ALERT: Some images may not load properly within the Knowledge Base Article. If you see a broken image, please right-click and select 'Open image in a new tab'. We apologize for this inconvenience.

Update the server certificate on the management server without breaking communications with the client

book

Article ID: 187099

calendar_today

Updated On:

Products

Endpoint Protection

Issue/Introduction

Symantec Endpoint Protection Manager uses a certificate to authenticate communications between it and the Symantec Endpoint Protection clients. The certificate also digitally signs the policy files and installation packages that the client downloads from it. The clients store a cached copy of the certificate in the management server list. If the certificate is corrupted or invalid, the clients cannot communicate with the server. If you disable secure communications, then the clients can still communicate with the server, but do not authenticate communications from the management server.

You disable secure communications to update the certificate in the following situations:

  • A site with a single Symantec Endpoint Protection Manager

  • A site with more than one Symantec Endpoint Protection Manager, if you cannot enable failover or load balancing


Note: If the certificate is corrupted but otherwise still valid, you can perform disaster recovery as a best practice.
See Disaster recovery best practices for Endpoint Protection.

Resolution

After you update the certificate and the clients check in and receive it, enable secure communications again.

When you update the certificate on a site with multiple management servers and use failover or load balancing, the certificate updates on the management server list. During the process of failover or load balancing, the client receives the updated management server list and the new certificate.

To update the server certificate on a single management server site without breaking communications with the client


Note: Steps 1 through 5 apply only to version 14 and later. If you use 12.x, start with step 6.

  1. On the console, click Policies > Policy Components > Management Server Lists.

  2. Under Tasks, click Copy the List, and then click Paste List.

  3. Double-click the copy of the list to edit it, and then make the following changes:

    • Click Use HTTP protocol.

    • For each server address under Management Servers, click Edit, and then click Customize HTTP port.
      Leave it at the default of 8014. If you use a custom port, use it here.

  4. Click OK, and then click OK again.

  5. Right-click the copy of the list, and then click Assign.

  6. On the console, click Clients > Policies > General Settings.

  7. On the Security Settings tab, uncheck Enable secure communications between the management server and clients by using digital certificates for authentication, and then click OK.

  8. Wait at least three heartbeat cycles after making this change on all groups before you move to step 9.
    Make sure that you also configure this setting for the groups that do not inherit from a parent group.

  9. Update the server certificate.
    See Updating or restoring a server certificate.

  10. Click OK.

To re-enable the original settings, wait at least three heartbeat cycles, recheck Enable secure communications between the management server and clients by using digital certificates for authentication, and then reassign the original management server list back to your groups.

To update the server certificate on a multi-management server site without breaking communications with the client


Warning: Due to a change in the communication module, client versions 14.2.x cannot use this method to update the server certificate. To avoid breaking communication with these clients, use the single management server site procedure for these client versions, even for multi-management server sites.

  1. On the console, ensure that your clients are configured to load balance or failover to at least one other Symantec Endpoint Protection Manager.

    See Setting up failover and load balancing.

    If you cannot enable load balancing or failover, use the single management server site procedure to first disable then re-enable secure communications.

  2. Update the server certificate on Symantec Endpoint Protection Manager.

    See Updating or restoring a server certificate.

  3. Wait at least three heartbeat cycles, and then update the server certificate on the next Symantec Endpoint Protection Manager on the site.

  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until each Symantec Endpoint Protection Manager on the site has the new certificate.

    Note: Users who are out of the office or on leave may not receive these updates on their device because it is offline. Many institutions run the failover method for 30 days or more to catch as many out-of-office clients as possible. You may want to leave one Symantec Endpoint Protection Manager running for 90 days with the old certificate to ensure that those users are not orphaned.


See About server certificates.

See Best practices for updating server certificates and maintaining the client-server connection.

Additional Information

Legacy Symantec KB ID: TECH123518