Network Hardening with the System Hardening Six

Network Hardening is the act of implementing best practices, controls, techniques, and tools to secure networks and systems and reduce IT security vulnerabilities and risks.

The system hardening six



Network Hardening with the System Hardening Six

Default configurations of technologies may be convenient, but not optimally secure. Without hardening, these technologies are vulnerable to malicious attacks and at high risk for compromise. Consider these six critical tasks to harden your systems.


1. Govern Access:

Enforce “least privilege” and role-based access control (RBAC). Require strong passwords, changed regularly. Delete unnecessary users, avoid root accounts, and limit admin group members.


2. Update, Update, Update:

Continuously update applications, browsers, and operating systems. Immediately apply security patches.


3. Traffic Control:

Configure the firewall to allow only specific traffic to known services. Require a VPN for remote access, encrypt all communications, and disable unnecessary privileges for remote sessions. Monitor logs for unusual logins and activity.


4. Polish the Threat Surface:

Disable or uninstall unnecessary software, services, and features.


5. Secure Communications:

Encrypt data transfers, only open essential network ports, and disable insecure protocols, like HTTP.


6. Ongoing Management:

Perform regular vulnerability and malware scans. Conduct an external audit or penetration test at least annually.


For a comprehensive checklist, organizations should turn to the Center for Internet Security (CIS) Benchmarks, which provide a deeper dive into technology-specific hardening techniques.

For those unsure where to begin with network/system hardening, Securance offers the first-ever Online Hardened Network Security Assessment. This free tool provides an immediate, customized report with your organization’s security maturity rating intended to help your organization build a secure, reliable IT environment.

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Learn more tips and tricks to improve security across your organization, from detecting phishing emails to understanding ransomware attacks, with the Securance Cybersecurity Awareness Month Toolkit.