PKI for Microsoft GPO

Kainoa Lee Consumer Protection

PKI for Microsoft GPO

Microsoft’s Group Policy Object (GPO) is a useful tool to allow administrators to control the level of access for users on the network. In addition to providing strong security from outside threats, GPO also creates a secure environment for internal resources through policy enforcement and limiting user access.


What is GPO?

As mentioned before, Microsoft GPO is used by admins to establish and enforce policy settings for user accounts. There are many benefits to GPO as these settings can help secure your network from both internal and external threats. If the credentials of a developer were stolen, the thief wouldn’t be able to use them to access payroll information, for example.

GPO also greatly benefits administrators with its ease of use. Admins can easily deploy software, patches, and any other updates through GPO, saving time and resources. Admins can also adjust policy settings for individual users if need be to give the users higher or lower network access.


GPO Credentials vs Certificates

GPO traditionally uses credentials, however passwords can easily be stolen and compromised. Certificates can be implemented with GPO to tighten network security and protect your network.

The most common form of authentication is credentials. This is your first line of defense in network security and, when breached, can have a harmful impact on your network if not regulated. Passwords can easily be stolen and decrypted – if they are encrypted at all. Credentials have been the standard for decades, but like most decades old technology, they’re severely outdated.

Certificates are another story. The EAP-TLS protocol has been proven to be a more secure way of authentication than the old-fashioned EAP method. Certificates are also virtually impossible to crack, meaning less worrying about your passwords being stolen. Certificates can be configured to store user attributes to be used in policy enforcement, unlike credentials.


 PKI Onboarding Solutions for GPO

All these methods for protecting a network are useless if users’ devices are not configured to use them correctly. A misconfigured device is an opening in your network for outside threats to penetrate.

SecureW2 has the #1 rated onboarding solution for BYOD and managed devices. Admins can configure and push an auto-config package that guides BYOD users through a foolproof self-enrollment for 802.1x authentication. Users can get their devices set up and secured in minutes with no chance of misconfiguration.

SecureW2’s PKI includes a managed device gateway that integrates with every major MDM vendor for zero-touch managed device certificate auto-enrollment and works with any existing infrastructure. Administrators can easily issue certificates to any managed device on the network and  configure policies and manage certificates all from a single-pane window. SecureW2 utilizes SCEP/WSTEP gateways to push out certificates that do not require user interaction.


Group Policy Object PKI Integration Made Simple

GPO is a valuable tool to make sure that your network remains secure by enforcing policies to users and restricting network access where it isn’t needed. Certificates help further reinforce your network’s defenses against potential threats. SecureW2’s turnkey PKI is simple to use and can start generating and issuing certificates in a matter of a few clicks.

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Learn About This Author

Kainoa Lee

Kainoa is digital marketing specialist and a graduate of Central Washington University with a major in Marketing. As part of the marketing team his is focused on content, analytics and design . He is an accomplished athlete and won state championships in soccer.