In today’s Internet-centric world, cyber attacks are becoming increasingly prominent in the enterprise and are a growing threat to businesses. With so many different tactics being used by cyber criminals, it’s important for companies to implement a variety of defense strategies in order to protect their IT assets as well as possible. For organizations that utilize Windows servers, there are two built-in tools that can be harnessed to offer high-level security against malicious activity.
Active Directory is a service offered by Microsoft on Windows domain networks and is included in most Windows Servers operating systems. AD provides users with a central location to find network administration and security by storing information about network resources such as component locations, passwords, users and groups. It offers a means of centrally organizing, managing and controlling access to those resources. For instance, whenever someone logs into a computer that is part of the directory’s domain, AD checks to make sure that the password that has been submitted is in its logs and knows whether or not it belongs to a system administrator, a regular user or is someone not associated with the computer at all.
The other tool offered through Windows systems is Group Policy, which supports an Active Directory environment by controlling access to all parts of the OS. Group Policies control access to all resources, including components like printers, settings within Windows, applications and even the ability to download from the Internet. The main idea behind a Group Policy is that it controls what users can and cannot do on a computer, such as enforcing password complexity policies that prevent users from choosing logins that are too simple or regulating who is able to connect to a network from a remote computer.
Enhance enterprise IT security solutions with Deep Freeze
More than 1,800 different combinations can be used through Group Policy, and the variations are practically unlimited. However, with so many variations, the possibility of human error becomes especially high. In order to counteract the effects of human error, many enterprises have chosen to implement a Deep Freeze solution from Faronics to enhance their current security tools and improve their overall protection.
By deploying a solution combining Group Policy with Deep Freeze, enterprise IT administrators are able to achieve a wide variety of restrictions depending on need, while having the ultimate safety net of Deep Freeze protecting their business-critical workstations. When used correctly, Deep Freeze, Group Policies and Active Directory all work together to provide companies with the best protection possible. Below are four ways organizations can leverage these tools in tandem:
1) Deep Freeze complements the efforts of IT administrators that use Active Directory and Group Policies: By combining Group Policies with the protection of Deep Freeze, IT decision-makers are able to implement stricter restrictions in environments that are commonly targeted by cybercriminals and relax the restrictions in less vulnerable environments to providing the ideal mix of access and protection.
2) Deep Freeze fills in the gaps: Group Policies are put in place to ensure that end-users are following an organization’s Acceptable Use Policies, but do not do much to secure workstations from accidental and malicious changes. Deep Freeze addresses several important issues that are not covered by Group Policies, including:
- Preventing eventual operating system deterioration.
- Stabilizing poorly designed applications and prevent them from corrupting.
- Restoring baseline toolbars, desktops, and screensavers upon restart.
- Restoring all renamed files and changed icons upon restart.
- Removing all newly installed spyware, adware, or keyloggers upon restart.
- Removing potential damage caused by third-party registry tools and hacks with a restart.
- Removing the danger period between tomorrow’s yet-to-be discovered viruses and their fixes.
3) Deep Freeze protects enterprise workstations and Group Policies settings: Should Group Policies be compromised or changed, Deep Freeze returns the workstation to its original configuration — Policies intact — using a unique Reboot to Restore feature. If any applications are tampered with or infected with malicious code, IT administrators can simply reboot the workstation and restore it to previously chosen settings, eliminating unwanted changes or software and providing complete peace of mind.
4) Deep Freeze offers users unique features: IT administrators can deploy the Deep Freeze MSI Packager to transform the Deep Freeze Workstation Install Program into a Windows Installer file format for deployment with Active Directory. This allows all three tools to work together in harmony, creating a more robust and effective defense strategy.