Important changes to note with Office 365 and SMTP relays


Recently, we ran into a problem whereby a customer’s Windows 2003 R2 box that was being used as an SMTP relay to Office 365 stopped working. Parsing the IIS logs didn’t tell us much, other than the server was trying to reach 365, and the connection was almost immediately dropped on the remote side. During the testing phase, we set up an identical relay setup here internally with a Server 2012 box that worked without a hitch.

Several phone calls with Microsoft later, we learned that the servers that the DNS server points at have changed - they only support 256-bit TLS encryption now. The TLS encryption support in IIS in Server 2003 only supports a maximum of 128-bit. Server 2008 and 2012 support 256-, but 2003 does not.

I made a note in my article on Setting up an SMTP Relay to Work with Office 365, I stated that you can use as a workaround if you get unexplainable connection drops on the outbound side. Now we have the official word from Microsoft! What I don’t know is how long this workaround will last, but for the time being, this is their official stance on getting Server 2003 SMTP relays to work: set the outbound server to

Spring Clean Your IT. Part 1


These days, most companies have the right idea when it comes to the life expectancy of their product and the cost of replacement parts versus the cost of a full product replacement.  BIC® sells disposable lighters because it is more cost effective to buy another one rather than buying more fluids, flints, etc.  This is starting to become the case with most computer manufacturers and their products as well.

When the question comes up “How many years should I expect to get out of this computer?” the general consensus fluctuates depending on who you talk to.  With my many years of experience in pc repair and in sales, there is a number that myself and the engineers here at Everon are comfortable sharing.

On a normal basis, the normal lifespan of a computer, whether it be a laptop or desktop, is 3-5 years with normal usage.  If you are using a laptop, this number might be lower only because there is a higher risk of human error (dropping, spilling, etc).  In most instances, the first piece of hardware that will go is the power supply.  To replace the power supply, this is a fairly simple repair that is generally covered under the manufacturer’s warranty or in the extended warranty if one was purchased.  From there, electrical components soon go south.  Depending on usage, stress, location, temperature, and environmental factors, these will also determine the lifespan of your computer.

With proper care, maintenance, and upgrading, the possibility of getting more years out of your computer increases.  7 years down the road, your computer maybe be still running like new or slower than you may remember it, but without hardware upgrades, the speed is the least of your concerns.  With the world of technology changing ever so much, it is hard to keep up, but after the computer hits the 3-5 year mark, hardware versus software compatibility is where we run into the problem.  The latest tax software that you need for your company or the newest version of the document processing suite that isused daily, soon become impossible to purchase because your equipment is too out dated to meet the system requirements.

The statements made above go right along with the lifespan of a Windows server. Environmental conditions play a big part in the well-being of your server as well as hardware compatibility.  In my mind, the life span of a server should not be measured in how long it remains able to perform the tasks given to it, which might be a long time if the task I something that never changes like DNS server.  Whereas, I feel the lifespan should be measured by the amount of time that the hardware is supportable. As a company, one would have to balance out the cost of continually replacing the parts to keep it doing what you need it to do until you are able to go out and purchase one that will give you another 3-5 years without worrying about upgrading.

With all this in mind, up-to-date equipment goes hand-in-hand with quality employees.  Both are a necessity in the success of your business.  There will be following blog posts about when is the right time to upgrade, the impact not upgrading will have on your company, what you will gain out of keeping current, and why it is important to have a trusted IT firm to keep on top of this for you versus trying to do all this on your own.

If you have PCs or laptops that you need to replace.  Now is the time to take advantage of an offer from Everon to save $100 per machine on the setup.  By trusting and IT firm to setup the PC, you can be sure the right software and applications are installed and as well as your email and user settings configured for you.  This was you can be sure it’s going to work properly and can get back to running your business.  To register for this offer and see more details, go to :

Why Warranties Matter


In the 20+ years I’ve been in IT, it never ceases to amaze me how good manufacturers are at predicting the life span of their computers. Manufacturers must hire the same actuary mathematicians as insurance companies. After all, manufacturers are not in business to fix failed equipment (i.e. pay out claims). They are in the business of selling you new stuff.

The warranty you get on that shiny new computer, laptop or server is your insurance policy with the manufacturer.

They set their warranty policies according to how long they statistically believe their equipment will last. Hence when you have a server with a 3 year warranty and it’s about to expire, you should either extend the warranty (if that’s possible) or start planning to replace it.

The value of the machine to your organization should determine what you do when you get to the end of the warranty period.

If the machine is the server your entire company depends upon then the last thing an accounting firm needs it to do is give up the ghost on April 13th. Or if you’re an online retailer, then you certainly want your database server getting back to work on Black Friday.

Conversely, if the machine going out of warranty is one of half a dozen on the shop floor, then maybe you can afford to push your luck, knowing that if one dies, another can be used.

Here’s a simple guide on how often you should look to replace your computing equipment:

  • Laptop - Every 2-3 years. Laptops take a beating. All that moving around shortens their lifespan compared to desktops. If you have a laptop that stays put most of the time then you can expect it to last longer.
  • Desktop - Every 3-4 years. The need to replace desktops this often is minimal. Desktops can be handed “down” to employees performing less vital functions over time and therefore if they fail, the impact to the business reduces as time goes by.
  • Server - Every 3-5 years depending on whether the manufacturer offers to extend the warranty. Even if you can get one covered for 6 years, once you pass the five year mark, start planning on replacing the machine or demoting it to a less important role.

-Jim De Vico

General Manager, Los Angeles
Everon Technology Services

What is Virtualization?


by Stephanie Spino |

In the early 90’s, virtualization emerged as a term known only to the most advanced tech professionals. Virtualization has been gaining popularity, recently becoming an everyday buzzword to even the “not-so-tech-savvy” - namely you and me. I must admit I have heard the term on more than one occasion and was unclear of its meaning until conducting research for this article. Although this piece will only scratch the surface on this complex subject, it’s a good introduction to a topic that will most likely be resurfacing in your future conversations.

Virtualization in lay terms

Wikipedia defines virtualization as the abstraction of computer resources. In basic terms, it creates a virtual version of a device or resource. Virtualization makes it feasible for hardware to be converted into software; when managed properly, it can introduce more efficient ways for users to manage technology.

Are there different types?

Three common categories of virtualization are: Network, Server, and Storage. All of these types can offer ways to improve upon the functionalities of your technology. From increasing the amount of available data space, to expanding memory and enhancing backups, the various types of virtualization have much to offer those who sensibly implement it into their businesses operation.

An example of virtualization that most of us can relate to: Multiple user profiles on a single operating system (when you log into a computer with your user name, the unit loads all of your personal settings while “hiding” the settings of its other users.) On a higher technological level, virtualization allows multiple operating systems to run on a single machine (just as Mac’s do.)

What are businesses doing with it?

I would like to pinpoint a few reasons that certain businesses have turned to virtualization: Disaster recovery – In the event that one system goes down, the back up will be ready to start running applications virtually; Desktop virtualization – Enables you to run two operations systems on one unit; and Application virtualization – Allows you to effectively minimize, isolate, or even eliminate conflicts related to your operating system.

A number of businesses that are already using virtualization to some capacity have expressed certain benefits. For starters, virtual memory is complex, allowing computer software access to more memory than is actually physically installed. Virtualization makes it possible for users to “fool” their operating systems into believing that a group of servers is a single pool of computing resources. Most businesses implement virtualization with hopes of achieving new ways of managing/storing certain data, etc. For these benefits and others, we suspect more businesses will begin turning to virtualization in the future.

Where do I go from here?

As businesses continue exploring the possibilities and various applications of virtualization, it’s very likely that new ways of increasing productivity and efficiency levels in the workplace will continue surfacing. Only time will tell what significant changes virtualization may hold for businesses. If you have any questions concerning this article, please contact [email protected].