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Windows Audit Check Dashboards

by Cody Dumont
September 16, 2014

Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance (GRC) is a substantial part of any information assurance program.  A GRC requires information systems to be audited, regardless of the standard to which the audit is performed.  These dashboards provide the audit results for Windows, Windows File Contents, and SCAP Audits for Windows.

One of the initial steps in a successful GRC program is to set configuration guidelines and establish a supportable set of security policies.  SecurityCenter Continuous View (CV) can measure compliance using audit files that cover a wide range of major regulations and other auditable standards. Tenable provides over 500 audit files, which are available for download from the Tenable Support Portal, in categories such as operating systems, applications, databases, and network devices. Tenable products can be used to audit systems based on SCAP content, and many Tenable audit policies have been certified by the Center for Internet Security (CIS). More information about audit files can be found in the Tenable Discussion Forums, Tenable Support Portal, Nessus Compliance Checks, and Nessus Compliance Reference.

The dashboard and its components are available in the SecurityCenter Feed, a comprehensive collection of dashboards, reports, assurance report cards and assets. The dashboard can be easily located in the SecurityCenter Feed under the category Compliance & Configuration Assessments.

The dashboard requirements are:

  • SecurityCenter 4.8.1
  • Nessus 5.2.7
  • Compliance Data

Audit files can be customized to match the values defined by an organization’s corporate policies. Audit files are easily created or modified to support the organizations existing security policies. When an audit is performed, for each individual compliance check, Nessus attempts to determine if the host is compliant, non-compliant, or if the results are inconclusive and need to be verified manually. Unlike a vulnerability check that only reports if the vulnerability is actually present, a compliance check always reports a result. This way, the data can be used as the basis of an audit report to show that a host passed or failed a specific test, or if it could not be properly tested.

SecurityCenter CV is the market leader in providing a unique combination of vulnerability detection, compliance auditing, and reporting.  SecurityCenter CV supports auditing more technologies than any other vendor, including operating systems, network devices, hypervisors, databases, tablets, phones, web servers, and critical infrastructure.  Nessus is continuously updated with information about advanced threats and zero-day vulnerabilities, and new types of regulatory compliance configuration audits. This makes SecurityCenter CV the market-defining continuous network monitoring platform, and Nessus the market-defining vulnerability scanning for auditors and security analysts.

Windows Audit Results - SecurityCenter CV using Nessus can test for any setting that can be configured as a 'policy' under the Microsoft Windows framework. There are several hundred registry settings that can be audited and the permissions of files, directories, and objects can also be analyzed. The audit policy can check many settings; for example, with Access Control Lists the audit policy can audit ACL's applied to Registry, Services, and File Access.  Other more complex checks can check the Group Policy settings, Registry entries, or local system policies currently applied to the Windows computer. 

Windows File Contents Audit Results - SecurityCenter CV using Nessus can perform Windows Content audit checks.  The content audit checks differ from Windows Configuration audit checks in that they are designed to search a Windows file system for specific file types containing sensitive data rather than enumerate system configuration settings. The content audit checks include a range of options to help the auditor narrow down the search parameters and more efficiently locate and display noncompliant data. An example of noncompliant content is PII (Personally Identifiable Information) or PHI (Protected Health Information). 

SCAP Windows Audit Results - SecurityCenter CV using Nessus can assess Windows systems based on the Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP). SCAP relies on multiple standards, which may change as threat and desktop environments evolve. Tenable was an early adopter of NIST SCAP content and is one of the first vendors to implement NIST CVSS version 2 scoring, as well as one of the first to provide SCAP testing content to customers. SecurityCenter CV 4.8 and higher have been designed to work with the official XCCDF Tier IV content used in the SCAP program. More information about the SCAP audit files can be found at SecurityCenter 4.7 SCAP Assessments.