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CIS Microsoft Workstations Benchmark Reports

by Stephanie Dunn
February 9, 2017

Windows workstations remain one of the most popular client systems used within modern networks. With each subsequent release of Windows Operating Systems (OS), Microsoft adds additional security features designed to improve the overall security of the system. These changes also include default security policies and account settings left over from previous versions of Windows. Windows systems contain hundreds of thousands of local and domain-based policies and settings that can be easily misconfigured or overlooked by system administrators, leaving critical systems and/or data at risk. The Center for Internet Security (CIS) is an organization that works with security experts to develop a set of 'best practice' security standards designed to harden Windows operating systems. Data presented within these report templates includes a high-level overview of results gathered from CIS compliance scans using the CIS Microsoft Workstation Benchmarks.

Tenable Network Security has been certified by CIS to perform a wide variety of platform and application audits based on the best practice consensus benchmarks developed by CIS. Tenable submits example test cases for all of the criteria within each unique benchmark, and then submits our results to CIS personnel for official certification. Tenable has developed audit files based on the CIS Windows XP through Windows 10 Benchmarks, which has been approved and certified by CIS staff members.

When performing managed scans with SecurityCenter, some CIS audits require additional patch audits and vulnerability checks. Any additional requirements for completing an audit using the CIS Microsoft Workstation Benchmarks will be included within the audit file description text. In some cases, multiple scans may be required to be performed, as Tenable provides both Level 1 and Level 2 audit checks. Level 1 checks provide minimum settings recommendations, and are generally considered safe to apply to most systems. Level 2 checks include recommendations for complex or highly secure environments, and can lead to reduced functionality of Windows workstations.

To perform audit scans using SecurityCenter, analysts should upload relevant CIS Microsoft Workstation Benchmark audit files first. Next, the appropriate credentials must be added, after which a scan policy can be created and scheduled. As part of the post scan jobs, the 'Auto-Run Reports' can be enabled automatically, running this report on the data collected using the appropriate audit file. Using these benchmarks will help to assess the effectiveness of existing security controls on Windows workstations, and provide the critical information needed to improve an organization's security posture.

The reports are available in the SecurityCenter Feed, a comprehensive collection of dashboards, reports, Assurance Report Cards, and assets. The reports can be easily located in the SecurityCenter Feed under the category Compliance & Configuration Assessment. The report requirements are:

  • SecurityCenter 5.2.0
  • Nessus 6.9.3
  • CIS Audit Files for Microsoft Workstations are required, and the files required for each template are listed below with their respective templates.

Tenable SecurityCenter provides organizations with the ability to measure and communicate results with many compliance standards including the CIS Benchmarks. By frequently scanning systems, SecurityCenter will measure compliance in real time, providing a security posture assessment of Windows workstations throughout the enterprise. SecurityCenter includes over 200 audit files for CIS, and more than 400 audit files that will aid in identifying gaps in policy implementation and prioritizing remediation efforts. With more supported technologies than any other vendor, SecurityCenter delivers comprehensive security solutions that provide continuous visibility and the intelligence needed to assess the enterprise against CIS compliance standards.

Report Templates


CIS Microsoft Windows XP Benchmark v3.1.0 - This benchmark provides guidance for establishing a secure configuration posture for Windows XP Professional systems. Microsoft has ended support for Windows XP systems, and no longer provides security updates or patches. Running Windows XP can be dangerous for organizations, as attackers continue to actively exploit vulnerabilities within this operating system. Organizations should migrate workstations to a currently supported OS such as Windows 10. This report includes a summary of results gathered from account settings, group policies, registry settings, service status, and file permissions on Windows XP workstations.

  • CIS_MS_Windows_XP_v3.1.audit 

CIS Microsoft Windows 7 Benchmark v3.0.1 - This benchmark provides guidance for establishing a secure configuration posture for Windows 7 systems. Information presented within this report includes a summary of results gathered from password policies, group policy settings, firewall policies, BitLocker settings, and more.

  • CIS_MS_Windows_7_L1_Bitlocker_v3.0.1.audit
  • CIS_MS_Windows_7_L1_v3.0.1.audit
  • CIS_MS_Windows_7_L2_Bitlocker_v3.0.1.audit
  • CIS_MS_Windows_7_L2_v3.0.1.audit

CIS Microsoft Windows 8 Benchmark v1.0.0 - This benchmark provides guidance for establishing a secure configuration posture for Microsoft Windows 8 systems. This report includes a high-level overview of results gathered from account settings, local group policies, and firewall settings on Windows 8 workstations.

  • CIS_MS_Windows_8_Level_1_v1.0.0.audit

CIS Microsoft Windows 8.1 Benchmark v2.2.1 - This benchmark provides guidance for establishing a secure configuration posture for Microsoft Windows 8.1 systems. Information presented within this report includes a summary of results gathered from password policies, group policy settings, firewall policies, and more

  • CIS_MS_Windows_8.1_Level_1_Bitlocker_v2.2.1.audit
  • CIS_MS_Windows_8.1_Level_1_v2.2.1.audit
  • CIS_MS_Windows_8.1_Level_2_Bitlocker_v2.2.1.audit
  • CIS_MS_Windows_8.1_Level_2_v2.2.1.audit

CIS Microsoft Windows 10 Enterprise Release 1511 Benchmark v1.1.1 - This benchmark provides guidance for establishing a secure configuration posture for Microsoft Windows 10 Enterprise Release 1511. This report includes a high-level overview of results gathered from account settings, BitLocker settings, local group policies, and firewall settings on Windows 10 workstations.

  • CIS_MS_Windows_10_Enterprise_Level_1_Bitlocker_v1.1.1.audit 
  • CIS_MS_Windows_10_Enterprise_Level_1_v1.1.1.audit
  • CIS_MS_Windows_10_Enterprise_Level_2_Bitlocker_v1.1.1.audit 
  • CIS_MS_Windows_10_Enterprise_Level_2_v1.1.1.audit