Using TLS 1.2 Windows Server 2008 R2 & 2012 R2, SQL and SharePoint

Everyone uses a certificate when requiring authentication on an internet facing site. However it’s surprising how many folks don’t take the time to understand SSL/TLS. Securing SSL/TLS protocols is a pretty common thing to do on any Windows Server running IIS and web applications that uses HTTPS, especially if they require some sort of compliance. It is a good idea to do this on all of your servers in your SharePoint farm, to ensure your secure connections really are secure. It’s also important to note that while I have several SharePoint 2016 environments where I have removed both TLS 1.0/1.1. However, I have not removed TLS 1.1 from the any of my SharePoint 2013 environments. However, all of my clients with SharePoint 2013 are using a HW Load Balancer like the F5 and have offloaded SSL and removed TLS 1.0/1.1 using the HW…

All Microsoft Windows devices using SSL/TLS protocols use SCHANNEL, where you have to install something like OpenSSL on Linux. You may also notice that while OpenSSL has more security vulnerabilities they tend to respond quickly to them. However, Microsoft has been disappointingly slow in updating the cryptography stack in its OS and Applications. Note: there may be flags when running SSL Lab scans against your servers that you may not be able to resolve at this time. This may also apply to the availability of the latest cipher suites as well.

All of the configuration changes to SCHANNEL are stored in the registry: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SecurityProviders\SCHANNEL


The first time I created a GPO to Configure SSL/TLS, and deploy to the farm. I spent a few days with Regedit and reading technet, I recommend using IISCrypto from Nartac to make the changes to ensure the process goes a smooth as possible on your first server then after reboot, exporting the SCHANNEL Key for use with a GPO to automate the deployment for all additional servers in your farm

You can use the following command to export up the SCHANNEL registry settings prior to making the changes and again after for use with the GPO, should you need to restore it: reg export HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SecurityProviders\SCHANNEL\ SChannel-Export.reg

Known issues

There are a few gotchas when making modifications to SCHANNELL on Windows, please QA as necessary in the lab prior to deploying to production:

  1. SQL Server used to require TLS 1.0, when you disabled it your SharePoint Servers would not be able to communicate with the SQL Cluster. Please review the information about the SQL updates and additional known issues using the following link TLS 1.2 support for Microsoft SQL Server, then download and install the appropriate SQL Updates. All versions prior to SQL Server 2016 require the updates regardless of Service Pack or Cumulative Update
  2. Please make sure you download and installed KB3080079 if you are running a version of Windows Server prior to Windows Server 2012 or RDS/RDP will break when after disabling TLS 1.0 and rebooting. Note: If you are using IISCrypto you may see a pop like the following screenshot after reviewing TLS 1.0/1.1


  3. Older clients > Windows XP and earlier may not be able to connect if they do not support the newer SSL/TLS technologies and you disable the older ones. Out of the box Windows Server is configured to be relatively compatible with older clients, which in turn makes it less secure. You can find a complete browser compatibility list here:
  4. Qualys will ding you for supporting 1024 bit DHE groups, and will recommend DHE key exchanges be increased to 2048 bit or disabled, but 1024 is the limit on all versions of Windows prior to Windows 10 at this time.
  5. Be sure to thoroughly test your applications after making any changes, mainly looking for connection failures over HTTPS. The errors will be listed in the system event log with SCHANNEL as the source

The following configuration works with most modern software (Windows Vista and newer) while providing a relatively robust SSL/TLS configuration, and earning an A ranking on Qualys’s SSL Labs tester.


  1. Download IISCrypto and apply the “Best Practices” Template
  2. Use The Best Practice Template; Click Templates, Use the drop Down choose Best Practice, then click Apply
  3. Disable TLS 1.0 Assuming SQL updates have been applied and KB3080079for RDS/RDP has been applied
  4. Disable MD5 under Hashes enabled
  5. Click Apply
  6. Reboot
  7. Test your site with Qualys’s SSL Labs tester

QUALYS SSLLabs Ranking



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