Last week, Microsoft released Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview. Some information about new features like the Web Application Proxy role began to emerge from recent industry events, but there isn’t an awful lot to absorb at the moment. Having played around with the preview for a few days, I’m pleased to report that the new features look good. While there are always niggles and unsupported scenarios, the features themselves are bringing Microsoft’s Identity and Access Management (IAM) offerings nearer to parity with the industry leaders. These changes should be of particular interest for SharePoint on-premises and Office 365 customers, as a number of scenarios that were on the bleeding edge of ADFS/UAG capabilities have been brought into the fold with some important enhancements to ADFS, which isn’t just for federation anymore.
In short, we get a new Claims-Aware Reverse Proxy, Device Claims in and outside of the network, Multiple-Factor Authentication and other enhancements for making access control decisions on more than just a username and password. I’ve discussed all of these topics routinely over the last couple of years in SharePoint on-premises and Office 365 contexts, but the current provisions in ADFS and UAG are not as elegant as what we find in the preview, so I’m keenly exploring the new functionality and will try to keep the content flowing. In this post I will focus on the features themselves, as there’s a lot of new stuff and the implementation of this functionality will only be clear with a bit more information than what you’ll find online today. I’m kind of rushing this out after limited use because I know there’s a big appetite for knowledge about the Microsoft Reverse Proxy roadmap, so apologies for the incompleteness in advance.
Continue reading “Significant Identity and Access Management Improvements in Windows Server 2012 R2”
As this series of posts about SharePoint 2010 with Rights Management moves on, it moves further from SharePoint. In this post I’m describing the final steps in the RMS protection process, where RMS authenticates the requesting user and authorises actions with RMS-protected content.
In most configurations, RMS will rely on its internal AD Cache to reduce the number of LDAP queries for user attributes or Active Directory group membership. RMS typically queries this cache when users request a license. If RMS finds a matching e-mail address for a user, the allowed rights will be granted in a Use License, which will persist inside a document or on a user’s machine until the rights expire. LDAP queries are only issued if cached values don’t exist or if they have expired. After an LDAP query is issued, the response is used to process the immediate request and the values are stored in the AD Cache for later use.
Although this caching process should “just work” initially, there are a number of tiers where user information can fall out of sync. First and foremost, does the signed-on user have an e-mail address in Active Directory that matches the SharePoint User Information List? What happens if this e-mail address changes, or if it didn’t match initially? How can we invalidate stale AD Cache values? How long does the AD Cache persist? What’s in it? What needs to be considered when turning it off? In many cases the default AD Cache values will be suitable, but operational processes should be orchestrated with AD Cache settings in mind, whatever they may be. Cache invalidation processes should also be understood before they need to be invoked. I will explore these considerations in more detail here.
Continue reading “RMS AD Caching for SharePoint 2010 Users”
In the previous posts in this series about SharePoint 2010 with Rights Management, I’ve been looking at the user information requirements to successfully bridge gaps between SharePoint and RMS. In this post I will focus on a poorly documented RMS configuration requirement that is often overlooked and seems to cause many deployment headaches. This is the point of contact where SharePoint first requests RMS.
Continue reading “RMS Publishing Permissions for SharePoint 2010 Application Pool Identities”
In this series of posts on SharePoint with RMS, I’ve mostly focused on the ways things might go wrong if Active Directory data, User Profiles and User Information Lists are misaligned. Now, assuming SharePoint has a reliable Work E-mail value for a user, there are still a number of things that happen between the initiation of a request for RMS-protected content and interaction with it. In this post I will inspect a successful request for RMS-protected content from SharePoint 2010.
Continue reading “Inspecting an AD RMS Request from SharePoint 2010”
Continuing this series about the SharePoint 2010 IRM implementation, in this post I’ll keep looking at the Work E-mail Address attribute in the User Information List, but focus specifically on how the initial value in that field gets populated from different sources for different Authentication Provider Types. As with the fuller picture considered in the last post, this is a lot more complicated than anyone would expect at a glance, but it’s really the lynchpin of this functionality – thus the depth here.
Continue reading “How SharePoint 2010 Authentication Provider Types Alter the Initial Population of Work E-mail Address Values”
In the first part of this series about the SharePoint 2010 IRM implementation, I provided an overview of the technology and why we might use it to enhance SharePoint’s access controls. In this second article, I’ll look closely at the key piece of information that bridges the gap between SharePoint and a Rights Management Server – namely, a user’s e-mail address. RMS relies on a user’s e-mail address in this way outside of the SharePoint world as well; this is an RMS requirement. SharePoint’s implementation attempts to work with this, even though SharePoint doesn’t require a user to have an e-mail address for most things to work.
IRM support has been built in to SharePoint as a WSS (now Foundation) technology. WSS/Foundation don’t have a User Profile Service, so the e-mail address information that RMS requires needs to come from somewhere else. As we’ll see below, it wouldn’t be optimal to query Active Directory for that value whenever RMS-protected content is requested, so SharePoint uses the value it (hopefully) already has in the lowest common denominator (WSS/Foundation) user information container. As we’ll see, reliably populating and updating that information is less straight-forward than it would appear at a glance.
Continue reading “How SharePoint 2010 Finds and Updates a User’s Work E-mail Address”
In recent weeks Information Rights Management (IRM) protections for SharePoint 2013 have received a fair amount of attention, as IRM is now configurable per-tenant, which brings the capabilities to SharePoint Online, supported by Windows Azure Active Directory Rights Management (AADRM). This is great, and I’ll have more to say about these new technologies, but I feel there’s a fair amount of missing public information about the way it’s been working on-premises for many years, which will prove to be foundational for the new stuff. I won’t go back in time to MOSS 2007 to describe that support, but I believe the Classic Windows Authentication scenarios that I will describe for SharePoint 2010 are largely the same as in the earlier implementation.
This first post focuses on the relationships of a few apparently-distinct topics and the effects that these considerations have for a user accessing Rights Managed content in SharePoint 2010. Namely:
- How SharePoint publishes content with Rights Management protections using the User Information List’s Work E-mail value.
How that field gets initially loaded…
- If an entry is added to the User Information List when a user is granted access to a SharePoint Site Collection by name.
- If an entry is added to the User Information List when a user accesses a Site Collection for the first time, having been granted access by group or attribute previously.
- How each of these events vary if the user is authenticated with a SAML Claim, and how Claim Mappings for a SAML Claim Provider’s Trust Relationship can alter this experience.
How the User Information List’s Work E-mail value can change after the User Profile to SharePoint Quick or Full Synchronisation Timer Jobs have run.
- How the scope of users targeted by this timer job works by default.
- How the scope of users targeted by this timer job can be modified and the possible effects of choosing to make this change.
- How Active Directory Rights Management Server (AD RMS, or just RMS below) discovers and caches e-mail address values for a user.
- How changes to an Active Directory user’s mail attribute can have an impact on access to RMS-protected content in SharePoint.
As is no doubt evident already, this is complicated stuff, but in my view, quite necessary to understand if using RMS with SharePoint. These considerations become more important if e-mail addresses are fluid, or at scale, and especially critical if authenticating SharePoint with SAML Claims while using RMS. I’ve produced a process diagram to explain these variations in a single view, but first I will provide background details.
Continue reading “Protecting SharePoint 2010 with Information Rights Management”
Over the last year I’ve spent a decent chunk of my time shaping and delivering Identity and Access Management workshops for Office 365 projects at Content and Code. This is generally underpinned by Active Directory Federation Services v2.0 (ADFS). In fact I don’t think we’ve done a single Office 365 project without it. Along the way I’ve become acquainted with many of the nuances of the sign on and sign out experiences as they differ across Office 365 services, client applications and different (valid) network perimeter technologies. In this post I will mainly focus on the security implications of publishing ADFS through ISA or TMG Reverse Proxies in the place of ADFS Proxy servers. In the majority of our engagements we’ve considered this option (potentially allowing our clients to consolidate infrastructure) since ISA, TMG or similar Reverse Proxies are commonly deployed. Yet we need to evaluate with full awareness of how ADFS operates without a Claims-aware Reverse Proxy such as the ADFS Proxy. This gets pretty technical, so I’m assuming some high-level familiarity with ADFS, Reverse Proxies and Office 365.
Continue reading “Office 365 Single Sign Out with ISA or TMG as the ADFS Proxy”
Earlier this week, I had the misfortune of generating an error I’d never seen before when building a new SharePoint Server 2010 farm. The error first emerged when the SharePoint installation process landed me at the Farm Configuration Wizard page. I wouldn’t have been running it (not advisable ever, really), but it’s the first page that loads after the Product Configuration Wizard completes, so my first Central Administration page was this error:
The page cannot be displayed because your server’s current configuration does not support it. To perform this task, use the command line operations in Stsadm.exe.
How odd, given the emphasis on PowerShell in SharePoint 2010! After a bit of head scratching and examining application and ULS logs, I navigated to the Central Admin home page and everything appeared to be fine, but then when I got around to creating a new Site Collection a bit later, I got the same error, even though I was able to create web/service applications. I had the same error when logged on as farm admin, farm admin + local admin rights, farm admin + SQL SysAdmin and farm admin + domain admin rights, so I was pretty sure it wasn’t a permission issue (and I should note my temporary fiddlery here is only really suitable for non-production environments). This error also occurred on some other Site Collection-specific pages.
Continue reading “Active Directory Account Creation Mode in SharePoint 2010”
I’ve recently been involved in MOSS 2007 farm topology discussions with a client that was interested in using the Split back-to-back topology. After a lengthy troubleshooting and escalation process we’ve identified some problems with this TechNet extranet farm topology guidance in conjunction with Microsoft Tier 2 support. In short, the TechNet document identifies some supported topologies that span domains, but this incident has raised questions about:
- The acceptable placement of server roles in those topologies.
- Supported domain trust directions.
- Alternate Access Mappings requirements.
- Picking people from other domains.
This is an account of the relevant issues and the steps that we took to reach our conclusions. Continue reading “SharePoint Server 2007 cross-domain farm topologies”