering from global shortages. They suggest that “Due to a confluence of crises, the second-largest cloud provider has been operating in the yellow zone, meaning its data centers have a less-than-normal level of servers available.” You can read the full article here. Long-time Irish Microsoft MVP Aidan Finn discusses the serious of this news on his blog and provides some helpful guidance for customers who use Azure to help them boost performance and ensure availability for their cloud solutions.

Along somewhat similar lines market intelligence provider IDG says their recent research indicates many enterprises are moving their cloud workloads back on-premises (NetworkWorld). A variety of reasons appear to be driving this trend, but one of the main reasons seems to be security with a secondary reason being unanticipated costs. Budgeting for the cloud has often been a challenge with new services constantly being launched, existing features updated and subscription costs frequently being changed. A great way to avoid getting taken to the cleaners when utilizing Amazon Web Services is to subscribe to Last Week in AWS a newsletter by Corey Quinn. We wish there was a similar resource to help customers prevent their wallets from being emptied when they use Microsoft Azure but we haven’t been able to find one yet—if you know of such a resource please let us know!

And finally comes some good news that Microsoft is setting multi-factor authentication (MFA) as the default for all their Azure AD customers (TechRepublic). We’re big fans of MFA and especially of 12-factor authentication where you need a password and pin number and hardware token and cellphone and fingerprint and iris scan etc in order to log on to your PC in a domain-joined environment. Just kidding.

Got other cloud news you’d like us to share with our readers? Email us!

Upcoming webcasts, events and conferences

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

Live Webinar: NEW Veeam Backup for AWS, Azure and Google Cloud – July 14 – Register!

Microsoft Inspire is back! – July 19-20 ­– Register

Free Interactive Event: SANS 2022 Threat Hunting Survey: Hunting for a Standard Methodology for Threat Hunting Teams – July 20 – Login to register

SCaLE 19x the 19th annual Southern California Linux Expo – July 28-31 in Los Angeles, California – More info

Also be sure to check out the following event listings:

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.

Subscribe today to WServerNews!

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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 ROMAWO the Managed Workplace Solution for IT-ServiceProvider or IT-Teams. Try it now!

Having a strong firewall has always been a cornerstone of any IT security department. Check out our NGFW Buyer’s Guide on TechGenix!

Lithnet Password Protection for Active Directory (LPP) enhances the options available to an organization wanting to ensure that all their Active Directory accounts have strong passwords.

Check out these free tools from Cjwdev that some of our IT pro colleagues have recommended for enumerating permissions on file servers and in Active Directory. You can also find more tools from Cjwdev here.

Corizon from IgniteTech employs user-interface mashup technology to integrate data from cloud services, thick clients and web services, providing a real-time holistic view for CS agents to provide excellent customer service.

Tips and Tutorials

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

Active Directory:

Create Organizational Units (OU) Structure in Active Directory with PowerShell (Windows OS Hub)

Checking Windows Activation Status on Active Directory Computers (Windows OS Hub)

Migrate From Server 2012 to Server 2022 Domain Controllers (PeteNetLive)

Better PowerShell Properties (The Lonely Administrator)

Azure AD and Intune:

8 Best Practices for Azure AD Roles (Charbel Nemnom)

Migrate to the cloud – Part 1. Setup (just another windows noob)

Migrate to the cloud – Part 2. Customization (just another windows noob)

Migrate to the cloud – Part 3. Troubleshooting (just another windows noob)

To AAD Join or Not … That is the Question (Core Infrastructure and Security Blog)


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

Sign up for Deployment News, a monthly email newsletter on Intune, ConfigMgr, MSD, OSD and Windows 10/11 and you’ll get a free copy of their Geeks Guides to Windows 10 Deployment, and Windows 11 Deployment!

IT Bookshelf: Practical Guide to IT Problem Management

Practical Guide to IT Problem Management (CRC Press, 2022) is an excellent book. Every IT department should have a copy, or several. IT managers should require that their sysadmins and technical support staff all read it. In fact they should read it together in small groups, discussing chapters as they finish them.

Why am I so enthusiastic about this book? Maybe because I’m an engineer at heart, though I actually studied Physics and taught it for some years before I switched over to IT. Engineers love solving problems—it’s their passion. Not just solving them however, but understanding why they happen and how to prevent them in the future. The author Andrew Dixon of this book previously taught Information Technology to engineering students and then went on to manage the computer teaching facilities for the Engineering faculty at the University of Bristol. And the way he writes is typical of someone who loves the engineering approach to problem solving and loves communicating his passion for this to others in ways that are both illuminating and entertaining.

And our IT profession, boy, is it ever full of problems! Every day there seems to be another fire to put out, a challenge to overcome, a mysterious genii invading our precious black boxes. The server froze up? No problem, go and reboot it. Yay, it works again! Problem solved—not! The problem hasn’t even been identified! Is it the result of equipment failure? An issue with the environment? Failure of some process? Poorly thought-out strategy? Communications failure? People problem? Time to put on our thinking caps and draw a fishbone diagram!

I’m now halfway through this small book and I don’t want to give away all of the goodies I’ve found as I’ve been reading it. I’ll just say that reading this book will revolutionize your problem-solving abilities, so I encourage you to get hold of it if your IT work frequently involves fixing problems that come up. You can view the table of contents on the book’s information page and you can buy the book on Amazon.

Factoid: Windows still has THAT?!?

Our previous factoid didn’t generate any responses so we’ll move right on to this week’s factoid:

Fact: There’s surprising stuff lurking under the hood even in the latest versions of Microsoft Windows (Born’s Tech and Windows World)


Question: What’s the most surprising legacy junk you’ve stumbled across yourself in Windows 10 or Windows 11?

Email us your answer and we’ll include it in our next issue!

Fun videos from Flixxy

Magical Bike Dance Performance – A magical bike dance performance at the wedding of World Champion track cyclist Christine D’Ercole and Brian Hicks.

Master Mentalist Lior Suchard – Master Mentalist Lior Suchard amazes Late Late Show host James Corden and guests John Boyega, Minnie Driver and Sam Smith.

Boogie Woogie Dance – Sondre and Tanya dance the Boogie Woogie at the Summer Jamboree 2022 on Lake Lugano in Switzerland.

Jyoti Supernature – Jyoti’s magic tricks, mentalism, balancing acts and musical performances have stunned audiences around the world for many years.

And Finally

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

Disney could soon lose exclusive rights to Mickey Mouse (The Guardian)

[We can’t wait to include Mickey as part of our editorial team at WServerNews!]

Simply looking at food triggers inflammation in the brain, can impair health in overweight people (Gut Health News)

[So eating with their eyes closed can help people lose weight?]

Japanese company launches hamster into the stratosphere as part of space travel experiment (MalayMail)

[Sure beats running around in the wheel all day long! BORING!!!]

Stunned by UFOs, ‘exasperated’ fighter pilots get little help from Pentagon (The Hill)

[Why not just shoot them down? Or are you afraid of starting a war with aliens from another galaxy?]

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!

Please tell others about WServerNews!

We hope you enjoyed this issue of WServerNews! Feel free to send us feedback on any of the topics we’ve covered—we love hearing from our readers! And please tell others about WServerNews! It’s free and always will be free—and they can subscribe to it here. Thanks!!!

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