Having access to historical information via the Web

Another benefit of reporting the right information is that the report should be actionable. That is, the best reports show the type of information that you (or anybody else equally intelligent) would use to make an immediate decision. This could take the form of an exception report that shows business events that require immediate attention. Or it could be a chart illustrating that the inventory levels of a certain raw material compared with component sales indicate that a reorder needs to take place immediately. Whether a decision can be made based on the information presented in a report is an important criteria in the value of that report. It also is a guiding principle when determining what information belongs on a report. Microsoft Reporting Services allows you to report information from nearly every type of data source you can find from a legacy system to a spreadsheet to relational databases and even OLAP (online analytical processing) databases. Within a report, Reporting Services allows you to report from multiple data sources in order to provide the right information in the report. It provides access to the data sources essential to presenting the right information. Using the right medium The medium is the message, advertisers tell me. The messages or information that you deliver in a report should be versatile enough to allow viewing from virtually any media. The choice of media appropriate to the report depends mostly on the type of action that the report should evoke. For example, if the report needs to be easily accessible and represents a key variable of the business, the report needs to be shared in many contexts. This type of report should be available on the Web and available to all relevant business users for collaboration. If the report is part of a regular briefing, is reviewed with many other such reports, and might need to be referenced intermittently, it might be best to print the report to include in a book of reports for review. If the report needs to be sent to a person in the field for immediate action, it should be available on a PDA in electronic form. If the report will be subject to further analysis by a financial person, creating the report in an Excel spreadsheet might be best. Guess what? Reporting Services provides you with the capability to produce reports on the Web and to export them into a number of formats such as PDF and Excel. Reporting Services also allows you to print the report as well as to distribute reports via e-mail or even integrate your reports within your company intranet. You can also embed Web-based reports within business applications or information portals, such as a corporate intranet. You should know the context for a given report and make it accessible in the best manner to enhance the productivity of the business consumer of that report. 12 Part I: Just the Basics

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Having access to historical information via the Web

Having access to historical information via the Web provides perspective to the information so that trends can be identified. Even beyond this, you can mine the historical information for predictive modeling purposes to help see into the future, based upon assumptions related to the key factors or drivers of the business. The next challenge for reporting tools is automation. Reporting capabilities have traditionally been defined by the IT department. IT is constantly challenged with having to retrieve information from multiple data sources and delivering reports with a variety of tools. Being able to automate the integration of data sources and the production of reports so that information is pushed to business people in the form of reports and alerts enables knowledge workers to be more proactive. Alerting reports can also be produced when key operational metrics look to be out of whack, indicating that a situation needs attention again, a proactive, enabling capability. You ll get a chance to see how Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services rises to these challenges and provides some excellent reporting capabilities. The great feature about Reporting Services is that it is an extension of the SQL Server database management system. As such, if you have an SQL Server license, you have Reporting Services. Mastering Reporting Principles Have you ever wondered why some reports are immediately understood while others lead to blank looks and questions about your competency? Reports that resonate with others generally satisfy the key principles of reporting. In this section, you get the chance to explore the key principles to follow to create good reports. Presenting the right information The first good reporting principle is presenting the right information. The right information can be current or historical, subtotal amounts by category, running totals by reporting group, trend lines sales over time, or just vertical bars showing how your product sales ended last quarter. The right information depends on the nature of the business question that you re trying to answer. In order to be right, the information should be timely for the question being asked, as accurate as the business process allows, as relevant to the business question as possible, and also consistent with information from multiple functional areas (such as finance, sales, and operations) in the company. The report should also provide some additional insight into the situation. Chapter 1: Getting Familiar with Reporting Services 11

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Chapter 1 Getting Familiar with Reporting Services In

In this chapter, I provide an overview of reporting in the business world so that you have some perspective. I then show how Microsoft Reporting Services meets the challenges and provides a great way of doing reports. You ll be surprised what capabilities Microsoft has packed into this extension of SQL Server 2005. Dealing with Reporting Challenges A good reporting tool must address many challenges, based on the need for versatility, accessibility, and automation. Versatility is important because of the great diversity of applications in business today that require reports in many forms. Accessibility is important because information is more frequently utilized in a business process if you can get to it easily. Finally, automation is important because access to key reports on demand at a moment s notice can greatly speed business processes that are dependent on the information. The first challenge is versatility. For a reporting tool to do just the basics for you, it needs to wear a lot of different hats. The reporting tool must be able to handle both standard reports (regular weekly reports that are core to your business) as well as ad hoc (where you construct a report on the fly to answer a new question) reporting and analysis. The reporting tool also needs to span a multitude of data sources and data formats in a variety of database management systems (DBMSes for short). Today, companies focus on driving the business as it is today, as opposed to investigating historical information, so being able to put key performance indicators on a dashboard that allows for drilling down into more detail enables this forward-looking ability. Finally, the ability to be able to develop a generalized report with dynamic filtering can serve multiple purposes and thereby reduce the total number of reports required to support the enterprise reporting needs. The next challenge for reporting tools is accessibility. Today, information technology (IT) departments respond to requests from various business groups. IT typically experiences large backlogs and might have some dissatisfied users as a result. Also, some reporting tools are used to distribute information predominantly on paper. Providing self-service and Web-based reporting capabilities, in which business users can go to a Web site to get the information they need, does two things: Information is delivered when it is needed (if the data is available). IT is freed to do more value-added activities. Report information can also be provided on an extranet site to service partners and suppliers. 10 Part I: Just the Basics

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Chapter 1 Getting Familiar with Reporting Services In

Chapter 1 Getting Familiar with Reporting Services In This Chapter Finding out what reporting is all about Facing reporting challenges Mastering reporting principles Checking out the major features of Reporting Services Accessing and viewing a report Corporate data is growing at an extremely fast clip, meaning that more data is collected about business events and business transactions than ever before. It has been noted that data storage capacity of every company of every type doubles every 12 months. This data is stored in a great variety of formats databases, spreadsheets, files, and documents. And as a direct consequence of this infinite variety, there s never very much uniformity to the data, so it often just sits in locations, never to be examined with any real efficiency. The challenge in business today is to tap into this data that s just sitting around idle in an organization and then transform it into information and eventually into the kind of knowledge that can result in a competitive advantage. This transformation needs to evolve in baby steps. The first step is to identify what kind of data exists and where it resides. The next step is to create reports from this information. A report is basically a simple document that can present numbers, text, and/or graphical information. Reports are necessary to combine information from various data sources and present that information in a coherent manner to business people. This information enables us to understand what is happening in some aspect of the business and can even (hopefully) enable us to make decisions based on this information.

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Part I Just the Basics

In this part . . . To make life easier, Microsoft has built in some powerful features to create reports useful for transforming data into information. I provide an overview of the reporting principles and challenges and then introduce you to the key features of Microsoft Reporting Services 2005. I also show you some basic features of the SQL Server 2005 database that will help you access databases for the reports you want to build. I demonstrate how to get a basic report up and running with data just waiting to be tapped for a database. Microsoft Reporting Services 2005 may seem confusing at first with functionality that is unlike other reporting tools. But after you build your first report, you ll have a clearer understanding of the features and functions available to produce very robust reports.

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672 CHAPTER 16 INTERNET CONNECTIVITY mail for your

SPAM! SPAM! SPAM! 673 . Select Delete, and the message is simply deleted; neither the sender nor the recipient is ever notified. . Select Reject, and the message is not accepted, but the sender receives an NDR. WARNING I strongly recommend that if you use Sender ID filtering, that you configure it only with the Accept option. Many, many domains on the Internet (valid senders) do not have DNS SPF records. Exchange hides the results of the Sender ID lookup, but it is possible to expose this information in Outlook. The Exchange team has a good blog entry on the result codes that Sender ID generates and how to expose these in Outlook. See the blog entry at http://tinyurl.com/azyc2. Spam! Spam! Spam! It typically takes from 1,000 to 10,000 spams to make one sale. If you buy from a spammer, you are personally responsible for the next 1,000 to 10,000 spams sent…including the porn spam sent to your kids. Paul Myers, TalkBiz News Unsolicited Commercial E-mail (UCE) is the official name for the scourge that now darkens our inboxes every morning. For purposes of this chapter, though, I ll just refer to it as spam. Spam has become a significant problem for most corporate, government, and individual e-mail users; it consumes disk space, uses bandwidth, and, most of all, consumes a lot of our time. In 2003, the Radicati Group (www.radicati.com) estimated that spam accounted for nearly 45 percent of all Internet SMTP traffic and that this figure will grow to more than 70 percent by 2007. In some respects I think the Radicati Group was being conservative in their estimates. Some administrators are already reporting that more than 80 percent of the daily mail they receive is spam and I have personally seen one organization that was at the 90 percent threshold (without any filtering.) They further estimate that 30 percent of the average company s mail server resources are used by junk mail, for an estimated cost of approximately $49 per user, and this is expected to exceed $250 by 2007. One study (www.evsmail.com/roi.html) shows that the average North American worker who has e-mail spends about 30 minutes per day dealing with spam. If that worker earns $20 per hour, dealing with spam will cost his company $2500 over the course of a year. The Gartner Group (www.gartner.com) estimates that workers spend nearly 50 minutes per day dealing with unwanted junk mail. One large organization reported the amount of spam they received increased from 100,000 messages per month in February 2002 to more than 400,000 by July of 2003; that is more than 50 percent of the total mail they receive monthly. A 75-mailbox organization I know has implemented a real-time blocking solution that quarantines messages from known open relays and performs some basic Bayesian logic on the messages. Their quarantine public folder contains three days worth of isolated messages, or about 7,000 items! If each of these messages averages 5KB in size, that is about 35MB of storage for three days worth of spam. Not to mention that it takes an estimated 85MB of network bandwidth to receive those messages from the Internet! Clearly, something has to give. NOTE Exchange guru Jason Zann has produced an excellent e-book titled Content Security in the Enterprise Spam and Beyond. You can view this e-book for free at http://tinyurl.com/lnac6.

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672 CHAPTER 16 INTERNET CONNECTIVITY mail for your

672 CHAPTER 16 INTERNET CONNECTIVITY mail for your domain. In most cases, all you need to be concerned about is specifying the IP addresses of the mail servers that will send mail on your domain s behalf. You can find this wizard at www.anti-spamtools.org. Configuring Sender ID If you plan to use Sender ID as part of your antispam strategy, the first step you need to take is to define the IP addresses of any server in your organization (including SMTP relays in your DMZ if applicable) and any server that accepts mail on your behalf (such as an ISP or a managed provider). You must add this information to the Perimeter IP List and Internal IP Range Configuration settings on the General property page in the Message Delivery Properties dialog box. Simply click the Add button. In the following configuration settings, I have entered the IP addresses of my SMTP relay hosts, managed provider IP addresses, and the internal subnets for my entire organization: Any message examined by the Exchange 2003 Sender ID component will eliminate the internal addresses as a possible originating host for the message. Next I need to configure the Sender ID Filtering property page in the Message Delivery Properties dialog box: The Sender ID filtering properties define how the messages are treated if they fail the Sender ID test. There are three possible options: . Select Accept, and the message has the Sender ID code included in the message header. If the Sender ID test failed, this will be used by the Intelligent Message Filter as a factor when considering the possibility of the messaging being spam.

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CONTROLLING INBOUND SMTP MAIL 669 Figure 16.15 Monitoring

CONTROLLING INBOUND SMTP MAIL 671 to agree on too much. A number of vendors, technologies, and IETF working groups have reviewed methods to help reduce spam and ensure that a message is coming from a known source. One of the problems is that SMTP is designed as an open system and has almost nothing in the way of security built into it. The other problem is that it seems the major mail vendors and ISPs take exception to anything that the others propose. Sender ID came from the MARID IETF working group that was part of the Sender Policy Framework and Caller ID. A number of major ISPs (Yahoo! and AOL) and open-source proponents have objected to parts of the Sender ID being patented. You might receive a message from someone@microsoft.com, but how could you verify that the message came from one of the mail servers that is allowed to send mail for Microsoft.com? Sender ID was developed to help verify that inbound messages are indeed originating on servers that should be sending messages for a particular domain. A mail server that can examine a message s headers and verify that the message is indeed coming from a valid server for the sender s domain can help reduce the number of spoofing or phishing attacks as well as determining whether a message is valid. To determine the validity of a sender s server, an algorithm called the Purported Responsible Address (PRA) is used. The PRA algorithm has to examine the entire message and the message headers (including the MAIL FROM, Resent- Sender, Resent-From, Return-Path, Received, or other message headers that may indicate the sender s SMTP address). The PRA algorithm determines the purported responsible address for the message. Once the PRA is determined, the SMTP headers must be examined to determine the server that was responsible for sending the message to your organization. To do that, Exchange must know all of the SMTP servers (Exchange and otherwise) within your organization or at a managed provider, if you are using one. Once the server that is responsible for delivering a message to your SMTP servers is determined, then DNS is queried to locate the SPF records for the sending organization s SMTP servers. The SPF record must include any relays or smart hosts that the sender might use. NOTE Microsoft has a place on its website dedicated to getting more information about Sender ID; visit www.microsoft.com/senderid for more information. Setting Up DNS SPF Records Even if you don t plan on using Sender ID as part of your antispam or sender verification strategy, you still need to set up the DNS SPF records. The DNS SPF records are used by hosts to which your servers send messages. So if someone you are sending to starts using Sender ID as one of the criteria for evaluating spam (or, heaven forbid, they reject the message entirely if it does not have a Sender ID record), then this can cause problems for the delivery of your organization s records. The DNS SPF record indicates a list of servers that are authorized to send outbound SMTP mail for your organization. You can easily check to see whether your organization or any other has SPF records created using NSLOOKUP. The following is a simple example of an SPF record for somorita.com: C:>nslookup -q=TXT somorita.com Server: kilauea1.volcanosurfboards.com Address: 192.168.254.15 somorita.com text = v=spf1 mx ip4:131.107.2.200 ip4:131.107.2.201 -all This MX record identifies that the servers with MX records for Somorita.com can send mail for somorita.com as well as the IP addresses 131.107.2.200 and 131.107.2.201. This is a fairly simple record but would be sufficient for a small organization. The nice part is that no one expects you to remember the syntax of the SPF records. Microsoft has a web-based wizard that will take you through the process of asking which servers are able to send

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CONTROLLING INBOUND SMTP MAIL 669 Figure 16.15 Monitoring

670 CHAPTER 16 INTERNET CONNECTIVITY Automatic Updates to the IMF One of the nicest features about IMF v2 is that you can configure it to automatically update the signatures. Actually, it is nice that it is being updated at all, considering the IMF v1 was updated only once! Microsoft is promising these updates will be available on the first and third Wednesday of each month through Microsoft Update, WSUS, and other Microsoft technologies that can apply updates. To enable updates for the filter, create a Registry value of type REG_DWORD called ContentFilterState in the following Registry key: HKLMSOFTWAREMicrosoftExchange Set this value to 1 to enable updates or 0 to disable them and then restart the SMTP Service. The next time you run Microsoft Update or updates are downloaded to the server from WSUS, the next available update will be download (and optionally applied automatically if that is how you have the server configured). Figure 16.17 shows Microsoft Update. Figure 16.17 Microsoft Update providing an update to the IMF Sender ID Filtering I debated simply ignoring the whole concept of Sender ID for this edition of the book since it is not in wide use and it can cause you more problems than it can solve. However, administrators are often intrigued by new features and are anxious to enable them to see how they will function. But I would be remiss in my responsibilities to you if I did not explain the function of Sender ID and why it can be harmful to your message system s health. WARNING For starters, though, I will warn that if you enable Sender ID on your gateway servers and set it to either delete or reject messages whose Sender ID verification fails, then you will be missing out on more than half of the mail you should be receiving! What Is Sender ID? Our industry has been scrambling to find ways to reduce the amount of spam that we receive and help to keep user confidence in their mail systems so they know that when a message is received from someone, that person really sent it. Unfortunately, time and time again, industry leaders cannot seem

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