Develop systems administration procedures to implement systems security configuration guidance and best practices.

Purpose: Develop systems administration procedures to implement systems security configuration guidance and best practices.

Objectives

  1. Develop a Windows system restore point systems administration procedure to implement an industry recognized best practice for maintaining system integrity and availability.
  2. Develop a Windows system administration procedure to manage programs and features.
  3. Develop a systems administration procedure to implement configuration rules from systems security technical guidance issued by a vendor or government organization.

Overview

In this lab, our focus is upon developing a set of procedures which can be incorporated into an organization’s security implementation guidance and documentation. For each procedure, you will develop, test, and document the steps required to implement the selected best practices and security configuration guidance (as provided in the lab instructions and notes). You will write three separate procedures for this lab:

  • Creating, Using, Removing System Restore Points for Windows 8.1
  • Managing Windows 8.1 Programs and Features
  • Implementing Security Configuration Rules for Windows 8.1

 

Each procedure will have the following major sections (see Figure 1):

  • Title:
  • Operating Environment:
  • Description:
  • Notes, Warnings, & Restrictions:
  • Resources (Further Reading):
  • Procedures:

 

Some procedures will contain a large number of steps. To make the procedures easier to read, you should divide your procedures into groups of related steps. Place a group heading (e.g. Create System Restore Points) at the beginning of each group. Each group heading should be followed by a brief paragraph that explains the purpose of the group (e.g. This group (or “section”) contains step by step instructions for creating System Restore Points using the “System Restore ” tool….)

 

Title:

 

Operating Environment:

1.        Hardware

2.        Software

 

Description:

 

Notes, Warnings, & Restrictions:

 

Resources (Further Reading):

1.       

2.         

3.         

 

Procedures:

 

[Group Heading]

Brief introduction paragraph for this group of steps

1.

2.

3.

 

[Group Heading]

Brief introduction paragraph for this group of steps

1.

2.

3.

 

Figure 1. Required Outline for System Administration Procedures

Instructions

Part (a): Implementing System Restore Points

  1. Investigate the System Restore tool (used to manage system restore points). To access the tool, open the System tool from Control Panel (Control Panel > System and Security > System). Then, click on System Protection (left menu).
  2. Identify appropriate sources of information (e.g. Windows Help, Microsoft Technet, etc.) for instructions for using the Windows 8.1 System Restore Point capability. Using those sources, research the procedures required to perform the following tasks:
    1. Create a system restore point for a Windows 8.1 system
    2. Use a system restore point to roll-back changes made to a Windows 8.1 system
    3. Remove system restore points from a Windows 8.1 system (some and all)

 

Note: you will not be able to do the full rollback (item 2(b)) in the VDA due to security restrictions. Your procedure should contain these steps, however. Use the Microsoft “System Restore” documentation to obtain the required information about what happens after the system restart for the rollback. You do not need to provide an “after” snapshot for this step.

 

  1. Paste the procedure outline (Figure 1) into your Lab #1 file. Make sure that you insert a page break so that the “Title” heading appears at the top of a new page.
  2. Using the required outline, develop a systems administration procedure which can be used to perform tasks related to item #1 (management and use of system restore points).
  3. Test your draft procedures using the virtual machine provided in the online lab environment (UMUC’s VDA). Do NOT use your personal computer or a work computer.
  4. As you run your tests, collect screen snapshots to illustrate key steps in your procedures. (Use the snipping tool on your local PC to snapshot portions of the VDA browser or client window.) Insert these snapshots at the appropriate points in your procedure. The snapshots must show the procedures as run in the VDA environment.

 

Part (b): Managing Programs and Features for Windows 8.1

  1. Investigate the Programs and Features tool (used to manage installed programs and optional features / capabilities). To access the tool, open Programs and Features from the Windows Control Panel.
  2. Identify appropriate sources of information (e.g. Windows Help, Microsoft Technet, etc.) for instructions for using the Programs and Features Using those sources, research the procedures required to perform the following tasks:
    1. Turn Windows Features On or Off
    2. Modify, Repair, or Uninstall a program from a Windows 8.1 system
    3. Select and Install Updates for Windows and Windows Applications, Find an installed Update, Remove an installed update
  3. Paste a second blank copy of the procedure outline (from Figure 1) at the end of your Lab #1 file. Make sure that you insert a page break before you paste to ensure the “Title” heading appears at the top of a new page.
  4. Using the required outline, develop a systems administration procedure which can be used to perform tasks related to item #2. Provide examples for each of the required tasks. (Select a specific feature, program, or update and use that as an example in your procedure.)
  5. As you run your tests, collect screen snapshots to illustrate key steps in your procedures. (Use the snipping tool on your local PC to snapshot portions of the VDA browser or client window.) Insert these snapshots at the appropriate points in your procedure. The snapshots must show the procedures as run in the VDA environment.

Part (c): Implementing Security Configuration Rules Using the Local Group Policy Editor

Note: you are NOT implementing the DISA / DoD STIG in this section. You are implementing a set of security configuration rules that your “company” has selected from industry accepted sources.

  1. Investigate the Local Group Policy Editor tool (Windows Key + R then type gpedit.msc). Pay particular attention to the menu tree in the left hand pane (expand and review the categories of settings which can be changed using this tool).
  2. Research the security configuration rules listed in Table 1. These rules were developed from the Department of Defense Security Technical Implementation Guidance for Windows 8.1.
  3. When you are ready to begin writing your procedure, paste a blank copy of the procedure outline (from Figure 1) at the end of your Lab #1 file. Make sure that you insert a page break before you paste to ensure the “Title” heading appears at the top of a new page.
  4. Determine how you will group related security configuration rules. Each group will need a “section heading” (see Figure 1) and introductory paragraph (2 -3 sentences) which explains the purpose of the group.
  5. Next, develop a step by step procedure for each group of rules. See the “Suggested Procedure Group” column in Table 1 for suggested categories. Your groupings should allow for inclusion of additional, related rules at a later date. (For example, there are two “energy saving” rules in the table; an organization may wish to add additional rules to this category at some point in the future.)
  6. For each group of rules, develop step-by-step written procedures for systems administrators. Your written procedures must implement the “remediation” guidance as listed in Table 1[i].
  7. Test your procedures by running them in the VDA. As you run your tests, collect screen snapshots to illustrate key steps in your procedures. (Use the snipping tool on your local PC to snapshot portions of the VDA browser or client window.) Insert these snapshots at the appropriate points in your procedure. The snapshots must show the procedures as run in the VDA environment.
  8. Incorporate your screen snapshots for key steps into the draft procedures. Each snapshot should be placed UNDER (after) the step to which it applies. Captions are not required.
  9. Make any additional changes required to address issues found during testing of the step-by-step procedures.

Finalize Your Deliverable

  1. Using the grading rubric as a guide, refine your step-by-step procedures. Your final products should be suitable for inclusion in an organization’s Systems Administrator’s Handbook. Remember that you are preparing multiple system administration procedures which must be presented separately.
  2. As appropriate, cite your sources using footnotes or another appropriate citation style.
  3. Use the resources section to provide information about recommended readings and any sources that you cite. Use a standard bibliographic format (you may wish to use APA since this is required in other CSIA courses). Information about sources and recommended readings, including in-text citations, should be formatted consistently and professionally.
  4. Each procedure document should be placed in the listed order in a SINGLE FILE (see deliverables list above). Each file should start with a title page which lists the following information:
  • Lab Title and Number
  • Procedure Name
  • Date
  • Your Name
  1. The CSIA 310 Template for Lab Deliverable.docx file is set up to provide the required title page and three lab procedure templates.

Additional Requirements for this Lab

  1. Your target audience for these procedures will be Windows 8/8.1 SYSTEM ADMINISTRATORS. Do not write procedures for home users or individuals using their own computers.
  2. Your step-by-step procedures should tell the System Administrator where to find and how to launch the systems administration tools used to change security configuration settings for the Windows 8.1 operating system.
  3. It is not necessary to specify every step that a system administrator must take to implement the security rules. But, you must address each security configuration rule separately and include enough detail that your reader will understand how to perform the required steps to implement the security configuration changes.
  4. Use screen snapshots to cue the reader to important steps or provide information required to complete check points for proper completion of a step or set of steps (e.g. including a snapshot which shows the “after” state for a group of security settings).
  5. Make sure that your snapshots will enhance the reader’s understanding of the procedure and required configuration changes. Too many snapshots or illustrations can make a procedure difficult to use.
  6. All snapshots must be created by you for this lab using screen captures showing how you personally performed (tested) the systems administration procedure as written by you. You may not copy and paste images from help pages, manuals, or the Internet.
  7. Images (screen snapshots) should be cropped and sized appropriately.
  8. A screen snapshot belonging to a specific procedure step does not require a caption.
  9. Make sure that the sources you cite or recommend (additional reading) are authoritative and are the best ones available.
  10. Your Operating Environment section should identify the hardware, operating system, and/or software applications to which the procedure applies. For this lab, your procedures will apply to:
    1. Hardware: Laptop or Desktop Computers
    2. Operating System: Windows 8.1 Professional
  11. Your Notes, Warnings & Restrictions section should include important information that is not found elsewhere in the procedures document. For example, this section could include information about alternatives to the selected security configuration settings. Or, this section could include information about related security procedures or policies. If this procedure implements controls relevant to an external security requirement, e.g. the HIPAA Security Rule, then that information should be included in the notes section. Consult the Windows 8.1 STIG to see what types of information you may need to include in your document. This section should also include important information about harm or risk that could occur if the procedure is not correctly followed or implemented.
  12. The procedures that you write for this lab will become part of the final project for this course (System Administration Manual)
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