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Windows Server 2012 : Managing Users and Data with Dynamic Access Control - Access Denied Remediation

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Within Dynamic Access Control is the capability to set up the domain such that if a user cannot get into a file or folder because of permissions issues, a customized message displays instructing the user on how to get access. This involves setting up email notification that gets sent to the data owner or IT department (or whoever can approve and give the user access to that data), a functionality known as Access Denied Remediation.

While Microsoft markets this as yet another advancement in DAC (and don’t get me wrong, it is), I think a bigger benefit is that Access Denied Remediation allows for quick resolution to problems that may result during DAC deployment. DAC is quite a leap from the way most of us have gotten used to managing permissions in an infrastructure. It’s conceivable that there will be growing pains with its deployment. With Access Denied Remediation, permissions issues can be quickly and centrally addressed.

Access Denied Remediation is carried out in three ways. In the first scenario, users can self-assist by requesting access from the owner of that data without involving a server administrator. This is probably the least likely scenario to be carried out in smaller organizations, and more likely in larger ones with massive amounts of data, where having IT grant permissions to every user getting an “access denied” error would be an incredible waste of IT resources. The second remediation option is when, for example, a folder owner receives an email notification that a user requested access. Finally, as we saw in the previous section, administrators can quickly view the effective permissions of any user within a folder or file’s properties and configure permissions accordingly.

Deploying Access Denied Remediation

You can configure Access Denied Remediation on individual file servers or throughout an entire domain. The feature is configured in Group Policy for deployment throughout the domain and via File Server Resource Manager on individual file servers.

Group policy deployment

From Group Policy Management, right-click the policy for the domain and click Edit. Navigate to Computer ConfigurationPoliciesAdministrative TemplatesSystemAccess Denied Assistance. You will see two options: “Customize messages” (configure how you want Access Denied Remediation instructions to appear to users) and “Enable access denied assistance for Windows clients” (Access Denied Remediation is supported only on Server 2012, Windows 8, and Windows RT).

File server deployment

To deploy on individual file servers, from the file server, launch File Services Resource Manager. Right-click File Server Resource Manager (Local), select Configuration Options, and then click the Access Denied Remediation tab.

You can enter custom text, or you can use the following built-in macros to create text:

  • [Original File Path]

  • [Original File Path Folder] (lists the parent folder of the file the user tried to access)

  • [Admin e-mail]

  • [Data owner email]

See Figure 1 for an example of an access denied custom message.

Custom access denied assistance message
Figure 1. Custom access denied assistance message

You have some flexibility with Access Denied Remediation. For example, you can specify a separate access denied message for a specific folder, again using the File Server Resource Manager. You do so by double-clicking File Server Resource Manager (Local) and then expanding Classification Management and right-clicking Classification Properties. Select Set Folder Management Properties.

In the Property box, click Access Denied Assistance Message and then click Add. Browse to the folder you want to apply the message to and create your message or use the macros.

Configure email notification by clicking File Server Resource Manager, right-clicking File Server Resource Manager (Local), selecting Configure Options, and clicking the “E-mail notification” tab.

 
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