Premium Security in SBS 2003 [Windows Small Business Server 2003 Best Practices book excerpt]

Hey tehre folks! I am the author of the above title and each day I like to hold a virtual book reading! Today we start Chapter 13 on advanced security topics in SBS 2003. Big focus on ISA!


Harry Brelsford, CEO at smb nation

Microsoft Small Business Specialist SBSC, MBA, MCSE, MCT, MCP, CNE, CLSE, CNP

PS – did u know I host a spring conference in the New York City area each spring? Save the date for March 6-8, 2009 and watch “voice meet data” in the SMB space!

Chapter 13 Premium Security: ISA Server 2000

This chapter is dedicated to a security topic that will only affect readers who proceed to purchase the premium edition of SBS 2003 that contains Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2000, and possibly ISA Server 2004. This is Microsoft’s most robust firewall, caching, and Internet-related security software offering.

I’ll weave in some SPRINGERS stuff, but understand that this is a tad beyond the scope of the book, which is dedicated to introductory and intermediate topics (surrounding the SPRINGERS methodology). As you’ve heard me say (so to speak) time and time again, look for my advanced SBS book in the second part of 2004, in which I’ll delve much deeper into ISA Server 2000. Suffice it to say, I’ll provide capable guidance here to get you started (and I also end the chapter by directing your attention to some excellent ISA Server 2000 books).

Why Use ISA Server 2000 in SBS 2003?

You might recall being teased in Chapter 5, which addressed standard SBS security, that I’d provide answers to this all-important question. ISA Server 2000 does more “stuff” in the security area. So that’s not to say the firewall capability via Routing and Remote Access Services (RRAS) isn’t adequate, because it is (please revisit Chapter 5 for that discussion). Rather, ISA Server does more “stuff” than just act as a firewall. Read on.

In the spring 2003, the Go To Market Hands-On Lab for Microsoft Partners toured the US and exposed students to ISA Server 2000 – and nothing but ISA Server 2000 – on the third day of the tour. There was one slide in the afternoon

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that appealed to me in describing what ISA Server 2000 does. This slide is shown in Figure 13-1 with my explanations to follow.

Figure 13-1

The five functions of ISA Server 2000.

So, a few explanatory comments.

          Secure Internet Connectivity. ISA is a “smart” firewall that performs three levels of checks on Internet-related traffic. These are packet-level security (Figure 13-2), protocol-level security (Figure 13-3), and application-level security (Figure 13-4). The disparate concepts are integrated in Figure 13-5 at the end of the figure sequence here.


Figure 13-2

Understand the low-level packet layer relationship in ISA Server 2000.

Figure 13-3

The middle protocol layer.

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Figure 13-4

Something unique to ISA Server2000 and not replicated in hardware-based firewalls is the application-level inspection.

Figure 13-5

Using a stack chart to relate the prior three slides and their respective concepts to you.


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