5 ways to secure your desktop, at least to begin securing your desktop. Keeping your PC secure is critical to protecting your personal, business, and financial information. Locking down and securing your computer doesn’t have to be expensive, time-consuming, or require technical know-how. Here are 5 easy, affordable ways to significantly reduce your security risk.
1. Secure your operating system
The first way to secure your desktop is to secure your operating system. The Center for Internet Security (CIS) has developed a rock-solid set of security benchmarks that include best practices for securely configuring Windows operating systems and to secure your desktop.
CIS Benchmarks are developed through a collaboration involving communities of cybersecurity professionals and subject matter experts around the world, each of which continuously identifies, refines, and validates security best practices within their areas of focus.
These include best-practice guidelines for local and remote access restrictions, user profiles, driver installation protocols, and firewall configurations. These settings significantly limit the security vulnerabilities that can lead to a cyberattack.
Level 1 benchmarks are essential basic security requirements that can be configured on any system and cause little or no interruption of service or reduced functionality.
Out of the box, Windows 10 and 11 operating systems fail more than 200 of the level 1 security benchmarks set by the Center for Internet Security.
Furthermore, defining these settings and understanding how they impact functionality can be a daunting task. Implementing over 280 benchmarks is time consuming and not recommended for those without experience in modifying the system registry. Click here to read more about why you should want your desktop to be CIS Compliant.
There is a user-friendly app that brings your PC into full compliance in minutes. The app, SecureMyDesktop, allows you to control the settings that impact functionality so you can modify the benchmarks to fit your business needs. SecureMyDesktop is an easy, affordable, and effective approach to configuring a secure operating system
2. Enforce a password policy
Another way to secure your desktop is to enforce your password policy. Use complex, unique passwords for each of your accounts to secure your desktop. A password manager is essential to rolling out a successful password policy. A good password manager can generate and securely store strong passwords while allowing copy/paste functionality on your PC, phone or tablet. A 50-character, complex password is ineffective when it is written on a sticky note on your desk. A password manager gives you and your staff the tools to generate, store and enter secure passwords.
3. Use Multi-factor authentication
Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) is an authentication method that requires the user to provide two or more verification factors to gain access to a resource. MFA helps to secure your desktop because even if one credential becomes compromised, unauthorized users will be unable to meet the second authentication requirement and will not be able to access the targeted, computing device, network, or database.
Malware can steal your data, encrypt it so you can’t access it, or even erase it completely. It’s important that you always use antivirus software, and keep it up to date to protect your data and devices. Some AV software can slow down your PC and may include bloatware that you probably don’t want or need. Webroot AV installs easily, doesn’t require signature updates, scans quickly, and takes a ridiculously small amount of space on disk to secure your desktop.
5. Schedule Regular Patching
Finally, regular patching can help to secure your desktop. Software patches are often used to address security vulnerabilities that put your desktop security at risk. Set aside time on your calendar each week to run updates on your Windows OS and all third-party software. Remove software that you no longer use and restart your device at least once a week to fully install patches.
Next Steps: Secure Your Desktop
You are now closer to securing your desktop. You have applied the 5 ways to secure your desktop and are looking for more ways to secure your desktop computer. Here are a few more resources to check out that will help you secure your computer.
The Center for Internet Security or CIS for short created the standard for securing devices like yours. They are a non-profit organization whose purpose is to govern worldwide cyber security recommendations for businesses and organizations. The 5 ways to secure your desktop are included in their recommendations.
Secure My Desktop is a tool for becoming CIS Level 1 Benchmark compliant. It is designed to scan your device and give you a compliance rating. The paid version of this tool changes over 280 settings to the recommended one found in the CIS Level 1 Benchmark guide found on the Center for Internet Security website.