Batten down your Windows shop

The job of securing the Windows enterprise never ends. With news and advice on topics like Network Access Protection and locking down Hyper-V, this Windows Digest offers resources to help keep your data safe.

With Microsoft's October patch release including a record number of security bulletins, we decided to pack this Windows Digest with all of the latest news, tips and expert advice on securing your Windows environment.

Enforcement and monitoring

Enforcement of security policies is as important to enterprise networks as keeping the software updated. Microsoft's Network Access Protection can verify whether your business is protected. However, in order to ensure you have implemented the best security solution for your business, it's important to understand NAP's internal and external components. In order to further extend enforcement protections to custom configurations, third-party vendors are integrating their software into the NAP framework.

Monitoring your network is a key component to any security implementation, but virtualization adds a new wrinkle. Desktop administrators can no longer ignore user-installed applications, as virtualization requires more formal strategies to insure properly secured networks. But keeping an eye on user activity can be daunting. Network analyzers are one of the best -- and cheapest -- security tools for managing an enterprise and minimizing business risks.

When designing your shop IT security architecture, you have to have a good grasp of all the technologies that make up your Windows environment.

SQL Server security has many layers, and can be confusing. You should know the ins and outs of object ownership and how to connect to SQL Server and retrieve data from databases.

If your shop uses server virtualization software, then you know virtual switches in Microsoft's Hyper-V and other virtualization platforms don't have all the capabilities of physical switches. However, there are ways to work around this hidden danger to improve security in Hyper-V virtual networks.

Passwords are crucial to securing your enterprise, but many Windows shops have weak password policies. Strong passwords should not have eight characters, as seven-character complex passwords can provide better security. Also, Active Directory is invaluable for strengthening passwords.

This was first published in October 2009

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