What is ISM? The answer to this question isn’t as straightforward as you might think. In earlier releases of IIS, the acronym referred to the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in, which was called Internet Service Manager. However, Microsoft renamed the MMC snap-in to Internet Information Services, which you could reach by selecting Internet Services Manager from the Administrative Tools menu. ISM is now a browser-based application with which you can manage Web site settings over the Internet or through a proxy server.

Microsoft’s goal, of course, was for the browser-based ISM to offer many of the same features as the MMC Internet Information Services snap-in. To get to ISM, you must use the MMC Internet Information Services snap-in and review the settings for the Administration Web Site that is automatically installed with IIS. As part of the installation process, IIS assigns the port number for this site a random selection between 2000 and 9999; you must use the MMC snap-in to retrieve this value. When you have the port number, you can open ISM in your browser client and type the domain name and assigned port number (e.g., http//www.interknowlogy.com:8404).

The administration site (or ISM, as it’s now known) requires authentication to access the pages, and only members of the Administrators group can use the site. The familiar tabs and toolbar buttons appear as links in the left pane. One limitation of ISM is that any property changes (e.g., certificate mapping) that require coordination with Windows utilities aren’t available. For additional information about the browser-based ISM and remote administration, connect to your local IIS documentation at http://localhost/iishelp/iis/htm/core/iiahttp.htm.

From a security standpoint, the most important thing to remember about ISM is that if you don’t intend to administer your site over the Internet, you want to ensure that no one else will, either. To ensure security, open the MMC Internet Information Services snap-in, right-click the Administration Web Site, and select Stop.