Features Microsoft ISA Server 2004
Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2004 is a legacy application-layer firewall, virtual private network, and Web cache technology that enhances network performance and helps to secure business networks from web-based threats. Microsoft ISA Server 2004 provides protection, manageability, and fast and secure access for multiple varieties of networks. ISA Server 2004 safeguards environments that host Microsoft applications such as Microsoft Web Outlook, Internet Information Services (IIS), Microsoft Office SharePoint, MS Routing and Remote Access Service, and Active Directory.

ISA Server performs intensive inspection of Internet protocols such as HTTP, enabling it to detect numerous threats that traditional firewalls don't detect. The combined firewall and VPN design of Microsoft ISA Server 2004 supports stateful inspection of all VPN traffic. The firewall also provides VPN client security for Windows Server-based isolation technology, helping to protect networks from threats that enter via a VPN connection. In addition, an intuitive user interface, configuration wizards, and a host of management resources allow IT managers to eliminate typical security configuration errors.

Microsoft ISA Server 2004 includes powerful management features to simplify critical processes such as policy specification, traffic flow, server registration, and monitoring. ISA 2004 draws on Microsoft Windows Server protection, directory, VPN, and bandwidth management. The firewall and cache can be deployed on individual servers or integrated on a single physical computer. In either scenario, ISA Server 2004 can dramatically strengthen network protection, enforce unified Internet use policy, accelerate Internet connectivity, and improve employee efficiency.

ISA Server was rebranded Forefront Threat Management Gateway, or TMG, and subsequently this software firewall platform was discontinued by Microsoft. Most new firewall solutions are based on dedicated physical appliances that can provide the performance needed to deliver multi-layered protection against a wide range of threats without becoming a network bottleneck. These hardware devices are available from a variety of companies that include Cisco, Barracuda, Check Point, SonicWall and WatchGuard. (See to Cisco ASA firewalls with Firepower Services integration consulting.) Progent's firewall planning and integration consultants can assist your organization to manage your ISA Server or Forefront TMG system or assess the business value of migrating to a modern firewall platform. If you want to upgrade your firewall infrastructure, Progent can assist you to plan and carry out an efficient migration, test and optimize your new security ecosystem, train your management team, and provide ongoing consulting and troubleshooting services.

Key Features of Microsoft ISA Server 2004
Key features that differentiate ISA Server 2004 from ISA Server 2000 and other older firewall products include ISA 2004's more advanced management features, simplicity of operation, and ability to deliver a faster and more secure interface to the Internet.

  • Improved Protection
    ISA Server 2004 is designed to protect against attacks by performing stateful packet filtering and circuit filtering. Stateful packet filtering decides what packets will be permitted to travel to the protected circuit and application-layer proxy services. This filtering intelligently enables ports only as appropriate and then disables the ports when the communication ends. Circuit filtering offers application-transparent circuit gateways for mixed-platform access to Windows Media platforms, Telnet, IRC, and various other Internet protocols. The circuit-layer security of Microsoft ISA Server 2004 works with on-the-fly packet filtering to improve security and ease of use. In addition to stateful packet and circuit filtering, Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2004 also controls application-specific data with application, command, and data-aware filters. Through smart filtering of Virtual Private Networks, HTTP, File Transfer Protocol, Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, POP3, DNS, H.323 conferencing, streaming media, and RPC traffic, ISA Server 2004 can allow, block, redirect, and modify traffic based upon its contents.
  • Ease of Use
    ISA Server 2004 is flexible and easy for administrators to operate. ISA 2004 includes multinetworking architecture functions, unified VPN, firewall management via a powerful GUI policy editor, easy-to-use network templates, streamlined wizards, and a variety of troubleshooting tools. Microsoft ISA Server 2004 also simplifies firewall setup by automatically initializing both firewall and Web-caching components. In addition, it allows exporting setup parameters to XML, real-time firewall traffic monitoring, and firewall user communities.
  • Fast and Secure Access
    ISA Server 2004 provides fast and secure Internet connectivity by integrating VPN functionality into the firewall design, speeding up Web caching, and maximizing firewall filtering processes. Integrated IPsec tunnel mode functions for site-to-site VPN connections makes it simple to interface ISA Server 2004 to branch office Virtual Private Network providers. IPsec tunnel mode support also provides deep VPN client inspection and firewall policy support for Windows Server 2003-powered quarantine technology, offering an organization's user groups more protection. Support for advanced third-party filters and a full-featured software development kit further extend the power of Microsoft ISA Server 2004.
New Features of ISA Server 2004
Microsoft ISA 2004 offers numerous new features and enhancement, particularly when installed on a network running Microsoft Windows Server 2003 or later. These include:
  • A new, intuitive user interface
  • Support for multiple networks
  • Improved VPN support
  • VPN quarantine capabilities
  • Ability to create custom firewall user groups
  • More extensive protocol support
  • Customized protocol definitions
  • Microsoft Outlook Web Access (OWA) Publishing Support
  • Improved support for FTP upload/download policy
  • Port redirection for server publishing rules
  • Improved cache rules for centralized object storage
  • Path mapping for Web publishing rules
  • RADIUS support for Web proxy client authentication
  • Delegation of basic authentication
  • SecurID authentication
  • Firewall-generated forms (forms-based authentication)
  • Improved SMTP Message Screener and HTTP filtering
  • Improved monitoring and reporting
How Progent's Consultants Can Help You with Microsoft ISA Server 2004
Firewalls and security rules are difficult to plan and implement in a way that is optimized for your business. Security rules that are too severe can impede operations and reduce worker efficiency, but overly lax policy makes your system vulnerable to attacks. Progent's Microsoft certified consultants have extensive experience creating Microsoft-based security solutions for IT environments with multiple locations, remote workers, and line-of-business web applications. Progent can provide your organization access to a security professional who can support and troubleshoot your ISA Server 2004 environment. Progent can also assist you to plan and execute a non-disruptive Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2004 to Forefront Threat Management Server 2010 upgrade so your business can take advantage of Microsoft's most advanced firewall technology.

Progent's Consulting Services for Microsoft Technology
Progent has earned a Microsoft Partner certification in the Server Platform competency and Progent's engineers can provide online consulting and troubleshooting services for the complete family Microsoft's .NET servers, Windows Server, and Microsoft Dynamics applications. Progent's services include system design, installation, and maintenance. Progent's world-class online support can significantly reduce IT service expenses and maximize network uptime.

To ask Progent about engineering support for ISA Server or Forefront TMG firewall technology, phone 1-800-993-9400 or visit Contact Progent.

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