Threat actors are continually evolving their tools and strategies to exploit any gaps or loopholes in your cyber security system. If they succeed, the damage to your network and data is almost immeasurable. Ensuring that your cyber protection architecture and overall ecosystem present as few targets as possible for attackers is critical. This is the broadest definition of security hardening.
Encryption: Your network and server are full of defined vulnerabilities, putting your data, business operations, and brand reputation in danger. System hardening recommended practices secure your organization’s resources by removing potential threats and reducing the attack surface.
Remove unneeded programmes, applications, account functions, permissions, ports and unauthorized or expired user access to limit your visibility to threat actors. System hardening requirements demand that your IT and security staff continuously monitor, identify, disable, and control vulnerabilities.
Because your system is made up of multiple components, there are multiple forms of security hardening. These are:
This sort of defence protects an existing application from dynamic and static attacks by modifying existing code and content.
Hardening of operating systems and software
OS hardening tries to reduce risks by configuring it securely, updating service packs often, creating rules and procedures for ongoing governance and patch management, and deleting unneeded programmes.
That means increasing server security with modern security techniques. Some server hardening strategies are:
- Encrypting data
- Using less unwanted software
- Disabling SUID/SGID binaries
- Encrypting all user accounts with strong passwords that are changed periodically and cannot be reused
- Invalid login attempts result in account lockout.
- Removing or changing default ports
- Reduce open network ports and install software and hardware firewalls.
Resources are restricted, superfluous functions are disabled or eliminated, and only those who require them are granted privileges. Physical database server security must be addressed, as must the security of all servers, PCs, programmes, and tools that access the database.
Security protocols assist secure your network from intruders. Using a business-grade firewall, deactivating unnecessary services like file and printer sharing, web and mail servers, and others, and updating software are all good cybersecurity practices.
Hardening helps guard against a wide range of attack vectors:
- Plain text passwords
- Deficiencies in unpatched software and firmware
- Configuration errors in firewalls, servers, ports, BIOS, routers, switches, etc.
- No privileging
- Resting unencrypted data or network traffic
A more robust security system can fend against these and other novel dangers.
System Hardening Best Practices
Your company should follow numerous important measures and principles for system or server hardening. They are as follows:
- Examine your present technology and prioritize solutions using technologies like penetration testing, vulnerability assessments, and configuration management. Using NIST, CIS, Extreme Compute, and other industry standards can help you comply with cybersecurity regulations.
- Prioritize hardening systems, fixing the most vital first.
- Maintain an ongoing event response programme by identifying and patching vulnerabilities.
- Develop a network hardening strategy that comprises a firewall with well-tested rules, secure remote users and access points, disable unneeded programmes and services, and encrypt all network traffic.
- Server security. Place all servers in a data centre, harden them before connecting to the internet, and restrict access to those who need it.
- Hardening by use. Remove unnecessary features, restrict access, alter default passwords, and impose strong authentication.
- Database security. Create admin restrictions, validate apps and users, encrypt data, enforce strong passwords, and delete unused accounts.
- Hardening the OS. Encrypt local storage, tighten permissions, report all failures, warnings, and events, and implement privileged user controls.
While developing and implementing security hardening best practices takes time, they will pay off your firm. Your system will run more smoothly once old apps, software, and permissions are eliminated.
Also, security will be greatly improved, reducing the likelihood of data breaches or malware assaults. Finally, accounts will be more agile in a less congested cybersecurity environment, making obligatory audits and compliance evaluations easier. While hardening won’t solve every security risk, it will make your company more robust and resilient.