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Learn All About The Microsoft Security Compliance Toolkit!

4 Min. Read

The Microsoft security compliance toolkit consists of tools and templates designed by Microsoft for security.

This toolkit helps security administrators access security configuration baselines for Windows and other Microsoft products, such as Microsoft Edge.

With the Microsoft security compliance toolkit, you can download, analyze, test, edit, and save security configuration baselines recommended by Microsoft and use them for different purposes, such as comparison in your environment.

In today’s article, you will learn about the Microsoft security compliance toolkit, so let’s dive right in.

What is Microsoft Security Compliance Toolkit?

The Microsoft Security Compliance Toolkit (SCT) holds tools that help security administrators download, examine, test, edit, and store security configuration baselines for various Microsoft products suggested by Microsoft.

This toolkit enables security administrators effectively control their company’s GPOs since they’re the main mechanism for applying and implementing various settings in a Windows environment.

This popular toolkit can help compare your current CPOs (group policy objects) with other baselines like Microsoft-recommended GPO security configuration baselines.

You can also closely look at the GPOs, make and save new GPO backup file format changes, and apply changes via Active Directory or individually via local policy.

So, if you download the security compliance toolkit 1.0, you will also obtain security baselines for suggested policy settings.

Now, let’s learn more about the tools included in this well-known toolkit.

What Tools Are Available in the Security Compliance Toolkit?

The Microsoft security compliance toolkit includes:

  • Windows 11 security baseline.
  • Windows 10 security baselines, including Windows 10 Version 21H2, Windows 10 Version 21H1, Windows 10 Version 20H2, Windows 10 Version 1809, Windows 10 Version 1607, and Windows 10 Version 1507.
  • Windows Server security baselines, including Windows Server 2022, Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2016, and Windows Server 2012 R2.
  • Microsoft Office security baselines, including Office 2016 and Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise Version 2206.
  • Microsoft Edge security baseline, including Edge Version 98.
  • Other tools include a policy analyzer, local group policy object, set object security, and GOP to Policy Rules.

You can quickly download these tools together with the baselines for any Microsoft version. Check the Microsoft Security Guidance blog for more details on the security baseline recommendations.

Now, let’s review some of the tools in detail.

Policy Analyzer Tool

With the policy analyzer tool, you can analyze and compare sets of GPOs.

Other features include:

  • Highlighting when a set of GPOs has unnecessary settings or internal irregularities.
  • Determining the key differences between groups or versions of GPOs.
  • Comparing GOPs against current local policy and local registry settings.
  • Exporting results to Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.

Moreover, with this tool, you can treat a collection of GPOs as a single unit. So, you can easily determine whether duplicated settings exist across GPOs. You can also see if they have conflicting values.

Policy Analyzer Tool
Policy Analyzer Tool

Lastly, you can capture a baseline, then compare that baseline to a snapshot taken later to determine changes across the set with this tool.

You can learn more about this tool by visiting the Microsoft Security Baselines blog.

Local Group Policy Object Tool

The LGPO.exe or local group policy object tool represents a command-line utility for helping automate the management of Local Group Policy.

Local Group Policy Object Utility
Local Group Policy Object Utility

Having local policy enables administrators quickly verify the effects of Group Policy settings. It’s also helpful for controlling non-domain-joined systems.

The local group policy object tool imports and enforces settings from Registry. Pol files, Advanced Auditing backup files, security templates, and formatted “LGPO text” files.

The tool can also explore local policy to a global policy options backup. Additionally, LGPO.exe can extract the details of a Registry Policy file to the “LGPO text” format that you can edit and create a Registry Policy file from LGPO text files.

The Microsoft Security Guidance blog contains the complete documentation tool, so you can visit their blog and learn more about this instrument.

Set Object Security Tool

The setobjectsecurity.exe helps security administrators place the security descriptor for any Windows securable object, including files, event logs, services, SMB shares, directories, and registry keys.

When dealing with registry objects and file systems, you can also determine if you should apply inheritance rules.

You can also send the security descriptor in a .reg-file-compatible description of the security descriptor for a REG_BINARY registry value.

SetObjectSecurity.exe is a 32-bit standalone executable that needs no installer, has no dependencies on redistributable DLLs, and works on all supported x86 and x64 versions of Windows. (x64 systems must support WOW64).

Set Object Security Tool
Set Object Security Tool

If you’re interested in learning more about this helpful tool, check the information on the Microsoft Security Baselines blog.

GPO2PolicyRules Tool

You will obtain this tool when you download the Policy Analyzer tool.

The command-line GPO2PolicyRules.exe tool ensures the automatic transfiguration of GPO backups to Policy Analyzer. PolicyRules files, so you can avoid GUI.

GPO2PolicyRules
GPO2PolicyRules

The Microsoft Security Baselines blog has more details about GPO2PolicyRules, so if you’re interested in learning more about this tool, visit their blog.

How Do I Use Microsoft Security Baselines?

Microsoft recommends implementing proven industry-standard configurations, such as Microsoft security baselines, instead of creating a baseline.

These baselines can help ensure that user and device configuration settings comply with the baseline.

For instance, Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager, Group Policy, or Microsoft Intune which is now renamed Microsoft Endpoint Manager can help you configure a unit with the setting values defined in the baseline.

Sign in to the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center and select Endpoint Security > View Security Baselines as shown in the figure below. As soon as you create the profile, it’s pushed to the assigned group and will apply immediately.

Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center | Security Baselines
Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center | Security Baselines

In a nutshell, security baselines can help reduce costs and increase flexibility.

You can download suitable security baselines and follow Microsoft’s instructions on how to use them properly.

Summary

Final thoughts on the Microsoft Security Compliance Toolkit.

In summary, the Microsoft security compliance toolkit version 1.0 makes a perfect choice for security administrators who use policies and baselines in Windows environments.

The toolkit even includes policy analysis for Microsoft Edge and Microsoft 365. The best tool in this online shed is the policy analyzer because it helps admins compare policies, even multiple group policy objects at once.

With this tool, you can check settings across policies and see what’s placed locally. The LGPO.exe tool, on the other hand, enables the quick importing and exporting of policies locally.

Overall, this toolkit ensures automated interaction and comparison of policy settings to find overlapping, conflicting, or unnecessary settings.

So, it’s a practical and effective toolkit with many benefits.

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Thank you for reading my blog.

If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment.

-Charbel Nemnom-

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