For maximum security of your Windows 10 systems, enable automatic updates, log on securely, and use apps like Windows Hello, Passport and Device Guard.
The status of Windows 10 as the world’s most-used operating system subjects it to a continual onslaught of attacks that can compromise your sensitive data and jeopardize your operations. Microsoft typically responds to threats quickly with system updates — which sometimes cause more problems than they fix.
If you run Windows 10 on your business systems, you know that the experience can be fraught with contradictions. On the one hand, the newest version of the ubiquitous operating system receives rave reviews for its security. On the other, you never know when an update may leave you with insufficient protection.
Fortunately, you can exert some control over the security of your Windows desktops and laptops. To help keep your systems safe, consider these steps.
Windows 10 has a significant number of built-in security features, including several apps that can help keep your data safe. The Passport app, for example, uses a unique gesture that you select as an easy way to securely log in to various password-protected services and websites.
Windows Hello works hand-in-hand with Passport to give you maximum security without the use of passwords. The app uses a biometric like a face scan or fingerprint, along with encrypted authentication data that is stored locally. Meanwhile, Device Guard boosts security by blocking malware as well as allowing you to designate trusted apps that have permission to run automatic functions, including updates.
A staggering number of data breaches occur as the result of a device left physically unprotected. If you’re working in an environment that may expose your laptop to prying eyes, consider using the Windows key + L to lock your device immediately, or head to Start, Screensaver to set an automatic lock after a period of inactivity. Anyone attempting to use your locked device will need to log in.
If you use Windows 10 Pro, you can enable the Secure Logon functionality to prevent a prospective intruder from guessing your password when you leave your device unattended. Following a preset number of unsuccessful attempts to log in, your device will lock itself for a specified time. In addition, consider enabling two-factor authentication on your Microsoft account to prevent an unauthorized password reset.
Combination cable locks and other physical security measures also can help keep your device safe, and Windows 10 supports additional authentication through advanced biometric hardware like fingerprint readers.
If you used Microsoft Security Essentials with previous versions of Windows, it’s important to note that you will no longer need it — nor is it available — with the latest versions of Windows 10. Instead, you can use the pre-installed Windows Security as your antivirus protection.
Windows Security turns on automatically when you deactivate any third-party antivirus protection you’ve installed or that came pre-installed on your machine, and Windows Update will keep the software — and your entire Windows 10 system — updated automatically.
With so many emerging threats against Windows 10 devices, you may worry about the vulnerability of your sensitive data. By keeping software up-to-date, taking advantage of built-in apps, and physically securing your machine, you can rest easier.