Android: Email Apps

I recently got a Pixel 6. It’s great. For the previous 3 and a bit years I had been using a BlackBerry Key2. There was lots I liked about the Key2, but 3 years later I had never received an Android version update. I was still getting updates, but I decided with the Pixel 6 launch it was time for an update.

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Yubikey: Early Impressions

I recently obtained two Yubikey security keys to boost my personal and professional . I picked up one Yubikey Bio and one Yubikey 5 NFC. They recommend that you always have a backup in case you lose one, and from what I had learned, I wanted the Bio in several services that would support it, but also the 5 NFC for other services and for mobile NFC authentication.

It’s now been a week, so here are some initial thoughts.

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Microsoft Teams: Lifecycle

If you’ve been paying attention to Microsoft 365 products in the last 5 years or so, you’ve likely noticed that things have moved toward a much flatter architecture where users have more freedom to set up their own Teams / SharePoint sites, etc. In many ways this is great, but it does carry some risks of sprawl caused by users casually creating data structures and then forgetting about them.

Fortunately, Microsoft does offer some mechanisms in the Teams lifecycle to help with this.

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Microsoft Cloud App Security

If you’re an IT admin, do you know what apps users are putting on devices alongside company data? Do you know all the apps that they are directly putting company data into, thinking it helps solve a problem for them? This is the problem of “Shadow IT.” If it’s a personal device, it’s even worse, as they might be installing all kinds of insecure apps without IT approval and it wouldn’t take much to make a mistake like copying and pasting company data or uploading a file into the wrong app.

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Microsoft Endpoint Manager: Device Configuration Policies

You’ve got your devices enrolled in Endpoint Manager. Now what? This opens up lots of tools including configuration policies.

Configuration policies allow for quickly rolling out the desired configuration to the device, without the user having to manually set it up. This can include a lot of different settings and vary by the operating system of the device. Some of the more interesting tools for Windows 10 includes:

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Azure AD: Conditional Access Policies

Passwords are inadequate. Even for standard consumer tools, you should have at least two more tools in your toolbox: a password manager and multi-factor authentication. Those help make passwords suck less. But they do leave open some questions like: should you need to perform multi-factor authentication every time you log in? Should access be all or nothing, or should there be any accounting for degrees of risk?

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My (Freelance) Web Development Workflow

When I work on a website, especially once I need to deploy some custom code, I have several tools at my disposal I want to set up. Here’s what those tools and that setup process looks like. For the purpose of this post, I’m assuming I already have the SFTP and SSH credentials from the website host.

SSH keys

The one-time need is to prepare my SSH keys. This requires three files which can be created with PuTTYgen, part of the package that comes with PuTTY.

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CiviCRM: Overview

The platform I worked with more than any other in my previous job was CiviCRM. CiviCRM is an open-source CRM system aimed primarily at non-profits that builds on top of an existing WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal website. Drupal is the most powerful because Drupal has great permissions control already and CiviCRM can tie in to those, but the others are fine, too.

CiviCRM logo and wordmark

After a few years, I have a pretty good sense of the strengths and weaknesses that CiviCRM offers and will do a quick breakdown here.

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IT on Film: Flight Attendant Episode 3

In episode 3 of The Flight Attendant (HBO Max), Megan agrees to do some corporate espionage against her husband’s large company. It isn’t clear what the company is – maybe it will explain as the story continues in later episodes – but it is clear that he has access to some significant trade secrets. So Megan encourages her husband to bring his laptop home, then casually finds the file and copies it to a jump drive.

Megan in Flight Attendant

Two things immediately stood out to me as problems with this scene from a basic IT perspective.

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