URL Filtering Telemetry Package and Coverage Enhancements

 

With Forefront TMG Beta3, we introduced URL filtering leveraging the Microsoft Reputation Service (MRS). As we approach the Forefront TMG release candidate and release to market, we are working to improve the coverage and accuracy of our URL filtering offering and fine-tune it to address the Web traffic you see in your business.

As part of this effort, the MRS team has recently completed a significant database update, merging URL categorization data from partners such as Marshal8e6 and BrightCloud. Those of you who have installed TMG Beta3 and enabled URL filtering will begin receiving the enhanced data in the next several days. URL filtering database coverage and accuracy enhancements will continue to take place on an ongoing basis.

In order to further improve data quality, a URL filtering telemetry mechanism was developed. In brief, this mechanism allows the MRS team to review URL filtering data samples collected from participating Forefront TMG deployments. Based on those samples, the MRS team can analyze URL filtering coverage and accuracy, identify pain-points and address them accordingly. We consider this mechanism critical for ensuring a quality URL filtering service that addresses the kind of Web traffic you see in your business.

With that said, we are happy to announce the availability of the Microsoft URL filtering telemetry package. This package can be installed on top of Forefront TMG Beta3, and is now publicly available here. Please make sure to read the release notes before you install the package.

In future TMG releases, this mechanism will be built into the product and will not require a separate installation.

 

What’s in it for you?

 

Installing the Microsoft URL filtering telemetry package increases the likelihood that MRS will address coverage and accuracy gaps specific to your organization. Naturally, the sooner you opt-in to send URL filtering telemetry, the sooner the MRS team can analyze the data that matters most to you.  

 

What data is being sent to MRS?

 

Once you install the telemetry package, you will be automatically opted-in to the Microsoft telemetry service with basic membership (unless you were already signed in with advanced membership). In the context of URL filtering, this means reports collected by Microsoft from you include:

·         Random URL samples. The URLs are truncated to avoid disclosure of personal information.

·         The local list of URL category overrides.

·         A few statistical counters such as the ratio of requests that MRS failed to categorize.

·         Globally unique identifiers (GUIDs) to uniquely identify a Forefront TMG server for statistical analysis. The GUIDs are randomly generated during installation and do not contain any personal information or customer identity information.

In addition, basic telemetry membership includes Malware Protection and Network Inspection System (NIS) detection reporting. You can read more about these here.

 To help protect your privacy, Microsoft Telemetry Service reports are encrypted using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).

To learn more about privacy aspects of this release, please see our privacy statement.

 

Author

Dotan Elharrar, Program Manager – Forefront TMG

Reviewers

Avihai Dgany, Software Development Engineer - Forefront TMG

Vladimir Holostov, Senior Program Manager Lead - Forefront TMG

Yair Geva, Senior Development Lead - Forefront TMG

Benjamin Arai, Program Manager - Microsoft Reputation Service (MRS)

Nathan Bigman, Content Publishing Manager - Forefront TMG