Secure Migration to Windows 2000: Page 2

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It Helps To Be Prepared
Launching a migration to Windows 2000 will require careful planning and significant resources. The following guidelines, which reflect the complexity of the operation, may help you prepare for migration:

  • Assemble a network lab with at least 15 to 20 machines to test interoperability with any other operating systems, including Microsoft's, as well as Linux/BSD/UNIX, NetWare, Macintosh, etc.

  • Include lab facilities for Exchange, SQL Server, and Systems Management Server.

  • Find an internal group to be early adopters. The best candidates are those with minimal internetworking needs. Segment the early adopter's network with a firewall to avoid inadvertently opening holes to the outside world.

  • Avoid placing Windows 2000 servers in forward-position jobs, such as Web servers and Remote Access Servers until the end of the project.

  • Allow more time to prove interconnectivity for large, heterogeneous networks.

  • The noise has died down, as Microsoft has clarified its interoperability with the various implementations of Kerberos on UNIX. This is accomplished chiefly through Active Directory Service Accounts, which allow subsets of Kerberos functionality. True Active Directory clients for non-Microsoft platforms may be on the drawing board, but don't expect an early release.

    Don't Let Your Guard Down

    Microsoft's track record for securing the previous versions of Windows is less than brilliant. Critics charge that the company allows hackers to do much of its R&D work. Of course, Microsoft sees the constant attempts by hackers to penetrate its products as an unfortunate price of having the largest server market share.

    Ultimately, a secure migration to Win2K will depend on adequate staffing and sufficient funding. Management must provide sufficient staffing and training resources to simultaneously maintain the existing system while launching the new one. An IT staff wrestling with newly introduced technologies cannot be expected to maintain the same level of security during migration without preparation.

    Time will be the judge of Microsoft's success with Windows 2000. If W2K migration is in your company's immediate future, you'd be wise to remember that Microsoft is first and foremost a marketing company. R&D for security should follow the new product line since officials in Redmond have little interest in nurturing yesterday's revenue streams.

    Furthermore, hackers will continue to be pleased with the company's business imperatives because easy exploits like password compromises will remain accessible for years to come. Given this unstable climate, and as widespread adoption of Windows 2000 commences, secure your migration to Windows 2000 by preparing your IT staff and not losing sight of ever-present and ever-changing security concerns. //

    Brett Regan Young works for the Netigy Corporation in Houston. Netigy provides comprehensive eCommerce solutions, including secure migration to Win2K. Send your migration horror stories to: brett.young@netigy.com.

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