Stopping users from downloading software

J.R. Sitman
J.R. Sitman used Ask the Experts™
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We are a small company 100 users.  It's not a big problem, but is there a way to restrict specific computers or users from downloading software on to their computers.

We are non-profit, so it would have to be "CHEAP"
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The first thing to do would be to ensure that users don't have local administrator rights. This means most software cannot be installed by end users, and also limits the spread of Malware. It does of course mean users will need to contact helpdesk to add a printer driver, or perform other tasks that require admin access.
You can also set group policies to stop software from being installed from certain locations such as the download folders. This won't make it impossible to install software but will make it more difficult. It will also help protect you from ransomware.
Distinguished Expert 2018
Commented:
This task might be bigger than you think and will need administrative expertise.
akb mentions a method that blocks all but known, defined executables - not only from the download folders but from anywhere. So you'd have to define a so-called whitelist of applications that you allow to run and the rest is prevented from running.
If interested: it's called "software restriction policies" and is a GPO feature. On enterprise editions of windows, there is applocker which is the successor to this SRP.
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J.R. SitmanIT Director

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Commented:
Do you have an example of the GPO for the download folder restriction.
Distinguished Expert 2018

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J.R. SitmanIT Director

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Commented:
Thanks to all

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