Lots of security-related news to catch up on. (Ed note: I’m one of the developers/maintainers of the Security Health Check 4.5 offering, so I try to keep abreast of developments at home and elsewhere in the industry.)

Alexandre Marins introduces the new Attack Surface Analyzer.

Attack Surface Analyzer takes a snapshot of your system state before and after the installation of product(s) and displays the changes to a number of key elements of the Windows attack surface.

Santos invites us to the beta of Security Compliance Manager 3.0, with new Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 baselines!

Security Compliance Manager 3.0 (SCM 3.0) is now available for download! SCM 3.0 is a free tool from the Microsoft Solution Accelerators team that enables you to quickly configure and manage both desktops and servers using Group Policy and Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager.

And Bruce Adamczak is busy learning Windows Server 2012 and dragging us along for the ride – this time, on the topic of Cluster-Aware Updating. He seems enthusiastic:

This feature is way cool, if you have ever had to patch a cluster before, you will want to learn about this. Just imagine patching a 16 node cluster by simply having to press a button. Each node one at a time will drain it’s resources and fail them over, Patch themselves, reboot if need be and fail the resources back. WOW!

Keeping clusters consistent is vitally important, so I’m happy Windows Server 2012 makes it easier to keep them in sync when applying updates – I remember once I was trying to work out why our SecHC data collection script was failing on a particular 2008 cluster node (but worked fine on the other one), and noticed that basically all script components had been regressed to a Windows 2000 version on that one node(!) Needless to say, that’s the sort of thing that leads to a larger discussion! What other application behaviours might have been affected when it was failed over?

Bonus link: I’m resetting all my online passwords and you should too.

Posted by Tristan Kington, MSPFE Editor, M. Information Systems Security (CSU)