Windows Server hardening includes identifying and fixing security vulnerabilities. Here are the 7 Windows Server hardening best practices you can use immediately to decrease the risk of attackers threatening your critical systems and data.
- Organizational security- Maintain an inventory record for each server that documents. Meticulously test and validate every proposed change to server hardware or software before making the change in the production environment. Users should regularly perform a risk assessment and use the results to update their risk management plan and perpetuate a prioritized list of all servers to ensure that security vulnerabilities are fixed in a timely manner.
- Windows Server Preparation- Protect newly installed machines from malicious network traffic till the OS is installed and hardened. Every new server in a DMZ network that is not open or authenticated to the internet. Also, set a BIOS/firmware password to prevent unauthorized changes to the server startup settings and disable automatic administrative logon directly to the recovery console.
- User Account Security Hardening- Make sure your administrative and system passwords meet the best practices for the password. In fact, verify that the account passwords are not relying on a dictionary word and are at least fifteen characters long, with numbers, letters, special characters. Ensure that all passwords are changed after every 90 days.
- Network Security Configuration- Enable the Windows firewall in all profiles and configure it to block inbound traffic automatically. Go ahead with port blocking at the network setting level and perform a deep analysis to know which ports need to be open and restrict access to all other ports.
- Registry Security Configuration- Ensure that all administrators take the time to thoroughly understand how the registry functions and the purpose of each of its various keys. Many of the vulnerabilities in the Windows operating system can be fixed by changing specific keys.
- Audit Policy Settings- Enable Audit policy according to audit policy best practices. Windows audit policy defines what types of events are written in the Security logs of your Windows servers. Configure the Event Log retention method to overwrite as needed and size up to 4GB. Also, configure log shipping to SIEM for monitoring.
- Software Security Guide- Install and enable anti-virus software and anti-spyware software to configure and update it daily. Also, install software to check the integrity of critical operating system files. Windows has a feature called Windows Resource Protection that automatically checks specific key files and replace them if they become corrupted.