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How does Windows 7 differ from Windows 8 disaster recovery?

See which Windows 8 disaster recovery and incident management features have improved from Windows 7 security elements. Some newer ones are now available for the older OS.

To answer the question, we don't have to get too deep into either operating system because they handle information security similarly.

One thing that distinguishes Windows 7 from Windows 8 is the latter's Modern UI, which is used mostly on mobile devices. You may need to address Windows 8 desktop users who have yet to experience a fully functional desktop interface a bit differently.

As for specific areas to focus on for Windows 7 and Windows 8 disaster recovery (DR) and incident management at the desktop level, here are the ones that can be the most effective.

Windows 7 and Windows 8 disaster recovery

Be sure to make regular backups in the event data is lost (assuming workstations are even being backed up in the first place.

In case systems get damaged, drive recovery is useful. It should involve full disk encryption and, in particular, key management.

Cloud-based file-sharing policies should include whether or not you are using Work Folders. They were originally a Windows 8.x-specific technology that is now available for Windows 7.

DR measures should also cover remote access to and from workstations and servers, including RDP, a virtual private network and third-party software.

Incident management measures

You'll need malware protection to determine when and where an incident has occurred, and you shouldn't rely on the OS alone. Windows 8 does include some extra measures such as Windows Defender, which is enabled by default.

Full disk encryption should provide Safe Harbor protection in case a laptop or another endpoint device containing sensitive information is lost or stolen. Windows 8 does have some improvements, but larger enterprises might still want to consider alternatives.

For either OS, administrators should know Group Policy settings for audit logging, password complexity, intruder lockout and the like.

Personal firewall protection can protect inbound and outbound network communications.

When you're looking to improve disaster recovery and incident management programs, your Windows-based workstations are certainly a key component -- just don't forget about all the other parts of your network as everything must work together to minimize business risks.

Next Steps

Top five security features new in Windows 8.1

When reviewing desktop vulnerabilities, don't forget Windows 8

Avoid grief from lost laptops with full disk encryption

Using Windows 8.1 Group Policy settings to control the user interface

Mind the gaps in Windows 8 security

Dig Deeper on Windows 8 and 8.1

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What are you using for Windows 7 or Windows 8 disaster recovery and incident management? Are there any third-party tools you have found useful?