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6 Best Practices for Hardening Your Software Development Environment

With cyber-attacks becoming more prevalent, organizations are starting to adopt a strategy to defend their servers and systems against these threats. Although the usage of new technologies to handle complicated workloads and operations has grown, concerns remain over the security of data held on devices.

Reducing the system’s cyber-attack vulnerability is crucial to securing your data. A vulnerable PC and your company Wi-Fi hotspot provides thieves with easy access. Being constantly present on social media could also  give hackers a free pass to target your systems. Therefore, enterprises must be highly attentive to endpoint security, such as employee workstations, servers, and cloud VMs, which are the entry points into your company’s network and are vulnerable to assault.

System hardening is becoming an even more significant challenge as more sensitive devices leave the confines of secure office spaces—and workers and contractors log in to sensitive corporate assets using untrusted or unsecured personal devices, as well as corporate devices that they use for mixed purposes and are therefore also very risky.

This article will discuss how OS hardening can help you increase cybersecurity and some best practices when applying it to your software development environment. 

What Is a Hardened System?

A hardened system provides strengthened software dev security, making them impenetrable to hackers. Hardening involves removing or reducing vulnerabilities in devices and systems. When we talk about vulnerabilities, we’re talking about software defects and weaknesses that can appear during a system’s setup, configuration, design, or management. Threat actors use these weaknesses as a backdoor into networks, systems, and devices.

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Locking down configurations is a common component of hardening approaches to balance operational functionality and security. Another crucial element of this effort is vulnerability management and change control. It introduces controls and visibility that can assist you in upholding a hardened build standard.

6 Best Practices To Harden Your Systems 

Implementing Updates Regularly Given by OS Developers

It’s normal for software to have security flaws and vulnerabilities. The owners regularly fix such software through iterative upgrades or patches. Therefore, you must upgrade your OS frequently to reduce risks. 

This is where the advantages of hiring offshore software development, especially if you’re a startup. They can check if your OS installs security updates automatically, and they can adjust the settings as needed. Here are the two things developers check to make sure your OS is routinely updated:

Service Packs: Using service packs and updating them to the most recent version are essential for lowering security threats.

Patch management: the process of applying security updates to software that has security flaws. System hardening is ensured through continuous testing, monitoring, and prompt response.

Eliminating Unnecessary Drivers

Whenever you attach a device to your computer or laptop, the OS will install a driver to enable the device connection. However, the drivers might not always be terminated when removing the device. The same applies to software, whose drivers frequently function even after removing the software. 

These outdated, unneeded, and hidden drivers degrade system performance and increase the risk of driver conflicts down the road. The organization’s network could be used by malicious parties to access your machine and seriously harm it. Consequently, you must delete drivers when you disconnect a device or software.

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Securing the SSD or HDD That Houses and Hosts Your Operating System 

You must utilize encryption software to secure your data and OS, regardless of whether you use an HDD (Hard Disk Drive) or SSD (Solid-State Drive). With hard-drive encryption, your file is automatically encrypted; the software will decode it when you access it. You can accomplish a higher level of data security with simple encryption and decryption, which is kept secret from everyone.  

Setting Restrictions on and Verifying System Access Permissions

Use access control measures to protect your system’s data, networks, and other assets as a general rule. Even though every operating system, including Windows and Linux, has powerful access control features, developers frequently omit to add the security layer. 

But one of the first security precautions you need to take is to ensure efficient access control administration. To know who is accessing what resources, implement the concept of least privilege while designing the controls and grant access only to those who require it at the appropriate time.

Limiting or Prohibiting the Development of New User Accounts and Logins

One of the most significant risks to the security of your system is allowing access to your OS and, eventually, to your system through multiple user accounts. You should avoid using user accounts or use them as little as possible to have a safe operating system. Restricting access to your system can lower the chance of backdoor access, one of the most common vulnerabilities attackers exploit.

Hardening Frameworks Is a Way To Increase Access Control

Operating systems frequently offer frameworks to give you additional protection and access control. The system is protected against threats like buffer overflow and code injection by frameworks like AppArmor and SELinux. Installing these tools, you may automatically implement all the best practices to harden your system.

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Bottom Line 

Cyberattacks are getting dangerously aggressive; in some cases, attackers wait months for the ideal moment to take advantage of a vulnerability. One of the main reasons that bad actors carry out these attacks is hostile data access. 

Because it enables you to find, test, and manage security flaws, hardening your software development environment plays a significant part in taking a proactive posture against security. Managing defenses against risks is a complex and time-consuming task. However, applying best practices will make it easy to secure your development environment effectively.

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