Auditing to remove unwanted policies and hardening servers as per CIS Benchmarks

Protecting systems and data is crucial for every organisation to ensure security from cyber attacks. System hardening or Server hardening is a process of securing a system’s configurations and settings to reduce IT vulnerability. It is done to minimize exposure to threats and mitigate possible risks.

The operating systems are designed to provide convenience and ease of use over security. The IT security team may have a different opinion on this. But they don't have to worry as there are steps that can be taken to harden a system and eliminate as many security risks as possible. For example, the basic one is to change the vendor's default username and password. Default access codes can be easily hacked as they are available on open sources. The other examples include removing unnecessary services from the configuration settings, applying firewall rules, enforcing password complexity, system idle time outs and more.

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Securing systems is crucial for IT infrastructure. Every organisation has one or multiple servers connected to the internet. Business continuity and credibility depend on the security of data stored in these devices. 


We have a qualified team to support the clients' infrastructure management needs. Implementing hardening measures at multiple levels is required for ensuring reliability and uptime for the business. Some of the standard practices that we follow are - 


1.  Physically securing the server facility. 

2.  Separating the database server from the application server. 

3.  Hardening of webserver and application servers.

4.  Security audits using tools. 

5.  Enforcing IP-based restrictions. 

6.  Implementing server password policy.

7.  Limiting access.

8.  Isolating production environment. 

9.  SSH hardening 

10. Monitoring and maintaining infrastructure. 



Why is Server Hardening important?


When talking about server hardening it is not only required for security but compliance as well.


Server hardening is an important factor in protective technologies like Firewalls and EDRs. If the server is not hardened properly no amount of money spent can secure the server. 


All the major compliance frameworks have server hardening as mandated. All compliance frameworks consider CIS Benchmarks as the best practice. Hence when looking for compliance this becomes essential. 


If you haven’t yet established the system hardening routine for your organisation, it is a good time to start now. We can help in building your policy according to the CIS Benchmarks, followed by implementation and maintenance. 

Why Server Auditing and Hardening?

Safety Against Misconfiguration

Misconfigured assets cause infrastructure vulnerabilities

Mitigating Vulnerabilities

Mitigating internal vulnerabilities by hardening actions

Protection against Cyberattacks

Secure configurations are not easy to be hacked

Simplified compliance and auditability

CIS benchmark is accepted by compliance and regulatory frameworks

What Illume Offers
  • 1. Support from the experts in infrastructure management needs.
    2. Ensured reliability and uptime with the hardening measures at multiple levels.
    3. Technical support team to monitor at regular intervals.

Book a free consultation call for your organization

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Servers deal with heavy workloads and large volumes of network traffic and any impact on them can cause downtime, corrupt information, or a security breach, all of which can negatively impact your business. Server security is critical to securing IT infrastructure.
Implementing a policy helps the administrators in tracking changes or attempting to access critical information through Windows server auditing, Windows file server auditing, and SQL Server auditing. The results give insights into the impact of the change. Auditing is also important for compliance as many organisations store critical data that may be subjected to HIPAA and SOX requirements. The audit policy helps in monitoring changes and modifications and easy report generation.
Securing complex and large server requirements needs a team of trained experts. The professional team of Illume Intelligence is qualified to support clients with varied infrastructure management needs. We ensure reliability and uptime by implementing hardening measures at multiple levels.
Vulnerability Scans will identify missing patches and misconfigurations that may lead to vulnerabilities. Open ports or active subsystems that respond to network traffic will be identified in the scans allowing the teams to take corrective actions. A vulnerability scan will also identify new servers when they appear on the network allowing the security team to ensure the relevant configurations standards are followed in line with the Information Security Policy.
Every business has unique needs, but certain types of audits are generally conducted by us.
Account logins - to identify unauthorized login attempts and to track successful logins to ensure only valid users are logged in.
Account management - identify changes to roles and user accounts, keeping you updated on which users are authorized.
Object changes - to see when a database object has been created, copied, changed, or dropped.
Policy changes - identify changes to the audit policy itself and confirm whether those modifications are expected, which is critical for accurate audits.
Some other audits include directory service access, privilege use, and process tracking.
According to the experts and compliance requirements, the auditing must be conducted at least annually but more frequent audits may be necessary for high-security environments or industries with strict compliance requirements. The frequency of server auditing depends on various factors such as the size of the server environment, the sensitivity of data, industry regulations, and the organization's security requirements.
Common server hardening measures include 1. Applying security patches and updates regularly to address known vulnerabilities.
2. Disabling or removing unnecessary services, protocols, or ports.
3. Enforcing strong password policies and implementing multi-factor authentication.
4. Configuring firewalls and access control lists (ACLs) to control network traffic.
5. Implementing intrusion detection/prevention systems (IDS/IPS) to monitor and prevent unauthorized access.
6. Encrypting sensitive data in transit and at rest.
7. Logging and monitoring server activity for suspicious or unauthorized actions.
8. Restricting administrative access and privileges to authorized personnel only.
9. Regularly reviewing and updating security configurations based on industry best practices.
10. Conduct regular security audits and vulnerability assessments.