What do you need to secure a mixed Windows-Linux environment?

Linux and Windows are a study in contrasts – the former operating system is open and users can easily copy and modify code at will, while the latter is closed and proprietary. However, Windows is no longer the only game in town; increasingly, both are being used in businesses, making securing them a daunting task.

While there are many tools available for organizations to manage vulnerabilities in their software, they tend to be operating system specific. For example, most firewall tools and some vulnerability scanners only work on one type of operating system. If you rely on these tools to secure a mixed Linux-Windows environment, you will need to master and deploy a variety of different security platforms, each suited to a different operating system.

The vast majority were originally designed for use with Linux, resulting in feature gaps when used for Windows. The same problem exists with patching systems – even in a single OS environment, the process can be time consuming when done manually. It only gets more difficult when you have a mixed environment.

Automating the patching process reduces the time and resources needed, however, many automated patch management systems do not work on Windows and Linux.

While it is necessary to deploy OS-specific security tools to identify and address vulnerabilities in a mixed OS environment, you will want to incorporate broader policies that help protect against vulnerabilities, regardless of whatever type of system you are managing.

Besides the problem of disparate tools, security teams also have to deal with the fact that software changes and evolves over time due to optimization, new features and security patches. Therefore, software developers throughout the supply chain must continuously assess the impact of changes on their code. This includes changes to third-party components used to build software.

The role of an SBOM in a mixed Windows and Linux environment

A new white paper from Rezilion explores the considerations security teams need to keep in mind when you have very different environments to secure. To get started, while it may seem obvious, you need to understand both environments and have visibility and the ability to differentiate between the two operating systems.

Open source proves less challenging due to its transparent nature, but for organizations that use both Linux and Windows, a key best practice is to use a software bill of materials (SBOM) to secure the software supply chain. .

The Linux Foundation recognizes its value, with Executive Director Jim Zemlin observing that “SBOMs are no longer optional”, and his research found that 78% of organizations plan to produce or consume SBOMs in 2022.

Indeed, SBOMs provide a significant amount of information about the components of software products. A Linux Foundation survey found that nearly half of respondents believe that having an SBOM makes it easier to monitor component vulnerabilities.

When an organization uses an SBOM, security teams can more easily monitor components for vulnerabilities at greater proactively assess and remediate risks. When a new security risk is discovered by security researchers, determining whether a particular product is potentially vulnerable can take time. Having an easily accessible component list can make this process much more efficient.

However, because they are static, you cannot rely on SBOMs to report new vulnerabilities. This makes dynamic, real-time SBOMs critically important, as software creation and maintenance is ever-changing. With a dynamic SBOM, security teams can correlate the information they have with the latest security advisories.

Rezilion’s Dynamic SBOM can be deployed simultaneously in software environments, including Windows and Linux, and provides real-time inventory of all software components in a single graphical user interface. Rezilion’s platform also incorporates dynamic runtime analysis to both detect software vulnerabilities and validate their true exploitability. This will help teams eliminate “false positive” scan results and avoid unnecessary remediation work that diverts resources from construction activity.

Learn more about securing mixed environments in our whitepaper.

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*** This is a syndicated blog from the Security Bloggers Network of Rezilion Written by resilion. Read the original post at: https://www.rezilion.com/blog/what-do-you-need-to-secure-a-blended-windows-linux-environment/

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