Federation Safeguards for Lync Server 2010


Topic Last Modified: 2011-07-17

Federation provides your organization with the ability to communicate with other organizations’ Access Edge Servers to share IM and presence. If you have enabled federation on the Access Edge service, access by federated partners is controlled using one of the following methods:

  • Allow automatic discovery of federated partners. This is the default option during the initial configuration of an Access Edge service because it balances security with ease of configuration and management. For example, when you enable automatic discovery of federated partners on your Access Edge service, Microsoft Lync Server 2010 allows any federated domain to send communications with you and automatically evaluates incoming traffic from federation partners and limits or blocks that traffic based on the trust level, amount of traffic, and administrator settings.

  • Allow discovery of federated partners, but grant a higher level of trust to specific domains or Access Edge Servers that you specify on the Allow list. For example, if you want to grant a higher level of trust to partners using the SIP domain contoso.com and fabrikam.com, add these two domains on the Allow tab. Restricting discovery in this way establishes a higher level of trust for connections with the domains or Access Edge service that you add to your Allow list, but it still provides the ease of management that is possible by discovering other federation partners that are not listed on the Allow tab. A Block Domain option is also available to allow filtering of SIP domains.

  • Do not allow discovery of federation partners and limit access of federated partners to only the domains or Access Edge Servers for which you want to enable connections. Connections with federated partners are allowed only with the specific domains or Access Edge services you add to the Allow tab. This method offers the highest level of security, but it does not offer ease of management. For example, if an FQDN of an Access Edge service changes, you must manually change the FQDN of the server in the Allow list.

How Federated Traffic Is Evaluated When Using Automatic Discovery

If you choose to use automatic discovery of federated partners, the Access Edge service automatically evaluates incoming federated traffic in the following way:

  • If a federated party sends requests to more than 1,000 URIs (valid or invalid) in the local domain, the connection first placed on the Watch list is evaluated first. Any additional requests are blocked by the Access Edge service. If the Access Edge service detects suspicious traffic on a connection, it limits the federation partner to a low message rate of one message per second. The Access Edge service detects suspicious traffic by calculating the ratio of the number of successful responses to the number of failed responses. The Access Edge service also limits legitimate federated partner connections (unless added to the Allow list) to 20 messages per second. The list of suspicious peer connects is displayed in the Access Edge service Computer Management console.

  • If you know that you will have more than 1,000 requests sent by a legitimate federated partner or a volume of more than 20 messages per second sent to your organization, you must add the federated partner to the Allow tab to allow these volumes.

The following figure shows rate limitations on open federation.

Limiting connections for enhanced federation


After configuring federation, you can use the Lync Server administrative tools to manage federated partner access on an ongoing basis. For details, see the Lync Server Control Panel documentation.