Need to Know podcast–Episode 273

Listen along as I speak with IT business owner David Nicholls from Solve Business Services on his journey to becoming a ‘modern’ cloud IT Professional. David shares the successful processes and approaches he has taken to ‘transform’ his business to be providing cloud support services.

Also, plenty of news and updates from the Microsoft Cloud, including the announcement date for Windows 11. so tune in to stay up to date.

This episode was recorded using Microsoft Teams and produced with Camtasia 2020.

Brought to you by

Take a listen and let us know what you think –

You can listen directly to this episode at:

Episode 273 – David Nicholls (

Subscribe via iTunes at:

The podcast is also available on Stitcher at:

Don’t forget to give the show a rating as well as send us any feedback or suggestions you may have for the show.


David Nicholls – Web, Linkedin

Windows 11 available on October 5

Windows 11 preview is now available on Azure Virtual Desktop

Introducing Microsoft Defender for Endpoint Plan 1

Get free DMARC visibility with Valimail Authenticate and Microsoft Office 365

Announcing Apple M1 native support for Microsoft Defender for Endpoint

Simplifying the Quarantine Experience

Securing your Windows 365 Cloud PCs

Troubleshoot Windows 365 Business Cloud PC setup issues

Reflecting on crossing the 3,000 posts mark


I thought I’d take a moment and reflect on the fact that this blog, in its current incarnation, has just crossed a milestone of 3,000 posts.

First and foremost I’d like to thank those who do subscribe and follow this blog on a regular basis. It is always very satisfying to know that others see value in the work that you provide.

That said, I will say that the major reason I invest time writing this blog is for myself. For me it serves two major purposes. Firstly, it is a way for me to document things that I have done and reinforce my learning. Secondly, it is a communications practice. I consider that to be a:

Core Professional Skill

Another side benefit I believe of investing time in writing a blog is that it becomes a:

Living resume

That you can point to as your commitment to your profession.

Blogging for business

I have always admired the consistency of content that Seth Godin creates on his blog and I really like this recommendation he makes about blogging:

Seth Godin and Tom Peters on blogging

and I totally agree with the analysis of the value of blogging professionally and personally.

Although the earliest post here is from July 2007, in truth, this blog has been going for longer. If my memory serves me correctly, I started it back in the 2005 timeframe on a dedicated server box using dedicated software that published my musing to an internal web server that I made available to the world. Back then the whole blogging process was very complex to manage and maintain but I kept at it.

A little while down the track I shift the blog to an internal SharePoint server, which I again published to the world. After a while that too became hard to maintain and began to fill up with blog spam comments. Who’d though eh? At that point I shift the platform to Google Blogger where it remained for many years. That was until about 2 years ago when Google changed their API for Blogger and I could no longer post images on my blogs using Open Live Writer. I therefore migrated the blog to its current home here on WordPress and have been very happy with the platform.

Over the years I have experimented with monetising my content using ads but found that it largely distracted from the content I was creating. It also made the site look and feel ‘cheap’ to me. Thus, I no longer publish ads to the blog, although with more than 3,000 posts there might be some handy income available. The only ‘monetization’ I do have on my blog are crypto tip jars:



and to my knowledge, I’ve never received a payment. That isn’t an issue because, as I said, I write this blog mainly for myself, however the tip jars are there as an experiment to see whether they in fact will get used. As yet, they haven’t, but they’ll stay there in the hope that one day they might because I like the concept of being able to quickly and easily ‘tip’ people for the content they create on the web via micropayments. Trying to monetise blog content is far to hard using traditional means, so that is why the crypto tip jars exist. However, I fully appreciate that until cryptocurrency becomes more wide spread that I’ll probably never see anything. That is fine, because everything you see here is an on going ‘experiment’.

I’ve always tried to be consistent with my blog and create content regularly. Of course, that has varied over time as work and life gets in the way. Sometime too, I will readily admit, that blogging can be a chore. Luckily, those situation haven’t lasted long and I feel I’ve been disciplined to continue to create content regularly, and as I said earlier, be able to create a growing body of work that demonstrates a commitment to my profession.

Apart from consistency, another important aspect of blogging is personality. I am not a fan of blogs that ‘re-purpose’ content to re-brand and claim as their own. As Seth’s video illustrates, you don’t have to be ‘good’ at it, you just keep doing it and you’ll get better at it. However, as with most things on the Internet, too many see it as a ‘short cut’ to fame fortune and getting rich quick. To me, your blog needs to come from you. It should be things that you learned, observed and desire to share with others. I cannot tell you the number of times I have read other blogs that have helped me trying to solve some curly challenge. If what I have worked out can help another, that is the way that I pay it forward. To me, that was the promise of the Internet that has unfortunately largely been lost in its drive to commercialism. Nostalgic? Maybe. Luckily, blogging is still going strong and one mechanism that anyone can use to express themselves to a world wide audience.

I have shared many of my thoughts and opinions on business and technology via this blog. The process of actually writing these makes you stop and think about them It makes you craft better arguments, given the audience could be anyone, anywhere. It is also fun to look back at such post, through the lens time and reflect on how they actually turned out as well whether the situation today is different. History can teach us many things, and having your own can be humbling as well as it can be uplifting.

I’ll finish off where I started, thanking those who make the time to read what I write here. I’m always keen to hear from those who do so and I’d encourage you to reach out and if nothing else, just say hi. Knowing that others are finding value from what you create always helps when sometimes you wonder why you bother doing what you do.

The plan is continue doing what I do here. The more I learn, the more I write and as you can see, over the past 3,000 posts, I have learned a lot thanks largely to the technology profession I am engage in. However, no matter who you are or what you do, I encourage you to start a blog and stick with it. I’m confident, that like me, if you stick with it, you too will see benefits like I have.

Need to Know podcast–Episode 272

In this episode MVP Kirsty McGrath shares her best practices and tips and tricks around delivering successful online learning. Note, we did have some technical issues with this episode, so it might sound a little different from what it normally does but don’t let that stop you from listening along to all the great material. I also give a quick update at head of the show, for everything happening with the Microsoft Cloud.

This episode was recorded using Microsoft Teams and produced with Camtasia 2020.

Brought to you by

ake a listen and let us know what you think –

You can listen directly to this episode at:

Subscribe via iTunes at:

The podcast is also available on Stitcher at:

Don’t forget to give the show a rating as well as send us any feedback or suggestions you may have for the show.


Kirsty McGrath – MVP, Twitter, Linkedin, Web, Sydney UG, Melbourne UG, Instagram

New pricing for Microsoft 365

Securing your Windows 365 Cloud PCs

Get started with Universal Print and Windows 365 Cloud PC

Welcome to the brand new Windows 365 Community!

Get Ready to Do More with Teams Meeting Recordings in Microsoft 365!

Microsoft Security Technical Content Library

Super Duper Secure Mode

Whitepaper-Transitioning-Asia-to-a-New-Normal-of-Work.pdf (

Adapting workplace learning in the time of coronavirus (

Richard E. Mayer – Wikipedia

Why Webinar Attendees Leave Early – a 1080 Group, LLC survey brief (

Hybrid Learning Transition Approaches | Microsoft Education

Live Online Learning Facilitator – The LPI

CIAOPS Secwerks 1 is now totally virtual

In the face of continued COVID uncertainty locally I have decided to move the whole Secwerks 1 event online. The event will now be conducted fully using Microsoft Teams. Registrations are still open for the event starting on August the 5th, but now spread over 4 half day sessions to lower fatigue levels. You can register now and find a link to more details at:

The event times will be during Thursday and Friday afternoons here in east coast Australia (GMT+10) and may not suit other locations. However, every business that registers will receive a copy of the recordings as well as the training materials. Registration is also now per business not per individual.

The Secwerks event is focused on giving you actionable information around Microsoft 365 as well as best practices, automations and understandings about how to improve the security of these environments. If you manage an Office 365 or Microsoft 365 environment, this, now, virtual event is for you.

I am working hard to add some unique sessions to the agenda and will be confirming those soon. Thanks to those who have already registered for being so accommodating in the face of this unexpected pivot but I look forward to seeing you at the event from the 5th of August 2021.

Cybercrime reporting poll


I’ve created an anonymous public poll asking the question:

Are you reporting cybercrime incidents, like ransomware, to government or police authorities?

which is here:

as the results rolling you can see the summary here:

I’m interested to see what people are doing when it comes to reporting incidents to authorities?

Register your interest for a hands on, deep dive Microsoft 365 Security event


If you are interested in attending a hands on in person 2 day deep dive event into Microsoft Security including:

– Exchange Online

– Windows 10 hardening

– Effective incident monitoring

– Identity security

– Data protection

and more then I encourage you to register your interest now for CIAOPS Secwerks 1 in Melbourne CBD over 2 days, Thursday the 5th and Friday the 6th of August 2021. I expect demand to be extremely high for this event and I will have more to share when I have confirmed all the details. However, feel free to reach out to me if you want more information. Please register your interest here to be kept up to date with the event:

The theme of this event will be to help you understand all the technologies that the Microsoft Cloud provides, how to configure them appropriately and get your Microsoft Secure Secure above 80%. The material covered will be technical and cover all the basics but then to extend beyond Level 400. The course is specifically designed for those who need to provide security for environments connected to Microsoft 365.

I hope to see you there.

What the online world can learn from recent on prem Exchange Server challenges

It has been a pretty challenging few days for those that still manage and maintain on premises Exchange servers thanks to:

HAFNIUM targeting Exchange Servers with 0-day exploits

Throughout which I’ve seen a lot of smug cloud administrators wondering why people still bother with on premises. I think a better use of their energies would be to look at the current situation and learn from it rather than allocating it to self righteousness.

The cloud is a shared responsibility model. This means that both Microsoft and end user now responsible for the security of cloud infrastructure. Luckily, these recent Exchange issues have largely fallen to Microsoft when it comes to the cloud. Where there is room to learn for the rest of us, is in the response to the situation from those battling to contain it.

From everything I have seen online in regards to the HAFNIUM issue, what I find most interesting is the lack of a response plan. Technically, administrators can follow directions, run scripts, patch systems pretty well. However, most seem totally unprepared for this kind of situation, especially at scale. That’s what worries me the most. Why? Because challenges in the cloud can easily be of the same scale and impact.

There have been plenty of examples when services like Azure AD or Exchange Online have been unavailable, but when they have, I’ve seen the same level of, dare I say, panic. Because systems work 99.99% or more of the time ‘on average’, a large amount of complacency begins to creep into the system, especially those charged with maintaining these systems. Thoughts of disaster recovery and outage impact get put on the back burner and never really addressed because there are always ‘higher’ priorities.

What worries me is the dependency we have built into our modern lives, business and economy, to the point where most cannot function if their phones run out of charge. What worries me when I look at the response I see to broad security challenges in IT is simply the lack of a credible contingency plan. A check list of what to do, if you like. Of course, you can’t have a plan for every contingency but some semblance of a plan is better than no plan at all surely?

In the end it comes down to risk analysis. When the sun is shining, risk analysis is the furthest thing from people minds. This however, is exactly the time that it should be a priority because developing a strategy in midst of a crisis does not generally lead to the best outcome. You want to have a checklist of what to do, well in advance of whenever you may need it.

Even though the systems I work with are cloud based are immune from the HAFNIUM (it appears at least), that doesn’t stop me learning from how the unfortunate are dealing with it. I’m watching, learning and preparing, because as the saying goes, “When did Noah build the Ark?”

Before it rained.

Before it rained.

My podcasts – 2021


You can find the previous year’s selection here:

My podcasts 2020

I do spend a lot of time listening to podcasts, generally in between things, like travelling. However, there is a limit to how many you can consume in a week and that’s why I need to be very discerning about what I listen to.


These podcasts are ones that I generally won’t miss an episode of.

Windows Weekly

The latest Microsoft news with some fun and entertainment along the way. Paul Thurrott’s musing make this podcast alone something worth listening to.

The Tim Ferriss Show

Some really great advice, business insights and strategy. Also lots of life lessons that I have found work really well for me. A weekly must listen for me.

Hardcore History

These tend to be quite long, like reading a book, but a very good and very interesting. Luckily, they are not that frequent, so it can make a nice change from all the tech stuff

The Intrazone

All the latest news and information about SharePoint, OneDrive for Business, Teams and more directly from Microsoft.

Sync Up

A podcast focused on the Microsoft files experience around OneDrive from Microsoft.

MJF Chat

Mary Joe Foley interviewing someone in the technology field. What I really like about these are they are short and to the point. Makes it much easier to listen to on a regular basis.

Darknet Diaries

Really well produced cybersecurity focused podcast. Has a nice variety of topics and the content is good and well researched. If you enjoy the security side of IT you’ll love these episodes.

Currently evaluating

These podcasts I listen to frequently, but maybe not every episode. Some of these may eventually get cut from the roster. Anything here has to provide real business value for it to remain long term.

Security Unlocked

Still findings its feet but with the growing need focus on security I think this will provide some valuable information from Microsoft.

Windows Insider podcast

Always interesting to hear what’s the latest and greatest with Windows from Microsoft.

Microsoft Cloud Show

Tends to be somewhat developer focused but there is handy information here, once you get past some of the other stuff, although I must admit this is becoming less and less the case. In short, podcast is starting to become a little off topic and may need to make room for something else.


A podcast focused on cybersecurity. Fairly broad and somewhat more laid back and less technical (from what I’ve listened to so far) when it comes to content. Will need to listen to more episodes before deciding if this podcast makes the cut.


A podcast focused on digital transformation, typically in the enterprise and government space. Not too long which is good.

If I have time

There are simply not enough hours in a day to get through everything. These are great podcasts but I simply don’t have the time to listen to them regularly unfortunately.

Jocko Podcast

Probably too hard core for most. For me it is a great mix of military history and business mindset training. If you have a ‘fanatical’ tendency then give this one a listen.

The Kevin Rose Show

A bit like the Tim Ferriss podcast. Plenty of interesting and different stuff that always makes you think. Somewhat irregular episodes but I am still enjoying what I’m hearing.

Business wars

Interesting to get the story behind major business rivalries. More a ‘stage production’ than a podcast. Very enjoyable if you have the time.

Behind the Tech

Hosted by Microsoft’s Chief Technology Officer, Kevin Scott, it has lots of interesting guests and topics.

Once off podcasts

Think of these more of a book you’d read or a TV show you’d watch.

13 minutes to the moon

If you love space, you’ll love this ‘podumentary’ on the moon land. The production quality is simply first class, which you would expect from the BBC. Make sure you listen to both seasons so far!

The Bomb

Another amazing BBC production focused on the Atom bombs. If you are a history buff, I’ll bet you’ll love this one as well.

I churn through these mostly at 2x speed to allow me to get through as much content as possible. I do have a few other podcasts on my current podcasting app. I am always on the lookout for good podcasts business, technology, history, whatever. So if you can recommend something you like, I’m all ears.

Finally, of course, there is my own podcasting effort:

Need to Know podcast

which covers the Microsoft Cloud (typically Microsoft 365 and Azure) as well as business topics. I encourage you to have a listen and me know what you think. 2021 will be the eleventh year that it has been available.

Hopefully, there is something of interest to you in what I listen to. Feel free to let me know as well as any recommendations you may have, as I said, I’m all ears!