Microsoft has released the trail version of Windows Server 2012 in this September. Meanwhile, Microsoft also announces that they will extend Windows Server 2008 support for 18 months. It is indeed welcome news to IT pros who haven’t decided to upgrade to Windows Server 2012 for at least a year. The related issues on the security of Windows Server 2008, such as Windows 2008 password recovery, therefore, still discussed heated recently. And also, users tend to make comparison between the security performances of the two operating systems.
The extension support for Windows Server 2008, the old but still popular operating system, is in order to give IT pros some breathing room so that they can prepare for Windows Server 2012. The new server will probably take a year or more to test and perhaps two or more years to adjust its related applications. Application compatibility is an important reason why the upgrade of Windows Server this time takes so long a time. Many vendors’ applications can only run in a 32-bit environment rather than on Windows Server 2012 in health care field, for instance.
However, the most important reason, I think, lies in the unpredictability of security performance in Windows Server 2012. As we all know, Windows Server 2008 has been generally regarded as one of the safest operation systems. And we can see it is especially welcome by many enterprises considering its powerful security performance. In Windows Server 2012, we can see some features are carried forward in Windows Server 2012. Take Windows Server 2008 password as an example. There are many password policies designed to protect Windows Server 2008 password security. By default, the password created by users need to meet the password complexity requirements, which make it much harder to be cracked. Meanwhile, the password should be changed within a limited time so that hackers have less time to crack the password. Now, in Windows Server 2012, the password policies are almost kept the same.
Windows Server 2012, as the successor of Windows Server 2008, has been made many changes in order to make the system safer. Firstly, we can see that, just as in Windows 8, Windows Server 2012 uses Early Launch Anti-Malware to prevent unknown drivers to load on boot by default. And Secure Boot is also used to avoid boot code running unless it’s digitally signed so that it is more difficult for malicious code to run at boot time when compared to that in Windows Server 2008. Besides, though the DNSSEC doesn’t work well in non-Windows environment in Windows Server 2008 R2, now, with a GUI, Microsoft develops it to fully interoperable. What’s more, we can see that a network protector mode is designed for BitLocker in Windows Server 2008. Meanwhile, it can support hardware-encrypted drives. In Windows Server 2008, IT administrators have to physically input a password on each boot. As a result, to make the remote administration of encrypted systems seems to be a hard job.
Even so, we may also think of Windows Vista. Microsoft has made great efforts to add many new and advanced functions on Windows Vista. Also, many IT insiders raise high expectation on it. However, by now, there’re too many security flaws have been found in Windows Vista, which results to fewer and fewer Vista users. Will Windows Server 2008 Security Performance be lagged far behind by that of Windows Server 2012? The outcome is still uncertain.