Home > Articles

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

Designing a Security Update Infrastructure

Many of the latest attacks to computers and servers with Microsoft operating systems have succeeded in spite of the fact that the patches to prevent these attacks were available on the Microsoft Web site prior to the attack. The attacker succeeded because the administrator had not yet installed the latest patches. Your design strategy should include a system to automate the installation of patches that are critical to the security of your network. You should be familiar with the tools that Microsoft provides with Windows Server 2003. Designing a security update infrastucture includes

  • Designing a Software Update Services (SUS) infrastructure

  • Designing Group Policy to deploy software updates

  • Designing a strategy for identifying computers that are not up to the current patch level

Designing a Software Update Services Infrastructure

Software Update Services (SUS) is new to Windows Server 2003 but is backward compatible to Windows 2000 servers running Service Pack 2 or higher. It is downloadable from the Microsoft Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/windowsupdate/sus/default.asp. You should download and install the SUS101SP1.exe file.

Your server needs to meet the following minimum hardware requirements to become a SUS server:

  • Pentium III 700MHz or higher

  • 512MB RAM

  • 6GB hard disk space

  • Windows 2000 Server with SP2 or later or Windows Server 2003

  • IIS 5.0 or later

  • Internet Explorer 6.0 or later

You can use SUS to update clients running Windows 2000 Professional and Windows XP Professional with the latest service packs. SUS enables an administrator to automatically download, test, approve, and install the latest critical updates and service packs from the Microsoft Windows Update Web site. Figure 3.12 shows the SUS administration site. You need to be familiar with the features of SUS, as identified by Microsoft, including the following:

  • Built-in security

  • Selective content approval

  • Content synchronization options

  • Server-to-server synchronization

  • Multilanguage support

  • Remote administration via Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) or Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS)

  • Update status logging

Figure 3.12Figure 3.12 You can manage SUS through a secure Web site.

Built-in Security

This one speaks for itself! You can't enhance security if your enhancement creates holes. The administrative pages of SUS are Web-based through IIS and are restricted to local administrators on the computer that hosts the updates. The synchronization always validates the digital certificates on any downloads to the update server. Any files that are not from Microsoft are automatically deleted.

Selective Content Approval

Updates are first downloaded to the server by running SUS synchronization. These, however, are not automatically available to the computers that have been configured to receive updates from that server. Instead, you can approve the updates before they are made available for download. This allows you to test the packages before deploying them.

Content Synchronization Options

You receive the latest critical updates and service packs from Microsoft through the process of synchronization. You can set a schedule for automatic synchronization at preset times. Alternatively, you can use the Synchronize Now button to manually synchronize the server.

Server-to-Server Synchronization

You can point your server to another server running Microsoft SUS instead of to the Windows update server. This creates a single point of entry for updates into the network, without requiring that each SUS server download updates from the external Microsoft source. In this way, updates can be more easily distributed across the enterprise.

Multilanguage Support

SUS supports the publishing of updates to multiple operating system language versions. You can configure the list of languages for which you want to download updates. You only need to download the languages that you will use. This greatly increases the speed of synchronization.

Remote Administration via HTTP or HTTPS

The SUS administrative interface is Web-based. This allows you to manage it remotely as if you were sitting in front of the server itself. Remote administration requires Internet Explorer (IE) 5.5 or later.

Update Status Logging

You can specify the address of a Web server to which the Automatic Updates client should send statistics about updates that have been downloaded and installed. These statistics are sent using HTTP. You can access them in the IIS log file of the Web server.

Designing Group Policy to Deploy Software Updates

Now that you've got the latest critical updates for your servers and clients synchronized into your SUS server, how do you get them into the clients and servers themselves? There is a hard way and an easier way. The hard way is to go to each client and manually change the Automatic Update settings within the properties of My Computer.

The easier way is to use Group Policy to change all of the computers that you need to change—simultaneously. You should configure the Group Policy to set the computers to the correct SUS server and then link the policy to the container in which the computer objects are located. You can configure those computers to automatically download and install the software or to notify the clients and let them make the decision to download and install it. Figures 3.13 and 3.14 show the Group Policy settings for SUS updates. To configure a Group Policy for SUS, perform the following steps:

  1. Open the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) or Group Policy tool.

  2. Expand Computer Configuration in the properties of the policy.

  3. Expand Administrative Templates.

  4. Expand Windows Update.

  5. Right-click Configure Automatic Updates to configure the settings for each computer.

  6. Right-click Specify Intranet Microsoft Update Service Location to configure the server from which to receive the updates.

Figure 3.13Figure 3.13 You can configure how and when clients receive updates.

Figure 3.14Figure 3.14 You can configure the server from which the client receives the updates.

Designing a Strategy for Identifying Computers That Are Not Up to the Current Patch Level

To provide a complete security plan, you need to make certain that all of your computers have the latest patches and security updates installed. You have many tools to choose from to assist you in scanning computers for the latest updates. These are available from Microsoft and other third parties. The Microsoft tools with which you should be familiar include the following:

  • Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer

  • Systems Management Server (SMS) and the SUS Feature Pack

Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer

You can use Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA) to scan for security-related updates on multiple computers. MBSA Version 1.1.1 includes both a GUI tool and a command-line interface tool. You can use these tools to perform scans of Windows systems on your network. MBSA runs on Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003 systems. You can perform scans of all Windows NT-based clients, including Windows NT Workstation and all later clients. You can also scan for updates to applications running on the clients, including Internet Explorer and Office applications, such as Office 2000 and later. The computer being scanned must be running IE 5.01 or later and XML parser software. Parser software can be downloaded from the Microsoft Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads.

Systems Management Server and SUS Feature Pack

Systems Management Server (SMS) and the SUS feature pack enable you to manage security updates throughout any size company. The SUS feature pack streamlines the security patch management process for you. The SMS software can be used to customize installations.

The Security Update Inventory Tool in SMS uses the MBSA program to scan all of the clients and servers and then creates a detailed Web-based inventory report. Then, you can use the software distribution features built in to SMS to distribute the required software to the clients and servers. The wizards built in to the tool ensure that only the updates that are missing are installed. No redundant or unnecessary updates are performed.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

Pearson IT Certification Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Pearson IT Certification and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Pearson IT Certification products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.pearsonitcertification.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020