Hardened Windows Desktop OSes Debut on Azure Marketplace!


For years, the Center for Internet Security (CIS) has partnered with the Microsoft Azure team to help cloud users improve their security. Much of this work has centered around the CIS Hardened Images. These virtual images are pre-hardened to the security recommendations of the industry-leading CIS Benchmarks. They simplify the process of hardening operating systems in many major cloud computing platforms, including the Azure Cloud.

Looking to securely migrate to the Azure Cloud? Here's a quick look at how the CIS Hardened Images can help.



CIS’s partnership with the Azure team continues to grow and expand. Recently, CIS joined the Microsoft Intelligence Security Association to support Azure Cloud users with security best practices. We’ve also released CIS Hardened Images for Microsoft Windows 10 and 11 Enterprise on the Azure Marketplace. Read on to learn what motivated this release and how it can help you address your cloud security needs.

Broadening Your Hardened Options on the Azure Marketplace

We created the CIS Hardened Images for Microsoft Windows 10 and 11 Enterprise following CIS's standard development process. We took base images for Windows 10 and 11 Enterprise from Azure Marketplace, hardened them to the corresponding CIS Windows Benchmarks, performed quality assurance testing, and scanned them with CIS-CAT Pro Assessor. Next, we included the CIS-CAT Pro Assessor HTML report along with the exception report on the C: drive of the images before releasing the CIS Hardened Images on Azure Marketplace. The CIS-CAT Pro HTML report shows the conformance of the image against the CIS Benchmark recommendations. The exception report outlines any items out of conformance and the rationale as to why they are not configured, such as those that are not applicable in the cloud.

Although the process to develop these new CIS Hardened Images was business as usual, these two Hardened Images stand out as they are the first ones we've created for Windows Desktop operating systems (OSes). Prior to their release, we offered Hardened Images for only Windows Servers.

From a general perspective, both of the images come pre-hardened to a secure environment, which ensures that you start secure right out of the box. What's more, both Hardened Images are like all other CIS Hardened Images in that we release monthly updates. We do this so you don't have to waste your time and money on maintaining your cloud-based operating systems. Just move to the newest version to take advantage of the updates.

More specifically, we built these Hardened Images because customers like you let us know that you wanted them. When you provide us with feedback and ask us for what you need, we listen. We can’t do everything, but we review the most common requests and do our best to deliver on those.

An Ongoing Partnership Founded on User Feedback

We are always open to feedback and available for questions. You can also make a feature enhancement request that we might incorporate into the CIS Hardened Images. Feel free to get this process started by contacting Support.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in learning more about what CIS has done in the Microsoft Azure space, you can take a look at this blog post.

Ready to secure your Microsoft Windows Desktop OSes and other operating systems in the Azure Cloud?