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

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1/14/2015 8:14:40 PM

Auditing is yet another component of Dynamic Access Control that, while not new to Windows Server, has undergone a refresh. Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 will create audit events anytime a file is accessed, but auditing in Server 2012 is centralized and more sophisticated.

With file access auditing in Server 2012, you can track changes to central access rules and policies, claims definitions, file attributes, and, of course, data access.

If you have been or currently are a Windows server administrator, you already understand the importance of auditing. Auditing is critical for those aforementioned compliance regulations, where federal rules demand that certain organizations know who is accessing what. Auditing is also important for internal security—to protect a company’s intellectual property and to prevent data leakage.

While Microsoft has strengthened auditing with Windows Server 2012, the company is going even further, working with partners on solutions for powerful interpretation and analysis of audits. Microsoft’s own System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) will work with Server 2012 in providing audit analysis tools.

There are a couple of steps required for configuring auditing in a domain. First, you have to configure a Global Object Access Policy. Launch Group Policy Management and navigate to Computer ConfigurationPoliciesWindows SettingsSecurity SettingsAudit PoliciesObject AccessAudit File System Properties.

Check the boxes to enable “Configure the following audit events,” Success, and Failure. (See Figure 1.)

From the navigation pane, under “Audit policies,” double-click Global Object Access Auditing. Check the box next to “Define this policy setting,” and then click Configure.

The resulting window is the Advanced Security Settings for Global File SACL (security access control lists). Click Add, then “Select a principal.” For a global policy, you will typically select Everyone, Full Control, and then Permissions.

Here’s where you set the conditions you want to audit. For example, if you want to audit what’s happening with Payroll shares and files, you would set:

[Resource][Department][Any of][Value][Payroll]

Now, click OK three times and return to the navigation pane. From there, to finish configuration, click Object Access, double-click Audit Handle Manipulation, and make sure that “Configure the following audit events,” Success, and Failure are all checked.

Configuring an audit event in Group Policy Management
Figure 1. Configuring an audit event in Group Policy Management

Once you set up an audit policy for the domain, it’s good practice to force a Group Policy update. To verify whether your audit settings are correct—for example, on a shared folder you may have applied against—you modify a file in the share and check the Event Viewer for events 4656 and 4663.

 
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