Windows server 2016 and security


Windows server 2016 and security

In today’s competitive technology driven world it has become important for every organization to minimize the possibility of risk. Microsoft has made risk mitigation easier by designing a group of operating systems known as the Windows server. Windows server 2016 is the re-equipped version of Windows server 2012 and was launched on September 26, 2016.

If you visualize for your company to operate and flourish in the modern cloud and mobile era then it is best for you to switch to Windows server 2016 as it offers cloud and hybrid-ready solutions to meet the growing and evolving demand on IT infrastructure. In addition to that this server supports enterprise level management, data storage, applications and communications while providing substantial administrative control of data storage, applications and cooperate networks.

Furthermore, a highly awaited feature that was updated in the windows server 2016 version is the introduction of two new Containers, known as the Windows server Containers and Hyper-V Containers. Microsoft has included several new security mechanisms that are designed to improve the comprehensive security of your company.

Alongside these there are other features that the 2016 version has included but among those some of them stand out in particular making it all the more appealing for your company if you are looking for security and modernizing your operating systems. Below is a list of the 3 most popular security features that guarantee security of your overall IT infrastructure.

Microsoft Virtual Security Mode

Microsoft’s most recent security mode platform is the Virtual Security Mode, it acts as a podium for other security features that will be discussed further on. The science behind this particular security mode is to divide the security function’s work load into two areas making it far more secure. The two areas being software and hardware instead of it operating solely on software level.

The word “virtual” is plays an important role in VSM, it is understood that CPU’s contain on-chip virtualization extensions which have been the foundation of server virtualization. The hypervisor stays on top of the CPU and plays the role of the go-between the virtual machines and hardware.

Virtual Security Mode mimics this particular technique to generate a virtualized space on top of the hypervisor. Sensitive operations can be performed with utmost security without any information being disclosed. 

Feature No 1: Credential Guard

The fundamental idea behind this particular feature is to guard your credentials for the prevention of any sensitive information being compromised.  

The validation process that the windows server uses is a function of the Local Security Authority (LSA). LSA also creates security tokens, manages the local security policy and the system’s audit policy. To provide protection to LSA itself the operating system is designed in such a way that the memory of LSA is remote, similar to the virtualization’s memory which is remote as well.

 LSA is built to perform bare minimum binaries, Microsoft also prevents other codes from running in this mode, credential Guard uses a protected LSA to secure any cached credentials and provides a platform to carry out sensitive operations.

Feature No 2: Device Guard

Device guard is a feature of the operating system that supports the virtual security mode. However, you cannot particularly label device guard as a feature since it consists three other types of security features within itself which vary from one another and act as components of the Device Guard.

The three security features under the label of Device Guard consist of Configurable Code Integrity, VSM Protected Code Integrity and Platform and UEFI Secure Boot. These three features combined work together to prevent malware infections. Device Guard operates precisely on software applications downloads.

VSM Protected Code Integrity is designed to guarantee the integrity of code running at the kernel level. VSM Protected Code Integrity is drafted to work with virtual secure mode, even though the kernel mode code integrity goes a long way when it comes to protecting the operating system the Configurable Code Integrity feature has utmost importance as well. This particular component ensures that only trusted, secure code is allowed to run.

As previously mentioned above, Device Guard operates on software applications, but only the ones that have been digitally signed in are permitted to enter your security policy. The purpose behind only permitting signed applications is to help protect your computer system, if an unrecognized malware attempts to enter the system Device guard signals an alarm to the administrator.

Further, if any application is needed urgently Microsoft offers a tool called SignTool.exe which will create a signature for the particular application.

Feature No 3: Host Guardian and Shielded Virtual Machines

Overtime, server virtualization has shown beyond doubt about how secure it is nevertheless, it has had faced the issue of the virtual machine’s virtual hard disk being copied. Today, because of the new and improved features that have been designed by Microsoft in the updated version of windows server, Windows Server 2016 has a solution to this issue.

Previously, an unknown administrator could take the virtual hard disks home on his own computer system gaining all access to the contents existing in the virtual hard disk. If the administrator finds it appealing he could go as far as to setting up his own host server and booting the stolen virtual hard disk. For the prevention of this scenario taking occurrence again Microsoft has launched the Microsoft Host Guardian Service which allows the creation of Shielded Virtual Machines.

Shielded Virtual Machines are machines whose virtual data is BitLocker encrypted via virtual TPM. If the virtual hard disk is removed from the organization the data will not be accessible by anyone.

The security of your organization must be a top priority and is something that cannot be compromised. Windows Server 2016 delivers new improved security features that guarantee optimum security of your organization while further enhancing your operating systems, data and overall applications. It is important to consider the pace of change in technology and innovate yourself along with it.

Take our courses for 70 740 certification (learn Installation, storage, and commute with Windows Server 2016), 70 741 certification (Learn Networking with Windows Server 2016) and 70 742 certification to get better understanding.

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