Building my blog – a newbies guide to the galaxy

This is not a guide, it is merely a collection of my blog-ramblings, a collection of things I found to be useful while building this website from the ground up, a collection of to-do’s and a list of things I want to accomplish in my quest building this blog and over time become a blogger.

I have always been a serious person, with a well proven procrastination issue and often too preoccupied with other things and I had a rather halfhearted go to get a blog going. I have been talking about ‘my blog’ for years, I had several domain names, several ideas and pretty much all of them never got airborne. Thinking about it, I always been more of techie than a writer and found I was spending a lot of time building, tuning and customizing various sites, and the whole thing kind of stranded halfway through, becoming too complicated as ambitions was outrunning skills.

I realized I could put some effort into having a blog and at the same time fulfill some goals on my bucket list.

I sat out to define the purpose of building a blog and a plan was brewing. Previously I did not spend much time on thinking about the purpose, or the reason if you like, and I was formulating the purpose of having a blog. Furthermore, I realized by doing so the puzzle somehow started to show and the goals became more measurable. Having a purpose gives me opportunity to adjust as I learned new areas and as new ideas develops. At the same time, it gives me the opportunity to come back and adjust and remind me self about my goals.

Why

  1. Ensure I stay curious and keep learning new skills
  2. Use for references as I must spare my keystrokes and time
  3. Supporting my speaking career and expose me to future speaking opportunities

What

  1. Build and learn to run a WordPress blog in Microsoft Azure and go as far for as little cost as possible
  2. Learn to run and optimize and secure a WordPress blog using free Cloudflare service
  3. Learn the minimum requirements to run a WordPress blog, define the ‘must have’ plugins and explorer the possibilities

How

  1. Add content regularly
  2. Share knowledge about the topics I care about and work with daily.
  3. Writing around 1,000 words per post – if post require more than 1.000 words, I will consider writing multiple posts

Getting started

Part of my plan was to ensure basic knowledge to get started, baselining my ambitions with skills, and ensure I stay focused. So I started out doing hours of research, after all basis knowledge should be expected. I am privileged to have access to Pluralsight. I highly recommend their courses, and I started out to watch the following courses;

And then, days of internet searches, quite a bit of trial and error and more research – for a start I can recommend these resources;

Get going

While preliminary configuration of a WordPress site is simple, I quickly found myself searching all over the internet for configurations options. I somehow needed a game plan.

WordPress core configuration

  • General Settings.
  • Reading Settings.
  • Profile Settings – Your user settings.
  • Permalink Settings.
  • Handling Site Health challenges.
  • Modifying number of WordPress revisions.
  • Modifying author URL to hide e-mail address – do not create usernames based on e-mail address, I will tell you why!
  • Managing and modifying profile picture on Gravatar.

WordPress Pages

Reference: https://wordpress.org/support/article/pages/

WordPress Posts

Reference: https://wordpress.org/support/article/writing-posts/

WordPress Shortcode Blocks

Reference: https://wordpress.org/support/article/shortcode-block/

WordPress Plugins

Reference: https://wordpress.org/support/article/plugins/

WordPress Properties

I need to fully understand WordPress post properties

WordPress Themes

I have spent way to much time, money and resources looking for a WordPress theme. Way to many themes requires myriads of plugins, and way to many require to upgrade to *pro* versions and still the effort to make the theme look just close to the samples is rather complicated. So, for now I have parked the task and will explorer to build my own theme – stay tuned.

Reference: https://wordpress.org/support/article/using-themes/

WordPress Search page

Reference: https://wordpress.org/support/article/creating-a-search-page/

WordPress security

Do I need some security software, to monitor and validate posts, comments, uploads etc.?

WordPress backup

Do I need some backup solution, to backup configurations, pages, posts, comments, uploads etc.?

WordPress linking

Reference: https://wordpress.org/support/article/using-permalinks/ | https://codex.wordpress.org/Linking_Posts_Pages_and_Categories

WordPress Featured Image size and post thumbnail

Reference: https://blog.snappa.com/wordpress-featured-image-size/

Make your web pages fast on all devices

Reference: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

Qualys SSL Labs

Get a top score on Qualys SSL Labs SSL Server Test. The service performs a deep analysis of the configuration of your web server.

Security Headers

Get a top score on https://securityheaders.io/. The HTTP response headers that this site analyses provide huge levels of protection and it is important that sites deploy them. The service provides an easy mechanism to validate them, and further information on how to deploy missing headers.

Explorer the possibilities, functionality and cost using Report URI – looks like they has the best, purpose built platform for receiving and monitoring CSP reports.

Reference: https://content-security-policy.com/

Configure Office 365 as SMTP gateway

Reference: https://peritumstudios.com/wordpress/using-office365-to-send-emails-in-wordpress-via-smtp/ |
https://www.pixelfire.com.au/configure-o365-smtp-wordpress-contactform7/

Configure Twitter Cards

Reference: https://developer.twitter.com/en/docs/twitter-for-websites/cards/overview/abouts-cards |
https://business.twitter.com/en/blog/twitter-cards-101.html

Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award 2019-2020

July 1., is the day of the year I am continuously refreshing my inbox waiting for *that* e- mail. This year I received two e-mails! I received the great news; I am re-awarded the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) title for the 4th time on a row and I am accepted into the Windows Insider MVP program for the first time!

I am humble, honored, and extremely proud to be receiving these recognitions. What a year it has been, I had the pleasure to speak at multiple Microsoft Tech Summits, I was assigned duties at lasts years Microsoft Ignite, I got more involved in the Windows Insider community and really feels the impact becoming a Microsoft MVP has to me and my career – add to this, the huge insight, the information, and the access – it has been incredible and inspiring.

This year, I am one out of just 57 Microsoft MVP’ in the category Windows and Devices for IT and still the only one in Denmark. Being part of this amazing program makes me proud and I am honored my contributions are recognized and rewarded with a Microsoft MVP Award.

Being an Microsoft MVP is only made possible by the support from my family, my colleagues, the community around Everything Windows User Group, Denmark (EWUG.dk), the people involved and their huge support.

Thank you to my employer, without the support and their trust in me, getting re-award would not have been possible!

What it takes to be an MVP

Microsoft MVP’s are technology experts who passionately share their knowledge with the community. They are always on the “bleeding edge” and have an unstoppable urge to get their hands on new, exciting technologies. They have very deep knowledge of Microsoft products and services, while also being able to bring together diverse platforms, products, and solutions, to solve real world problems. MVPs make up a global community of over 4,000 technical experts and community leaders across 90 countries and are driven by their passion, community spirit, and quest for knowledge.

Above all and in addition to their amazing technical abilities, MVPs are always willing to help others – that is what sets them apart.

If you want to know more about the Microsoft MVP Program, check out the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional website.

What it takes to be a Windows Insider MVP

Windows Insiders are experts in their fields and leaders in our community with a passion for using Windows to bring their ideas to life. They are always on the “bleeding edge” and have an unstoppable urge to get their hands on new, exciting technologies – and most importantly they are a huge part of the Windows Insider Program, they offer their support, their knowledge and their feedback.

Are you flighting yet? Get started today by signing up for the Windows Insider Program!

If you want to know more about the Windows Insider MVP program, check out the Windows Insider Most Valuable Professional blog post.

–Jesper

Microsoft Tech Summit 2018, Copenhagen

I would like to say thank you, to everybody who attended the Microsoft Tech Summit 2018, Copenhagen. It was an awesome setup and a great event with a lot of great sessions.

It is always a pleasure and an honor to get the opportunity to speak at a Microsoft event. So, thank you for attending and for making speaking at the event a great experience!

The session and slide deck were originally presented at Microsoft Ignite 2018. As promised during the session, please find notes and links below.

Microsoft Tech Summit 2018, Copenhagen, November 13th, 2018
Session name: Shifting to a Modern Desktop is easier than you might think
Session room: Keynote room, C3
Session link: Shifting to a Modern Desktop is easier than you might think

Slide link: Shifting to a Modern Desktop is easier than you might think

–Jesper

Why I abandoned Facebook

I have not put any updates on Facebook for more than three months, and these days I often get text messages complaining I am not replying on some “Messenger thing”.

Reason: I have abandoned Facebook!

Basically, I reached my bullshit limit and realized Facebook did not give me anything useful and all I was doing was wasting my time – Do not get me wrong, I really like stuff from e.g. How It’s Made, but I found I was watching some dude casting a miniature knife from an old tractor, fascinating but not exactly energizing.

Then, the news about Cambridge Analytica story broke, the whole Trump’s 2016 campaign, Brexit and what have we. On top of that, rumors started that Facebook was silently monitoring phone activities on Android phones gaining access to private data through the social network app and then the Russians got a hold of it…

I had been thinking about leaving Facebook for some time, but despite it is hard to really know what is up and down, I made the decision to abandon Facebook. When it finally came out that Russians had been using Facebook to manipulate people, I was happy I got out’ish and I changed my Facebook habit.

To all my friends on Facebook, you should not, and I repeat, you should not expect to get any respond from me via Facebook

In an academic study on Facebook from August 2013, researchers claimed that the more people used Facebook in their test group, the more unsatisfied they felt with their lives – regardless of how many friends they had amassed. Please accept my apology for acting like and hypocrite, but despite near-constant data misuse scandals emerging from Facebook, the hashtag #DeleteFacebook appeared everywhere, there’s little evidence people are choosing to switch off their accounts entirely and I am one of them.

Facebook have some useful stuff, not that I particularly like seeing pictures of people on vacation, shared recipes, or just random thoughts on daily life. It is a great way to keep in touch with old friends and family across the globe. Facebook must do much better and ensure to secure user data from misuse by individuals and/or corporations – then, and only then, I might consider start using Facebook again.

If you are not paying for it, you are not the customer. You are the product being sold.

However, there seems to be a social cost for being out of the Facebook loop, and opting out of the “phone book of our age”. I know I miss out on casual, but sometime important invitations and lots of fake news. More important, by opting out of Facebook I misses status from friends, holiday photos, baby photos, and the casual status update, it is not essential, but it keeps a trickle of communication open between people I might otherwise not hear from.

Conclusion

By sharing you personally stuff on platforms as Facebook, you must accept that data can be reused, whatever you like it or not, however I want my communications to belong to me. I want more control with “my data” and I am not seeing this happening on Facebook, confirmed by the waste number of Facebook misuse data stories that keep surfacing.

For this reason, I have abandoned Facebook, and has become the occasional user sharing a minimum – if you se me online, feel free to reach out, but please do not expect me to respond.

Update Stumbled across this tweet today: According to new research quitting Facebook makes people happier and less informed about politics, but less partisan, too!

–Jesper

Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award 2018-2019

During the past years, July 1. has become a rather important day for me – July 1. this year was nothing less, I was anxiously waiting for that e-mail. Late in the afternoon, I received the great news, I am re-awarded the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) title. This is Microsoft’s award for community leadership within a technology discipline, which for me is Windows and Device for IT.

I am humble, honored, and extremely proud to be receiving this recognition. I begin to fully understand what impact become a Microsoft MVP has to me and my career – add to this, the insight, the information, and the access – it has been incredible and exiting.

I am one out of just 87 Microsoft MVP’s in the category Windows and Devices for IT – and I am still the only Windows and Devices for IT MVP in this little spot up north, named Denmark.

Being part of this amazing program makes me proud and I am grateful my contributions are recognized and rewarded with a Microsoft MVP Award third year in a row.

Being an Microsoft MVP is only made possible by the support from my family, my colleagues , the constant encouragement by my friend and colleague Per Larsen, the community around Everything Windows User Group, Denmark (EWUG.dk), the people involved and their huge support.

Thank you to my employer, without the support and their trust in me, getting re-award would not have been possible!

What it takes to be an MVP

Microsoft MVP’s are technology experts who passionately share their knowledge with the community. They are always on the “bleeding edge” and have an unstoppable urge to get their hands on new, exciting technologies. They have very deep knowledge of Microsoft products and services, while also being able to bring together diverse platforms, products, and solutions, to solve real world problems. MVPs make up a global community of over 4,000 technical experts and community leaders across 90 countries and are driven by their passion, community spirit, and quest for knowledge. Above all and in addition to their amazing technical abilities, MVPs are always willing to help others – that is what sets them apart.

If you want to know more about the Microsoft MVP Program, check out the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional website.

–Jesper

Windows Defender Antivirus seem to be fully capable as functioning as the preferred and only antivirus solution

I had a session at the Microsoft Tech Summit 2018 in Stockholm, presenting the new Security Features in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (1709). After the session, I had a handful of questions about Windows Defender Antivirus, and because I often get similar question, I will share my view on the capability of Windows Defender Antivirus.

Question

  • Why pay for a yearly subscription from a third-party antivirus provider, when Windows Defender Antivirus seem to cover almost all threats?
  • Would you say that Windows Defender Antivirus is enough, or what benefits would companies, as well private individuals, gain from adding another antivirus solution?

By answering those questions, I am fully aware I am moving into holy grounds, and I should know as I spend ten (10) years managing a third-party antivirus solution, and I loved it – still do!

However, the short answer is: Yes!

The longer answer is: It depends.

Let me elaborate a bit further on these answers.

Keeping your PC safe with a trusted antivirus protection is your main concern. Using the built-in to Windows 10, Windows Defender Antivirus, gives you some benefits, hereunder automatic update using Microsoft Update technologies. However, there is a catch. To manage Windows Defender Antivirus, you need either System Center Configuration Manager or Microsoft Intune. By managing I am referring to reporting as configuration can be done in several ways, using:

  • Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager
  • Microsoft Intune
  • PowerShell
  • Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI)
  • Group Policy

It will be possible to monitor alerts using other means than Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) or Microsoft Intune, e.g. by using Windows Event Forwarding Server or Windows Analytics. However, these solutions will highly reduce your response time and will primarily give you some simple reporting.

The problem with antivirus, is the fact that most traditional antivirus solution is monitoring for file-based attacks and do nothing to prevent (or even detect) non-malware attacks, providing attackers with a point of entry that goes completely overlooked.

Traditional AV and machine-learning AV are designed to only identify threats when a file is written to disk or read from disk. Since they only look at the attributes of an executable file, they are completely blind in the face of attacks where no files are involved, especially when organizations are relying on legacy AV or traditionally Application Control as Microsoft Application Locker (AppLocker) or similar (I highly recommend Windows AppLocker).

Running legacy AV and machine-learning AV is not enough, you need to be able to monitors the activity of applications and services, including communications between processes, inbound and outbound network traffic, unauthorized requests to run applications, and changes to credentials or permission levels and monitor and analyzes the relationships among events.

With Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (1709), Microsoft introduced Windows Defender Exploit Guard (WDEG). As such, you can now audit, configure, and manage Windows system and application exploit mitigations right from the Windows Defender Security Center (WDSC) or using any of the configuration options mentioned above.

There are four features in Windows Defender Exploit Guard (WDEG):

  • Exploit Protection
  • Attack Surface Reduction (ASR)
  • Network Protection
  • Controlled Folder Access

Be aware all components but Exploit protection, does requeue Windows Defender Antivirus as your primary antivirus product.

To further increase the protection for devices that meet certain hardware requirements, you can use virtualization-based protection of code integrity with Windows Defender Application Control (WDAC).

And to tie a perfect knot I always recommend using Windows Defender SmartScreen, Windows Defender BitLocker, Windows Defender Firewall, Windows Defender Credential Guard and ensure end user do not have administrative privileges (at least on domain joined devices).

To get back to the questions that started this rant. I would recommend Windows Defender Antivirus any day, at a minimum you should consider the option if you already pay for the licenses. If you already have Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) and/or Microsoft Intune in place, it is a no-brainer, and you should consider using Windows Defender Antivirus over third party antivirus products.

However, I did state “It depends”. So, if you do not have a management option in place or you are running down-level versions of Windows, or even running Windows 10 prior Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (1709) I would recommend you keep your third-party antivirus product a little longer – and please be advised some Windows 10 (1709) features does require Windows 10 Enterprise Edition.

However, if you Windows Platform is based on Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (1709) or above and you are prepared to start using the new security layers which is built in to Windows you will get a rock-solid platform with multiple security layers, meaning if one layer gets breached the next layer is kicking in!

Microsoft Tech Summit 2018, Stockholm

I would like to say thank you to everybody who attended the Microsoft Tech Summit 2018, Stockholm. It was an awesome setup and a great event with lots of great sessions.

It is always a pleasure and an honor to get the opportunity to speak at a Microsoft event. So, thank you for attending and for making speaking at the event a great experience!
The session and slide deck were originally presented at Microsoft Ignite 2017 [Link).

Throughout the presentation updated information and links was used. Unfortunately, I am not allowed to share the slide deck, however as promised during the session, please find notes and links below.

Microsoft Tech Summit 2018, Stockholm, April 17 – April 18, 2018
Session name: What’s new in Windows 10 security? Raising the bar of security once again with the Fall Creators Update!
Session Code: BRK2037
Session room: C2
Session link: What-s-new-inWindows-10-security-Raising-the-bar-of-security

Notes from the field

  1. Get you Proof of Concept (PoC) started, enable Audit Mode for all solutions to start collecting insights
  2. Utilize a suitable solution for collecting Audit events from local event-logs e.g. using Windows Event Forwarding (WEF): https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/jepayne/2015/11/23/monitoring-whatmatters-windows-event-forwarding-for-everyone-even-if-you-already-have-a-siem/
  3. STOP using Domain Admins accounts!
  4. Ensure to have local accounts protected, e.g. Administrator account by enabling random password solution, e.g. using Microsoft Local Administrator Solution (LAPS)
  5. Be prepared to respond to business complaints and be ready to remediate issues (have a “backup” plan)
  6. Start logging activity from your devices, see Security baseline for Windows 10 v1803 “Redstone 4” – DRAFT: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/secguide/2018/03/27/security-baseline-for-windows10-v1803-redstone-4-draft/
  7. Implement Security baseline for Office 2016 and Office 365 ProPlus apps – FINAL: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/secguide/2018/02/13/security-baseline-for-office-2016-andoffice-365-proplus-apps-final/
  8. Visit Windows Active Defense web site to start your test: https://demo.wd.microsoft.com/

–Jesper

Microsoft Tech Summit 2018, Amsterdam

I would like to say thank you to everybody who attended the Microsoft Tech Summit 2018, Amsterdam. It was an awesome setup and a great event with lots of great sessions.

It is always a pleasure and an honor to get the opportunity to speak at a Microsoft event. So, thank you for attending and for making speaking at the event a great experience!
The session and slide deck were originally presented at Microsoft Ignite 2017 [Link].

Throughout the presentation updated information and links was used. Unfortunately, I am not allowed to share the slide deck, however as promised during the session, please find notes and links below.

Microsoft Tech Summit 2018, Amsterdam, March 28 – March 29, 2018

Session name: What’s new in Windows 10 security? Raising the bar of security once again with the Fall Creators Update!
Session Code: BRK2037
Session room: E102
Session link: What-s-new-inWindows-10-security-Raising-the-bar-of-security

Notes from the field

  1. Get you Proof of Concept (PoC) started, enable Audit Mode for all solutions to start collecting insights
  2. Utilize a suitable solution for collecting Audit events from local event-logs e.g. using Windows Event Forwarding (WEF): https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/jepayne/2015/11/23/monitoring-whatmatters-windows-event-forwarding-for-everyone-even-if-you-already-have-a-siem/
  3. STOP using Domain Admins accounts!
  4. Ensure to have local accounts protected, e.g. Administrator account by enabling random password solution, e.g. using Microsoft Local Administrator Solution (LAPS):
  5. Be prepared to respond to business complaints and be ready to remediate issues (have a “backup” plan)
  6. Start logging activity from your devices, see Security baseline for Windows 10 v1803 “Redstone 4” – DRAFT: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/secguide/2018/03/27/security-baseline-for-windows10-v1803-redstone-4-draft/
  7. Implement Security baseline for Office 2016 and Office 365 ProPlus apps – FINAL:
    https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/secguide/2018/02/13/security-baseline-for-office-2016-andoffice-365-proplus-apps-final/
  8. Visit Windows Active Defense web site to start your test: https://demo.wd.microsoft.com/

–Jesper

Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award 2017-2018

July 1. last year was an exhilarating day as I received my very first Microsoft MVP Award – 1. July this year was nothing less, I was anxiously waiting for that e-mail. Late in the afternoon, I received the great news, I am re-awarded the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) title. This is Microsoft’s award for community leadership within a technology discipline, which for me is Windows and Device for IT.

I am humble, honored, and extremely proud to be receiving this recognition, and what a ride the last year has been. I was part of my first local Microsoft MVP gathering, I was once again attending Microsoft Ignite, and this year with the MVP title in the backpack and I was attending my very first Microsoft Global MVP Summit at Microsoft Campus in Redmond – add to this, the insight, the information and the access, it has been a tremendous year and I am looking forward to the coming year – I am still the only Windows and Devices for IT MVP in this little spot, named Denmark.

Being part of this amazing program makes me proud and I am grateful my contributions are recognized and rewarded with a Microsoft MVP Award second year in a row.

Being an Microsoft MVP is only made possible by the support from my family, my colleagues , the constant encouragement by my friend and colleague Per Larsen, the community around Everything Windows User Group, Denmark (EWUG.dk), the people involved and their huge support.

Thank you to my employer, without the support and their trust in me, getting re-award would not have been possible!

What it takes to be an MVP

Microsoft MVP’s are technology experts who passionately share their knowledge with the community. They are always on the “bleeding edge” and have an unstoppable urge to get their hands on new, exciting technologies. They have very deep knowledge of Microsoft products and services, while also being able to bring together diverse platforms, products, and solutions, to solve real world problems. MVPs make up a global community of over 4,000 technical experts and community leaders across 90 countries and are driven by their passion, community spirit, and quest for knowledge. Above all and in addition to their amazing technical abilities, MVPs are always willing to help others – that is what sets them apart.

If you want to know more about the Microsoft MVP Program, check out the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional website.

–Jesper

Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award 2016-2017

Friday, July 1st I received the great news, I am awarded the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) title. This is Microsoft’s award for community leadership within a technology discipline, which for me will be Windows and Device for IT.

I am humble, honored, and extremely proud to be receiving this, my first Microsoft MVP recognition.

This is only made possible by my families accept, my colleagues, the encouragement by Per Larsen, the community around Everything Windows User Group, Denmark (EWUG.dk) and the people involved and their huge support.

Thank you to my employer, without their support and their trust in me, this opportunity would not have been possible!

And a particular thanks to Louise Harders for nominate me in the first place.

What it takes to be an MVP

Microsoft MVP’s are technology experts who passionately share their knowledge with the community. They are always on the “bleeding edge” and have an unstoppable urge to get their hands on new, exciting technologies. They have very deep knowledge of Microsoft products and services, while also being able to bring together diverse platforms, products and solutions, to solve real world problems. MVPs make up a global community of over 4,000 technical experts and community leaders across 90 countries and are driven by their passion, community spirit, and quest for knowledge. Above all and in addition to their amazing technical abilities, MVPs are always willing to help others – that is what sets them apart.

If you want to know more about the Microsoft MVP Program, check out the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional website.

–Jesper