|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.
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...
Dec. 10, 2016 11:00 AM EST Reads: 1,005
The many IoT deployments around the world are busy integrating smart devices and sensors into their enterprise IT infrastructures. Yet all of this technology – and there are an amazing number of choices – is of no use without the software to gather, communicate, and analyze the new data flows. Without software, there is no IT. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation; Alan Williamson, Principal...
Dec. 10, 2016 11:00 AM EST Reads: 689
Internet of @ThingsExpo has announced today that Chris Matthieu has been named tech chair of Internet of @ThingsExpo 2017 New York The 7th Internet of @ThingsExpo will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. Chris Matthieu is the co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, a revolutionary real-time IoT platform recently acquired by Citrix. Octoblu connects things, systems, people and clouds to a global mesh network allowing users to automate and control design flo...
Dec. 10, 2016 10:30 AM EST Reads: 903
Unsecured IoT devices were used to launch crippling DDOS attacks in October 2016, targeting services such as Twitter, Spotify, and GitHub. Subsequent testimony to Congress about potential attacks on office buildings, schools, and hospitals raised the possibility for the IoT to harm and even kill people. What should be done? Does the government need to intervene? This panel at @ThingExpo New York brings together leading IoT and security experts to discuss this very serious topic.
Dec. 10, 2016 10:15 AM EST Reads: 625
Businesses and business units of all sizes can benefit from cloud computing, but many don't want the cost, performance and security concerns of public cloud nor the complexity of building their own private clouds. Today, some cloud vendors are using artificial intelligence (AI) to simplify cloud deployment and management. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ajay Gulati, Co-founder and CEO of ZeroStack, will discuss how AI can simplify cloud operations. He will cover the following topics: why clou...
Dec. 10, 2016 10:00 AM EST Reads: 1,081
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
Dec. 10, 2016 09:45 AM EST Reads: 629
Internet-of-Things discussions can end up either going down the consumer gadget rabbit hole or focused on the sort of data logging that industrial manufacturers have been doing forever. However, in fact, companies today are already using IoT data both to optimize their operational technology and to improve the experience of customer interactions in novel ways. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Gordon Haff, Red Hat Technology Evangelist, will share examples from a wide range of industries – includin...
Dec. 10, 2016 09:00 AM EST Reads: 1,783
The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web co...
Dec. 10, 2016 08:30 AM EST Reads: 1,508
"We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 10, 2016 08:15 AM EST Reads: 1,262
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.
Dec. 10, 2016 04:15 AM EST Reads: 1,394
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings in the last year, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their back-end AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT – especially in the connected home and office. Amazon is extending its reach by building on its dominant Cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strategy, recently announced Replenishment Services, the Echo/Alexa voice recognition control platform, the 6-7 strategic...
Dec. 10, 2016 04:15 AM EST Reads: 590
We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...
Dec. 10, 2016 04:00 AM EST Reads: 5,322
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
Dec. 10, 2016 03:15 AM EST Reads: 515
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
Dec. 10, 2016 02:15 AM EST Reads: 811
Complete Internet of Things (IoT) embedded device security is not just about the device but involves the entire product’s identity, data and control integrity, and services traversing the cloud. A device can no longer be looked at as an island; it is a part of a system. In fact, given the cross-domain interactions enabled by IoT it could be a part of many systems. Also, depending on where the device is deployed, for example, in the office building versus a factory floor or oil field, security ha...
Dec. 10, 2016 02:00 AM EST Reads: 671
An IoT product’s log files speak volumes about what’s happening with your products in the field, pinpointing current and potential issues, and enabling you to predict failures and save millions of dollars in inventory. But until recently, no one knew how to listen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dan Gettens, Chief Research Officer at OnProcess, discussed recent research by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and OnProcess Technology, where MIT created a new, breakthrough analytics model for s...
Dec. 10, 2016 01:30 AM EST Reads: 816
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Dec. 10, 2016 01:00 AM EST Reads: 1,284
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 9, 2016 11:30 PM EST Reads: 1,168
Video experiences should be unique and exciting! But that doesn’t mean you need to patch all the pieces yourself. Users demand rich and engaging experiences and new ways to connect with you. But creating robust video applications at scale can be complicated, time-consuming and expensive. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Zohar Babin, Vice President of Platform, Ecosystem and Community at Kaltura, discussed how VPaaS enables you to move fast, creating scalable video experiences that reach your aud...
Dec. 9, 2016 10:00 PM EST Reads: 366
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 9, 2016 09:30 PM EST Reads: 1,299