Windows 11 is getting safer for small and medium-sized business (SMB) users. This is because new security features are being added to Windows 11, and these changes have already started rolling out to Windows 11 insiders.

Windows 11 Is Getting Safer For Small And Medium-Sized Business (SMB) Users
Windows 11 Is Getting Safer For Small And Medium-Sized Business (SMB) Users

Microsoft is adding some new features in the next version of Windows 11 to enhance security for specific users. Ned Pyle, a Microsoft Principal Program Manager, announced on the Microsoft blog that Windows 11 will now enable administrators to require encryption for all outbound connections made by SMB clients. In simpler terms, this means administrators can make sure that all servers the client connects to support SMB 3.x and encryption. If these requirements are not met, the client won’t establish a connection.

The New Incoming Feature Is Already Rolling Out

This feature strengthens network security by ensuring that both the client and server adhere to the SMB signing requirements and encrypt data end-to-end. This encryption prevents potential eavesdropping on the data.

The new feature is already being rolled out to Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 25982 for users in the Canary Channel. Users can now configure the SMB client to always demand encryption, regardless of the server, share, UNC hardening, or mapped drive’s requirements. This means administrators can make a Windows machine use SMB encryption (specifically SMB 3.x) for all connections and refuse to connect if the SMB server does not support these encryption standards.

Admins Can Now Configure the New Feature

Administrators can configure this new feature using PowerShell or by setting the “Require encryption” group policy found under Computer Configuration \ Administrative Templates \ Network \ Lanman Workstation.

What It Means To Disable the Policy

If the policy is disabled, the encryption requirement is removed. However, Pyle warned that IT teams should be cautious when deploying SMB encryption via group policy in a mixed environment.  As older SMB servers (such as Windows Server 2008 R2) may not support SMB 3.0. Additionally, some third-party SMB servers may support SMB 3.0 but not encryption.

These changes are part of Microsoft’s efforts to enhance the security of both Windows and Windows. Server in response to the challenges posed by the modern threat landscape.


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