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A blog post can be an engaging work of art or it can be confusing at best or a dumpster fire at worst.

Originally published at https://actionblogger.com.

Well-written blog posts that solve a problem, entertain, and ultimately help the reader do what they came for is the mission. Blog posts should hook the reader, keep them glued to the screen and feeling like they’ve accomplished something after reading an article.

How do you write such a blog post? Strengths.

What are Strengths?

Strengths are what I like to call themes or overall goals of a blog post. They are what make up a…


Originally published at https://adamtheautomator.com on January 19, 2021.

Azure Network Security Groups or Azure NSGs allow you to filter network traffic both inbound and outbound, from one or more Azure resources. If you’re ever needed to prevent access to an Azure resource, you must understand how NSGs work.

In this article, you’re going to learn the purpose of the Azure NSG and how to get them set up with the PowerShell scripting language.

Prerequisites

  • An Azure resource to target. This tutorial will be using a pay-as-you-go subscription and a Windows Server 2019 Azure virtual machine.
  • PowerShell 7+. Earlier version of PowerShell…


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It’s March 2020 as I write this and the world is changing as I type. Hospitals are crying out for masks, ventilators, and other essential services. There is talk about having to pick and choose who dies soon, normally bustling cities are ghost towns and we’re not allowed to touch anyone anymore. It truly is an odd time to be alive.

Full disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you click on one of these links and buy the product, I get a small cut.

Due to Coronavirus governmental mandates and common sense, many companies are forcing employees to work…


Originally published at https://adamtheautomator.com on January 13, 2021.

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Microsoft Azure does not have an email delivery service. Whether you are testing applications or developing scripts in Azure to send emails, know that there is no native email service available to you.

Outbound SMTP connection via port 25 is completely blocked in Azure, too. If you are an enterprise client, you may request to unblock port 25 for your Azure tenant. Otherwise, how else can you send emails from Azure?

There are typically two ways to let outbound emails through Azure; using an SMTP smart host and requests. Most email delivery…


Originally published at https://adamtheautomator.com on January 6, 2021.

Azure Automation Desired State Configuration (Azure DSC) functions as a centralized configuration management (CM) service within Microsoft Azure. One of the many benefits of Azure DSC is the ability to apply, monitor, and update configuration using a consistent process across your resources at scale.

In this tutorial, you will learn how to onboard and apply a simple Azure DSC configuration that installs and starts the Apache web service on an Azure Virtual Machine (VM).

Related: How to Apply DSC Configurations to VMs in Azure ARM Templates

Prerequisites

If you’d like to follow along…


Originally published at https://adamtheautomator.com on January 5, 2021.

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Do you need to deploy/test scripts or applications in Azure that need to send emails? If you haven’t figured it out yet, let me tell you now — there is no native Azure email service that exists. Don’t worry, though; you’re not necessarily in trouble.

Your go-to solution would be to use a third-party SMTP relay or smart host. But you cannot use just any smart host; it has to be one that supports TLS and port numbers other than port 25. …


Originally published at https://adamtheautomator.com on October 8, 2020.

How to Enable and Configure Azure JIT for VMs

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Hackers are continually scanning and actively hunting for accessible virtual machines with open management ports. If you’re VMs are in Azure though, you have a tool at your disposal called Azure Just-in-Time Access (JIT).

Azure JIT is a service that allows you to open network ports “just in time” or only when you need them open and no longer. Part of the Azure Security Center suite of products, Azure JIT is a component inside of the broader Azure Defender brand. …


Originally published at https://adamtheautomator.com on October 7, 2020.

You may have already heard the term serverless-computing. Many cloud service providers offer this service, including Microsoft. With Microsoft’s Azure Functions, you can create function apps that support many languages, including Azure PowerShell.

Suppose you want to automate issuing software licenses to customers. When the customer paid, your website sends an HTTP request to your Azure Function App. The app then validates payment and automatically sends the license to the customer’s email address.

That’s just one scenario where an Azure Function App can be used. There are more usage scenarios from e-commerce…


Originally published at https://adamtheautomator.com on September 9, 2020

When you need to automate tasks in Azure with scripts and tools, would you consider using service accounts or Azure service principals? It is not uncommon for some to just create a new service account, slap it with all the admin roles you want, and exclude it from MFA.

I know what you’re thinking — “that is a horrible idea”. Of course, it is! And for sure, your IT Sec will give you a lot of grief if you did all that.

But what’s the alternative? How can you use a privileged…


Originally published on the Adam the Automator blog on September 8, 2020

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Underpinning most cloud services are virtual machines. One of the first offerings, for any service, virtual machines power countless services. What can be difficult to understand is effective ways to understanding pricing. Azure has become a popular cloud service provider with a multitude of options. Understanding Azure VM pricing can be difficult, and in this article, we demystify how to optimize value!

Azure Payment Options

Azure Payment options are broken into three different types depending on a customer’s Azure VM needs. Specific payment options offer discounts but come with trade-offs. The…

Adam Bertram

A 20-year veteran of IT, online business professional, consultant, productivity geek, mental health advocate, career coach and applier of tech to life.

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