Microsoft adds security layers to ISA Server
Microsoft Corp will start to foster use of two-factor user-authentication and application-layer firewall defenses with the Feature Pack 1 upgrade to its Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2000 firewall and web-caching server, intended to strengthen security across Microsoft Exchange Server email and Internet Information Services (IIS) web server deployments.
ISA Server 2000 Feature Pack 1 supports RSA Security Inc's ACE/Agent component of that company's SecureID software to provide for two-factor authentication at the network edge. Two-factor authentication software helps provide a secure, simple and reliable way to verify a user's identity before granting access to network resources.
Enforced 128-bit RPC encryption for remote Outlook-to-Exchange users is intended to ruggedize email channels. In addition, improvements made to SMTP filtering features means unwanted email messages can be screened by sender, domain, keyword, attachment name, extension or size. The integration of URLScan into Feature Pack 1 means that common web server vulnerabilities should be blocked at the firewall edge, before they are ever presented to an internal web server.
The complexity of security configuration and management can actually make a network vulnerable, and improperly configured firewalls are still a major threat to enterprise security. ISA system administrators could benefit from new system wizards that are intended to make configuration of ISA Server 2000's Exchange Server and IIS defenses much simpler.
ISA was born from Proxy Server, but is slowly evolving into a full-featured web-caching and firewall server, including other features such as intrusion-detection capabilities and bandwidth control. In the area of intrusion detection, Internet Security Systems Inc has made available RealSecure for ISA Server. Other agreements are intended to flesh out the ISA Sever offering.
Symantec Corp has released a new product to provide anti-virus protection for ISA Server, designed to provide virus protection and repair for HTTP, FTP and SMTP traffic server through ISA Server. Trend Micro Inc will also integrate its anti-virus product, while internet filtering company SurfControl Plc has said that the latest version of its SuperScout Web Filter software is compatible with ISA 2000.