Exchange Server 2019: Latest CU13 introduces OAuth 2.0 for On-Premises Environments

Exchange Server 2019: CU13 brings modern OAuth 2.0 to on-premises environments​

Microsoft Releases CU13 for Exchange Server 2019

Microsoft has released a new version of its mail server software, Exchange Server 2019, with the 2023 H1 Cumulative Update (CU). Known as CU13, the update brings new authentication options for on-premises environments and aims to simplify installation for administrators. Along with bug fixes and security updates, the latest version of Exchange Server offers some major improvements, which are discussed below.

Automatic Config Backup

Previously, changes made by system administrators to configurations had often overwritten previous Exchange server updates. As a result, IT departments faced frustration and extra work, as they needed to import old backups manually. However, with CU13, Microsoft has created a more relaxed installation process by automating backups. When installing new Exchange Server versions, the setup now automatically creates backups and restores them after a successful update, working with 70 configuration settings.

OAuth 2.0 for On-Premises Installations

Until recently, Exchange used the earlier industry standard of basic authentication for client-server and server-server authentication. However, this basic authentication, which used a username and password, is now considered obsolete. With CU13, Microsoft introduces the more modern OAuth 2.0-based authentication for locally operated Exchange environments, replacing basic authentication. The initial step is taken by the email client Outlook on Windows systems. The other Outlook clients on Mac and mobile devices will follow later this year. This change means that multi-factor authentications, smart cards, and other token authentications are now also possible in Outlook with appropriately updated systems.

End of Support for Old Exchange Versions

In addition to the above changes, Microsoft has reminded users of the end of support for older Exchange server versions. Exchange Server 2013 has not been supported since the beginning of April, and users should switch to a newer Exchange version, particularly for security reasons. In the event that users continue to use an older version, Microsoft’s mandatory update for on-premises versions will get them up to speed.

In summary, CU13 brings several major changes to the Exchange Server 2019 software, including automatic config backup and OAuth 2.0-based authentication. Microsoft is encouraging users to switch to the most up-to-date version of Exchange Server for the best security and user experience.

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