Microsoft Environment Hardening – Microsoft LAPS Integration and Setup
Keeping your information safe from an intrusion is imperative in today’s business world. You simply cannot do business if you do not have the right protection in place. Your business thrives on it, and your customers depend on it. To make it to where your customers feel safe depending on you, you need to depend on us to deploy Microsoft Environmental Hardening. Be Structured Technology Group specializes in being a Microsoft Local Administrator Password Service (LAPS) Installation company that Los Angeles can trust. Not only do we know how to install and integrate LAPS into your network, but we can also do it in a way that allows your customers’ information to remain safe and secure from both internal and external intrusions.
What is Microsoft LAPS?
LAPS stands for Local Administrator Password Service. When your goal is to improve your network and individual machine security, remove an attack vector, and reduce the likelihood of any malicious software spreading through your entire network; you want to have Microsoft LAPS. Microsoft LAPS allows you to set unique local administrator passwords for every server and workstation on the network and store them securely. Each password is stored inside an active directory, or AD, as plain text, which then gets secondary protection by only allowing those with the proper permissions to access the passwords or ask for a password to be updated that is in that directory. It allows every single machine to have a uniquely complicated password so that even if one area gets compromised, the rest will remain separate and safe.
How Can LAPS Help Your Business?
In years past, one default password was used for numerous accounts in the same business setting. It was often something like [email protected] or something equally as universal and generic. Then, as one person went from machine to machine, they would use that password and have access to anything inside the network. However, if someone hacked into your system using that generic password or placed malware into that computer, they could move from machine to machine and get access to or corrupt any type of data any machine in your network had stored. Some cyber attackers also manipulated the original administrator password to get more information on linked devices or even lock you out of your network. This type of manipulation has sometimes been referred to as the Pass the Hash, or PtH, exploit.
Build Reputation In Security with Microsoft LAPS
Today, this type of behavior spells disaster in terms of modern data protection, and it can also cause reputation issues for your company, especially if your clients do not feel as though their data is safe. Instead of taking that risk, we can go ahead and integrate LAPS into your business network. This allows for the password to be randomized between local administrators so that each workstation within your network has a totally unique access code. In this case, should a single machine become compromised, chances are good that the hacker would not be able to move to another computer or gain access to other bits of data stored elsewhere.
LAPS Creates Valid Credentials
While workstations and servers remain requirements for most businesses, the generic password, used for multiple machines, needs to be a thing of the past. Through the implementation of LAPS, we can help you secure your entire system and bring your security to the next level so that you are far less likely to experience some type of malware issue or security breach on a grand scale. Plus, we can help implement the centralized server that lets us manage your businesses local accounts so that no one is getting in that shouldn’t be there.
Another area that LAPS can help with (that is regularly overlooked) is through the required backdoors that many IT professionals put into networks so that if a problem occurs, someone can still access that network to fix any programs that are encountered from the inside. Many professionals use the same credentials across all of their computers and while IT professionals should know better, it still happens. This process is called valid credential reuse. So, if those credentials were to ever get compromised, there is no telling how widespread a breach could be. Even the most protected business could find itself a victim simply because of an authorized user that may no longer have even been accessing the computer. By putting in a password randomizer that keeps passwords stored in a protected area, this concern is no longer something that you should have to worry about.
How Networks Manage PtH Problems
There are a few common ways that a company could try to mitigate the damage done through PtH. Some companies have disabled their more traditional forms of authentication, disabling file and printer sharing, and even manually managing each unique password for every device in their network. This is a very difficult task to perform and maintain and it still does not guarantee that PtH will not happen. Instead, LAPS chooses to go in a different direction.
LAPS bypasses the need to eliminate PtH problems. Instead, it opts to reduce what type of impact it could have by making every administrator password challenging and unique. While it does not stop the hacker from trying to change things around if he or she gets into the network, it does significantly decrease the potential damage that this person can do. Even if every machine in your network has a single administrator account, the hackers would not be able to access any of the data in the network since each password needed to gain entry would be unique.
Microsoft Environmental Hardening Helps HR Departments
It used to be where one main computer generated all passwords for all computers that were part of the same network. It would be something like, add a new user to the local network, use this person’s last name and birth year as their password, and tell that person to change the password later; which, let’s be honest, very few actually did. Thankfully, this is not how human resource departments work anymore.
Today, some of the same practices are still in use, but the protection that is put in place is newer and far more unique. The protection allows for a new user to be added, but no one can access an administrator level without the proper onboarding procedures taking place. Old passwords for people who were put into the AD were easily reverse encrypted, making it easy for someone from the outside to make their way in. The new safety protocols Microsoft LAPS adds makes this a non-issue as well.
Today, all that is required for this type of protection is a new installation of LAPS, proper setup of the software, and the system to be updated regularly. That is what we can do to help. Any password saved on the AD is then attached to an authorized user and send to the recipient using AES and Kerberos v5.
Are There Any LAPS Limitations?
While it is not something that is often seen as an issue, LAPS does have one limitation that comes up now and again. It is simply incapable of managing any account outside of the local account for the administrator or outside of the networked machines. If your machine is not joined to the domain-joined network, then it cannot connect to your LAPS software.
It has one job and it does it incredibly well. It just cannot do something outside of the local network it is designed to protect. For those that are seeking ways of rotating passwords that help keep all aspects of a local network of machines safe, LAPS is the ideal answer.
How Can I Get Microsoft LAPS Set Up For Microsoft Environment Hardening?
From the moment we begin with the integration and setup of LAPS, your network will be undertaking a new level of security. Each password will be securely stored in the AD, and we will make sure that only those with administrator rights can access those passwords for your workstations or networks, or request that the passwords be updated.
The entire goal of LAPS is making sure that no one that comes in from outside of your network can access your most critical passwords or request they be changed to something new. This helps to keep your system much safer. Be Structured will help configure your network of computers and other devices to remain safer against intrusions, like:
- Stealing valuable company data
- Disrupting how your business runs
- Changing documents
- Placing false orders
- Pretending to be another user
- Installing ransomware and encrypting data on the network
- Installing other virus or malware malicious software
Microsoft LAPS Keeps Data Safe
Default permissions are a good start, but they are not enough for our clients. We understand the importance of keeping your data safe, so we take the time to configure each part of the LAPS interface to ensure that you get the utmost protection possible. We will work with you to define who should have access to what and structure your system to randomize the passwords of everyone with the right set of company permissions. We will also help to make sure your list of people with access is always up to date. If you ever need to change those permissions, we are a simple phone call away.
What You Should Know About Microsoft LAPS
There are some common misconceptions out there about how LAPS works, so we thought it would be valuable for you to know a few of these little notes about it before calling us to start your integration. One thing many people ask us is what happens to devices that are not online during an update. This happens, such as when an employee is at home sick or when someone is working remotely in the field. With LAPS, this is not a problem. As soon as the device gets back within the range of your network, the device will update with its new admin password and will remain safe for your employee (or you) to use.
Configuring Microsoft LAPS
We have had some clients worry that because their passwords are stored as plain text that it is more vulnerable. This is not the case. LAPS is a system with many layers. One of those layers is making sure that only those with the right permission and authentication can access that information. That is part of what we do during the integration and setup of LAPS. We will make sure that your system is properly configured to keep it as safe as possible.
Our clients have also looked up Microsoft LAPS on their own and see that it is incredibly complex. While this is true, the professionals here at Be Structured are well aware of how to install, integrate, and set up LAPS in your system, allowing it to be one of the safest ways of protecting your network from intrusions that cross all storage devices with data on them. LAPS is not a great software title to try and figure out on your own, but when put in the hands of a skilled Microsoft LAPS firm here in Los Angeles like ours, you are sure to get the benefits you were looking for out of the product without the complexity you were worried about.
Let Be Structured Help with Your Los Angeles Microsoft Local Administrator Password Service (LAPS) Installation
Cyberattacks are always going to be a possibility. You are not going to be able to stop them. Instead, what you can do, is limit the damage they can do and protect your data in as many layers as possible. By turning to an experienced Managed Security Service Provider, you have a way to defend yourself and the data in your network against cyberattacks and outside intrusion. Reach out to us here at Be Structured Technology Group today. Let our IT Support Company keep your business safe and sound.