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Introduction to Certificate Profiles in Configuration Manager

Updated: October 27, 2014

Applies To: System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager

noteNote
The information in this topic applies only to System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager.

Certificate profiles in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager works with Active Directory Certificate Services and the Network Device Enrollment Service role to provision authentication certificates for managed devices so that users can seamlessly access company resources. For example, you can create and deploy certificate profiles to provide the necessary certificates for users to initiate VPN and wireless connections.

Certificate profiles in Configuration Manager provide the following management capabilities:

  • Certificate enrollment and renewal from an enterprise certification authority (CA) for devices that run iOS, Windows 8.1, Windows RT 8.1, and Android, These certificates can then be used for Wi-Fi and VPN connections.

  • Deployment of trusted root CA certificates and intermediate CA certificates to configure a chain of trust on devices for VPN and Wi-Fi connections when server authentication is required.

  • Monitor and report about the installed certificates.

Certificate profiles can automatically configure user devices so that company resources such as Wi-Fi networks and VPN servers can be accessed without having to install certificates manually or use an out of band process. Certificate profiles can also help to keep company resources secure because you can use more secure settings that are supported by your enterprise public key infrastructure (PKI). For example, you can require server authentication for all Wi-Fi and VPN connections because you have provisioned the required certificates on the managed devices.

Example: All employees must be able to connect to Wi-Fi hotspots in multiple corporate locations. To accomplish this, you can deploy the certificates required to make the Wi-Fi connection and also deploy Wi-Fi profiles in Configuration Manager that reference the correct certificate to use so that the Wi-Fi connection happens seamlessly for users.

Example: You have a PKI in place and want to move to a more flexible, secure method of provisioning certificates that lets users access company resources from their personal devices without compromising security. To accomplish this, you can configure certificate profiles with settings and protocols that are supported for the specific device platform. The devices can then automatically request these certificates from an Internet-facing enrollment server. You can then configure VPN profiles to use these certificates so that the device can access company resources.

You can create two types of certificate profiles in Configuration Manager:

  • Trusted CA certificate - Allows you to deploy a trusted root CA or intermediate CA certificate to form a certificate chain of trust when the device must authenticate a server.

  • Simple Certificate Enrollment Protocol (SCEP) settings - Allows you to request a certificate for a device or user, by using the SCEP protocol and the Network Device Enrollment Service on a server running Windows Server 2012 R2.

    noteNote
    You must create a certificate profile of the type Trusted CA certificate before you can create a certificate profile of the type Simple Certificate Enrollment Protocol (SCEP) settings.

To deploy certificate profiles that use the Simple Certificate Enrollment Protocol, you must install the certificate registration point on a site system server in the central administration site, or in a primary site. You must also install a policy module for the Network Device Enrollment Service, the Configuration Manager Policy Module, on a server that runs Windows Server 2012 R2 with the Active Directory Certificate Services role and a working Network Device Enrollment Service that is accessible to the devices that require the certificates. For the devices that are enrolled by Microsoft Intune, this requires the Network Device Enrollment Service to be accessible from the Internet, for example, in a screened subnet (also known as a DMZ).

For more information about how the Network Device Enrollment Service supports a policy module so that Configuration Manager can deploy certificates, see Using a Policy Module with the Network Device Enrollment Service.

Configuration Manager supports deploying certificates to different certificate stores, depending on the requirement, and also on the device type and operating system. The following devices and operating systems are supported:

A typical scenario for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager is to install trusted root CA certificates to authenticate Wi-Fi and VPN servers when the connection uses EAP-TLS, EAP-TTLS, and PEAP authentication protocols, and IKEv2, L2TP/IPsec, and Cisco IPsec VPN tunneling protocols.

You must ensure that an enterprise root CA certificate is installed on the device before the device can request certificates by using a SCEP certificate profile.

You can specify a variety of settings in a SCEP certificate profile to request customized certificates for different environments or connectivity requirements. The Create Certificate Profile Wizard contains two pages for enrollment parameters. The first, SCEP Enrollment, contains settings for the enrollment request and where to install the certificate. The second, Certificate Properties, describes the requested certificate itself.

When you deploy a certificate profile, the certificate files within the profile are installed on client devices. Any SCEP parameters will also be deployed, and the SCEP requests will be processed on the client device. You can deploy certificate profiles to user collections or device collections and specify the destination store for each certificate. Applicability rules determine whether the certificates can be installed on the device.When certificate profiles are deployed to user collections, user device affinity determines which of the users’ devices will install the certificates. When certificate profiles that contain user certificates are deployed to device collections, by default, the certificates will be installed on each of the users’ primary devices. You can modify this behavior to install the certificate on any of the users’ devices on the SCEP Enrollment page of the Create Certificate Profile Wizard. In addition, user certificates will not be deployed to devices if they are workgroup computers.

You can monitor certificate profile deployments from the Deployments node of the Monitoring workspace in the Configuration Manager console.

You can also use one of the following Configuration Manager reports to monitor certificate profiles:

  • History of certificates that are issued by the certificate registration point

  • List of assets by certificate issuance state for certificates enrolled by the certificate registration point

  • List of assets with certificates that are close to the expiry date

Configuration Manager automatically revokes user and computer certificates that were deployed by using certificate profiles in the following circumstances:

  • The device is retired from Configuration Manager management.

  • The device is selectively wiped.

  • The device is blocked from the Configuration Manager hierarchy.

To revoke the certificates, the site server sends a revocation command to the issuing certification authority. The reason for the revocation is Cease of Operation.

noteNote
The information in this section also appears in the Getting Started with System Center 2012 Configuration Manager guide.

Certificate profiles are new in System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager. They provide the following capabilities and have some dependent configurations:

  • Deployment of user and device certificates for managed devices by using the Simple Certificate Enrollment Protocol (SCEP). These certificates can be used to support Wi-Fi and VPN connections.

  • Supported devices include those that run iOS, Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1, and Android.

  • Deployment of root certification authority (CA) certificates and intermediate CA certificates, so that devices can create a chain of trust when they use server authentication for network connections.

  • A certificate registration point must be deployed in the central administration site or a primary site and the Configuration Manager Policy Module must be installed on a server that is running Windows Server 2012 R2 with Active Directory Certificate Services and the Network Device Enrollment Service role. This server must be accessible from the Internet and communicate with an enterprise CA to issue the certificates. For more information about the changes in the Network Device Enrollment Service to support this scenario, see What's New in Certificate Services in Windows Server 2012 R2.

See Also

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For additional resources, see Information and Support for Configuration Manager.

Tip: Use this query to find online documentation in the TechNet Library for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager. For instructions and examples, see Search the Configuration Manager Documentation Library.
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