Think security when deploying workstations

Things to do so you don't open up a security hole.

When you deploy new workstations in your enterprise, you can inadvertently open up security holes, unless you have a clear set of procedures developed for the deployment. Here are some of the things that should be in such a set.

  • Do not use the domain administrator's account to test logon procedures when deploying workstations. Instead create a temporary administrator account and set the date for this account to expire at the end of the project. You need an administrator account in the first place is for example to add workstations to the domain, but using the default administrator account means anyone with admin privileges can access the new workstation while it's being set up.

     

  • During software installations and configuration, you can avoid using the administrator account by promoting the user account to an administrator on the local workstation being set up. This will ensure that applications do get installed properly, but don't forget to demote the user account to restricted user once the installation is done

     

  • Configure hard drives for NTFS file format instead of FAT. With NTFS, enhanced security can be applied to files/folders. One idea that you might want to consider is to create a boot partition using FAT, and set the rest of the drive as NTFS. This can be helpful in the event the Hard Drive is encountering boot problems. Troubleshooting is easier using the FAT file format. Remember to install all software applications and files to the NTFS partition.

     

  • You can also enforce domain level policy settings to logoff a session automatically when the workstation is idle. This will work well especially when the workstation is located in public areas. This way, an easily accessible workstation goes offline automatically, even when the user leaves the workstation and forgets to logoff.

Adesh Rampat has 10 years experience with network and IT administration. He is a member of the Association Of Internet Professionals, the Institute For Network Professionals, and the International Webmasters Association. He has also lectured extensively on a variety of topics.


This was first published in November 2002
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