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How to Implement Compliance & Governance Policies for Windows Server. In the dynamic landscape of enterprise IT, ensuring the security and integrity of our Windows Server infrastructure is paramount. Navigating the complex terrain of compliance and governance is a strategic imperative, requiring meticulous planning and execution. This article delves into implementing robust compliance and governance policies for our Windows Server.

How to Implement Compliance & Governance Policies for Windows Server

Every new version of the Windows Server operating system is a significant advancement in new technologies, functions, and features that assist organizations in overcoming their current technological hurdles. Arguably, security is one of the most critical challenges facing most businesses today.

In the following sections, we  focus more on the latest server build as of this writing, Windows Server 2022. Regarding security features and technological improvements, this build is the most recent version of the Windows Server operating system.

Overview of Windows Server Security Features

There are several excellent new security features in Windows Server 2022 to be aware of. Building on earlier advancements with Windows Server 2019 hybrid features and security breakthroughs, Windows Server 2022 provides new ideas and functionality. Take note of the summary of new security features below:

    1. Secured-core server.
    2. Simplified configuration tools.
    3. Secure connectivity.

Let’s look at these improvements in Windows Server 2022 and see how they advance security features to enable businesses to efficiently govern and safeguard both on-premises and cloud resources while also helping to address the current threat scenario.

Secured-core Server

Microsoft built a secured-core server upon three pillars that they used to make up the Secured-Core platform. These include:

    • Simplified security
    • Advanced protection
    • Preventative defense

Microsoft demands specified OEM capabilities and criteria before validating an offering as Secured-Core. It contains hardware, firmware, and drivers we verify to meet security standards. As a result, businesses buy Windows Server 2022 servers with confidence, knowing that they have been certified according to Microsoft’s requirements for the hardware and software they come with.

Modern threats involve highly sophisticated attack methods. To counteract these dangers, Secured-Core offers comprehensive protection that is composed of both hardware and software solutions. These consist of:

  1. Hardware Trusted Platform Module 2.0:
    • Offers a secure hardware repository for safeguarding sensitive information, including cryptographic keys and data.
    • Maintains a distinctive fingerprint for boot components, enabling tampering detection by identifying changes in the fingerprint.
    • Enhances BitLocker’s protective capabilities by providing an additional layer of security.
  2. Protected Firmware:
  3. Virtualization-based Security (VBS):

To remain ahead of current dangers and hacker tactics, security solutions today must be proactive rather than reactive. The Secured-Core feature in Windows Server 2022 significantly expands IT administrators and SecOps tools to combat the current threat scenario.

Implementing a Secure-core environment in Windows Server 2022, the following features are checked for by Windows Server Secured-Core tests. The following checks are visible in Secured-Core deployment if we use Windows Admin Center to see Secured-Core components, as we shall see below:

    • HVCI
    • Boot DMA Protection
    • System Guard
    • Secure Boot
    • VBS
    • TPM 2.0

Simplified Configuration Tools

Since the release of Windows Server 2019, Microsoft has been frantically developing a new server configuration and administration tool. The latest tool for managing Microsoft Windows Server is called Windows Admin Center. Even though the Server Management tool is still there in Windows Server 2022, it replaces the outdated Server Management console.

Implementation gaps may result from configuration tooling that is difficult to use or contains numerous separate tools and dashboards needed to implement various configuration components. Any security hole or improper setting that creates vulnerabilities is a significant problem.

Windows Admin Center provides a single-pane-of-glass interface businesses use to implement Windows Server configurations, including the Security dashboard. Older consoles and tools, like Server Manager in Windows Server 2019, require this feature. In addition, the new Windows Admin Center completes using those options by making Secured-Core security configurations visible in the Windows Admin Center UI.

From the Windows Admin Center interface, Microsoft has integrated the ability to turn the Secured-Core features on and off. Controlling the Secured-Core functionalities is now simple to configure and audit, thanks to this capability. Look below. From the Windows Admin Center dashboard, we enable HVCI. At this moment, the Windows Server 2022 server is requesting a reboot.

The configuration of the virus and threat protection setup and Windows Defender scans is visible, and we do it through the Security dashboard. We also view Protection history for events and default actions.

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An area that we dramatically improve with Windows Server 2022 is secure connectivity. What improvements can we make in terms of connectivity with Windows Server 2022? Let’s consider the following:

  1. Secure Protocols by Default:
    • Windows Server 2022 proactively prioritizes and employs secure communication protocols as the default mode.
    • This foundational shift has a proactive security posture, minimizing the risk of unauthorized access and reducing potential security vulnerabilities.
  2. Secure DNS:
    • Windows Server 2022 introduces and prioritizes secure DNS protocols.
    • Secure DNS adds protection against various DNS-based attacks, including DNS spoofing and cache poisoning.
    • The strategic emphasis on Secure DNS enhances the server’s capability to thwart malicious activities, ensuring the integrity of network communications.
  3. Server Message Block (SMB) Improvements:
    • Windows Server 2022 substantially improves the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol.
    • SMB communication is now encrypted by default, heightening the confidentiality and security of shared resources.
    • These improvements address historical vulnerabilities associated with SMB, providing a more robust defence against potential exploits and cyber intrusions.

Windows Server 2022 includes a sizable number of new features. It represents Microsoft’s most recent features and capabilities for the Windows Server platform. Additionally, many improvements are security-related and support users’ on-premises and cloud-based cybersecurity postures.

As seen, Microsoft has put a lot of effort into developing better management tools for Windows Server 2022. For instance, the single-pane-of-glass interface offered by Windows Admin Center nicely accompanies the new features and abilities of Windows Server 2022. Even if many of the dashboards are still in the preview stage, it’s encouraging to see Microsoft taking the lead in developing a comprehensive approach to ensuring the seamless management of both on-premises and cloud resources.

With the Secured-Core feature enabled by Windows Server 2022 and the Windows Admin Center management panel, customers efficiently implement fundamental security measures in their Windows Server environment. Additionally, Windows Server 2022 offers the most recent versions of secure protocol implementations, including TLS 1.3 and SMB encryption.

Additionally, integrating on-premises Windows Server installations with Microsoft Azure is made possible by using Windows Admin Center. The Windows Admin Center contains hybrid solid integration features. It enables quick and easy sign-in to our Azure accounts and integration of our on-premises Windows Server 2022 systems into Azure. Windows Server 2022 stands as the most secure Windows Server operating system to date, attributable to these distinctive characteristics.

How to Implement Compliance & Governance Policies for Windows Server Conclusion

As organizations navigate the intricate landscape of IT infrastructure, the robust implementation of compliance and governance policies on Windows Server emerges as a linchpin for maintaining data integrity and fortifying against cyber threats. In this article, we’ve explored the strategic imperative of ensuring configurations are correct and consistent, highlighting the pivotal role such measures play in bolstering overall security. By delving into the intricacies of implementing these policies, organizations safeguard their Windows Server environments, meeting regulatory requirements and fostering a resilient and secure digital ecosystem.


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Marion Mendoza

Marion Mendoza

Windows Server and VMware SME. Powershell Guru. Currently working with Fortune 500 companies responsible for participating in 3rd level systems support across the enterprise. Acting as a Windows Server engineer and VMware Specialist.

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