The 10 best practices to secure your workstation
Cyberattacks can seem far-fetched until they hit close to home. But if you own or use a workstation, you could fall victim to a cyberattack at any time. Just as you would lock down your physical workstation to prevent intruders, you need to secure your virtual workstation against cybercriminals who want to gain access to it.
Although attackers deploy several techniques to hack into systems, their efforts are ineffective when there are strong cybersecurity defenses on the ground. So, if you want to secure your workstation, here are the best effective tips to achieve it.
1. Install firewall security
Firewall security, at its core, prevents cyberattacks by creating a barrier between your confidential information and the outside world.
Installing a firewall will prevent unauthorized users from accessing your network and notify you when an intruder tries to break in. Unauthorized users will fail the firewall authentication process until they get the correct login credentials.
Implement strong firewall security that hackers can’t bypass by guessing your login credentials through a brute force attack.
2. Regularly update your antivirus software
Viruses and malware are common online and attackers can use them to break into your system. That’s why you need to double your workstation security by using antivirus software to protect your systems from cyber threats.
Without antivirus software, viruses can delete important files, slow down your computer, or cause other serious damage.
Antivirus software plays an important role in keeping your system safe by identifying threats in real time and keeping your data safe. The most popular antivirus programs offer automatic updates, protecting your machine from any existing or emerging viruses. Perform regular virus checks to confirm that your computer is virus-free.
3. Cached Secure Credentials
Cached credentials allow remote desktops to successfully connect to a local credential cache that grants the computer automatic local access even if a domain controller is not available .
The best ways to secure cached credentials are to use strong passwords that will make it difficult to crack your cached credentials and to disable credential caching on systems that do not need this activity.
4. Apply Application Control Policies
Application control policies are a security approach that protects your network from malware. Applying application control policies helps you decide if you want to allow or block your team members from using productivity tools and apps.
When you apply application policies, only approved applications run. You can enforce application control policies by creating a list of eligible applications and identifying the rules for implementing those applications. Other requirements include maintenance of application rules and regular validation of application control rules.
5. Remove local admin rights
One of the advantages of being a local administrator account is that you can easily download and install programs on the computer without verification or authorization from anyone. However, it’s easy for maintainers to abuse local admin rights, and some of that misuse could lead to hackers gaining unauthorized access to your network.
The alternative to this problem is to remove local admin rights by setting a standard user account that prompts for credentials before any performance. Removing local administrator rights prevents malware from accessing your computers and closes access gaps.
6. Track Preferred Activities
Privileged activity tracking helps protect your data and its systems from cyberattacks and data breaches. Threats from privileged user accounts are usually difficult to detect because they are not suspicious.
To combat threats from privileged users, closely monitor their activities. Perform a privileged user review regularly, regardless of your relationship with the user.
7. Restrict personal email use at work
Restricting the use of personal emails at work or while connected to the corporate network is a great way to improve the security of your workstation.
When you connect your personal email to your workplace network, hackers can use this opening to hack into sensitive data on the network. This security breach often occurs due to the ignorance of the teams in the workplace. Make your team members aware of the importance of this policy so that they can comply with it.
Not removing an employee’s access to your system after they resign can be a corporate liability. Let your IT department know in advance when you need them to revoke this access.
Timing is necessary because you don’t want the departing employee to be unable to access the network before they leave, which can create an awkward situation. Likewise, you don’t want your IT department delaying removing their access after they leave, which can lead to potential risk.
9. Set the screen to lock after 15 minutes or less of inactivity
Although you can lock your screen manually, you tend to forget to do so compared to automatic locking. When you’re done working on your computer or want to take a quick break, make sure you have a screen lock that uses a password.
Set your screen lock to activate after 15 minutes of inactivity. You can make the lock time less than 15 minutes, depending on your environment. This way, people with malicious intentions will find it difficult to log into your system.
Create a strong password for your screen lock and avoid using birthday or anniversary dates as your password. You can also use passphrases to strengthen your passwords.
10. Prevent employees from disabling anti-virus software
Most of the time, computer viruses and cyberattacks occur on your system software because an employee has disabled your anti-virus software.
For example, an employee working on a system is frustrated because the system is late. They can disable several tasks including antivirus software so that the system can work better. In this case, they would get the speed they need, but a virus can enter the system as soon as the antivirus software is down.
So, to make sure you don’t expose your system to cyber threats, prevent employees from disabling anti-virus software. Plan other ways to make their computing devices work properly.
Secure your workstation with proactive security
Since your workstation is where all your business activities take place, it is one of your most valuable assets. An attack on your workstation is an attack that will have a huge impact on your life, so you must protect it religiously. The best way to secure your system is to take a proactive security approach.
You don’t need to wait for an attack to happen to do something. Take the necessary security measures to solidify your cybersecurity. Implement the steps above to keep cybercriminals at bay. If they approach, they will have no way to penetrate.