Sunday, August 17, 2008

OWA - finer points in SBS 2003

Hello everyone - its sunday and I am posting up a few pages from Chapter 8 of my Windows Small Business Server 2003 Best PRactices book (the purple book) for your reading pleasure. Today we look at some of the finer points of Outlook Web Access (OWA) in SBS 2003. I will keep posting up book pages each day until SBS 2008 ships.

Thanks for reading - hope this helps!


Harry Brelsford ceo at SMB Nation

I am a Microsoft Small Business Specialist (SBSC), MBA< MCSE< MCT< CNE, CLSE and CNP!

Did u know I host a raging SBS conference in Seattle in early october?


Meet OWA

Less talk, more look-see at this point. The new and improved OWA is presented in Figure 8-17 for your pleasure.


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Figure 8-17

Here is OWA in the SBS 2003 time frame. Notice in the Address that the URL identifies local host (running on the SBS server machine).

There are three ways to access OWA in SBS 2003.

• Old-fashioned. You’re probably familiar with this approach. Type the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) appended with the term “exchange” for the external interface (that’s the wild-side NIC card) on the SBS server machine) like This approach assumes you have an “A” resource record registered in the DNS of your ISP that points to the wild-side NIC card. Of course, you could always point to the wild-side IP address in the following manner - - and you’ll start the OWA authen­tication process.

• RWW. If necessary, revisit the RWW discussion early in this chapter where you learned to authenticate over the Internet. The RWW menu has the Read my company e-mail link to launch OWA. From the

outside, RWW is best accessed by FQDN/remote (spring­

• Local Host. In Figure 8-17, I hinted at the use of OWA on the SBS server machine. This is possible with the localhost/exchange address. This is an excellent way to read e-mail messages et. al. on the actual SBS server machine and avoid the MAPI conflict I discussed in Chap­ter 6 (see Figure 6-26).

There are two types of OWA experiences:

• Premium. If ya want the good stuff, you need to select the Premium radio button on the OWA logon screen.

• Basic. While providing fewer OWA features, selecting the Basic radio button results in a session that runs faster and is recommended for slow links.


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I compare OWA Premium and OWA Basic on a deeper level (focused on security) in Table 8-1.

Table 8-1: Security: OWA Premium versus Basic

OWA Premium
OWA Basic

Logon page
This has a new custom­ized form for logging on to OWA. Includes cookie-based valid­ation where OWA cookie is invalid after user logs out or is inactive for a predefined amount of time (or eats the cookie - just kidding).
Yes -and allows you choice to use OWA Basic
Yes - but only allows use of OWA Basic

Clear credentials cache on logoff
After logofff all the credentials in IE SP1 credentials cache are cleared automatically.

Public/Share computer and Private computer logon options
To provide SBSers with more protection, two logon page security options can be used. You can set the private logon page with a longer period before user is logged off because of inactivity.

“Web Beacon” blocking
Users can control options for blocking external content in e-mail.

Attachment blocking
Administrator options restrict access to some or all attachments in messages.

Junk mail filtering
Options to set up safe-and blocked-sender lists.

Encrypted/ signed mail
Sending and receiving encrypted and/or signed e-mail is supported.
Yes. IE 6 on Micro­soft Windows 2000 or later.

It’s time for Norm Hasborn to check his e-mail via OWA.

1 Log on to the remote computer (in my example: NormLap). I’ll assume you can log on as NormH (a local user) with the password Purple3300.

2 Launch Internet Explorer from Start, Internet. Type in the Address field. Note you can explore OWA via RWW on your own by repeating the RWW steps earlier in the chapter (from RWW, select Read my company e-mail). Here I want to expose you to the native OWA logon screen (RWW suppresses this screen, as I’ll discuss in the security section).

3 Click OK at the two Security Alert dialog boxes that appear (a third such box may appear if you didn’t install the SPRINGERS certifi­cate earlier in the chapter and requires Yes).

4 Complete the OWA logon screen similar to Figure 8-18. NormH is the user with the password Purple3300. The Client is Premium and the Security is Public or shared computer (I discuss security in the next section). Click Log On.

Figure 8-18

Norm Hasborn is logging on to OWA here. The session has flipped to HTTPS at this point.

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1 OWA can be seen for NormH in Figure 8-19. Notice the e-mail in the figure relates to the alert you configured in the prior chapter (Chapter 7 on WSS) relating to the Breeder1.doc document. Cool!

2 Go ahead and horse around with OWA for a few minutes. When you’re done, log off via the Log Off button on the far right.

Figure 8-19

OWA time, baby!

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