Are you planning to attend Microsoft TechEd this year? If so, I’m happy to announce that I’ll be delivering a session entitled “The Future Is Now! Next Generation Remote Access Today with Windows Server 2012 DirectAccess”. I’ll be presenting at both TechEd North America in New Orleans, LA, and at TechEd Europe in Madrid, Spain. Looking forward to seeing you there!
It’s that time again. TechDays San Francisco 2013 is fast approaching! The event will be held on May 2-3, 2013. This is an excellent event for IT professionals and developers alike to learn from some of the best and brightest. The speaker list includes industry experts Richard Campbell, Jeff Hicks, Laura Hunter, Mark Minasi, and more! I will be delivering a session on (you guessed it!) DirectAccess in Windows Server 2012. Registration is open now, so register today. Hope to see you there!
Today Fastvue announced the general availability of TMG Reporter v2.1, the latest release of their advanced reporting and alerting platform built specifically for Forefront TMG 2010. I’ve been working with some of the early release builds and although this is technically considered a minor release, this latest update includes some important new features that make this a worthwhile and compelling upgrade. Here are some of the great new features included with TMG Reporter v2.1:
Activity Reports – Easily the single most important feature included in Fastvue TMG Reporter v2.1 is the addition of detailed activity reports. Prior to v2.1 only overview reports were available. You can now create extremely granular reports on user, site, category, or application activity that include timestamps, full URLs, browse time, category, and disposition (allowed or denied).
Scheduled Custom Reports – Another excellent new feature in Fastvue TMG Reporter v2.1 allows the administrator to create custom reports using the new filtering interface and schedule them for automated delivery to recipients.
Comprehensive Filtering – Fastvue TMG Reporter v2.1 includes a powerful new filtering facility that allows security administrator to dig deep in to the logging data to find the pertinent information they desire. The new enhanced filtering feature is available for use on all reports.
Drilldown Reporting – Another feature that has been greatly improved in the v2.1 release is drilldown reporting. Previously executing a drilldown report resulted in the creation of a completely new and separate report. With v2.1, the new drilldown report now respects the initial filter settings, allowing the administrator to see detailed information as necessary while maintaining the context that the original report was created within.
SQL Server integration – This is one of my favorite (and most requested!) new features. TMG Reporter v2.1 now includes native support for SQL server logging. There are many compelling reasons to configure the Forefront TMG 2010 firewall to log to an external SQL server, and now TMG Reporter can connect directly to your TMG firewall’s configured SQL server to collect report data.
Full support for Windows 8 and Server 2012 – You can now install TMG Reporter on Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012! This is great news as many organizations are beginning to deploy Windows 2012 server and Windows 8 desktops. The TMG Reporter installer now detects which server platform you are installing on and installs the necessary prerequisites automatically. The TMG Reporter web interface is also fully supported on Windows 8 with Internet Explorer 10 (modern and desktop).
Since its initial release a few years ago, Fastvue TMG Reporter has continued to add features and functionality. If you’re running an older version, or if you haven’t yet made the switch to TMG Reporter, the new capabilities in TMG Reporter v2.1 may finally compel you to take the leap and implement or upgrade to TMG Reporter v2.1 for your Forefront TMG monitoring, alerting, and report needs. Download a free, fully functional evaluation copy of Fastvue TMG Reporter v2.1 today. You’ll be glad you did, trust me!
Recently I announced the availability of my Windows Server 2012 DirectAccess video training course at TrainSignal. Click here to read the full story!
Great news! Windows Server 2012 Security from End to Edge and Beyond is now available for pre-order! Yuri Diogenes along with Tom and Deb Shinder are the authors of this forthcoming title from Syngress Publishing which covers architecting, designing, planning, and deploying Windows Server 2012 security solutions. I have the privilege of serving as the technical reviewer of the book and I can tell you from experience it will be a vital reference that anyone working with Windows Server 2012 will want to have in their library. Pre-order your copy today!
Since Microsoft formally announced the end of life for the venerable Forefront TMG 2010 firewall, the most common question I hear is “What should I replace my Forefront TMG firewall with?” It’s an excellent question, and one that I can’t really answer for you definitively. Since Microsoft has elected to leave this space entirely, you’ll obviously be replacing it with a solution from another vendor. But which one? Well, the answer is “it depends”. There are many excellent firewalls, web proxies, and secure web gateways on the market today. So-called “Next Generation Firewalls” are gaining in popularity as well, and provide some interesting capabilities a security administrator can leverage to provide increased protection for their corporate networks. Which one to choose depends on many factors, and will vary greatly depending on your deployment scenario. My suggestion when evaluating potential replacements for your Forefront TMG 2010 firewall is to take a look at your current configuration, review your corporate security policy to determine network security requirements, then begin researching products that include the features you need. If you take a look at the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant for Secure Web Gateways or Next Generation Firewalls and choose a product in the leaders or challengers quadrants you will probably be satisfied. Regardless which solution you choose, demand a proof-of-concept or insist on an evaluation period with which you can return the product for a full refund if it doesn’t meet your needs or expectations. Be open-minded during the process, as you’re not likely to have the comfort level with the new solution as you do with your existing Forefront TMG 2010 firewall. If you are using your Forefront TMG 2010 firewall as a dedicated remote access solution, I would encourage you to look closely at Windows Server 2012 remote access VPN and especially DirectAccess.
Keep in mind that although Microsoft has announced the end of life for Forefront TMG 2010, it will still be supported for many years to come. You will have full feature functionality until the end of 2015, and the product will be supported in some fashion until early 2020 so there’s no need to rush. Perhaps the best replacement for Forefront TMG 2010 hasn’t even been created yet! If you have questions about Forefront TMG 2010 replacements, or you are in the process of evaluating another solution to replace your existing Forefront TMG firewall today, feel free to ask questions or share your experiences by commenting below. Thanks!
For anyone interested in news and information about Microsoft DirectAccess, I have started another blog at directaccess.richardhicks.com. With this blog I’ll be writing about DirectAccess in Windows Server 2008 R2, Forefront Unified Access Gateway (UAG) 2010 DirectAccess, and DirectAccess in Windows Server 2012. In addition, I’ll be touching on topics related to VPN and remote access in general, IPv6, and core networking. DirectAccess is the way of the future for managed client remote access, so I would encourage you to follow my blog and stay up to date with this wonderful technology. Of course I’ll still continue to write about edge security and Forefront TMG 2010 here, don’t worry!