When Microsoft first announced Windows Azure Multi-Factor Authentication, a cloud-based strong authentication solution, my first thought was “I wonder if it works with Forefront TMG 2010?” Being cloud-based, my first thought was perhaps not. However, once I started digging in to it I quickly learned that it includes a software component that can be installed on-premises and will even integrate with on-premises security solutions via a number of interfaces, including RADIUS. Forefront TMG 2010 has supported RADIUS authentication for many years, so I put together a test lab and in no time at all I had Windows Azure multi-factor authentication working with Forefront TMG 2010 remote access VPN. Forefront TMG 2010 integrated with Windows Azure multi-factor authentication provides the highest level of protection for remote access users. Leveraging Windows Azure cloud-based strong authentication is extremely cost effective, with very low per user or per authentication costs and no on-premises hardware to purchase. The Windows Azure public cloud, which is ISO/IEC27001:2005 certified, provides the most secure and reliable strong authentication service available today. To learn how to configure Forefront TMG 2010 to work with Windows Azure multi-factor authentication, click here.
Forefront TMG End of Life
With the end of life announcement for Microsoft Forefront TMG 2010, one of the most common questions I am asked is “What should I replace my Forefront TMG firewall with?” Many are surprised when I reply “Why do you want to replace it?” Simply because Forefront TMG will not be developed in the future does not mean there’s an immediate need to replace it. Considering the fact that Forefront TMG mainstream support extends until April 2015, and extended support lasts until April 2020, often the decision to replace TMG is nothing more than a knee-jerk reaction to marketing pressure by vendors of competing solutions.
Do You Need to Replace Forefront TMG 2010 Now?
If you have deployed Forefront TMG 2010 as a firewall, basic forward or reverse web proxy, or remote access or site-to-site VPN, there is no need to replace Forefront TMG 2010 right now. All of the features used in these deployment scenarios will continue to function in to perpetuity. You have until April 2020 to find a replacement for Forefront TMG, which should give you plenty of time to consider alternative solutions. However, if you have deployed Forefront TMG as a secure web gateway, the situation is a little different. Although support for the product extends until April 2020, the Web Protection Service (WPS) subscription will only function until the end of 2015. This means that URL filtering reputation database updates, antimalware signatures, and Network Inspection System (NIS) signatures will no longer be updated past this time. Not to worry, there are some excellent cloud-based security solutions that can be integrated with Forefront TMG 2010 to effectively extend the life of TMG for the foreseeable future.
Extending the Life of Forefront TMG 2010 with Zscaler
Recently I had the opportunity to evaluate the Zscaler Cloud-based security solution. Zscaler provides security-as-a-service and integrates seamlessly with Forefront TMG to provide essential web security protection with URL filtering, dynamic web content control, virus and malicious software scanning, HTTPS inspection capabilities, and more. The Zscaler security solution provides significantly more protection than the native Forefront TMG technologies offer. There are also tremendous economies of scale to be gained by using this cloud-based security solution, as Zscaler has more than 4000 enterprise customers in 180 countries, servicing more than 10 million users globally. The threat intelligence gained from having such a broad view of Internet activity worldwide enables Zscaler to quickly identify emerging threats on a global basis and extend protection to all of its customers quickly and effectively.
Zscaler Integration with Forefront TMG 2010
Integrating an on-premises Forefront TMG firewall with the Zscaler cloud is accomplished without having to install a plug-in on the TMG firewall. On-premises web traffic is delivered to the Zscaler cloud service by Forefront TMG through the use of web proxy chaining rules. After you’ve signed up for the service, simply configure a web proxy chaining rule to forward web proxy requests from Forefront TMG to the Zscaler cloud proxy gateways.
Zscaler Protection for Mobile Users
The Zscaler solution has some additional advantages over Forefront TMG’s native web protection mechanisms. With a cloud-based solution, Zscaler’s protection can also be extended transparently to mobile users, keeping them safe regardless of where they are. Zscaler has more than 100 datacenters worldwide, ensuring quick response times and low latency wherever the mobile user happens to be. Integrating individual clients can be done using proxy PAC files to route traffic to Zscaler’s datacenters. Additionally there is an option to install an agent on the client to forward traffic, which has the benefit of preventing the end user from disabling proxy settings to bypass content filtering restrictions.
Forefront TMG 2010 and Zscaler – Better Together
You may be asking yourself “Why not just use Zscaler exclusively? Why do I need TMG at all?” Valid question! Integrating Zscaler with Forefront TMG provides the best of both worlds in terms of security and performance. With Forefront TMG 2010 on premises, you have a Common Criteria-certified enterprise-class firewall to provide the highest level of security for your network. You can leverage strong user and group-based authentication, and you gain the added benefit of local caching for web content. In addition, you can make use of Forefront TMG 2010’s other features like multi-networking to create perimeter or DMZ networks for isolating public-facing services, reverse proxy for on-premises web-based and non-web based applications and services, remote access VPN for managed and non-managed mobile users, and site-to-site VPN to connect remote offices, business partners, or cloud service providers.
Forefront TMG End of Sale? Not Quite!
Although Microsoft is committed to supporting Forefront TMG 2010 for many years to come, they are no longer selling Forefront TMG 2010 licenses or the Web Protection Service (WPS) subscription licenses. If you’ve already deployed Forefront TMG 2010, or have already purchased Forefront TMG processor licenses and the WPS subscription, you have nothing to worry about. If you’re looking to deploy Forefront TMG 2010 today, you can’t purchase licenses for the software from Microsoft. However, you can still obtain Forefront TMG 2010 through a Microsoft OEM partner like Celestix Networks. (Full disclosure: Celestix Networks is my current employer.)
Keep Calm and Carry On
In my estimation, you can safely deploy or keep Forefront TMG 2010 in your environment and still gain a healthy return on your investment for many years to come. If you’re using Forefront TMG for publishing services such as Outlook Web App (OWA) or SharePoint, or you’re leveraging client-based remote access or site-to-site VPN, you have nothing to worry about. If you’re using Forefront TMG as a secure web gateway, you can enhance and extend the solution by using Zscaler’s cloud-based security solution for less than you would have paid for the Microsoft WPS subscription. No need to go out and replace your Forefront TMG 2010 solution for quite a few more years! If you are considering a new deployment, you can still purchase Forefront TMG 2010 from Microsoft OEM partners like Iron Networks. So Keep Calm and Deploy Forefront TMG 2010 today!
Earlier this year I published an article on ISAserver.org on how to enable cross-premises network connectivity to Windows Azure using Forefront TMG 2010. When I wrote that piece, Windows Azure virtual networking was still in preview (beta). Since that time, Windows Azure virtual networking has been officially released, with some significant changes in features, functionality, and configuration steps. Many people noticed that their existing Forefront TMG 2010 to Windows Azure site-to-site VPN stopped working at this time and assumed that support for TMG had been dropped. Not so! Forefront TMG 2010 site-to-site VPN does work with Windows Azure virtual networks, and is indeed supported as it meets the minimum requirements for VPN devices connecting to Windows Azure virtual networks outlined here.
Configuring site-to-site VPN connectivity between the Forefront TMG 2010 firewall and Windows Azure virtual networks is not without a minor drawback, however. One of the new features of Windows Azure virtual networking is point-to-site VPN using SSTP. Unfortunately this feature requires that you configure dynamic routing on your Windows Azure virtual network, and dynamic routing makes use of IKEv2, which the Forefront TMG 2010 firewall does not support. So, if you want to enable cross-premises network connectivity to Windows Azure using Forefront TMG 2010, you will not be able to take advantage of this new point-to-site VPN connectivity option.
Important Note: Windows Azure virtual networking site-to-site VPN requires that your VPN endpoint have a public IPv4 address assigned to it’s external network interface. If your Forefront TMG 2010 firewall is located behind a border router or edge firewall performing NAT, site-to-site VPN connectivity with Windows Azure will not be possible.
To configure cross-premises network connectivity with Windows Azure, log in to the Windows Azure portal and select Networks in the navigation pane, then click on Create Virtual Network. Enter a Name for the virtual network, specify a Region, and provide an Affinity Group Name and select the appropriate Subscription.
Enter the names and IP addresses of any DNS servers to be used by machines in this virtual network and select the option to Configure site-to-site VPN. Do NOT select the option to Configure point-to-site VPN.
Provide a name for the site-to-site connection and enter the IP address assigned to the external network interface of the Forefront TMG firewall. In addition, specify the network address space in use on the private, on-premises side of the connection.
Define your virtual network subnet as required. Here I’ve chosen to use the 10.0.0.0/24 address space. Define any additional subnets as necessary and then click Add gateway subnet.
Click on the newly created virtual network and then click on Dashboard. Click Create Gateway and choose Static Routing.
Once the gateway has been created, make a note of the Gateway IP Address and then click Manage Key. Copy this key as it will be required when configuring the site-to-site VPN on the Forefront TMG 2010 firewall.
On the Forefront TMG 2010 firewall, open the management console and select Remote Access Policy (VPN). Click the Remote Sites tab in the center pane and then click Create VPN Site-to-Site Connection in the Tasks pane. When the Create Site-to-Site Connection Wizard begins, enter a name for the new site-to-site network.
Select IP Security protocol (IPsec) tunnel mode.
Enter the IP address of the Windows Azure virtual network gateway and the local VPN gateway IP address, which is the IP address assigned to the external network interface of the Forefront TMG 2010 firewall.
Copy the pre-shared key from the Windows Azure virtual network gateway.
The IP address of the Windows Azure virtual network gateway will be automatically added to the network address list. Click Add Range and add the IP address range you defined earlier for the virtual network.
Select the option Create a network rule specifying a route relationship.
Any communication between the on-premises network and the Windows Azure virtual network must be allowed by firewall policy. You can create an access rule now, or create one later.
Review the configuration settings and click Finish.
Before applying the configuration, right-click the site-to-site connection and choose Properties, select the Connection tab, and then click IPsec Settings.
On the Phase I tab select SHA1 for the Integrity algorithm and leave the remaining settings at their defaults.
On the Phase II tab select SHA1 for the Integrity Algorithm. Select the option to Generate a new key every 102400000 Kbytes and clear the option to Use Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS).
Once complete, apply the configuration. Finally, set the Maximum Transmission Unit (MTU) on the Forefront TMG 2010 firewall’s external interface to 1350 bytes by opening an elevated command prompt and issuing the following command:
netsh interface ipv4 set interface <interface_name_or_index> mtu=1350
netsh interface ipv4 set interface external mtu=1350
The Windows Azure management console should now indicate that you have successfully established a site-to-site VPN to the remote virtual network.
When you configure a new Windows Azure virtual machine, you can specify that the machine be placed in to your virtual network.
The new virtual machine should now be reachable from your on-premises network using the site-to-site VPN configured on the Forefront TMG 2010 firewall.