Is there a published standard or guideline for system hardening? ISO, ANSI, NIST, etc.?
In fact there are two. A few years ago, an independent non-profit called the Center for Internet Security was founded to help evangelize the need for secure configurations and define a series of benchmarks that would provide information (mostly free of charge) to practitioners on how to harden specific systems.
CIS uses a consensus model: a working group establishes best practices on how to harden specific systems and then takes feedback from many other constituents to define a set of recommendations. At last count there were more than 30 different products that have incorporated CIS benchmarks, including all the Windows OS versions, Red Hat Linux 5 (for RHEL 5), Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard), Solaris 10, HP-UX, Oracle Database 9i/10g, Exchange Server 2007, several Cisco IOS routers, and many others.
The U.S. government also has an initiative to establish hardening guidance for certain systems. The Federal Desktop Core Configuration (FDCC) establishes the baseline for U.S. government desktops.
Many of the leading vulnerability-scanning products already support both CIS and FDCC. So it's possible to scan devices with these tools to pinpoint gaps in their configuration, right out of the box.
Dig Deeper on Information security policies, procedures and guidelines
Related Q&A from Mike Rothman
The CISSP certification can be a challenge to obtain. Mike Rothman unveils how to get on the right education and career tracks in order to get CISSP ... Continue Reading
In the world of security certifications, what is the GISP and how alike is it to the CISSP? In this security management expert response, learn about ... Continue Reading
Depending on your enterprise, it may or may not be necessary to utilize a QSA. In this security management expert response, learn how to determine ... Continue Reading
Have a question for an expert?
Please add a title for your question
Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.