|By Hovhannes Avoyan||
|February 8, 2012 07:15 AM EST||
How many of us take for granted Microsoft’s family of tools that contribute to the security of your organization? The most commonly used and appreciated tools are:
- Forefront Family
- Microsoft Security Essentials
- Windows Intune / Windows Update / Microsoft System Center Family
- Windows Firewall (with Advanced Security)
Let’s take a look at all of these tools and their features. Then, we can look at other less popular tools offered by Microsoft — such as Microsoft Security Compliance Manager and Microsoft Security Assessment Tool.
Microsoft has spent a great amount of time trying to supply a manageable easy-to-use security solution for its products. The result of these efforts is the Forefront Family. It consists of several tools you can use to secure your Microsoft infrastructure. Also, it is designed to interact with other Microsoft tools, such as Active Directory, Group Policy and Windows Update.
Forefront Endpoint Protection is the enterprise-oriented product that delivers real-time, anti-virus, malware and spyware protection. Its integration with the System Center Family of managing products makes it extremely popular and easy for adoption.
Another product in the Forefront Family is Forefront Threat Management Gateway. It is the successor of the Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server and provides advanced firewall functionalities, including URL filtering, intrusion prevention, HTTP/HTTPS inspection, and much more.
The two popular solutions for applications are Forefront protection for Exchange Server and Forefront protection for SharePoint. With the increasing popularity of cloud solutions, Forefront Online Protection for Exchange is used to secure the cloud-based version of Exchange – Exchange Online. All of these products can easily be managed through the Forefront Protection Server Management Console. It supports multiple servers and has great reporting capabilities.
Microsoft Forefront Identity Manager is a great tool that can help you manage access between heterogeneous systems, including Active Directory, Novell, Sun, IBM, Lotus Notes, Exchange, Oracle and SQL Server databases, SAP, and even flat file systems. It supports both password- and certificate-based access.
If you need to provide access to users outside your organization, such as partners or home-based employees, Forefront Unified Access Gateway is there to help you. It supports both VPN and Direct Access to your network and introduces policies and configurations over these connections.
Microsoft Security Essentials
For end clients, who can’t afford to pay for the manageable Forefront client, Microsoft has delivered the free tool Microsoft Security Essentials, which uses the same definitions as Forefront, but lacks the manageability part.
Microsoft Security Essentials does provide antivirus, antispyware, and rootkit protection; it also supports Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2; and it’s still using Dynamic Signature Service, which contributes to the daily definitions updates by detecting newly identified malware.
However, Microsoft Security Essentials doesn’t provide some of the handiest Forefront functionalities, such as Group Policy and External Device control; Network Access Protection integration (the Windows Server 2008 capability to granularly control network access based on who the client is and the groups to which the client belongs); and integrated host firewall management.
It also has the extremely useful capability of limiting processor usage during scans. Do youu ever encounter the problem of processor usage reaching 100% and the computer freezing with some other products? Microsoft promises that doesn’t happen with Microsoft Security Essentials.
As keeping your system updated is a main part of its hardening, Microsoft has many tools that help you get important updates on time.
Your first option is to set your Windows Update feature to automatically download the updates from the Microsoft site. However, this way you don’t have much control over which updates get installed. You can set the feature to let you make a decision as to whether to install a particular update or not, but this then requires extra administrative efforts to achieve what is normally a simple task.
Another option is to use the Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) or Windows Intune to centrally manage the updates on all your clients’ computers. Both of these products offer a considerable amount of functionalities, including keeping computers up to date. While SCCM is a hosted application and needs to be installed on a local machine to work, Windows Intune is an entirely cloud-based Microsoft solution that can help you manage your network. All you need is a web browser. And with that, you can make sure your computers all over the world are properly updated.
Windows Firewall (with Advanced Security)
Windows Firewall (In Windows Server 2008, it is called Windows Firewall with Advanced Security) can contribute to your current security configuration, providing a defense-in-depth mechanism for end users. If you haven’t purchased Forefront protection, then you can use the built-in Windows Firewall to specify rules regarding your inbound and outbound traffic.
Microsoft Security Compliance Manager
Microsoft Security Compliance Manager includes various baseline security policies — both for client and server Windows systems and applications. The policies are based on industry practices and let you reduce the security threats your systems are exposed to. You can easily compare your existing policies with these baseline security policies for reference, or deploy the baseline policies to be sure your infrastructure is secured.
Microsoft Security Assessment Tool
Microsoft Security Assessment Tool is a product that can help you secure your entire IT infrastructure by asking you various questions with a Yes/No answer. Questions are based on the ISO 17799 and NIST-800.x standards. Your answers are compared to the best practices that Microsoft has developed. Then a summary with lots of recommendations and relevant online topics is delivered to you. It can be very useful after your initial setup is completed.
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develo...
Jul. 28, 2016 02:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,519
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device.
Jul. 28, 2016 02:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,385
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effi...
Jul. 28, 2016 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,040
The IETF draft standard for M2M certificates is a security solution specifically designed for the demanding needs of IoT/M2M applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Romansky, VP of Strategic Technology at TrustPoint Innovation, explained how M2M certificates can efficiently enable confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity on highly constrained devices.
Jul. 28, 2016 01:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,097
In today's uber-connected, consumer-centric, cloud-enabled, insights-driven, multi-device, global world, the focus of solutions has shifted from the product that is sold to the person who is buying the product or service. Enterprises have rebranded their business around the consumers of their products. The buyer is the person and the focus is not on the offering. The person is connected through multiple devices, wearables, at home, on the road, and in multiple locations, sometimes simultaneously...
Jul. 28, 2016 01:15 AM EDT Reads: 815
“delaPlex Software provides software outsourcing services. We have a hybrid model where we have onshore developers and project managers that we can place anywhere in the U.S. or in Europe,” explained Manish Sachdeva, CEO at delaPlex Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jul. 28, 2016 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,609
"We've discovered that after shows 80% if leads that people get, 80% of the conversations end up on the show floor, meaning people forget about it, people forget who they talk to, people forget that there are actual business opportunities to be had here so we try to help out and keep the conversations going," explained Jeff Mesnik, Founder and President of ContentMX, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jul. 27, 2016 10:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,407
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
Jul. 27, 2016 10:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,665
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. He cited examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He also highlighted how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable ...
Jul. 27, 2016 09:45 PM EDT Reads: 2,003
"delaPlex is a software development company. We do team-based outsourcing development," explained Mark Rivers, COO and Co-founder of delaPlex Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jul. 27, 2016 08:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,034
We all know the latest numbers: Gartner, Inc. forecasts that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from last year, and will reach 20.8 billion by 2020. We're rapidly approaching a data production of 40 zettabytes a day – more than we can every physically store, and exabytes and yottabytes are just around the corner. For many that’s a good sign, as data has been proven to equal money – IF it’s ingested, integrated, and analyzed fast enough. Without real-ti...
Jul. 27, 2016 07:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,109
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
Jul. 27, 2016 06:45 PM EDT Reads: 2,069
I wanted to gather all of my Internet of Things (IOT) blogs into a single blog (that I could later use with my University of San Francisco (USF) Big Data “MBA” course). However as I started to pull these blogs together, I realized that my IOT discussion lacked a vision; it lacked an end point towards which an organization could drive their IOT envisioning, proof of value, app dev, data engineering and data science efforts. And I think that the IOT end point is really quite simple…
Jul. 27, 2016 06:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,179
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
Jul. 27, 2016 04:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,879
Big Data, cloud, analytics, contextual information, wearable tech, sensors, mobility, and WebRTC: together, these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Erik Perotti, Senior Manager of New Ventures on Plantronics’ Innovation team, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it ...
Jul. 27, 2016 04:30 PM EDT Reads: 213
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
Jul. 27, 2016 04:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,144
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
Jul. 27, 2016 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,744
Is your aging software platform suffering from technical debt while the market changes and demands new solutions at a faster clip? It’s a bold move, but you might consider walking away from your core platform and starting fresh. ReadyTalk did exactly that. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, will discuss why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and over a decade of audio conferencing product development to start an innovati...
Jul. 27, 2016 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,070
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus...
Jul. 27, 2016 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 977
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
Jul. 27, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 738