Whenever cybercriminals look to compromise a device or network, by the time your employees realize it, it’s far too late. Many small and medium-sized businesses aren’t aware that operating system vulnerabilities provide easy access.
5 Operating System Hardening Tips
While different operating systems have their own intricacies, there are recommended practices that apply universally. This list is not all-inclusive and you may implement additional best practices when applicable. However, our goal is to always minimize your risk of suffering a cyber-attack. By following this protocol, we can do so:
- Programs clean-up: Remove unnecessary programs. Every program is another potential entry point for a hacker. Cleaning these out helps you limit the number of ways in. If the program is not something the company has officially reviewed, it isn’t be allowed within the walls of your network. Attackers look for backdoors and security holes when attempting to compromise networks. Minimize their chances of getting through.
- Use of service packs: Keep up-to-date and install the latest versions. It’s that simple. No one thing ensures protection, especially from zero-day attacks, but this is an easy rule to follow.
- Patches and patch management: Planning, testing, implementing, and auditing patches should be part of a regular security regimen. Make sure the OS is patched regularly, as well as the individual programs on users’ computers.
- Group policies: Define what groups can or can’t access and maintain these rules. Sometimes, it’s simply user error that leads to a successful cyber-attack. Establish your internal user policies to further ensure all users are aware and comply with these procedures. For example, everyone should be implementing strong passwords, securing their credentials, and changing them regularly.
- Security templates: These are groups of policies that can be loaded in one procedure; they are commonly used in corporate environments.