Get to know Windows Server 2003's Security Configuration Wizard

Among the included improvements and additions, SP1 features the Security Configuration Wizard. Learn more about this new tool.

Security threats seem to increase on a daily basis, so it should come as little surprise that a major focus of Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 is security.

Among the included improvements and additions, SP1 features the Security Configuration Wizard, which helps administrators disable unnecessary services, block unused ports, and more. Let's take a closer look at this new tool.

The Security Configuration Wizard allows administrators to create security policies that they can then apply to various servers in their environments. For example, using the wizard, you can enable role-based configuration, which helps lock down the server, only opening the services and ports that are really necessary to perform a particular task. In addition, this wizard supports group policy deployment to make it easier to push out policy changes to other machines on the network.

To install the Security Configuration Wizard, follow these steps:

  1. Install Service Pack 1 on your Windows Server 2003 machine.
  2. Go to Start | Control Panel, and double-click Add Or Remove Programs.
  3. Select Add/Remove Windows Components, select the Security Configuration Wizard check box, and click Next.

Once you've installed the tool, you can use it to provide a consistent security template across all your machines. Used in conjunction with the Windows Automatic Update Service and/or a strict patching policy as well as the other new security features included in SP1, Windows seems to be becoming more secure, a task Microsoft appears to be taking more seriously.

Scott Lowe is currently the IT director for a national legal association, where he runs the day-to-day operations, plans the long-term strategy of the IT group, and provides technical advice and assistance to the membership.