WServerNews: Protection we don’t need

In this issue:

Reader mail on the future of the sysadmin job role. Is full disclosure good or bad? Will tech workers return to the office? Update problems on Windows and Windows Server. Pining for a Pine. Going all-in on the cloud. Upcoming deployment Masterclass. Sysinternals updates. PowerShell tips. Free resource kit on phishing and social engineering. Need a cat nap? Two halves can in fact make a whole! Plus lots more — read it all, read it here on WServerNews!

This dandelion gone to seed is so vulnerable that the slightest puff of wind would blow it to bits. Sort of reminds us of software nowadays, doesn’t it? Photo by Milan Ivanovic on Unsplash


Does the sysadmin role have a future? That’s the question we asked in last week’s newsletter and some of our readers emailed us to weigh in with their thoughts on the matter. Here’s a sampling:

Hi just read your article and I’d like to give you my opinion on sysadmins. I was a sysadmin for close to 20 years. And, in my experience, organizations of all sorts really dislike IT operations. It’s my opinion that they’ve been trying to get rid of sysadmins for decades. The first attempt came with PCs. When pundits and consultants breathlessly claimed that PC Networks would replace large systems. We know how well that went. The second attempt that I know of was with minicomputers. Most Unix based minicomputers had menu driven administration and I have sat in sales meetings with salesmen saying explicitly that you didn’t need someone with a lot of training to manage the machine because of the menu driven system. A variation of that came out in the late 90s with Windows NT. I actually read reports from people in the IT Planning dept that claimed that with Windows NT you didn’t need specialized personnel (riiiiiight). Then came Outsourcing which promised to lower costs and reduce the need for people in operations. One thing is certain: It didn’t lower costs. The whole point of outsourcing is that the provider would use economies of scale so they could leverage their personnel with different customers simultaneously. HOWEVER that would require that customers modified their processes to suit that of the outsourcing provider, otherwise each customer (as it usually turned out) became a special case and in that case there was no way to apply economies of scale. Now, we have the cloud. Now customers have no other choice but to all work the same way and economies of scale are possible. Of course, the minute the cloud came out, Pundits and Consultants once again breathlessly promised that THIS TIME, FOR REAL organizations would be able to do away with operations. The whole DevOps thing is just sysadmins that have to learn to at least be able to read code. Because the whole thing about coders learning even some basic sysadmin skills is just a canard. They’ll stick to coding and still misuse the resources they have and blame infrastructure (cloud based or not) when their stuff doesn’t work or is inefficient. So, sysadmins will have to learn new skills. Like cloud resources administration. Nothing particularly new here. The only sysadmins that could get away with doing the same stuff for 20 or 30 years were the IBM Mainframe (and MAYBE Midrange) System Programmers and probably only until the early 90s. —Daniel Cristini

Hi Mitch, as you know I ‘ve done a lot of sysadmin roles over the years, ranging from ASX100 companies down to one man shows, and my feeling is that there will always be a need for someone to “plug in the plugs and tweak the settings” . It’s a bit like plumbing, it doesn’t matter how complex or simple it is, there will always be a need for the mechanic that sorts out the issues that inevitably arise. Given that most CEOs would rather have a secretary that does all that “technical” stuff for them, I think the need for sysadmins will always exist, if only so that they can have someone to point a finger at to blame. Now I am not saying that the sysadmin role will remain the same as it always has been, that is very unlikely, however it will become more of a coordinator role, including education and training. When systems are managed in the cloud, the sysadmin’s role will be about ensuring backups are working (and recoverable!), data is secure, new users have access to all they need and ex users are archived. So as with all staff, it is about learning to be flexible and make the most of the services you are paying for. Besides, I don’t know any users that are ready to deal with configuring Azure off the bat! —Wayne Hanks

I can see the future of the sysadmin role changing but there will always be a need. My role will exist no matter who hosts the systems, especially as my role changed from traditional sysadmin to middleware support (but with plenty of sysadmin support too). The sysadmin folks often transition to other, more advanced support roles and this will always be needed. If companies do not devise ways to support their apps, they will be in a sorry state. —Bruce Anderson

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Editor’s Corner

Should software vendors and services providers immediately disclose full details concerning vulnerabilities discovered in their products and services when they are discovered? According to this recent article in DataCenter Knowledge, Microsoft doesn’t think it’s a good idea to do so. The Microsoft executive referred to in this article suggests that by withholding such information they’re actually protecting their customers since bad actors could use such info to immediately craft and launch zero-day attacks on them.

I don’t know. While I understand Microsoft’s position on the matter, silently patching a serious vulnerability without notifying customers and downplaying the risk it could pose seems rather shifty to me. And given their patching track record simply suggesting we trust them to keep us safe just doesn’t cut it in my opinion (Bank Info Security).

And if immediate, full disclosure is provided when a vulnerability is discovered, it’s not just the bad actors who will be licking their chops. It’s also the numerous companies that provide cybersecurity protection products and services, and you can bet they’ll hustle their horses to whip up workarounds, mitigations and patches to deal with the vulnerability—and make tidy profits for themselves. Which is fine by me, because somebody has to get paid to do the work to keep us safe in cyberspace.

How do our readers feel about this matter? Send us your thoughts and we’ll share them in our Mailbag.

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. And for more tech news coverage see the News section of our TechGenix website.

Bad news from the recent Black Hat conference in Las Vegas. No, the computer systems at the Wynn/Encore casino haven’t been hacked, so your winnings are safe. Instead the news is that Chris Krebs, the first director of CISA, says that the US Department of Homeland Security expects things to get worse before they get better. Vuk Mujovic has the news on our TechGenix website.

In other news the remote work boom seems to be going bust, at least for Zoom anyways (Yahoo! Finance). Maybe it’s because tech giants like Apple are pushing employees to return to the office (Financial Post) though employees, naturally, have also been pushing back (Financial Review). It’ll be interesting to see which side wins this tug of war—any bets?

And if you’re a Microsoft Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) partner the updated terms of Microsoft’s New Commerce Experience (NCE) subscription model might cause you to blink a bit. Apparently if your customer fails to complete their annual commitment under the NCE and stops payment, as a partner you’re now going to bear greater liability with regard to the service contract. Redmond Channel Partner has the news about this tightening of the screws on the Microsoft partner ecosystem.

Windows news

Günter Born reports that the KB5015878 update for Windows 10 is apparently causing audio issues for some users. If this is you then check Günter’s article as it describes various workarounds.

The Verge reports that Windows 11’s widgets can now trigger weather notifications and stock alerts directly on your taskbar. This in our opinion is another reason to hold off upgrading to Windows 11 until Microsoft refrains from introducing such annoyances into the platform.

And if you’re frustrated because you can’t preview PDF files in Outlook on Windows 10 then check out this post on the Windows Dev AppConsult blog for a fix.

Windows Server news

On the server side of things, applying update KB5015808 has apparently caused problems for at least one admin who have Remote Desktop Services (RDS) deployed in their environment. Read this post on Born City for details. Has anyone else experienced this?

Linux news

LibreOffice Office Suite 7.4 has been released. Full details can be found in the Ubuntu Handbook and a more newsy version on BleepingComputer. Can’t wait to try it out, though we’re still a MS Office shop.

And the 14″ Pinebook Pro Linux Laptop is now shipping (Linux Magazine). Would love to try this out too but can’t afford to buy one in this current economic climate…sniff!

Cloud news

PC Mag reports that FedEx is going all-in on cloud. Apparently they hope to save $400 million a year by getting rid of their mainframes and closing all their data centers. All we can say is, Good luck!

Upcoming webcasts, workshops and conferences

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

Mastering Windows Deployment using MDT and ConfigMgr – OSD Masterclass September 6-9 @ ViaMonstra Online Academy – Enroll today!

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.

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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 Sysinternals which has just released updates for their popular utilities Sysmon, AccessEnum, and Coreinfo!

10 Terrific Tools for the Busy Adminfree download from ADMIN Network & Security!

Your Comprehensive Guide to Continuous Security Monitoring from TechGenix

Due to the uptake of remote working, many businesses have adopted new digital communication platforms in the name of interconnectivity. But this can cause serious problems for the focus and wellbeing of employees. To help manage this problem, has created An Employee’s Guide to Managing Notifications and Communications to Maximise Workplace Wellbeing.

Tips and Tutorials

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

This week we have nine tips for those who use PowerShell for managing their environment:

Configuring PowerShell 7 With Group Policy (Under The Stairs)

3 Ways to Download a File in PowerShell (ITPro Today)

How to perform Azure AD bulk operations with PowerShell (Command Line Ninja)

From Standard User To Elevated Administrator: Run Elevated Powershell Commands With Powershell Studio And Impersonation (The Lazy Administrator)

Use PowerShell to find Windows services configured to run as another user (Command Line Ninja)

Accounts Continued – Azure with PowerShell III (Tommy Maynard)

Understanding the Different Versions of Exchange Online PowerShell Modules and Basic Auth (The Exchange Team)

Formatting PowerShell 7 code like Kusto Query Language (Mike F. Robbins)

Using PowerShell Your Way (Jeffrey Hicks)


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

Cybersecurity Awareness Month is right around the corner, and KnowBe4 is giving away a free resource kit to help keep your business safe from phishing and social engineering!

Factoid: Litter box for IT pros

We haven’t received any responses yet to last week’s factoid so here is this week’s:

Fact: Japan to launch ‘Nap Box’ for encourage healthier office culture


Question: What do you do at work when you feel the need to take a short break to relax and de-stress so you can return to your task recharged?

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

Fun videos from Flixxy

Paramount Top Gun Drone Show in Sydney – An astounding drone show featuring ‘Top Gun’ at ‘Vivid Sydney’ – a festival of light, music and ideas.

Yu Hojin’s Jaw-Dropping Magic – Yu Hojin delivers some of the best magic America’s Got Talent has ever seen!

Shut Up and Dance to the Classics – A compilation of great dancing scenes by Eleanor Powell, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Judy Garland and others to the song ‘Shut Up and Dance with Me.’

ABBA – ‘Waterloo’ 1975 – The Swedish pop group ABBA perform their hit song ‘Waterloo’ at the Momarkedet Festival 1975 in Norway.

And Finally

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

She Had an AirTag in Her Lost Luggage. It Led Police to a Baggage Handler’s Home. (DNYUZ)

[Now *there’s* a good use for Apple AirTags…]

Steve Jobs to Receive Posthumous Medal of Freedom (Tom’s Hardware)

[Why not give it to him as a NFT instead? He’s probably still floating around there in cyberspace somewhere…]

Worth Reading: On the Dangers of Cryptocurrencies… (ipSpace)

[Sometimes I think there’s more danger—to my mental health especially—from reading too much cybersecurity news.]

YouTuber builds a bike with two half wheels, and it functions just as well as the original (Interesting Engineering)

[Next up: a bike with only one pedal!]

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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