Do you use Forefront products to protect your Exchange or SharePoint environment? Do you have more than one server that you’d like to manage centrally?
If your answer is “yes” to both of those questions, this post is for you! In this multi-part article, I’ll show you how to install and use Microsoft’s latest (free) Forefront management product:
Forefront Protection Server Management Console (FPSMC) 2010 (Release Candidate)
However, before we start, I’d like to provide you with some Forefront orientation. It seems that title “Forefront” is starting to mean so many things these days. Hopefully this table will help put some of the product names into perspective:
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That’s quite the moving target for us trying to learn!!
As you can see FPSMC has had a few different names so far. In fact, Microsoft was going to release this as “Forefront Protection Manager”. Talk about an identity crisis!
Now, if you are familiar with the existing Forefront Server Security Management Console (FSSMC) product, take a moment to note the differences between it and the new FPSMC:
So now that you have some background, let’s get on with it, shall we?
As I suggested above, FPSMC is a product we’d install to centralize our management of Forefront Protection 2010 for Exchange Server and SharePoint. It does this through a web-interface, SQL and FPSMC agents running on each Forefront-protected server.
For a brief intro on the console, read this help article excerpt:
…[FPSMC] deployment allows administrators to deploy various files and settings to all or selected servers in the enterprise. Using the FPSMC, you can deploy the following to remote servers:
- FPE and FPSP service packs and patches
- Policies for configuration management
- Forefront Protection product activation keys
- Scan engine signature file updates (to centralize the update procedure)
- Jobs that send reports on a fixed schedule
In addition, you can retrieve the following from remote servers:
- Quarantined data.
- Centralized reporting allows administrators to more closely monitor the servers in the enterprise and evaluate the effectiveness of antivirus software. The FPSMC collects statistics from all of its managed servers and stores them in a central repository for later analysis. Reports provide information about the trends in virus, filter, and update activity for each individual server or the entire enterprise.
Data retrieved by FPSMC will be stored in Microsoft SQL Server®. It can be stored in SQL Server 2008 Express Edition, which is a version of SQL Server with limited features. Alternately, data can also be stored on an existing Enterprise SQL Server 2008—locally or remotely—using SQL or Microsoft Windows® authentication.
In addition to the help article, here are some additional published resources on this product:
- Microsoft Forefront Server Security Management Console User Guide
- TechNet Webcast: Take Control with Forefront Server Security Management Console (Level 200)
- Whitepaper: Forefront Server Security Management Console: Simplified Management of Messaging and Collaboration Security
- While we’re on the topic of centralized Forefront Server Protection management, I’d like to point out that while we wait for this FPSMC Release Candidate to go Gold, you can manage your multi-server deployment with these scripts:
We’ll compare the scripts to the new FPSMC product later in this article.
In the next part of this article, we’ll identify the prerequisites for FPSMC and begin our installation.
Read Part 2: http://wp.me/pAAoj-8h
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