Windows 11 Security Measures: Safeguarding Home and Small Business PCs

Windows 11 Security Measures

When it comes to the security of YOUR home and small business PCs, you must rely on something other than a dedicated IT team like large corporations do. The responsibility falls on your shoulders, making prioritizing security from the outset essential.

Waiting until after a catastrophic incident is too late. We created this guide to help you establish a strong security baseline and proactively tackle the most critical issues.

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This comprehensive guide goes beyond the Windows 11 operating system itself. We recognize that many threats originate from external sources.

To ensure your PCs remain secure, you must be mindful of network traffic, email accounts, authentication mechanisms, and the vulnerabilities posed by unsophisticated users.

Following the steps outlined here will give you a deeper understanding of the most critical security concerns, and learn how to maintain ongoing vigilance to protect your valuable data and systems.

Why Protect your Home and Small Business PCs with Windows 11 Security?

Securing your home and small business PCs with Windows 11 Security is vital in today’s threat landscape. While traditional antivirus solutions have their place, they often need to catch up against modern threats.

Windows 11 provides comprehensive security measures designed to tackle sophisticated cyberattacks, offering you the protection you need to stay secure.

When setting up Windows 11 on PCs connected to a business network, aligning your security configuration with corporate policies is essential. Some device management policies may restrict specific settings from being modified.

Eliminate Unknown Publisher Warning

Conducting a thorough threat assessment is essential before changing your Windows settings. Familiarize yourself with the legal and regulatory obligations associated with data breaches and other security incidents.

Even small businesses must adhere to compliance requirements. If you fall under such regulations, it’s advisable to seek the expertise of a specialist who understands your industry and can ensure that your systems meet all the necessary standards.

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Leveraging the advanced security features of Windows 11 can proactively identify, protect against, detect, and respond to cyber threats.

This empowers you to safeguard your home and small business PCs effectively, bolstering your overall security posture and minimizing the risk of potential breaches or attacks.

How to Safeguard Your PC at Home/ Office?

On a work-from-home today and using your personal desktop? Or are you running a small business with a lot of work being accessed online? You have numerous threats to your security, then!

But you can overcome it without a single moment to stress about it. We have covered you all with these approaches, which will be helpful in both ways. You can explore the measures below if you are a home or office person.

Check Trusted Platform Module (TPM) Status

TPM is a hardware-based security feature that provides additional protection for your device. To check the status of your TPM, follow these steps:

  • Press Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box.
  • Type “tpm.msc” and press Enter.
  • The TPM Management console will open, displaying the status of your TPM. Ensure that it is enabled and functioning correctly.

If your device doesn’t have a TPM or is not enabled, consult your manufacturer for instructions on enabling it or consider using alternative security measures.

Getting an Antivirus

  • Windows 11 comes with Windows Security or Windows Defender Security Center pre-installed on your device. Enable and run it by searching for “Windows Security” in the Start menu and opening the app.
  • Windows Security includes antivirus protection through Windows Defender. Check if it is active and up to date. If you have a Microsoft 365 Family or Personal subscription, you can also use Microsoft Defender, which offers additional protection for all your devices.
  • Regularly update your antivirus software for the latest virus definitions and security patches. These updates help protect your PC against new and emerging threats.
  • Perform regular PC scans using the built-in Windows Security or Windows Defender. Choose from the quick, complete system or custom scans to check for malware or malicious software.

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  • Keep User Account Control enabled on your PC. UAC helps prevent unauthorized changes to your system settings and provides additional protection against malicious activities.

Ensuring Updates

  • Turn on automatic updates in Windows Update. It will keep your Windows 11 operating system updated with the latest security patches, bug fixes, and new features. This will help protect your PC against known vulnerabilities and emerging threats.
  • Microsoft Office and other Microsoft applications also require regular updates to address security vulnerabilities and enhance performance. Enable automatic updates for these applications or periodically check for updates manually.

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  • Non-Microsoft software should also be updated, such as web browsers, Adobe Acrobat Reader, and other frequently used applications. Enable automatic updates for these applications whenever possible, or manually check for updates regularly.
  • Remove any software or applications that are no longer needed or are outdated. Unnecessary software can introduce security risks and increase the attack surface of your PC. Regularly review and uninstall software that is no longer in use.
  • For larger office environments, consider using a software update management solution. These tools help streamline managing and deploying updates across multiple PCs, ensuring that all systems are up-to-date and secure.

Use of Firewalls

  • Windows 11 comes with a built-in firewall that is turned on by default. However, ensuring the firewall is enabled on your PC is necessary. To do this, go to the Start menu, search for “Windows Security,” and open the Windows Security app.
  • Click “Firewall & network protection” in the Windows Security app to access the firewall settings.
  • Verify that the firewall is turned on. If it’s already enabled, you can proceed to the next step. If not, click “Turn on” to activate the Windows Firewall.

Did you know? You can personalize too! To customize the firewall settings, click on “Advanced settings.” This will open the Windows Defender Firewall with an Advanced Security interface.

  • Consider enabling notifications for blocked incoming connections or other firewall-related events within the advanced settings. It helps you stay aware of potential threats or suspicious activities.
  • Periodically review and update your firewall rules based on your changing network requirements and any emerging security threats.
  • Explore other options in the Windows Defender Firewall with an Advanced Security interface. It can include connection security rules, authentication exemptions, and monitoring options to enhance your firewall configuration further.
  • Consider using a third-party firewall solution if you require more advanced firewall functionality or additional features. Research and choose a reputable firewall software that suits your specific needs.

Enable Secure Boot

Secure Boot is a security feature that ensures only trusted software can run during the boot process. To verify that Secure Boot is enabled:

  • Press the Windows key + I to open the Settings app.
  • Go to System -> Firmware & Security.
  • Under the “Secure Boot” section, ensure that it is enabled. If not, look for an option to enable it in your device’s BIOS or UEFI settings.

Choice of Passwords and Other Alerts

  • Confirm that your passwords are robust and not easily guessed by others (even your close ones). Use uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
  • Avoid using common phrases or personal information. Additionally, use different passwords for each online account to minimize the impact of a potential breach.
  • Take advantage of two-factor authentication for your online accounts, email, and other services offering this feature. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of verification, such as a unique code sent to your mobile device and your password.
  • Consider using a password manager application to store and manage your passwords securely. Password managers can generate strong passwords for you, store them in an encrypted vault, and automatically fill them in when needed. It simplifies the process of managing multiple complex passwords.

!CAUTION! Just like you noticed this caution, make sure you do it for all web pages. Avoid opening suspicious email attachments or clicking on unusual links in messages received through email, social media, or other communication channels.

Cybercriminals often use these methods to deliver malware or phishing attacks. Verify the source and legitimacy of any attachments or links before interacting with them.

  • Install reputable antivirus and anti-malware software on your PC. Choose a solution that provides real-time protection, scans for malware, and offers web browsing protection. Keep the software up to date and perform regular system scans to detect and remove any potential threats.

Web Safety

  • Opt for a modern and secure web browser like Microsoft Edge, which is built into Windows 11. Such browsers offer advanced security features and regularly release updates to protect against emerging threats.
  • Avoid visiting websites that offer potentially illicit content, including those known for distributing pirated material, illegal downloads, or adult content. These sites often harbor malware or attempt to deceive users into downloading malicious software.

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  • Use the built-in security features of your web browser to enhance your protection. Microsoft Edge, for instance, includes tools like SmartScreen, which can identify and block known malicious websites and warn you about potentially harmful downloads.
  • Consider using ad blockers or content filters to minimize the risk of encountering malicious advertisements or deceptive content. These tools can help protect against drive-by downloads or unintentional clicks on harmful elements.
  • Avoid clicking on pop-up windows or unexpected redirects, as they can indicate potentially malicious websites or deceptive tactics cybercriminals use.

Prevention from External Devices

  • Avoid using USBs or other external devices unless you own them or they come from a reliable and trusted source. Using external devices that belong to others or are obtained from unknown sources increases the risk of malware and virus infections.
  • Before connecting any external device to your PC, whether it’s a USB flash drive, external hard drive, or any other device, perform a thorough antivirus scan. This helps detect and eliminate any potential malware or viruses that might be present on the device.
  • Windows Group Policy settings to restrict the use of external devices. These settings can help control and manage the access and usage of USBs and other external devices, reducing the risk of introducing malware into the network.
  • Educate your colleagues about the risks of using external devices from untrusted sources. Promote awareness of safe computing practices and the potential dangers of plugging in unknown devices.

Access Windows Hello

Windows Hello is a convenient and secure authentication method. It allows you to sign in to your device using biometric information, such as your fingerprint or facial recognition (if your device supports it). To turn on Windows Hello:

  • Press the Windows key + I to open the Settings app.
  • Go to Accounts -> Sign-in options.
  • Under the “Windows Hello” section, set up the biometric authentication method available on your device.

How to Protect Your Personal Information Online?

Windows 11 has various tools and features to enhance your privacy and safeguard sensitive data. Here are some key steps you can take:

Stay Vigilant against Scams:

Scammers and cybercriminals constantly try to steal personal information. It can be through phishing scams and other fraudulent activities. Be cautious when interacting with emails, social media, and websites.

Learn how to recognize phishing scams and avoid falling victim to them. Additionally, educate yourself about tech support scams to protect your personal and financial information.

Guard Against Malware:

Malware threatens your online privacy and security. Integrated into Windows 11, Windows Security offers real-time malware detection, prevention, and removal with cloud-based protection. Take advantage of this built-in security solution to keep your system safe.

Use Windows Security:

Windows Security, also known as Windows Defender Security Center in previous versions, provides a comprehensive suite of security features. It offers real-time antivirus protection, firewall management, and system health monitoring.

Familiarize yourself with the features of Windows Security and configure them to meet your privacy and security needs.

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Try Microsoft Defender Offline:

Since the risk of cybercrimes is not limited online, security must also not be. Microsoft provides additional support for malware removal through Microsoft Defender Offline.

This tool is designed to assist all Windows users, including those who do not have Windows Security installed. Microsoft Defender Offline helps detect and remove malware that may be deeply embedded in your system.

Protecting your personal information and maintaining online privacy is an ongoing effort. Keep your Windows 11 operating system and security tools up to date by installing the latest updates and patches.

Regularly scan your computer for malware, and exercise caution when sharing sensitive information online.

15 Best Practices of Windows 11 Security for Your Rescue

Protecting your home and small business PCs is crucial to ensure the security of your data and systems.

Here are the top 15 tips to enhance the security of your PCs running Windows 11:

  1. Regularly install updates and security patches provided by Microsoft for Windows 11. Enable automatic updates to ensure you receive the latest security fixes promptly.
  1. Install a reputable antivirus solution and keep it updated. It will help detect and eliminate malware, including viruses, ransomware, and other malicious programs.
  1. Windows 11 includes built-in antivirus protection called Windows Defender. Make sure it is enabled and running to provide real-time protection against threats.
  1. Implement strong passwords for all user accounts on your PCs. Include a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Avoid reusing passwords across different accounts.
  1. Set up multi-factor authentication (MFA) for your user accounts whenever possible. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of authentication, such as a fingerprint, face recognition, or a code generated on your smartphone.
  1. Educate yourself and your employees about phishing scams and how to recognize them. Be wary of suspicious emails, links, and attachments. Avoid providing personal or sensitive information to unknown sources.
  1. Implement a robust backup strategy to protect your important files and data. Regularly back your PCs to an external storage device or cloud-based backup service. This ensures you can recover your data in case of hardware failure, malware, or other incidents.
  1. Access the built-in Windows Firewall or consider a third-party firewall solution to monitor and control incoming and outgoing network traffic. This helps prevent unauthorized access to your PC.
  1. Change the default password on your Wi-Fi router and use strong encryption (WPA2 or higher). Regularly check for firmware updates provided by the router manufacturer to fix security vulnerabilities.
  1. Review the installed software and disable any unnecessary services or features that may pose security risks. You can reduce the potential attack surface on your PCs.
  1. Teach yourself and your employees about good security practices, such as being cautious while browsing the internet, avoiding suspicious websites, and not downloading or running untrusted applications.
  1. Use Windows BitLocker or a third-party encryption solution to encrypt the hard drives of your PCs. It’ll be helpful to safeguard your data if the devices are lost or stolen.
  1. If visitors or customers access your PCs, create a guest account with limited privileges. This prevents unauthorized access to sensitive data or settings.
  1. Ensure that user accounts have appropriate access privileges. Regularly review and update user permissions to minimize the risk of unauthorized access.
  1. For small businesses, engaging an IT professional or service provider to assist with security measures, network monitoring, and ongoing maintenance may be beneficial.

Wrap up

Stay informed about the latest cybersecurity threats and best practices. Regularly educate yourself about common scams, phishing techniques, and social engineering tactics. Be cautious when sharing personal information online, and be mindful of the websites you visit and the links you click.

This guide can significantly enhance the security of your PC at home or in the office. Maintaining a secure computing environment requires ongoing vigilance and proactive measures to protect passwords, recognize potential threats, and practice safe online behavior.

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Janki Mehta

Janki Mehta

Janki Mehta is a Cyber-Security Enthusiast who constantly updates herself with new advancements in the Web/Cyber Security niche. Along with theoretical knowledge, she also implements her practical expertise in day-to-day tasks and helps others to protect themselves from threats.

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