Hardening Memo

Write a professional memo to management with your recommendation for whether or not to implement a set of hardening guidelines. What guidelines would you recommend, if you would recommend them? Clearly explain your reasons, one way or the other, including important benefits for your recommendation. Also, recommend guidance for performing checks to make sure the guidelines are being followed. You will be graded on clarity and completeness — how well did you make and present your recommendation?

Your memo should open with specific, compelling reasons why the organization should implement your policy recommendations. What benefits will be gained? What problems will be solved or alleviated? End with a strong conclusion.  Speak in a language that a manager understands, and make sure you appeal to management priorities.
Recommendations should be reasonably specific and justified; tell the reader, in top-level terms what actions to take and why (i.e. “Enable the jatzenframing module on all Linux servers. This will prevent kibabble data leakage through covert channels”).  Your recommendations should stick to policies, and not the series of mouse-clicks to turn those policies on or off.

This assignment does not require the use of references. If you choose to use them, understand that I will critically evaluate your choices. If the only justification you provide for a policy is essentially “this is what the vendor recommends”, understand that is not a good reflection of critical thinking in an academic or a professional environment.

Self-check tips:
When you review your completed memo, ask yourself the following questions:
– Would a manager be able to implement useful changes based only on the memo you provided?
– Did you address a reader that may lack a technical background (i.e. did you clarify technical terms?)
– Did you organize the memo to make key information easy to find?
– Is your memo complete? There is no hard page requirement, but you should consider 3 to 5 pages a good ballpark
– References are not required, but if you use them, they must be authoritative.  Also, they are not part of your content.

Another way to look at this assignment: In the real world, you will often present information to managers, supervisors, clients, and others who will make decisions about promotions, hiring, retention, and if you’re a contractor,  whether they will make use of your services again. Suppose for a moment, this memo is the only communication you have with them:  Does it make the impression you want to leave them with? How well do you think this memo will help you get promoted, hired, or retained?

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