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How Windows 10 Delivers Higher Level Financial IT Security Performance

The time for Windows 10 security is now.

March 25, 2019

There are several features included in the Windows 10 platform that help protect financial data from phishing attacks, ransomware, spyware, and worms. With such a broad and diverse threat area, a myriad of defense tools is necessary.

Since 1985, Microsoft Windows has been the go-to operating system for PCs and assorted hardware, progressing through numerous updates and transitions. Windows OS has become the industry standard for financial institutions, and the introduction of Windows 10 offers expanded security features and functionality.

While some businesses prefer to wait until the Windows 7 support cut-off date of January 14, 2020 to upgrade to Windows 10, there are valid reasons to make the switch now, enjoy the improved performance and ease of use, and avoid the rush for service.  As with all software, there’s a learning curve, but Windows 10 has been available since 2014, so Microsoft has had ample time to work through any minor difficulties to make the transition easy. Once the decision is made to switch, selecting a trusted technology partner to oversee and handle the complexities of a changeover is the simplest, safest, and virtually painless option.

The security features of Windows 10 are unmatched and especially beneficial in ATM use. With ATM fraud up 39% according to FICO, banks and credit institutions look for solutions including cardless functionality. The ATM Industry Association has conducted studies that indicate Windows 10’s proficiency in recognizing malware and cyberattacks. Multifactor authentications, contactless and biometric technologies, and physical-to-digital integrations add greater security for user transactions.

There are several features included in the Windows 10 platform that help protect financial data from phishing attacks, ransomware, spyware, and worms. With such a broad and diverse threat area, a myriad defense of tools is necessary.

Put the seven Windows 10 defenders of cyberattacks to work for you.

1. Windows Defender Smart Screen

According to Microsoft, this feature can “block at first sight,” protecting employees who explore sites previously known to contain phishing or malware, and preventing the download of malicious files, while it also protects against fake ads, scam sites, and drive-by attacks.

2. Windows Defender Application Guard

This protection for Microsoft Edge using Microsoft Hyper-V virtualization technology, defends targeted threats by using whitelisting functionality. Users designate trusted sites for browsing. Untrusted sites are then opened in an Application Guard container, blocking access to memory, local storage, other applications, corporate network endpoints, or other points of interest to a potential attacker.

3. User Account Control

By preventing malware from damaging a machine, users are protected and organizations distribute a more organized desktop. When enabled, apps and tasks are continually run in a security mode until an administrator authorizes access to the system. This also prevents accidental changes to system settings and automatic installation of unauthorized apps.

4. Windows Defender Device Guard

This feature uses driver and application whitelisting to change modes to where the OS trusts only apps that are authorized by the institution. It uses two components, kernel mode code integrity (KMCI) and user mode code integrity (UMCI) protecting from zero-day attack and PC lockdown using only trusted apps.

5. Windows Defender Exploit Guard

This delivers a new class of capabilities to prevent intrusion through exploit protection, attack surface reduction rules, network protection, and controlled folder access. Legacy app protection includes arbitrary code guard, blocking low-integrity image, untrusted fonts and exporting address filtering. The result helps in auditing, configuring, and managing Windows systems and app exploit mitigations.

6. Microsoft Bitlocker

Crucial in cases of device loss or theft, this full-drive encryption solution — provided within Windows 10 Professional and Enterprise — defends unauthorized data access by increasing file and system protections to make data inaccessible when computers are recycled or retired.

7. Windows Defender Credential Guard

Protecting the user from credential theft attacks, this guard uses virtualization-based security to isolate secret information only privileged system software can access. Once enabled, it offers hardware security and increased protection from advanced threats.

The best defense is a good offense: A trusted, third-party technology partner.

Change in technology is challenging and certainly constant. Shifting from outdated OS is imperative given the future lack of support that will open holes in security that could lead to a data breach affecting an institution’s bottom line, credibility, and customer loyalty. To make a smooth transition, it is recommended to engage a technology partner who can ensure minimal downtime while updating systems with optimal security.

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