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A new download will save UK companies weeks of cyber security work

UK companies and organisations can now meet the latest Government guidelines on cyber security in seconds after a new downloadable pack was released.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) offers official advice on how individuals can protect critical services from cyber attacks in a bid to “make the UK the safest place to live and do business online”.

This includes recommendations relating to passwords, staff profiles, antivirus programs and app restrictions, among others.

Microsoft has worked with the NCSC to put their guidance on securing Windows 10 into a pack that can be imported into Microsoft Intune – a service that has been adopted by a range of businesses and organisations to manage staff devices and apps from one place using the Azure cloud platform.

The use of the pack allows an IT professional to import all of the guidance settings rather than having to manually enter them, in a move that would normally take days. This also ensures that the settings are applied consistently and reduces errors.

Stuart Aston, National Security Officer at Microsoft UK, said: “Many cyber attacks could be mitigated by using simple security features already present in the Windows 10 platform. This new downloadable pack will help companies and organisations take a big step towards ensuring their systems and staff are safe online.”

It comes after the Government told the NCSC’s conference in Manchester that businesses must protect themselves online. “In the same way that shops protect themselves from burglary with locks, alarms and security guards, I expect businesses to take equivalent precautions digitally… Some breaches leave companies on their knees. Cyber breaches are serious, costly and disruptive,” it said.

The Government’s National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review, published in 2015, warned that the “volume and complexity of cyber attacks against the UK are rising sharply, as are the costs to business”. It pointed to the NCSC as the single point of contact for anyone seeking advice and promised to help companies and the public “do more to protect their own data from cyber threats”.

Microsoft’s new solution configures Windows 10 to align with the NCSC’s 12 End User Device Security Principles and will help prevent users from downloading malicious software by configuring Windows SmartScreen, restricting the running of software unless it has been cleared for safe use, and protecting against the theft of credentials.

Aston added: “Microsoft believes security should always come first, which is why we have developed this pack with the NCSC. It enables customers to turn on the Windows 10 guidance in a consistent way, so they can feel confident that their systems comply with the latest NCSC recommendations.”

You can find out more about the Intune solution on the NCSC website, download this configuration as a zipped JSON file and import scripts on GitHub