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Securing an Exchange Server 2007 Environment : Client-Level Secured Messaging - Exchange Server 2007 Client-Level Security Enhancements

10/24/2014 3:13:27 AM
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Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing Initiative

In 2002, Microsoft Founder and Chairman Bill Gates sent a memo to all employees at Microsoft emphasizing the importance of making the company’s software more “trustworthy.” He labeled this new effort “Trustworthy Computing” and stated that the company focus needed to shift toward making software that was more secure and helping users become more comfortable with their electronic privacy.

This memo began a shift of focus for the entire organization that continues today. And it is working. Microsoft has recorded a significant reduction of publicly reported vulnerabilities in their products across the board.

However, no matter what security features are built in to a product, you still have to ensure that they are implemented and configured properly to be effective.

Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 was designed, built, and implemented with this new security effort in place. Microsoft has gone to great lengths to provide a rich array of security features at the client, server, and transport layers in Exchange Server 2007 to protect an organization’s messaging environment investment.

By actively and aggressively securing each of these three layers, you can ensure your chain has no “weak links.”

Exchange Server 2007 Client-Level Security Enhancements

As mentioned earlier, Exchange Server 2007 has several improved security features—especially when combined with Outlook 2007. Some of these features include the following:

  • Minimizing junk email— The junk email folder, first introduced in Outlook 2003, helps protect users from junk email. Utilizing the Outlook 2007 junk email filter, Outlook 2007 can disable threatening links and warn you about possibly malicious content within an email message.

  • Antiphishing methods— Exchange Server 2007 acts as the first scan on incoming email and works to determine the legitimacy of the message. If applicable, Exchange Server 2007 can disable links or uniform resource locators (URLs) present in the message to help protect users.

  • Information Rights Management (IRM)— Exchange Server 2007 can help control the distribution of corporate data by preventing recipients from forwarding, copying, or printing confidential email messages. In addition, expiration dates can be applied to messages, after which they cannot be viewed or acted upon. IRM functionality is based on Microsoft Windows Rights Management Services (RMS) running on Windows Server 2003 servers.

  • Managed email folders— Exchange Server 2007 helps organizations maintain compliance by applying a new approach to document retention. Utilizing managed email folders, users can see and interact with their messages in Outlook 2007 just as they would using regular mail folders, but the managed email folder applies retention, archive, and expiration policies defined by the administrator. Utilizing managed email folders, users and administrators can comply with regulations set by corporate policy or by external agencies.

In addition, Exchange Server 2007 continues to support several security technologies that were present in Exchange Server 2003, including the following:

  • Support for MAPI (RPC) over HTTP or HTTPS, known as Outlook Anywhere, can be configured to use either Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) or NT LAN Manager (NTLM)–based authentication

  • Support for authentication methods, such as Kerberos and NTLM

  • Antispam features such as safe and block lists, as well as advanced filtering mechanisms to help minimize the number of unwanted emails that reach the end user

  • Protection against web beaconing, which is used by advertisers and spammers to verify email addresses and determine whether emails have been read

  • Attachment blocking by Exchange Server 2007 before it reaches the intended recipient

  • Rights management support, which prevents unauthorized users from intercepting emails

 
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