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Automate Changing Default Computer Configurations: They Can Put Your Network at Risk

Default configurations can be a major time saver when it comes to getting new devices up and running as quickly as possible. However, relying solely on these out-of-the-box settings may create major vulnerabilities in your organization’s enterprise network. For malicious third-party actors, these default configurations offer a clear entryway into your most sensitive data.

Read on to learn more about best practices when it comes to security configuration management.

The risks associated with default settings

Software vendors and manufacturers create default settings with the end user in mind. The goal is to get them using the product as quickly as possible, often giving the option to skip through security settings entirely. However, this user-focused design comes with a series of risks.

When security configuration is left up to individual employee or relies on the default settings, your organization becomes exposed to several vulnerabilities:

Personal cable modems

If your employees are working from home, their personal modem can represent an easy gateway into your enterprise data. Not only do these devices typically have weaker security protocols than their enterprise-level equivalents, but notoriously, the default password is as simple as “admin/admin,” making it that much easier for hackers to gain access.

Creating clear end-user policies surrounding password management and home network configurations can help reduce the threat, however human error may still lead to a serious breach.

Zero-day attacks

A zero-day exploit is a software or hardware flaw that has been discovered and for which no patch exists, with the name implying that teams have “zero days” to come up with a solution. 

These attacks can be especially harmful as they can go months or even years without being discovered. Of the all of the organizations whose endpoints were successfully compromised in 2018, more than 75% were related to breaches that used zero-days exploits, according to the Ponemon Institute. 

Proactive security management is the only way to defend against these attacks — without organization-wide configuration settings, it can be difficult to determine when a malicious change is underway.

Public defaults 

Every enterprise network relies on public drives that allow users to access, modify and share files freely. While these points of access are necessary for day-to-day operations, that can also create a serious vulnerability. 

Once an end user changes the data in the file, it can be difficult to monitor and track changes as it moves through the network. If a hacker is able to gain access to your public drive through its default settings, they can replace these files with ransomware and other malicious software.

Many of these vulnerabilities can easily go undetected, making it nearly impossible for your IT team to discover and act on the threat before it becomes a serious breach. However, by deploying a proactive security configuration management policy, you can minimize the threat to your organization’s sensitive data.

What is security configuration management?

Security configuration management, often referred to as SCM, is the process of creating and implementing specific settings on every endpoint that accesses your network. These policies help IT administrators scale processes as their organization grows, which is especially crucial in today’s increasingly remote work environment.

There are several benefits associated with creating a strong SCM policy, including:

  • Increased productivity: As IT spends less time trying to discover, isolate and correct vulnerabilities, they’ll be free to direct resources and labor toward more valuable activities for the organization. Plus, for end users, fewer system outages means increased availability for day-to-day operations.

  • Decreased cost: When data is leaked, your organization becomes exposed to several financial and reputational risks. By taking a more proactive approach to security management, you can avoid the costs associated with these consequences.

  • Regulatory compliance: For those responsible for sensitive consumer data, a breach can lead to costly and time-consuming legal proceedings and severe regulatory repercussions. Ensuring that your configurations are aligned with all relevant statutes can help your organization minimize the threat of noncompliance. 

As the threat of malicious actors only continues to increase, having a comprehensive SCM policy in place will be key to upholding a proactive approach to data security.

Automating security configuration management

As your organization grows, it can be difficult to manually deploy, monitor and maintain the settings created by your IT team. 

That’s where Faronics can help.

Faronics Deploy, our next-generation computer management solution, gives your IT team the power to set up, deploy and upgrade every device on your network from an intuitive cloud platform. With the ability to perform mass actions on specific user groups, it becomes as simple as a click of a button to deploy organization-wide patches. Administrators can instantly make changes as needed to address any vulnerabilities they arise.

By employing a comprehensive and automated SCM solution, your organization can have the peace of mind that your data is secure while also boosting employee productivity and flexibility.

If you’re ready to get started, sign up for a free 30-day trial or contact our team with any questions.

About The Author

Matt Williams

A self-proclaimed ‘tech geek’, Matt has worked in technology for a decade and divides his time between blogging and working in IT. A huge New York Giants fan, expert on Reboot Restore Technology when not watching football Matt gets his game on playing Call of Duty with his friends and other tech bloggers.

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