Microsoft Collaboration, CTO viewpoint, and New York

The blog for Office 365, Power Apps, Flow, SharePoint, cloud, ….. plus a little NYC

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Smart Phone Security and anti-virus software

A lot of people ask me about this and although it’s not my professional technical strength (I make my money with SharePoint), but I do take this matter seriously.

These are my thoughts and recommendations for some quick preventative tips:

There are many AV software companies out there, such as: McAfee, CA, Symantec, Bitdefender, Kaspersky, Trend Micro, and Microsoft Security Essentials.

None of them are perfect and free with Windows 10, so that’s one good reason to upgrade and most have antivirus, malware, spyware, and adware protection, as well as other vital functions, including Phishing Protection (very important these days).

Microsoft does make it into Garter’s Magic Quadrant

Other tips for personal IT, I would recommend:

  1. Keep your systems and applications up to date!!!  This is one of the most important thing you can do, and the easiest.  This applies not only to Windows/MacOS/LINUX, but also your iPad/iPhone, Android Cellphone, Firewall, applications, etc.
  2. Backup your data to the cloud, but be sure the solution provides these three things as a minimum:
    1. Encryption
    2. Ransomware Detection and Prevention
    3. Two Factor Authentication
  3. Enable “Two factor” authentication on all bank accounts, then investment accounts, company systems, etc.  Two factor includes applications such as Google Authenticator, Microsoft Account, Authy, etc. Two factor also includes texting to your cellphone, but beware, cellphones are being hacked more and more.
  4. Install web browser plugins (NOTE: some will slow down performance, but that’s the price you pay for security):
    1. IBM Rapport (Trusteer) on your computers used for online banking, and NEVER bank on any other computer!
    2. uBlock Origin (or AdBlock Plus)
    3. HTTPS Everywhere
  5. WiFi – Use a VPN, such as or
  6. Learn more about phishing attacks.
    1. Sign up and educate yourself and your staff and family. Full disclosure, I sell and “add value” with a  turnkey solution to thru a service, “TouchstoneSecure”.  There are lots of other services you can subscribe to for “Cybersecurity Awareness Training”.
    2. Do not to open or trust email, texts, or mail from any business, period.  Always independently contact the company separately (e.g. call the number on the back of your Credit Card, or the number published on the company’s website).
  7. Practice safe passwords .  I am not so strict, as this is difficult, so I do something slightly different, I use two words with numbers and characters in between, e.g. Foreignword1711!other, where foreignword is a foreign language word, 1711 is YY/MM, !, and another is a word that might relate to the site where the password is used.  For example, for Microsoft, I might use Ct@k@h1711!Microsoft, and for Amazon I might use Ct@k@h1711!Amazon (Ctakah is Russian for Glass).  The nice thing about this is, when I need to change the password, which might be every month, only one or two charactesr change, e.g. Ct@k@h1712!Microsoft. Use your imagination!
    1. Dashlane is a great password management tool, you can really get the complex passwords to go crazy.
  8. Run a Security suite, such as Defender.
  9. Protect your cellphone by:
    1. Change your online account password and pin.  Case in point:
    2. Keep it up to date!

                                                                     i.      Android Settings, System Updates.

                                                                   ii.      iPhone (connect to a secure wifi, one with a lock symbol), Settings, General, Software Update.

    3. Enable security on your Android phone:

                                                                     i.      Encryption

                                                                   ii.      Screen lock, secure lock

                                                                 iii.      Turn off notifications

                                                                 iv.      Secure Startup Settings, Lock Screen and Security, Secure Startup

                                                                   v.      Auto factory reset upon x number of password attempts Settings, Lock Screen and Security, Secure Lock Settings

                                                                 vi.      Lock SIM Card Settings, Lock Screen and Security, Other security settings PS be sure to change the default SIM PIN!

                                                                vii.      Enable Security Policy Updates

                                                              viii.      Enable “Find My Device” and configure to allow for erasing all data or

                                                                  ix.      Consider “Pinning” an application if you suspect it isn’t completely safe.

    4. Enable security on your iPhone


                                                                   ii.      Verify encryption

      iii. Use the bitdefender’s free tools:

      They have a phone locater and wipe feature.

      PC Home scanner. This scans hidden backdoors to your PC.

  10. Fingerprint Login – This is a controversial topic, I leave this up to you.  I use fingerprint login personally, the convenience is outweighs my risk, but I also practice many other things to minimize the risk.

And for those who think they have their cybersecurity under control, happy reading:


Gartner Report :

Teams Versus Groups

Increasing the speed of Office 365 search crawl

With SharePoint on premise there’s plenty of search options to increase the frequency of the search crawl, to the search results show up quicker.

– Increase the incremental search periods

– Add on an app server to take on the additional search horse power

– Target sites or site collections that require quicker search crawls

The list can go on….


But with Office 365, this ability isn’t there..

Chris O’Brien has a good explanation on this: waiting-for-search-crawl-in-office-365 with some work arounds, but queries can break.


One approach I discovered was to set the server resource quota to 10,000. By default it’s 300. This setting can be found in the SharePoint Admin Center.



When I did this I was getting search results in 5-10 mins after a document was uploaded.











So your Office Web Apps isn’t working….Suddenly stopped working

This happened to me the other day.

So how to troubleshoot… Look in the ULS logs.

To configure office web apps you’ll need:

-Office Web Apps Farm Internal URL:
-Office Web Apps Farm External URL

For me it turned out to be the certificate.

I found errors in Office Web Apps ULS logs, so I had also run Get-OfficeWebAppsFarm command which showed me the same error that the computer is not part of an Office Web Apps Server Farm. So I tried creating new farm using New-OfficeWebAppsFarm comment yesterday where I used “*” as certificate name in this command, but I got error that certificate was not found. Then today I used the friendly name of certificate and it worked.

New-OfficeWebAppsFarm -InternalUrl “” -ExternalUrl “” -CertificateName ” domainnameDigiCert Wildcard” -EditingEnabled

This problem usually happens due to windows updates getting installed on Office web apps server.

10 things a SharePoint Architect should know before they go contracting

This was a presentation that I did at SharePoint Saturday Boston 2016

SharePoint – How to go contracting from Peter Ward


Microsoft SharePoint 2013 Disaster Recovery Guide

The name of the game in of this SharePoint book is SharePoint Disaster Recovery (DR), which also falls into the category of business continuity or high availability. The depth and breadth of the SharePoint DR can be quite daunting because often the reader is new to SharePoint and does not quite know how the pieces of the puzzle all fit together and is facing the challenge of determining how to implement a DR within their organization.

This book is structured to fill in the SharePoint knowledge gaps of how to apply a SharePoint DR approach that is documented, easy to understand and is executable.

By applying knowledge from each chapter, this book will demystify the DR process and you will learn how to identify risk and appropriate DR approaches, and out of the box SharePoint tools for your DR plans.

2012: A Year of Microsoft Milestones

Changing the URL in a Links list: How To


You’ve just copied a link list template to another site collection, or performed a 2007 to 2010 migration and have realized that the all the urls in the list point to an old site and a mega cut and paste is required

So you think the data sheet can do the trick…. No

And MS Access can help….. Well no

I was surprised at this as well.

This post explains how to dump the list into Excel and run a macro to change the URL and then paste the new links into the list. This is easier than you think by using Excel a tool that you already have.

I’m not an Excel expert and there could be more elegant ways of doing this in Excel

Much of what is explained is in this Excel file: Example file


Dump the list into Excel.

  1. Click on the Export to Excel from the Ribbon in Excel.


  1. Create a macro in Excel.

See short video. To see how to create a macro. This could be anything. What is key is to create a macro that you can edit. See figure below:




  1. Edit the macro. Click the edit button on the dialog.

And paste in the following, macro code.

Sub ReplaceText()

‘ ReplaceText Macro

‘ Keyboard Shortcut: Ctrl+r


Call ReplaceHyperlinkURL(“”, “com”)

End Sub

The code above when run will replace the “” part of a URL with “com”. This could be anything really.

  1. Run the macro from the dialog box


All the cells will be searched and if there’s a match, it will replace the text.

Now that the URL’s have been changed.


  1. Copy and paste the URL’s in Excel back into SharePoint, using the datasheet view.

You just need to paste the URL column.

Alternate Access Mapping- explained

From technet

Alternate Access Mappings (AAM) is a feature of SharePoint that allows a website to function correctly under different URL scenarios, including, reverse proxies and load balancing. In this video, Hilton Giesenow, host of SharePoint podcasts, demonstrates how to configure and make use of the this feature under different scenarios, including extending an existing site collection

Useful technet resources

Services architecture planning for SharePoint Server 2010

Add or remove a service application connection to a Web application (SharePoint Server 2010)

 Logical architecture components for SharePoint Server 2010

Services architecture planning for SharePoint Server 2010

Add or remove a service application connection to a Web application (SharePoint Server 2010)

xtranet topologies for SharePoint 2010 Products: Model for SharePoint Server 2010

Hardware and software requirements for SharePoint Server 2010

Plan for backup and recovery in SharePoint Server 2010 (