Tackling Windows Configuration with Desktop Audit Practices

By CIOReview | Monday, August 8, 2016
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Windows desktop environment needs timely audit to ensure that all company standards and policies are properly met. Many network managers already have a system to save a standard desktop image to roll them out whenever required. These managers are lucky enough since  a formal audit works best for them. The companies lacking desktop image function has to standardize the configuration settings of windows. Along with the audit goals, IT admin needs to consider multiple factors that can maximize the productivity of desktop audits.

Defining Requirements of Windows Audit

The success of any project depends on the proper setting of the requirements. In addition, it is also necessary to assure that employees from diverse IT section will participate in the auditing process their suggestions are valuable in requirements setting. The staff outside IT like HR, regulatory compliance, and internal audit can also provide beneficial suggestions in objective setting for desktop configurations.

The increasing complexity of today’s business scenario demands involvement of representatives from all areas to participate in the process of local security policies, logon banners, audit logging, software licensing and others. 

Complete Knowledge of Systems Installed in the Company

A clear understanding of desktops installed in the company is extremely crucial. Though certain desktop systems belonging to warehouses, salespeople or remote offices can often be left unnoticed, in order to attain an accurate picture of current windows desktop usage, auditors will have to cover every desktop involved in the network.

Start by making network diagram and branch out a network port scanner like SoftPerfect Network Scanner or nmap to find alive hosts. Involve systems that cannot be accessed through LAN. It is important to have a fully-fledged desktop audit plan involving all desktops present within the company network.

Take Advantage from Previous Assessments of Security Vulnerability

The regular security vulnerability scans and internal security assessments performed in companies discloses sufficient information that can play an important role in auditing. The vulnerability scanner report is chock full of the information that can be leveraged to analyze current state of desktops as well as those trends that changes with time and other areas that require further improvement. Tools like LanGuard and Nexpose when run with proper authentication can provide a staggering information and insight about the current state of desktops.

Desktop Audit is not Just for Security Purposes

Security is at top precedence for every Windows desktop audit and current security assessments will in fact complement the motive of desktop audits. Collecting information about software licensing ensuring compliance, versioning of operating systems to plan its upgradation and examining application usage for consistency and support purposes are other requisites for this process. Additionally, it is essential to have a regular checklist of enterprise systems, leading to better decision making processes. 

Windows Configuration is a Never Ending Process

Technology is an ever-changing process. Similarly, Windows desktop audits are not a one-time deal. It will have to be a part of the company’s latest IT plans and should be conducted on an annual basis, along with the regular vulnerability assessments. The time spent on appropriate planning for windows configuration leads to more accurate results during the desktop audit. It will also minimize problems and increase chances of efficient working. A start-up company can initiate with a small-scale desktop audit. Just build the toolset and audit program and windows desktop audit will be next in the IT function list. Successful windows audits can assist desktop admins in the optimization of workstation configurations, improvement of compliance and security, and streamlining systems administration instantly.