Archive for the ‘Windows Server 2012’ Category

Configuring Dynamic Access Controls and File Classification-Part4-#winservr 2012 #DAC #microsoft #mvpbuzz

September 12, 2012 Leave a comment

Part1: The Windows Server 2012 new File Server–part 1- Access Condition

Part2: The Windows Server 2012 new File Server–part 2- Install AD RMS

Part3: The new file server part3 using file classification & AD RMS:

In previous parts we have walked through the new file server features and permissions wizard, Data Classification, AD RMS installation and File Classification and AD RMS integration, in the final part of this series we will take about how to implement a new feature of Active Directory called claim based authentication and utilize it for something called Dynamic Access Control.

but wait a minute, what is the claim based authentication, from this reference:

Claims-based authentication relies on a trusted identity provider. The identity provider authenticates the user, rather than every application doing so. The identity provider issues a token to the user, which the user then presents to the application as proof of identity. Identity is based on a set of information that, taken together, identifies a particular entity (such as a user or computer). Each piece of information is referred to as a claim. These claims are contained in the token. The token as a whole has the digital signature of the identity provider to verify the authenticity of the information it contains.

Windows Server 2012 turns claims into Active Directory attributes. These claims can be assigned to users or devices, using the Active Directory Administrative Center (ADAC). The identity provider is the Security Token Service (STS). The claims are stored inside the Kerberos ticket along with the user’s security identifier (SID) and group memberships.

Once the data has been identified and tagged – either automatically, manually or by the application – and the claims tokens have been issued, the centralized policies that you’ve created come into play.

Now you can turn user’s attribute whatever they are, into security controls, now we have the power to control the access to files and set the permissions to files using attributes, we no longer controlled by group permissions only.

With that in mind, you can set the permissions on the files based on department attributes, connecting machine, location or any other attribute in Active Directory and you don’t have to create specific groups for that, also the permissions will be set on the fly, not only that, but you can set the permissions not based on the user’s properties but also based on the device the user is using, you can set the permissions to full control from corporate devices, but readonly from kiosk or non-corporate devices.

Not only that, but you can also include the attributes of the resources that is being accessed in the permissions equation, so you want “on the fly” to examine the resource classification and allow only specific users with specific attributes to access the resource (so files classified of country classification “Egypt” will be accessed by only users who are in country “Egypt” for example).

Dynamic Access Control (DAC) is a new era for permissions, I am blown by the power of DAC and how flexible it is, mixed with AD RMS you can have ultimate control on data within your corporate.

Lab Setup:

We will use the steps described here in this TechNet article: , the steps here are illustration of the steps, and prior parts of the blog series (part 1 to 3) are used as foundation to demonstrate the final environment:

Implementation steps:

the first ting to configure is the claim type, claim types represents what are the data queried in the user/device/resource attribute and then used in the permission evaluation, you want to query about the country, you create a claim type for that, you want to use department you create a claim type for that.

In our Lab we will create a claim type of Department and Country:

to create a claim type open the AD Administrative Center  and go to Claim Types, and from the menu select new:


Create a new claim for Department :


and for Country :


In the Country, Supply suggested values (to specify values for the claims as Egypt and Qatar):


Note: By defaults claims are issues to users, if you want to issue it for computers you must select that on the claim

Create a new reference resource property for Claim Country:


Now got to Resource Properties  and enable the department claim;



Now let us create a Central Access Rule, This rule will include the template permissions that will be applied when the claims are matched with the rules defined in the CAR:


In the rule, specify the security principle you want to use, in this demo we will grant access to Finance Admins full control and Finance Execs read only access, and this will be applied to all files “resources” that is classified in the Finance Department, we can also go with devices claims and specify the country of this device or any other property that we can to query about the device:




The Final rules will be :


Now create a Central Access Policy that will be applied using GPO to all file servers and the Administrator can select and apply them on individual folders:


In the CAP, include the finance data rule:


No you need to apply this CAP using GPO and make it available to file servers, now create a GPO and link it to the file servers OU:


In the Group Policy Management Editor window, navigate to Computer Configuration, expand Policies, expand Windows Settings, and click Security Settings.

Expand File System, right-click Central Access Policy, and then click Manage Central access policies.

In the Central Access Policies Configuration dialog box, add Finance Data, and then click OK.


You need now to allow the Domain Controllers to issue the Claims to the users, this is done by editing the domain controllers GPO and specify the claims settings:

Open Group Policy Management, click your domain, and then click Domain Controllers.

Right-click Default Domain Controllers Policy, and then click Edit.

In the Group Policy Management Editor window, double-click Computer Configuration, double-click Policies, double-clickAdministrative Templates, double-click System, and then double-click KDC.

Double-click KDC Support for claims, compound authentication and Kerberos armoring. In the KDC Support for claims, compound authentication and Kerberos armoring dialog box, click Enabled and select Supported from the Options drop-down list. (You need to enable this setting to use user claims in central access policies.)

Close Group Policy Management.

Open a command prompt and type gpupdate /force.

Testing the Configuration:

Going to the file server, and clicking on our finance data file, we can now find the data classification that we specific in the Claims:


Now let us classify the data as Finance Department.


Note: In order to allow DAC permissions to go into play, allow everyone NTFS full control permissions and then DAC will overwrite it, if the user doesn’t have NTFS permissions he will be denied access even if DAC grants him access.

Now checking the permissions on the folder:


going to the Central Policy tab and applying the Finance Data Policy:


now let us examine the effective permissions:

for the Finance Admins:

If the user has no claims (so he is a member of the group but not in the finance department and is not located in Egypt) he will be denied access:


Now, let us specify that he is from Finance Department, no luck, Why?!

This is because he must access the data from a device that has claim type country Egypt:


Now test the Finance Execs Permissions and confirm it is working.

You can test applying this rule also when the following condition is set, and wee what happens:


Note: the above rule will grant use access when his department matches the file classification department, so you can have a giant share from mix of departments and permissions will be granted to files based on users’ departments.


Mixing DAC with AD RMS and file classification is a powerful mix that helps organizations with the DLP dilemma, and with Windows Server 2012 organization has total control for the first time on the files and data within the files. please try the lab and let me know your feedback


The new File Server–Part3-Using File Classification & ADRMS #Microsoft #winserv 2012 #mvpbuzz

September 10, 2012 2 comments

Part1: The Windows Server 2012 new File Server–part 1- Access Conditions #Microsoft #winserv 2012 #mvpbuzz
Part2: The Windows Server 2012 new File Server–part 2- Install AD RMS #Microsoft #winserv 2012 #mvpbuzz

In part1 we took a look to the new conditions that can be applied to the new security permissions GUI in Windows Server 2012, in Part 2 we continued in our lab and setup AD RMS in order to setup the stage for Part3.

In Part3, we will delve into the file classification infrastructure in Windows Server 2012, and we will see how to utilize file classification infrastructure and integrate it with the Active Directory RMS.

But first, what is file classification in Windows Server?, FCI (File Classification Infrastructure) is not new in Windows Server 2012, it has been there since Windows Server 2008 but it was a separate set of tools and commands that classifies the files at the file server level.

The FCI scans the folders/file shares and reads the files inside them and stamp or classify the files inside those shares or folders based on specific attributes, once the classification is done it could be read by Windows Server File Server or 3rd party products and take actions according to each file’s classification, below is a screenshot for how the file is classified, the below screen shows that the file is classified with country “Egypt” and Department “Finance”, you can add and classify documents in endless attributes to include priority, sensitivity, location, security clearance…etc


How the files and folders are classified?

You can classify the folders/files manually by right clicking on the folder/file and view its properties, going the classification tab you can specify the file classification manually, in the below screen I can select from the county classification either “Egypt or Qatar”, and I can specify the department between a wide range of departments that are provided by default and of course the list is customizable:



How to classify the files automatically?

In order to classify the files and folders automatically in Windows Server 2012, install the File Server resources manager, you can do that by adding the role from the “Server Manager”.

After installing the File Server Resource Manager, you can open the MMC console and you will be able to manager Quotas, Shares and file screening, and you will find the new section for file classification:


The File Classification Management has 2 section:

  • Classification Properties: this is used to define the classification attributes Like country/department in our example


In the above screen you will find 2 attributes (Country and Department) and their scope are global and this is because they are defined in AD (configuring these will be explained in details in part 4 when we talk about the dynamic access control), you can define your own local attributes like file sensitivity…etc.

Now if you want to classify the documents automatically, you will need to create a classification rule, the classification rule will classify the documents automatically based on the file attributes, scope of content, let us see how:

Customizing Folder Usage:

Folder usage is an automatic way to identify the data that is contained in folders, this is not classification it defines what data is contained in the folder, and this could be used in the classification later.

to customize the folder usage, open the Classification Properties  and double click on Folder Usage.

By Default, there are 4 types of data:

  • Application data.
  • Backup Data.
  • Group Data.
  • User Files

in this page you can create your own data types


I will create Engineering and financial Data types:


Now to define which files are used by the Engineering team and which files are used by the financial team, click on the empty space in the Classification Properties and Select Set Folder Management Properties:


In the property, select Folder Usage and define the folders that is used by each team or contains each data type, you can have infinite number of folders and definition but again this is not classification it defines folder usage which will be used in our classification rule later, so select the file path and define the data usage:


The final settings will be as following:



Create Classification Rules:

Now let us create some classification rules, From the File Classification Rules, create a new Rule:


In the Rule Name, Specify a rule name, In this rule I will classify a folder as financial data:


In the Scope you can specify you can specify the data usage to be classified automatically, we will use the financial data as well specifying a manual folder (share 1) also to be classified as financial data, now when you select the financial data the folder selection will include all the paths you defined in the previous step, you can also specify paths manually, the final settings will be as following:


In the classification tab we have 2 ways to set classification:

  • Folder Classification: this classifies all the in the folder with the specified classification rules
  • Content classification: this searches the files for specific patterns, keywords and using regular expressions you can go epic searching your data for specific contents and when the content match found, the files are classified accordingly, an example could be Credit card Numbers, Projects codes..etc This rule will classify the folders, we will create another rule that classifies the content, so the rule will be as following:


Note: The Department/Country Classifications are organization wide and created based on dynamic access rules, you will learn how to create these in details in next blog post (Part4), if you would like to go along with the lab and don’t want to jump to the DAC part yet, create local properties and use them.

In the evaluation cycle, you can specify either to continuously evaluate the data and either to overwrite or aggregate the data, in my example I will overwrite the data and this will make sure that any user level settings are overridden by the company rules defined here:


Now the rule is ready, let us create another rule that does content classification:


This rules classifies the data country, so I will include all the engineering and financial data usage:


In the classification, I will choose content, and classify data that matches the rule as country Egypt:


In the Parameters section, click on Configure, you will find a regular expression and data finding fields with strings and case sensitive strings:


In my case I will search the document for word Egypt and then classify it, you can use regular expression and complex statements in your rules and even multiple rules, also you can define the minimum occurrence and maximum occurrence to fine tune your rule:


The Final Rules will be as following:


Now let us see, in each folder, I have 2 files one contains the word Egypt and other is not, I have placed the file group in the financial and R&D folders, right now nothing is classified:



Now if we go and run the classification rules:


and let us see how it will work, and let us examine the classification report:


it worked as expected Open-mouthed smile, sweeeeeeeeeeet.

until now we have done nothing with the data classification, we just tagged the data as in Egypt or financial or not, but what is the point, there are 2 things we can using data classification for:

  • Encrypt the files using AD RMS.
  • Control file access using Windows Server 2012 Dynamic Access Control (DAC).

In this post we will see how to use the AD RMS, in part4 we will use the Dynamic Access Control.

Encrypt Files Dynamically based on Data Classification:

So far we are doing great, we classified and identified the folder usage and tagged the files with the proper classification, now we will take actions based on those classifications, in the below steps we will encrypt the document using AD RMS:

Configuring RMS to Allow File Server to request Certificate:

In order to allow the file server to automatically request certificate & encrypt the documents, you must configure some permissions on the ServerCertification.asmx on the RMS Server:

  • Read and Execute permissions for the File Server machine account.
  • Read and Execute permissions for the AD RMS Service Group

Create File Server Management Task:

      From the

File Management Tasks,

    Create a new task:


In the General Tap, give the rule meaningful name:


In the scope we can select Financial or Engineering scopes or select custom folder, I will select Financial scope and “Share 1” which is a custom path:


In the Action you have 3 options:

  • Custom: you can create your own command that does the action, you can use powershell scripts…etc
  • Expire: you can expire the files or in other words moving them to another folder “the expiry folder” for review and deletion.
  • RMS Encryption: You can specify a template or custom permissions to apply to files matching the criteria.

In this article we will apply RMS encryption, you can choose between a predefined RMS template or creating custom permissions, I will set it to custom permissions where everyone will get read only access and only “Finance User” will have full control:


In the notification, you can send notification to email address, maybe the folder manager, department head or administrator:


In the Conditions, I will specify the rule to encrypt all the documents that belong to finance, you can also choose to apply time conditions like last day since accessed, modified or created or file names patterns:


In the Schedule, you can specify the schedule to run the rule, you can also choose to run it continuously and monitor for new files:


Now the rule is ready and configured, let us run it and see the report:


So, As Expected the files were encrypted and now based on their tagging everyone has ready only access and only the finance user will have full control, Super!!!

This was a long article, we have talked about data classification, Usage and RMS encryption integration using File Management Tasks, using the above knowledge; you can enforce and control data within your organization and massively improve Data Leak Control within your organization.

In Part4, we will speak about Dynamic Access Control and how to control access on the fly using Windows Server 2012 DAC.

The Windows Server 2012 new File Server–part 1- Access Conditions #Microsoft #winserv 2012 #mvpbuzz

September 9, 2012 9 comments

Part2: The Windows Server 2012 new File Server–part 2- Install AD RMS #Microsoft #winserv 2012 #mvpbuzz

I am so excited about the new Windows Server 2012, a lot of nice features and a lot of enhancement but one particular enhancement I am so interested in was around file servers.

for years, File Servers have been the same, a normal share that resides on the server and accessed by users, that is what they are and what they do, nothing new to introduce.

But with the recent increase of security demand, and huge need for DLP (Data leak prevention) and with the believe that most of leaks happens from employees not from hackers or intruders, companies kept looking to enhance their file servers.

The question now days is not about who is accessing the files, but it is about auditing that access, continuously enforcing that access, controlling the access and additionally knowing what is on that share and what sort of data inside and from where it is accessed.

let us take a normal example, a file share is located on corporate network, in the old days the control was only enforced by the File share and NTFS permissions, but there are some catches:

  • if the user has permissions to access the file share, he can access it from everywhere, he can access it from a kiosk on the hotel, from his IPAD or tablet device without any control, as long as he has access to data using permissions he can do access it from anywhere (provided that there is a remote access).
  • if he got access to the share, does that mean that he is allowed to access the data within the share, for example a share that is created for the R&D team contains all the R&D files, but not all R&D team members ]have the same level of access, now if a confidential file has been mistakenly placed on the share, all of the users who have access to the share can see the confidential data. although users should be aware about data confidentiality, but the company must be able to continuously control the data access on the data files themselves without warring about human mistakes which happens, and this is a big portion of the DLP controls.
  • Controlling Access properties using groups are really tricky, and more often groups are created to reflect access criteria, so we have a group for Egypt’s Accountants, and another group for Qatar’s Accountants, and a third groups for Egypt’s Accountants with confidential data…etc and group counts can grow and grow to thousands and thousands of groups to reflect the needed level of access.

Windows Server 2012 comes with a lot of handy features that we will explore in this blog series, talking about Access Conditions, Data Classification, Dynamic Access Controls and Rights Management enforcement.

In Part1, we will explore the new security permissions wizard and the new device permissions in Windows Server 2012.

(My lab setup contains only 1 Domain Controller and 1 file Server both running Windows Server 2012 ENT Edition).

NTFS permissions and the new Device Rules:

I have now a normal file share that is shared with the finance admin group:


This is a normal group that has been created in AD and contains one user account (Finance User) who is a finance admin, he has read only access permissions, this is what we have been doing for the past 20 years.

Now, the company wants him to access the share only from specific group of computers (for the sake of this blog we will use normal blog, in part 3 we will talk about claims based authentication where we will explore claims authentication and we will be able to query the device claims on the fly for more properties and control and access dynamically).

Now I created a Group and Placed Finance User1 computer in it (in this case the File Server), this means that if he logs from the DC on that file share he will not be able to access it. let us see how:

If we go to the Security properties and the advanced share permissions, we can see the FinanceAdmin read and execute permissions, if we click Edit:


We Will see the new security permission wizard:


The above wizard has been enhanced to reflect more usability and control over the process, and also a new section called conditions, let us explore this condition section.

If you click Add a Condition , you will get a new line of condition to control the access:

now we can place some conditions on the user how is accessing, the resource he is trying to access or the device he is accessing from, now let us create a condition to give the user access from a specific device, the device can only be queried about its group membership in later blog post we will see how to query for more properties using claims, now we can select if it is a member of any or each or not member of specific groups, I will control using any and specific my group:


My rule will control the access based on the AllowedFinancePCs which contains the computers from where the financeadmin group can use to access the files, they can login to any device in the corporate by only access the files if they use specific devices to access it “Sweeeeeeeet” Open-mouthed smile:


Now, The final Security permissions will be like:


Now let us try it:

I logged on locally to the Fileserver, when I try to access the file I can’t although I have the permission and login locally but I am not using the authorized machine to do that:


if we examine the permissions using the effective permissions. if the user tries to login from the 2008DC machine he will have no permissions:


But if he tries from another machine from the allowedFinancePC group, he will have read permissions:


Note: During my lab I have tried the above setup and didn’t work, although conditions worked correctly for users, it looks like something that needs to be enabled or configured in specific way, I am pinging Microsoft folks and when I reach a solution I will update this blog.


In this lab we have explored the new options for setting access permissions, this is very powerful controlling who and from where can access the data.

In the next blog we will see the power of data classification in Windows Server 2012, Stay Tuned.

Upgrade your Active Directory from 2008 to Windows Server 2012 #Microsoft #winserv2012

September 6, 2012 8 comments

Windows Server 2012 introduces new ways of managing and configuring your Windows infrastructure, one of these components are the Active Directory.

First, Microsoft removed the famous “DCPROMO” and the functionality of installing and promoting a new Domain Controller is moved entirely to the Server Manager.

in this lab, we have a single DC that we would like to move all of its roles to a new fresh installed Windows Server 2012.

Configuration Steps:

1- Install your Windows 2012 Server and Join it to the Domain.

2- open Server manager and from tasks, select “Add Roles and Features”:



3- In the Welcome screen click next:


4- In the select Installation type, select Role-based:


5- in the select server, select the desired server or server group (for server groups refer to my previous article “Windows 2012 first look”:


6- from the list of roles, select Active Directory Domain Services:


7- Active Directory Domain Services in Windows Server 2012 depends on other roles/features, you must add them, the wizard will add them if they are not pre-installed, so accept adding those missing roles/features:



8- In the installation summary, review your selection, also you might want to restart the Server directly after installation completes:


Until this point, we have not actually configured the server as domain controller, we were just adding the roles, after completing the installation, the wizard will inform you that there is post installation configuration to configure this server as domain controller, select more


In the following screen you will find the post deployment tasks are pending:


1- When you select the “Promote this server to domain controller” the following wizard opens:


from the previous screen you can select to install new forest, new domain or a new forest, in our case we are upgrading so select “add a domain controller to an existing domain”.

Note: you have the option to select the domain information if you have multiple domains.

Important Note: if this is the first Windows Server 2012 DC to be installed in the forest and you didn’t extend the schema yet, then you will need to make sure that this account has the necessary permissions to extend the schema (Enterprise Admin/Schema Admin), otherwise the setup will fail.

In Windows Server 2012, you don’t need to extend the schema separately as the wizard will handle this for you, unless you really want to perform it in a separate step.

If you do not run adprep.exe command separately and you are installing the first domain controller that runs Windows Server 2012 in an existing domain or forest, you will be prompted to supply credentials to run Adprep commands. The credential requirements are as follows:

  • To introduce the first Windows Server 2012 domain controller in the forest, you need to supply credentials for a member of Enterprise Admins group, the Schema Admins group, and the Domain Admins group in the domain that hosts the schema master.
  • To introduce the first Windows Server 2012 domain controller in a domain, you need to supply credentials for a member of the Domain Admins group.
  • To introduce the first read-only domain controller (RODC) in the forest, you need to supply credentials for a member of the Enterprise Admins group.

2- from the Domain Controller Options, select if this server will be a Global Catalog and DNS server or not, since we are upgrading, we need to make sure that this server is a DNS and GC, also select the site where this server will be assigned to:


3- in the DNS delegation page, next:


4- In the additional options, you might have to select Install from media or replicate from a specific DC, or let it automatically:


5- Review the Paths for NTDS, SYSVOL, customize them if needed:


6- In the prerequisites check, make sure that you passed successfully and Install.


7- After installation finishes server will reboot and you will AD DS role installed and the server is identified as a DC:



You can now run “DCPROMO” on the old server to remove it, if it is a single server environment the FSMO roles will be moved to the 2012 DC, if not and you have multiple servers then you can move them as before from the ADUC and ADDT MMCs.

Raising the Forest/Domain Functional level:

Raising the Forest/Domain levels is needed only to enable one new feature: the Support for Dynamic Access Control and Kerberos armoring KDC administrative template policy has two settings (Always provide claims and Fail unarmored authentication requests) that require Windows Server 2012 domain functional level. otherwise and if you are not using these and not comfortable with raising the Forest/Domain Function yet, don’t.

You have successfully upgraded you domain controller, congrats.

The Scale-out File Server Design Criteria #Microsoft

September 5, 2012 Leave a comment

So Scale-out file servers are a super cool feature from Windows Server 2012, but is it for every file server use, let us see:


You should not use Scale-Out File Server if your workload generates a high number of metadata operations, such as opening files, closing files, creating new files, or renaming existing files. A typical information worker would generate a lot of metadata operations. You should use a Scale-Out File Server if you are interested in the scalability and simplicity that it offers and you only require technologies that are supported with Scale-Out File Server.

and the below table is a nice reference from the same page to compare traditional clustered file server Vs. scale-out ones

Scale-Out File Server Support List

so what are the design and selection criteria for scale-out file servers, the usual answer is “it depends”.

from my point of view, SO file servers are not for every use, although it offers greater scalability and performance for some workloads like SQL cluster and Hyper-v, it doesn’t really go well with the regular end-user usage for file servers as they generate a lot of metadata, also you will lose a lot of handy features like de-duplication, FCI and DFS.

So be careful when selecting your SO FS and make sure that you really need them, they are note for every use.

Windows 2012 Administration–First impression #Microsoft #win2012 #windows2012

June 7, 2012 Leave a comment

I started my test drive for Windows Server 2012 yesterday, I was late behind until the RC, I don’t like the betas (unless of course for Exchange and Lync) as I always tend to wait for the RC and start taking the learning curve.

One of the most impressive thing about Windows Server 2012 is its administration, first let us take a look on how it is effective and productive the new Windows Server 2012 administration:

the first, you will not the new server manager, it is very awesome and starts directly after windows login, and it enables you to open and administrate every aspect of the server:

for example in my labs I like to disable windows firewall, previously I had to go to start menu, administrative tools and then choose the windows firewall, or if you are in server manager you have to go to the top menu and chosoe the windows firewall.

in Windows Server 2012, and from the server Manager console and from anywhere I am I can go tools and open the event viewer, the firewall or any preferred tool listed in the tool section


now let us change the computer name, instead of going to the computer properties , all what you need is to go the local server and choose the settings you want to modify:


now let us add a group of servers to manage:

from the dashboard you create a group of servers, I will create a group of my Windows Server 2012:


Now I created a group and added my Windows Server 2012 Servers:


now I can go to the group and find them listed there:


now I can click on the server and manage it, add roles to it RDP


I loved how it is easy and effective to manage now server 2012, the new server manager is way too awesome and effective and the new management capabilities is great. WAY TO GO Windows Server 2012

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