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  • Introducing Secret Server 8.5 Pt. 1: Session Recording Retention and Session Monitoring

    Secret Server 8.5 adds a number of new features and functionality. These new features are pretty awesome, so we decided this release deserves a little extra showcasing. Check back each week through April to learn something new about 8.5 and how it will increase your team’s overall security and productivity. Today we are going to focus on speed and scalability. Enjoy!

    An upgrade to .NET Framework 4.5.1 isn’t the only major change Secret Server 8.5 brings with it. Our latest version of Secret Server also includes scalability enhancements for Remote Password Changing, Heartbeat and Discovery. Simply put, a lot of processes just got a whole lot faster.

    Multi-threading Magic

    Remote Password Changing, Heartbeat and Discovery can now take advantage of multi-threading to improve performance and scalability. Secret Server will utilize 80% of your server’s processors, leaving a remaining 20% to maintain performance of Secret Server’s interface. What does this mean? Greater performance with overall speed scaling with the power of your Secret Server machine.

    You can see the maximum degrees of parallelism of your primary server on Secret Server’s Diagnostics page.

    Max Degrees of Parallelism

     

    Speedy Remote Password Changing & Heartbeat

    With multi-threading, Secrets queued for Remote Password Changing can now have their password changes handled simultaneously. This gives you seriously increased speed! Additionally, Remote Password Changing uses intelligent batching to manage the queue of Secrets, ensuring that Secrets and privileged accounts are never changed in the same batch. The scalability improvements also apply to Secrets using Agent for Remote Password Changing.

    Before the 8.5.000000 upgrade, password changes were executed one at a time:

    Before password changes were executed one at a time

    After 8.5.000000 upgrade, multiple password changes are executed at once:

    Remote Password Changing After

    Lightning Discovery

    Secret Server’s Discovery feature, in addition to using a multi-threaded approach for scanning your machines, takes an improved approach to service account scanning to reduce scan time by up to 20 seconds per computer. Combining these two enhancements to Discovery makes scanning hundreds or thousands of computers faster than ever before!

    Are the speed enhancements to Remote Password Changing, Heartbeat and Secret Server 8.5 adds a number of new features and functionality. These new features are pretty awesome, so we decided this release deserves a little extra showcasing. Check back each week through April to learn something new about 8.5 and how it will increase your team’s overall security and productivity. Today we are going to focus on taking control of launched sessions. Enjoy!

    While every action to a Secret is audited, administrators of the Enterprise Plus edition have the option to add Session Recording for sensitive accounts or servers. For those of you who are not already familiar with this feature, Session Recording records a video of the session launched from Secret Server and stores it in the Secret audit.

    Introducing Session Monitoring:

    Those of you with security responsibilities get excited, because 8.5 brings you a whole new level of control. Session Monitoring is a new feature that gives Secret Server administrators the ability to see what sessions currently are open.

    Administrators now have a real-time view of all the sessions launched from Secret Server, can watch the live feed of a session, and terminate sessions immediately or send a message directly to the user. Imagine seeing a list of active sessions directly from your dashboard, be able to stream the live video feed and end the session immediately, or send a note, like, “Hey Bob, I need the server. Can you finish up soon?”

    SessionMonitoring_Image2

    Session Recording Enhancements:

    With the 8.5 release, we added Microsoft Video Codec 9 to our list of available codecs (joining XVID, DIVX and Microsoft Video Codec 1). We also changed how the sessions are stored, to give you more storage space flexibility.

    Why did we do this? Depending on how many sessions you record, how long each session lasts, and what video codec was used, video recordings can take up a lot of space within the Secret Server database!

    What did we change to make this better? First, we now allow administrators to choose where session recordings are stored, whether in the database or a disk. Second, we now have a configurable expiration date for videos. Once a video is expired, Secret Server will automatically purge the old recording, freeing up your disk space.

    Session_Retention

    Secret Server Session Recording Edit

    Stay tuned next week…

    Secret Server 8.5 is packed with features to improve functionality and your security options. Check back next week to learn more about 8.5. Want a sneak peek? We’ll be discussing performance enhancements to Discovery, Remote Password Changing and Heartbeat. Do you already have a favorite 8.5 feature? Let us know in the comments!

     your favorite 8.5 feature so far? Don’t worry there is more to come! You’ll just have to check back next week for the next 8.5 feature showcase. Here’s a little hint, we’ll be talking membership. See you next week!

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