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Best Practices

Technologies That Help Improve Security Management

The more data gets put online and the more activities that happen on the Internet – the bigger security risks we face. This does not only apply for sensitive business information but also personal details like address, bank details etc. If you are looking for ways to improve your security management, this is the right article for you. There are certain technologies out there that can help secure your business and also enable employees and customers to access the information necessary to drive greater business success. Here are three technologies that help improve security management.

source: https://pixabay.com/en/cyber-security-online-computer-2296269/

Firstly, open source intelligence (OSINT) is a tool for security.

OSINT, by definition, refers to free and unclassified information. It is essentially all publicly available information gathered from all available outlets. For example, information gathered from radio, television, newspapers, commercial databases and electronic mail networks is all considered open source intelligence. Over time, the world of open source data has become the largest accessible database. OSINT can help with security, especially when businesses know what signals they are looking for and what would represent different levels of threat. Once the signals are understood, the gathering and analysis for successful for OSINT can be created to its most effective and efficient stent.

Secondly, Drainware is software that helps identify threats to business information

Corporate espionage and threats to business information keep all modern day businesses on their toes. Sensitive company information, such as employee personal files and bank account numbers, is always worth the effort to make sure it is secured to the best of any organization’s ability. Drainware enables users to track which information is contained and where. Drainware also monitors applications or devices that could lead to a security breach and can ensure that everyone within the organization is on the same page when it comes to whether security and guidelines are understood and adhered to.

Thirdly, Bluebox is an application that prevents mobile applications from being infiltrated.

The more devices and applications that have access to one another, the greater the opening for a weak point there is. This is what Bluebox solves. With Bluebox, customer information is safe no matter where services are accessed and when remote employees need to access sensitive company information, it is secure. Instead of limiting employees and customers in what they can access and where, Bluebox improves security and also enables people to access what they need to in order to be the most successful in their days. With the goal for self-protecting apps, protecting and monitoring sensitive information instead of restricting access to it makes for smoother business practices.

These three technologies encourage businesses to stay on top of what would signal a threat to and the tools to prevent threats. Avoiding compromised information does not mean needing to limit access to information, but rather doing all possible to ensure its security.Technology will not protect us all from all security risks, but it at least helps. Understanding what risks your company has and what options there are to take preventative measures is an important move in today’s technology age.

Categories
Best Practices Enterprise Tech Microsoft Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

Download Best Practices Analyzers – Exchange & Unified Communications

Best Practice Analyzers are free tools available for most Microsoft Enterprise products and they are used to determine the overall health of your platform. The tools perform read only scans against your environment’s servers and identify items that do not conform to Microsoft best practices. They should be run on a regular basis as part of your standard operations maintenance plan. Here are some tools for the Exchange, Unified Communications, Sharepoint, Project Server and Office System.

Microsoft Exchange Best Practices Analyzer v2.8The Microsoft Exchange Best Practices Analyzer is designed for administrators who want to determine the overall health of their Exchange servers and topology. The tool scans Exchange servers and identifies items that do not conform to Microsoft best practices. The Exchange Best Practices Analyzer programmatic-ally collects settings and values from data repositories such as Active Directory, registry, metabase and performance monitor. Once collected, a set of comprehensive ‘best practice’ rules are applied to the topology. Administrators running this tool will get a detailed report listing the recommendations that can be made to the environment to achieve greater performance, scalability and uptime.

Office Communications Server 2007 Best Practices Analyzer – The Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 Best Practices Analyzer Tool is a diagnostic tool that gathers configuration information from a Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 and 2007 R2 environments and determines whether the configuration is set according to Microsoft best practices. You can install the tool on a client computer that runs Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0, or on a server that runs Office Communications Server.

The tool uses a set of configuration files to gather information from the Office Communications Server 2007 or 2007 R2 environment. It compares this data against a set of pre-defined rules for Office Communications Server, and reports potential issues. For every issue reported, the tool provides the current configuration in the Office Communications Server environment, and the recommended configuration. With the proper network access, the tool can examine your Active Directory and Office Communications Server 2007 or 2007 R2 servers to do the following:

  • Proactively perform health checks, verifying that the configuration is set according to recommended best practices
  • Generate a list of issues, such as suboptimal configuration settings or unsupported or not recommended options
  • Judge the general health of a system
  • Help troubleshoot specific problems
  • Prompt you to download updates if they are available
  • Provide online and local documentation about reported issues, including troubleshooting tips
  • Generate configuration information that can be captured for later review

Microsoft Best Practices Analyzer for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and the 2007 Microsoft Office System – The Microsoft Best Practices Analyzer for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and the 2007 Microsoft Office System Best Practices Analyzer programmatically collects settings and values from data repositories such as MS SQL, registry, metabase and performance monitor. Once collected, a set of comprehensive ‘best practice’ rules are applied to the topology.

Administrators running this tool will get a detailed report listing the recommendations that can be made to the environment to achieve greater performance, scalability and uptime.

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Best Practices Enterprise Tech Microsoft

Download Best Practices Analyzers – Forefront, ISA and Security

Best Practice Analyzers are free tools available for most Microsoft Enterprise products and they are used to determine the overall health of your platform. The tools perform read only scans against your environment’s servers and identify items that do not conform to Microsoft best practices. They should be run on a regular basis as part of your standard operations maintenance plan. Here are some tools for Internet Security and Acceleration Server, Forefront Unified Access Gateway, Threat Management, Baseline security and Security update Inventory tool.

Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server Best Practices Analyzer Tool

The ISA Server Best Practices Analyzer (BPA) is a diagnostic tool that automatically performs specific tests on configuration data collected on the local ISA Server computer from the ISA Server hierarchy of administration COM objects, Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) classes, the system registry, files on disk, and the Domain Name System (DNS) settings.  The resulting report details critical configuration issues, potential problems, and information about the local computer. By following the recommendations of the tool, administrators can achieve greater performance, scalability, reliability, and uptime.

The ISA Server Best Practices Analyzer is supplied with two supplemental tools.

  • The ISA Data Packager enables you to create a single .cab file containing ISA Server diagnostic information that can be easily sent to Microsoft Product Support Services for analysis.
  • BPA2Visio generates a Microsoft Office Visio® 2003 or Visio 2007 diagram of your network topology as seen from an ISA Server computer or any Windows computer based on output from the ISA Server Best Practices Analyzer Tool.

Microsoft Forefront Unified Access Gateway (UAG) 2010 Best Practices Analyzer Tool

The Forefront UAG BPA is a diagnostic tool that automatically performs specific tests on configuration data collected on the local Forefront UAG computer from a hierarchy of administration COM objects, Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) classes, the system registry, files on disk, and the Domain Name System (DNS) settings. The resulting report details critical configuration issues, potential problems, and information about the local computer. By following the recommendations of the tool, administrators can achieve greater performance, scalability, reliability, and uptime.

Microsoft Forefront Threat Management Gateway Best Practices Analyzer Tool

The Forefront TMG BPA is a diagnostic tool that automatically performs specific tests on configuration data collected on the local Forefront TMG computer from the Forefront TMG hierarchy of administration COM objects, Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) classes, the system registry, files on disk, and the Domain Name System (DNS) settings. The resulting report details critical configuration issues, potential problems, and information about the local computer. By following the recommendations of the tool, administrators can achieve greater performance, scalability, reliability, and uptime.


The Forefront TMG BPA is supplied with two supplemental tools:

  • The TMG Data Packager enables you to create a single .cab file containing Forefront TMG diagnostic information that can be easily sent to Microsoft Product Support Services for analysis.
  • BPA2Visio generates a Microsoft Office Visio® diagram of your network topology as seen from a Forefront TMG computer or any Windows computer based on output from Forefront TMG BPA. Note that Microsoft Office Visio 2003, 2007, or 2010 must be installed in order to run BPA2Visio.

Important!: This BPA Tool is designed to support Forefront TMG only. To download the BPA Tool for Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server, see ISA BPA Tool

Microsoft Forefront Client Security BPA

The FCS Best Practices Analyzer Tool is designed for administrators who want to determine the overall health of their Forefront computers and to diagnose current problems. The tool scans the configuration settings of the computer and reports issues that do not conform to the recommended best practices.

Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer

Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA) is an easy-to-use tool that helps small- and medium-sized businesses determine their security state in accordance with Microsoft security recommendations and offers specific remediation guidance. Improve your security management process by using MBSA to detect common security misconfigurations and missing security updates on your computer systems.

Extended Security Update Inventory Tool

The SMS Extended Security Update Inventory tool is a scan tool built for the sole purpose of helping customers determine SMS client computers that may need security updates that are not detectable using the existing SMS Security Update Inventory Tool built on MBSA. Like the SMS Software Update Inventory tool, this tool also has the instructions for locating each applicable update, downloading it from Microsoft, and deploying it using SMS . The SMS Extended Security Update Inventory Tool is built on Enterprise Scan Tool (EST) detection technology.

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Best Practices Enterprise Tech Microsoft

Download Guides – SBS, Mobile Device Manager, Commerce Server, Biztalk

Best Practice Analyzers are free tools available for most Microsoft Enterprise products and they are used to determine the overall health of your platform. The tools perform read only scans against your environment’s servers and identify items that do not conform to Microsoft best practices. They should be run on a regular basis as part of your standard operations maintenance plan. Here are some tools for Windows Small Business Server, Mobile Device Manager, Commerce Server and Biztalk.

Windows Small Business Server 2003 Best Practices Analyzer

The Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 Best Practices Analyzer examines a server that is running Windows Small Business Server 2003 (Windows SBS) and presents a list of information and errors that administrators should review. The Windows SBS Best Practices Analyzer examines the server and collects configuration information from many sources including:

  • Active Directory Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI)
  • Registry and Metabase.

After collecting information about server configuration, the Windows SBS Best Practices Analyzer verifies that the information is correct and then presents administrators with a list of issues sorted by severity. The list describes each issue and provides a recommendation or possible solution.

Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2011 Best Practices Analyzer

Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2011 BPA (Windows SBS 2011 BPA) is a diagnostic tool that is built on the Microsoft Baseline Configuration Analyzer (MBCA) technology. Windows SBS 2011 BPA scans a computer that is running the Windows SBS 2011 server software, and compares the existing server settings to a predefined set of recommended best practices. Windows SBS 2011 BPA performs the following tasks:

  • Gathers information about a computer that is running the Windows Small Business Server 2011 server software
  • Determines if the server settings comply with a set of best practices that are recommended by Microsoft
  • Provides a report of the scan results, which identifies variances from the recommended best practices
  • Identifies conditions that may lead to problems with the server
  • Recommends solutions to potential problems

Microsoft System Center Mobile Device Manager 2008 Resource Kit – Best Practices Analyzer

MDM Best Practices Analyzer (BPA) Tool helps you to analyze the prerequisites for MDM setup and deployment. Because each MDM server component has different prerequisites, the tool helps you to plan and build a successful deployment environment by assessing each server’s readiness for MDM before you run MDM Setup.

Microsoft Commerce Server 2007 Best Practices Analyzer

The Microsoft Commerce Server Best Practices Analyzer examines a Commerce Server 2007 deployment and generates a list of best practices issues it discovers. The Best Practices Analyzer is intended for use in Commerce Server 2007 production and staging environments.

BizTalk Server Best Practices Analyzer

The BizTalk Server Best Practices Analyzer examines a BizTalk Server deployment and generates a list of best practices issues it discovers. The BizTalk Server Best Practices Analyzer performs configuration level verification, by reading and reporting only, and uses the gathered data to determine whether best practices are being followed.

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Categories
Best Practices Enterprise Tech Microsoft

Download Best Practices Analyzers – Windows Server Enterprise Platform

Best Practice Analyzers are free tools available for most Microsoft Enterprise products and they are used to determine the overall health of your platform. The tools perform read only scans against your environment’s servers and identify items that do not conform to Microsoft best practices. They should be run on a regular basis as part of your standard operations maintenance plan. Here are some tools for the Windows Server platform which includes PAL, DHCP, Hyper-V, WSUS, Active Directory, Remote Desktop, File Services, and DNS.

  • Performance Analysis of Logs (PAL) Tool – Ever have a performance problem, but don’t know what performance counters to collect or how to analyze them? The PAL (Performance Analysis of Logs) tool is a powerful tool that reads in a performance monitor counter log and analyzes it using known thresholds.

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Best Practices Enterprise Tech Featured Microsoft Tools

Top Ten Tips and Troubleshooting with Process Explorer Tool

Process Explorer tool from SysInternals, will give you a complete overview on what processes are currently running in your PC along with the details on who invoked it and how much system resources it is consuming. This tool will be very essential, if you want to identify which file or directory has a particular program opened. In this article, you will learn 10 best practices and tips which will help to use this tool better.

A process is a container for a set of resources, including one or more threads. A process never consumes a CPU. Its the thread inside the process which consumes the system resources like CPU, Memory etc. Each process at-least has one Thread.  Using this tool, you can also determine which thread of a process is consuming CPU.

Some of the benefits, this Tool gives you are..

  • Displays the Parent/Child Relationships of the Processes
  • Highlighting of different process based on their source and states.
  • Customize Columns to suit specific needs to analyze CPU performance, Threads, etc
  • Tons of Options to play around with..!

Tip 1:Process Explorer Parameters – Create a Startup Shortcut / Desktop Shortcut to this executable (procexp.exe) and add a parameter /t /e to it.

Process Explorer - Parameters

/t makes this executable run minimized and /e will make it run elevated. As most of the times, you want the system processes also.. it makes sense to run the tool elevated.

Process Explorer - System TrayWhen you invoke this shortcut, the Process Explorer will run in the System Tray as shown below. You can just double click to invoke them.

Tip 2: Configuring the Options – Goto Options Menu Item and Select Hide When Minimized and Allow only one instance. This will help you to just minimize the program, even when you click on the X close button. Sometimes, you tend to invoke the shortcut more than once, thinking that the Process Explorer is not running, selecting the Allow only one instance will help you not have multiple entries of Procexp inside the process explorer window.

Process Explorer - Hide When MinimizedTip 3: Configure Symbols – When you invoke any process and go-to the Threads Tab, you will observe a hexadecimal weird address in the Start Address Tab. These will not be helpful for you while troubleshooting. You will need to convert it to a meaninful message and thats where configuring the symbols will be useful.

Process Explorer - Hexa Thread DefinitionsGoto Options Tab, and click on Configure Symbols item.

Process Explorer - Configure Symbols

You will need to install the Windows Debugging Toolkit, so that you can configure the path of the dbghelp.dll file. Also, configure the Symbols path as both local and internet. For more information read here – http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/devtools/debugging/debugstart.mspx

Process Explorer - Configure Symbol PathsOnce you do this, the hexa-decimal code will be converted to more meaningful message for effective understanding and troubleshooting. You can see in the Start Address column now.

Process Explorer - Meaningful Thread Definitions

Tip 4: Highlighting Colors – Goto Options Menu Item and Select, Configure highlighting. Using this option, you can customize the colors which you would like to assign for certain roles of processes. By default Pink color is associated for processes with one or more – win32 services, Yellow color for processes which uses .NET Framework, Light blue color for processes which are running with the same user account as the process explorer.

Configure Highlighting of ProcessesTip 5: Configure Difference highlighting Duration: Set the Duration to 5 or more seconds. This is an important tip, which will help you distinguish in the difference of the events. The color associations and the process will exist and run for 5 seconds. For example, every process which starts new is associated a green color and every process that stops gets a red. the processes will exist in the Process Explorer for at-least 5 seconds with the same color code, so that you can see them and diagnose the same.

Configuring highlighting DurationTip 6: Verifying Processes – When you double-click on any process it opens the properties dialog; this will give you the complete information of that particular process. Its Parent process, Who invoked it, At what time, What OS version is it (32/64 bit) etc. Just observe that, this executable is not verified no matter it comes from Microsoft Corporation. Verifying the processes will help you to determine whether this process is signed to run on this particular edition of the OS. For example, if your machine performance is sluggish, you might run the verify process and see if any of the executables like antivirus are not suited for your PC.

Analyzing a Process Image

Goto Options Tab and select on Verify Image Signatures. This will start the verification process. Now you click on any column and add a new column for Verified Signer. You will start seeing all the process along with the verified status.

Verified Processes

Tip 7: Process Identification – Sometimes, there could be many processes running on your PC (for example, many instances of a same application), In this case it would be difficult to identify the associated process entry in Process Explorer. Thats where exactly, this magnifier comes to your help. Hold the magnifier button, and that will show you all the other windows executing on your PC. Just drop the magnifier on a window which you wanted to identify and that appropriate process would get high-lighted in the Process Explorer.

Magnifier Process Identifier

Tip 8: DLL/Header View – Selecting a Process, and pressing Cntl+D will show the DLL view in the hidden tab. Cntl + H will show the headers which are currently accessed by the process. This will be helpful to understand the components used by a process. You can also choose to search a dll or a Header using the Search option. For eg: If you ever encountered a failed delete action by your process, searching for ‘delete’ will give you more information on what gets called and which file did your process try to delete. You can hover over any process in Process explorer, this will get you all the win32 services running in it.

Cntl+D for DLL View –

Process Explorer - DLL View

Cntl+H for Header View –

Process Explorer - Headers View

Tip 9: Performance Graphs – Double-clicking the graph in the icon bar, will open the performance graph. The red color showcases the kernel mode and the green signifies the transition of Kernel and User mode. If you are running a multi-core PC, choose to ‘show One Graph per CPU’. This will help you manage tasks and also enables you to take a decision to set affinity for a process to a single CPU. (You can right click on a process, Set Affinity to just any of the CPU)

Set Processor Affinity

System Information - Performance Graph

Tip 10: Configure Columns – In the explorer window, Right click on a column header and add new columns. To identify an executable or a process performance, you need to add Threads, CPU Usage, Context Switch Delta and CPU Cycles Delta. This will help you identify which process has more threads and is consuming high CPU usage. Based upon your analysis, you can choose to terminate it for system performance.

Process Performance

Are you aware of any other worthwhile tip on this tool? If yes, drop in as a comment here and I shall feature it in this article appropriately!

Also read about the other SysInternals Tools here  –

Categories
Best Practices Microsoft Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

Springboard Series Virtual Roundtable: Migrating from Internet Explorer 6 to IE8

Join the Springboard Series Team live at 9:00 AM Pacific Time on Thursday, September 30, 2010 for a virtual, interactive roundtable discussion on migration strategies, standards, and support for organizations moving from Internet Explorer 6 to Internet Explorer 8.

As organizations deploy Windows 7, many still depend on web applications that were designed for Internet Explorer 6. Will they still work, and what can you do when they don’t? Join a panel of IT Professionals, Microsoft specialists and technical experts to discuss best practices to simplify and accelerate the migration to Internet Explorer 8. Topics will include an explanation of the causes of and solutions for application compatibility issues (including policy, code, and virtualization solutions), an introduction to tools, and a review of best practices.

Ask your questions live during the event with the online tool – or submit your questions in advance to vrtable@microsoft.com.

Find answers to your Windows client OS deployment and management questions with resources, tools, and tested guidance from the Springboard Series on TechNet.

Missed a previous Springboard Series Virtual Roundtable? Watch them on demand.

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Best Practices How-to Microsoft

Microsoft Security Awareness Tools and Tips – Effective Guides

The Microsoft Security Awareness Toolkit provides guidance, sample awareness and training materials, checklists, templates, and examples from Microsoft IT to help security managers quickly build an awareness and training program that will achieve results.

The Effective Security Practices Whitepaper Series

The Microsoft Security Intelligence Report

Provides an in-depth perspective on the changing threat landscape including software vulnerability disclosures and exploits, malicious software (malware), and potentially unwanted software.

The Microsoft Security Update Guide

Designed to help IT professionals better understand and use Microsoft security update release information, processes, communications, and tools.

Online Safety Toolkit for Enterprise and Organizations

This kit offers tools that you can use to help your employees learn the skills they need to work more safely on the Internet and better defend company, customer, and their own personal information

Microsoft SDL – Developer Starter Kit

This kit offers content, labs, and training to help you establish a standardized approach to rolling out the Microsoft Security Development Lifecycle (SDL) in your organization.

Privacy and Governance

Categories
Best Practices How-to Microsoft

Microsoft Help and Training – Get Technical Resources with the Desktop Player

The Microsoft Desktop player allows you to access technical security content (videos, webcasts, podcasts, guidance, etc.)-plus links to security resources such as Microsoft IT Evangelist or Developer Evangelist, training opportunities, and user groups in your area-all directly from your desktop.

Microsoft Desktop Player - Default Window

You can start with giving your search query, For eg: I have selected IT Pro, Windows 7, Deployment..!

Microsoft Desktop Player Configuration Detailed Search

Once you hit the search button. You will see all the related content matching your Search Query. The search results are categorized as Webcasts, Podcasts, White Papers and other Internet links.

Microsoft Desktop Player Search Results

When you select any webcast, the video starts to play in the same page.

Microsoft Desktop Player Viewing a Webcast

More Good, you just hover your mouse over the video.. You will get to see more information on how you can add this video to your favourite library, Send feedback, Related links and also share this with your friends and team.

Microsoft Desktop Player - Webcast Options

If you are a resident of the US, you can enter your Zip Code in the Settings Pane. This will provide you all the information around your area as well.

Local Events - Microsoft Desktop Player

Do try the Microsoft Desktop Player Today – http://www.microsoft.com/click/desktopplayer/

Categories
Best Practices Microsoft Virtualization

Best Practices to run Linux on Hyper-V : White Paper

If your data center uses both Linux and Windows operating systems, you can use Hyper-V to host Linux in virtual machines; this lets you take advantage of the benefits of virtualization, including reducing the number of physical systems and decreasing your management and administration costs. You can also use the tools built into Windows to simplify backups and recovery plans for Linux, or easily monitor uptime and services across your data center.

This white paper from Microsoft discusses the benefits of virtualizing Linux on Hyper-V, and it offers best practices for enhancing the performance of Linux as a guest operating system on a Hyper-V host. The paper also provides links for further information on the topics covered.

Download the Best Practices for Running Linux on Hyper-V Paper here [.docx format]

You will also be interested in downloading this ebooks,