Overview of CIS Hardened Images
As more government workloads shift from on-premises to cloud-based environments, virtual images (sometimes called virtual machines images) are gaining momentum as a cost-effective option for projects with limited resources to purchase, store, and maintain hardware. A virtual image is a template of an operating system (OS) or application environment installed on software that imitates dedicated hardware.
When using virtual images, many government customers still need to demonstrate compliance with the DOD Cloud Computing Security Requirements Guide, and may look to images that have been hardened, or made more secure, to achieve that objective.
CIS Hardened Images™ are securely configured virtual machine images based on the CIS Benchmarks™, a set of recommendations developed through a consensus-based process by a community of cybersecurity experts around the world. These benchmarks are an internationally recognized secure configuration standard used by thousands of businesses to improve their cybersecurity defenses.
CIS Hardened Images for both Linux and Windows are now available on all Azure Government regions, including DoD regions that support IL5.
An alternative to STIGS and SRGS
As stated in the DoD Cloud Computing Security Requirements Guide, ver 1, Rel 3, CIS Benchmarks can be utilized in place of Security Technical Implementation Guidelines (STIGs) that are the configuration standards for DoD IA and IA-enabled devices/systems:
“While the use of STIGs and SRGs by CSPs is preferable, industry standard baselines such as those provided by the Center for Internet Security (CIS) benchmarks are an acceptable alternative to the STIGs and SRGs.”
Because CIS Benchmarks have been recognized as a suitable baseline in lieu of STIG’s and SRG’s, the corresponding CIS Hardened Images also meet these cloud security requirements.
CommunityForce stays current with CIS Hardened Images
CommunityForce is a pioneering software and technology firm that architects and delivers cloud-based process management solutions to over 300 public and private sector organizations worldwide. CommunityForce used the CIS baselines for ease of implementation and to further harden solutions built on Microsoft Azure to the DISA STIGs levels:
“CIS images are continuously maintained by CIS to ensure configuration changes and patches are current and available, saving us time and money,” said Khaja Syed, CommunityForce President and CEO.
Learn more and try CIS Hardened Images
CIS Hardened Images are available as a Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) solution, which means government customers can purchase these directly through Azure Government, streamlining the procurement process. Offerings include CIS Hardened Images for Microsoft Windows Server, Ubuntu Linux, Oracle Linux, SUSE Linux, and CentOS Linux.
- Learn more about CIS Hardened Images
- Read the full CommunityForce case study
- Spin up CIS Hardened Images on Azure