Microsoft has introduced a significant feature enhancement to Windows Server 2012, Dynamic Access Control (DAC). This is big upgrade from the access control lists (ACLs) used in previous generations of Windows Server, giving enterprises a richer and more flexible authorization model at their disposal. The new functionality gives enterprises tools to more effectively control access to the vast amounts of data in Windows file shares, while complying with business, security and compliance policies. You can find an excellent introduction to Dynamic Access Control here and I expect Microsoft to publish much more information, as we get closer to the GA date for Windows Server 2012.
At Axiomatics, we have added a new feature to our core XACML engine – Axiomatics Policy Server – so that XACML authorization policies can be converted into a format recognized by the DAC function in Windows Server 2012. To implement DAC, Microsoft uses Security Descriptor Definition Language, or SDDL. The Axiomatics feature automatically translates XACML policies into SDDL format and loads the policies into your Windows Server 2012 Active Directory.
There are several benefits to the Axiomatics integration that will enhance Windows Server 2012 deployments, including:
- Leverage a central authoritative source of access policies: XACML access policies that are implemented across other applications in the enterprise can now be applied to Windows Server environments.
- Manage and control access to file server resources more easily: Policy languages provide, such as XACML, provide a more direct and flexible model for managing access to vast amounts of data spread across hundreds or thousands of servers.
- Meet audit and compliance requirements more easily: An externalized and authoritative source for access policies means you have fewer places to audit and certify the access controls for critical applications and data
- Report on who has access: Axiomatics provides advanced reporting tools to fully explore and validate your access control policies
- Consistently enforce access across applications and platforms: Enable your Windows Server 2012 to participate in a broader, central authorization service. In this mode, enterprises can ensure a consistent level of policy enforcement across the environment – based on the single, authoritative source of access policies.
- Best runtime performance: Windows Server 2012 performance is not impacted, since its normal internal access control mechanism is being utilized – there is no callout to an external authorization engine. This gives enterprises the best performance possible, but also provides the assurance that access control is being implemented according to centrally managed policies.
- Increase value of your XACML investment: Integration with platforms such as Windows Server 2012 or Microsoft SharePoint 2010 extends the reach of your XACML authorization system.
If you are planning to visit Microsoft TechEd 2012, please stop by our booth in the partner pavilion for a demonstration.