|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 cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
Jan. 19, 2017 01:15 AM EST Reads: 6,085
"Tintri was started in 2008 with the express purpose of building a storage appliance that is ideal for virtualized environments. We support a lot of different hypervisor platforms from VMware to OpenStack to Hyper-V," explained Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jan. 19, 2017 12:45 AM EST Reads: 4,622
The security needs of IoT environments require a strong, proven approach to maintain security, trust and privacy in their ecosystem. Assurance and protection of device identity, secure data encryption and authentication are the key security challenges organizations are trying to address when integrating IoT devices. This holds true for IoT applications in a wide range of industries, for example, healthcare, consumer devices, and manufacturing. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lancen LaChance, vic...
Jan. 18, 2017 09:45 PM EST Reads: 6,510
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
Jan. 18, 2017 09:30 PM EST Reads: 7,623
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 m...
Jan. 18, 2017 09:30 PM EST Reads: 5,740
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
Jan. 18, 2017 07:30 PM EST Reads: 3,146
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 o...
Jan. 18, 2017 06:15 PM EST Reads: 4,195
Big Data engines are powering a lot of service businesses right now. Data is collected from users from wearable technologies, web behaviors, purchase behavior as well as several arbitrary data points we’d never think of. The demand for faster and bigger engines to crunch and serve up the data to services is growing exponentially. You see a LOT of correlation between “Cloud” and “Big Data” but on Big Data and “Hybrid,” where hybrid hosting is the sanest approach to the Big Data Infrastructure pro...
Jan. 18, 2017 05:30 PM EST Reads: 4,885
In his General Session at 16th Cloud Expo, David Shacochis, host of The Hybrid IT Files podcast and Vice President at CenturyLink, investigated three key trends of the “gigabit economy" though the story of a Fortune 500 communications company in transformation. Narrating how multi-modal hybrid IT, service automation, and agile delivery all intersect, he will cover the role of storytelling and empathy in achieving strategic alignment between the enterprise and its information technology.
Jan. 18, 2017 04:45 PM EST Reads: 4,595
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists peeled away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud enviro...
Jan. 18, 2017 04:30 PM EST Reads: 4,800
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
Jan. 18, 2017 03:30 PM EST Reads: 3,686
"LinearHub provides smart video conferencing, which is the Roundee service, and we archive all the video conferences and we also provide the transcript," stated Sunghyuk Kim, CEO of LinearHub, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jan. 18, 2017 02:45 PM EST Reads: 1,597
Things are changing so quickly in IoT that it would take a wizard to predict which ecosystem will gain the most traction. In order for IoT to reach its potential, smart devices must be able to work together. Today, there are a slew of interoperability standards being promoted by big names to make this happen: HomeKit, Brillo and Alljoyn. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Adam Justice, vice president and general manager of Grid Connect, will review what happens when smart devices don’t work togethe...
Jan. 18, 2017 02:00 PM EST Reads: 420
"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...
Jan. 18, 2017 01:00 PM EST Reads: 5,616
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
Jan. 18, 2017 01:00 PM EST Reads: 5,105
Discover top technologies and tools all under one roof at April 24–28, 2017, at the Westin San Diego in San Diego, CA. Explore the Mobile Dev + Test and IoT Dev + Test Expo and enjoy all of these unique opportunities: The latest solutions, technologies, and tools in mobile or IoT software development and testing. Meet one-on-one with representatives from some of today's most innovative organizations
Jan. 18, 2017 12:15 PM EST Reads: 1,552
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
Jan. 18, 2017 12:00 PM EST Reads: 4,235
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in Embedded and IoT solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/Big Data, HPC and E...
Jan. 18, 2017 12:00 PM EST Reads: 5,768
SYS-CON Events announced today that Linux Academy, the foremost online Linux and cloud training platform and community, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Linux Academy was founded on the belief that providing high-quality, in-depth training should be available at an affordable price. Industry leaders in quality training, provided services, and student certification passes, its goal is to c...
Jan. 18, 2017 12:00 PM EST Reads: 1,962
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
Jan. 18, 2017 10:30 AM EST Reads: 3,119