Security Blog

TechEd 2012: Windows 8 and MBAM 2.0 Bring Enhanced Security Features

Microsoft TechEd 2012 was last week in Orlando, and Microsoft used the event to tout some of the enterprise-friendly features the new OS will offer customers that make the switch. Granted, many IT pros I've spoken with aren't all that eager to jump on the Windows 8 bandwagon, but it's undeniable that Windows 8 improves upon the already impressive security feature set offered in Windows 7.

I've written about some of the new Windows 8 security features already, but Microsoft released some additional Windows 8-friendly details about the beta version of Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM) 2.0, which is now available for download.

Part of the Microsoft Desktop and Optimization Pack (MDOP), MBAM has been a valuable tool in helping Windows 7 users (and admins) encrypt and secure both fixed and removable hard drives. In a blog post on Microsoft's Springboard Series blog, Stephen Rose, a senior product manager for the Windows Commercial Team, stressed that the latest revision of MBAM is designed to work "better together" with Windows 8, and offers improved speed of deployment when used with Microsoft's upcoming client OS.

"We found that even with Used Disk Space Only Encryption, provisioning BitLocker can still take quite a bit of time," Rose writes. "Windows 8 devices that are equipped with a new type of disk drive called an Encrypted Hard Drive can be provisioned with BitLocker protection within seconds, regardless of the disk size. In this case, BitLocker offloads all of the encryption tasks to specialized hardware on the disk drive, while BitLocker will perform all of the key management functions. Essentially, Encrypted Hard Drives are effectively already encrypted from the moment they are turned on."

BitLocker and MBAM have grown into a powerful pair of tools worthy of inclusion in any security-minded IT professional's toolbox, and these recent updates promise to make MBAM even more useful. If you need more convincing that BitLocker and MBAM are worth a look, Windows IT Pro contributor Jan De Clercq has written a must-read article that outlines all the changes that Windows 8 brings to BitLocker.

So are you an active BitLocker user or administrator? Share your thoughts by adding a comment to this blog post or contributing to the discussion on Twitter.

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