Planning an ISA Server Deployment (Part 1)

Server Publishing: Server publishing is a very important part of business these days, as internal resources, such as web servers, are published so that users outside the protected network can access them. Other resources, such as email, must be published, so that mobile users can authenticate into the protected network and use them as well, while still securing them from unauthorized access. ISA server can securely publish these servers in a variety of scenarios, provided you have planned it well up front.

Extranet/Partner Requirements: Frequently, business and other organizations must develop partnerships and agreements to enhance and increase their business. In doing so, these partners may require secure entry into your network to access resources that are vital to your partnership, such as inventory or manufacturing data, for example. ISA server must be configured to allow this access securely while maintaining interoperability with your partner’s network.

Fault Tolerance: Plans must be made to ensure that your ISA server setup is robust and fault tolerant. Your company may have service level requirements that specify maximum allowable downtimes or response times. Planning for clustering, network load balancing, back up and restore plans, and installing ISA servers into arrays can ensure that you meet both your company’s and customer’s uptime requirements.

Planning the Roll-Out: The actual installation should be carefully programmed out in terms of testing, scheduled downtimes, personnel and equipment availability, and company business rules. Both management and users should be kept in the loop as to when things will happen and how long they will take, as well as what resources are required to get the deployment rolling. A carefully written, well thought out plan covering at least the things we discussed above should be developed by the network security personnel and approved by management. Additionally, contingency plans should be built in as much as possible to take care of things when they don’t exactly go according to plan.

That does it for Part One of Planning the ISA Server 2004 Deployment. In the next part, we’ll cover the planning needed to install the server itself, something as equally as important as the network infrastructure.