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Outlook Web Access Security - How safe is it ?

Posted on 2007-11-30
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We have SBS 2000 server and a broad band router with a basic firewall

At the moment the directors have vpns to allow access but are being charged a monthly fee for these.  

We want to allow other people access to OWA for email to work from any where from a cyber cafe to a laptop and hot spot.

My boss is worried about people hacking in and getting to sensitive information.

I can believe that Microsoft would develop this fantastic tool and it be wide open for abuse.

So my question is 2 fold .

1 How safe is OWA  in simple terms please, I have to show your answer to a "what is wrong with pen and paper" man.

2 What is the best way to implement OWA and associated security?

Many Thanks
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Question by:daniel8193
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cshepfam earned 250 total points
ID: 20381971
You have to make it secure by using SSL and Certificates.  That means your site will change from http:// to https://, which is a secure site, and you can implement certificates on it.  Follow this guideline:


http://www.petri.co.il/configure_ssl_on_owa.htm
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by:Sembee
Sembee earned 250 total points
ID: 20382063
How secure is it? If deployed correctly on a server that is fully up to date (and kept up to date), then it is secure as your weakest point - the users.
If you have deployed a good password policy, so you don't allow users to have blank passwords, or "password" then it will stand up to most attacks. I work on the principle that if someone wants to get in they will - which includes using other techniques to get to the data. That could be social engineering up to and including sleeping with the receptionist.
However what you want to do is deter the causal attackers who want to use your bandwidth. SMTP is usually attacked more than OWA.

As already pointed out you should deploy it with an SSL certificate. That means removing the self generated SSL certificate that SBS creates and putting in a commercial certificate. You can get these for US$60 from rapidssl.com
I also don't suggest opening port 80 on the firewall, make the users enter https and if they forget they will soon learn when they get the error. You have to be quite strong on that point as many users will complain that they cannot just type mail.domain.com/exhcange and get access. There are solutions that can change the URL for them, but they all require port 80 to be open on a firewall, which rather defeats the point.

As for the most secure deployment method? If you ask Microsoft it will be a separate ISA server in front of the Exchange server. However I rarely deploy that solution as I find the straight to Exchange 2003 with a commercial SSL certificate works well.

Simon.
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