Product Documentation

Access Control Rules

Mar 06, 2015
XenMobile Mail Manager provides a rule-based approach for dynamically configuring access control for Exchange ActiveSync devices. A XenMobile Mail Manager access control rule consists of two parts: a matching expression and a desired access state (Allow or Block). A rule may be evaluated against a given Exchange ActiveSync device to determine if the rule applies to, or matches the device. There are multiple kinds of matching expressions; for example, a rule may match all devices of a given Device Type, or a specific Exchange ActiveSync device ID, or all devices of a specific user, and so on.

At any point during the adding, removing, and rearranging of the rules in the rule list, clicking the Cancel button will revert the rules list back to the state at which it was when first opened. Unless you click Save, any changes made to this window are lost if you close the Configure tool.

XenMobile Mail Manager has three types of rules: local rules, XDM rules, and the default access rule.

Local rules: Local rules have the highest priority: If a device is matched by a local rule, rule evaluation stops. Neither XDM rules nor the default access rule will be consulted. Local rules are configured locally to XenMobile Mail Manager via the Configure/Access Rules/Local Rules tab. Support matching is based upon a user’s membership within a given Active Directory group. Support matching is based upon regular expressions for the following fields:

  • Active Sync Device ID
  • ActiveSync Device Type
  • User Principal Name (UPN)
  • ActiveSync User Agent (typically the device platform or email client)

As long as a major snapshot has completed and found devices, you should be able to add either a normal or regular expression rule. If a major snapshot has not completed, you can only add regular expression rules.

XDM rules: XDM rules are references to an external XenMobile server that provides rules about managed devices. The XenMobile server can be configured with its own high-level rules that identify the devices to be allowed or blocked based on properties known to XenMobile, such as whether the device is jailbroken or whether the device contains forbidden apps. XenMobile evaluates the high-level rules and produces a set of allowed or blocked ActiveSync Device IDs, which are then delivered to XenMobile Mail Manager.

Default access rule: The default access rule is unique in that it can potentially match every device and is always evaluated last. This rule is the catch-all rule, which means that if a given device does not match a local or XDM rule, the desired access state of the device is determined by the desired access state of the default access rule.

  • Default Access – Allow. Any device that is not matched by either a Local or XDM rule will be allowed.
  • Default Access – Block. Any device that is not matched by either a Local or XDM rule will be blocked.
  • Default Access - Unchanged. Any device that is not matched by either a Local or XDM rule will not have its access state modified in any way by XenMobile Mail Manager. If a device has been placed into Quarantine mode by Exchange, no action is taken; for example, the only way to remove a device from Quarantine mode is to have an explicitly Local or XDM rule override the quarantine.

About Rule Evaluations

For each device that Exchange reports to XenMobile Mail Manager, the rules are evaluated in sequence, from highest to lowest priority as follows:

  • Local rules
  • Default access rule
  • XDM rules

When a match is found, evaluation stops. For example, if a local rule matches a given device, the device will not be evaluated against any of the XDM rules or the default access rule. This holds true within a given rule type as well. For example, if there’s more than a single match for a given device in the local rule list, as soon as the first match is encountered, evaluation stops.

XenMobile Mail Manager reevaluates the currently defined set of rules when device properties change, or when devices are added or removed, or when the rules themselves change. Major snapshots pick up device property changes and removals at configurable intervals. Minor Snapshots pick up new devices at configurable intervals.

Exchange ActiveSync has rules governing access as well. It is important to understand how these rules work in the context of XenMobile Mail Manager. Exchange may be configured with three levels of rules: personal exemptions, device rules, and organization settings. XenMobile Mail Manager automates access control by programmatically issuing Remote PowerShell requests to affect the personal exemptions lists. These are lists of allowed or blocked Exchange ActiveSync device IDs associated with a given mailbox. When deployed, XenMobile Mail Manager effectively takes over management of the exemption lists capability within Exchange. For details, see this Microsoft article.

Analyzing is particularly useful in situations in which multiple rules for the same field have been defined. You can troubleshoot the relationships between rules. You perform analysis from the perspective of rule fields; for example, rules are analyzed in groups based upon the field that is being matched, such as ActiveSync device ID, ActiveSync device type, User, User Agent, and so on.

Rule terminology:

  • Overriding rule. An override occurs when more than a single rule could apply to the same device. Because rules are evaluated by priority in the list, the later rule instance(s) which might apply might never be evaluated.
  • Conflicting rule. A conflict occurs when more than a single rule could apply to the same device but the access (Allow/Block) does not match. If the conflicting rules are not regular expression rules, a conflict always implicitly connotes an override
  • Supplemental rule. A supplement occurs when more than one rule is a regular expression rule and hence there might be a need to ensure that the two (or more) regular expressions can either be combined into a single regular expression rule, or are not duplicating functionality. A supplementary rule may also conflict in its access (Allow/Block).
  • Primary rule. The primary rule is the rule that has been clicked within the dialog box. The rule is indicated visually by a solid border line that surrounds it. The rule will also have one or two green arrows pointing up or down. If an arrow points up, the arrow indicates that there are ancillary rules that precede the primary rule. If an arrow points down, this indicates that there are ancillary rules that come after the primary rule. Only a single primary rule can be active at any time.
  • Ancillary rule. An ancillary rule is related in some way to the primary rule either through override, conflict, or a supplementary relationship. The rules are indicated visually by a dashed border that surrounds them. For each primary rule, there can be one to many ancillary rules. When clicking on any underlined entry, the ancillary rule or rules that are highlighted are always from the perspective of the primary rule. For example, the ancillary rule will be overridden by the primary rule, and/or the ancillary rule will conflict in its access with the primary rule, and/or the ancillary rule will supplement the primary rule.

The Appearance of the Types of Rules in the Rule Analysis Dialog Box

When there are no conflicts, overrides, or supplements, the Rule Analysis dialog box has no underlined entries. Clicking on any of the items has no impact; for example, normal selected item visuals will occur.



When an override occurs, at least two rules will be underlined: the primary rule and the ancillary rule or rules. At least one ancillary rule will appear in a lighter font to indicate that the rule has been overridden by a higher priority rule. You can click on the overridden rule to find out which rule or rules have overriden the rule. Any time an overridden rule has been highlighted either as a result of the rule being the primary or ancillary rule, a black circle will appear next to it as a further visual indication that the rule is inactive. For example, before clicking on the rule, the dialog box appears as follows:



When you click the highest-priority rule, the dialog box appears as follows:



In this example, the regular expression rule WorkMail.* is the primary rule (indicated by the solid border) and the normal rule workmailc633313818 is an ancillary rule (indicated by the dashed border). The black dot next to the ancillary rule is a visual cue that further indicates that the rule is inactive (will never be evaluated) due to the higher-priority regular expression rule that precedes it. After clicking on the overridden rule, the dialog box appears as follows:



In the preceding example, the regular expression rule WorkMail.* is the ancillary rule (indicated by the dashed border) and the normal rule workmailc633313818 is a primary rule (indicated by the solid border). For this simple example, there’s not much difference. For a more complicated example, see the complex expression example later in this topic. In a scenario with many rules defined, clicking the overridden rule would quickly identify which rule or rules had overridden it.

When a conflict occurs, at least two rules will be underlined, the primary rule and the ancillary rule or rules. The rules in conflict are indicated by a red dot. Rules that only conflict with one another are only possible with two or more regular expression rules defined. In all other conflict scenarios, there will not only be a conflict, but an override at play. Prior to clicking on either of the rules in a simple example, the dialog box appears as follows:



By inspecting the two regular expression rules, it's evident that the first rule allows all devices with a device ID that contains "App" and that the second rule denies all devices with a device ID that contains Appl. In addition, even though the second rule denies all devices with a device ID that contains Appl, no devices with that match criteria will ever be denied because of the higher precedence of the allow rule. After clicking on the first rule, the dialog box appears as follows:



In the preceding scenario, both the primary rule (regular expression rule App.*) and the ancillary rule (regular expression rule Appl.*) are both highlighted in yellow. This is simply a visual warning to alert you to the fact that you have applied more than a single regular expression rule to a single matchable field, which could mean a redundancy issue or something more serious.

In a scenario with both a conflict and override, both the primary rule (regular expression rule App.*) and the ancillary rule (regular expression rule Appl.*) are highlighted in yellow. This is simply a visual warning to alert you to the fact that you have applied more than a single regular expression rule to a single matchable field, which could mean a redundancy issue or something more serious.



It is easy to see in the preceding example that the first rule (regular expression rule SAMSUNG.*) not only overrides the next rule (normal rule SAMSUNG-SM-G900A/101.40402), but that the two rules differ in their access (primary specifies Allow, ancillary specifies Block). The second rule (normal rule SAMSUNG-SM-G900A/101.40402) is displayed in lighter text to indicate that it has been overridden and is therefore inactive.

After clicking on the regular expression rule, the dialog box appears as follows:



The primary rule (regular expression rule SAMSUNG.*) is followed by a red dot to indicate that its access state conflicts with one or more ancillary rules. The ancillary rule (normal rule SAMSUNG-SM-G900A/101.40402) is followed by a red dot to indicate that its access state conflicts with the primary rule, as well as with a black dot to further indicate that it has been overridden and is therefore inactive.

At least two rules will be underlined, the primary rule and the ancillary rule or rules. Rules that only supplement one another will only involve regular expression rules. When rules supplement one another they are indicated with a yellow overlay. Prior to clicking on either of the rules, in a simple example, the dialog box appears as follows:



Visual inspection easily reveals that both rules are regular expression rules which have both been applied to the ActiveSync device ID field in XenMobile Mail Manager. After clicking on the first rule, the dialog box looks as follows:



The primary rule (regular expression rule WorxMail.*) is highlighted with a yellow overlay to indicate that there exists at least one additional ancillary rule which is a regular expression. The ancillary rule (regular expression rule SAMSUNG.*) is highlighted with a yellow overlay to indicate that both it and the primary rule are regular expression rules being applied to the same field within XenMobile Mail Manager; in this case, the ActiveSync device ID field.The regular expressions may or may not overlap. It is up to you to decide if your regular expressions are properly crafted.

Example of a Complex Expression

Many potential overrides, conflicts, or supplements can occur, making it impossible to give an example of all possible scenarios. The following example discusses what not to do, while also serving to illustrate the full power of the rule analysis visual construct. Most of the items are underlined in the following figure. Many of the items render in a lighter font, which indicates that the rule in question has been overridden by a higher priority rule in some manner. A number of regular expression rules are included in the list as well, as indicated by the icon.



How to Analyze an Override

To see which rule or rules have overridden a particular rule, you click the rule.

Example 1: This example examines why zentrain01@zenprise.com has been overridden.



The primary rule (AD-Group rule zenprise/TRAINING/ZenTraining B, of which zentrain01@zenprise.com is a member) has the following characteristics:

  • Is highlighted in blue and has a solid border.
  • Has an upwards pointing green arrow (to indicate that the ancillary rule or rules are all to be found above it).
  • Is followed by both a red circle and black circle to indicate respectively that one or more ancillary rule conflicts with its access and that the primary rule has been overridden and is hence inactive.

When you scroll up, you see the following:



In this case, there are two ancillary rules that override the primary rule: the regular expression rule zen.* and the normal rule zentrain01@zenprise.com (of zenprise/TRAINING/ZenTraining A). In the case of the latter ancillary rule, what has occurred is that the Active Directory Group rule ZenTraining A contains the user zentrain01@zenprise.com, and the Active Directory Group rule ZenTraining B also contains the user zentrain01@zenprise.com. Because the ancillary rule has a higher precedence than the primary rule, however, the primary rule has been overridden. The primary rule’s access is Allow, and because both of the ancillary rule’s access is Block, all are followed with a red circle to further indicate an access conflict.

Example 2: This example shows why the device with an ActiveSync device ID of 069026593E0C4AEAB8DE7DD589ACED33 has been overridden:



The primary rule (normal device ID rule 069026593E0C4AEAB8DE7DD589ACED33) has the following characteristics:

  • Is highlighted in blue and has a solid border.
  • Has an upwards pointing green arrow (to indicate that the ancillary rule is to be found above it).
  • Is followed by a black circle to indicate an ancillary rule has overridden the primary rule and is hence inactive.



In this case, a single ancillary rule overrides the primary rule: the regular expression ActiveSynce device ID rule 3E.* Because the regular expression 3E.* would match 069026593E0C4AEAB8DE7DD589ACED33, the primary rule will never be evaluated.

How to Analyze a Supplement and Conflict

In this case, the primary rule is the regular expression ActiveSync device type rule touch.* The characteristics are as follows:

  • Is indicated by a solid border with a yellow overlay as a warning that there is more than a single regular expression rule operating against a particular rule field, in this case ActiveSync device type.
  • Two arrows are pointing up and down respectively, indicating that there is at least one ancillary rule with higher priority and at least one ancillary rule with lower priority.
  • The red circle next to it indicates that at least one ancillary rule has its access set to Allow which conflicts with the primary rule’s access of Block
  • There are two ancillary rules: the regular expression ActiveSync device type rule SAM.* and the regular expression ActiveSync device type rule Andro.*
  • Both of the ancillary rules are bordered with dashes to indicate that they are ancillary.
  • Both of the ancillary rules are overlayed with yellow to indicate that they are supplementally being applied to the rule field of ActiveSync device type.
  • You should ensure in such scenarios that their regular expression rules are not redundant.



How to Further Analyze the Rules

This example explores how rule relationships are always from the perspective of the primary rule. The preceding example showed how a click on the regular expression rule applied to the rule field of device type with a value of touch.* Clicking on the ancillary rule Andro.* shows a different set of ancillary rules highlighted.



The example shows an overridden rule that is included in the rule relationship. This rule is the normal ActiveSync device type rule Android, which is overridden (indicated by the lightened font and the black circle next to it) and also conflicts in its access with the primary rule regular expression ActiveSync device type rule Andro.*; that rule was formerly an ancillary rule prior to being clicked. In the preceding example, the normal ActiveSync device type rule Android, was not displayed as an ancillary rule because, from the perspective of the then primary rule (the regular expression ActiveSync device type rule touch.*), it was not related to it.

To configure a normal expression local rule

  1. Click the Access Rules tab.

  2. In the Device ID list, select the field for which you want to create a Local Rule.
  3. Click on the magnifying glass icon to display all of the unique matches for the chosen field. In this example, the field Device Type has been chosen and the choices are shown below in the list box.

  4. Click one of the items in the results list box and then click one of the following options:
    • Allow means that Exchange will be configured to allow ActiveSync traffic for all matching devices.
    • Deny means that Exchange will be configured to deny ActiveSync traffic for all matching devices.

    In this example, all devices that have a device type of TouchDown are denied access.



To add a regular expression

Regular expression local rules can be distinguished by the icon which appears next to them - . To add a regular expression rule, you can either build a regular expression rule from an existing value from the results list for a given field (as long as a major snapshot has completed), or you can simply type in the regular expression that you want.

To build a regular expression from an existing field value

  1. Click the Access Rules tab.

  2. In the Device ID list, select the field for which you want to create a regular expression Local Rule.
  3. Click on the magnifying glass icon to display all of the unique matches for the chosen field. In this example, the field Device Type has been chosen and the choices are shown below in the list box.

  4. Click one of the items in the results list. In this example, SAMSUNGSPHL720 has been selected and appears in the text box adjacent to Device Type.

  5. To allow all device types that have "Samsung" in their device type value, add a regular expression rule by following these steps:
    1. Click within the selected item text box.
    2. Change the text from SAMSUNGSPHL720 to SAMSUNG.*
    3. Make sure that the regular expression check box is selected.
    4. Click Allow.


To build an access rule

  1. Click the Local Rules tab.
  2. To enter the regular expression, you need to make use of both the Device ID list and the selected item text box.

  3. Select the field you want to match against. This example uses Device Type.
  4. Type in the regular expression. This example uses samsung.*
  5. Ensure that the regular expression check box is selected and then click Allow or Deny. In this example, the choice is Allow so that the final result is as follows:

To find devices

By selecting the regular expression check box, you can run searches for specific devices that match the given expression. This feature is only available if a major snapshot has successfully completed. You can use this feature even if there is no plan to use regular expression rules. For example, assume that you want to find all devices that have the text "workmail" in their ActiveSync device ID. To do so, follow this procedure.

  1. Click the Access Rules tab.
  2. Ensure that the device match field selector is set to Device ID (the default).

  3. Click within the selected item text box (as shown in blue in the preceding figure) and then type workmail.*.
  4. Make sure the regular expression check box is selected and then click the magnifying glass icon to display matches as shown in the following figure.

To add an individual user, device, or device type to a static rule

You can add static rules based on user, device ID, or device type on the ActiveSync Devices tab.
  1. Click the ActiveSync Devices tab.
  2. In the list, right-click a user, device, or device type and select whether to allow or deny your selection.

    The following image shows the Allow/Deny option when user1 is selected.


    Add user to static rule.