How Microsoft Manages Its Security

I'm sure most of you regularly look for ways to improve the security of your networks. Sometimes learning how other organizations manage their security lends insight into ways you could tweak your own methods. Last week, Microsoft released the document "Security at Microsoft," which explains how the company manages its IT security.

The entire document is interesting; however, you might find some sections more interesting than others. For example, Microsoft explains that to secure its perimeter, it uses smart cards for remote access, customized profiles, and scripts to check the configuration of remote computers for security policy compliance.

The company has more than 4000 wireless Access Points (APs) around the world that let approximately 31,000 employees connect to the network. Each wireless client must be authenticated using 802.1x protocols, Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP), Transport Layer Security (TLS), and certificates. All wireless connections are encrypted, and wireless clients are periodically reauthenticated during connectivity sessions. Rogue APs are prohibited, and the security group scans for such devices.

As a software manufacturer, Microsoft maintains several specialized networks, including development networks, test networks, and of course support networks. These networks have different requirements for security policies and controls, so the company doesn't have a simple blanket policy for all its networks. Security is more stringent in some network areas than in others.

Some other interesting tidbits you'll learn when you read the document are that each month, Microsoft experiences some 100,000 intrusion attempts and quarantines more than 125,000 email messages that contain viruses and the like. I'm not sure how much junk mail the company filters out each month, but I'd guess the figure is well into the millions of messages.

You can find "Security at Microsoft" at the URL below. Be sure to check it out. You might find some ideas that you can use to better protect your own networks.

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