Baseline configurations are documented, formally reviewed, and agreed-upon specifications for systems or configuration items within those systems. Baseline configurations serve as a basis for future builds, releases, and changes to systems. Baseline configurations include information about system components (e.g., standard software packages installed on workstations, notebook computers, servers, network components, or mobile devices; current version numbers and update and patch information on operating systems and applications; and configuration settings and parameters), network topology, and the logical placement of those components within the system architecture. Baseline configurations of systems also reflect the current enterprise architecture. Maintaining effective baseline configurations requires creating new baselines as organizational systems change over time. Baseline configuration maintenance includes reviewing and updating the baseline configuration when changes are made based on security risks and deviations from the established baseline configuration
Organizations can implement centralized system component inventories that include components from multiple organizational systems. In such situations, organizations ensure that the resulting inventories include system-specific information required for proper component accountability (e.g., system association, system owner). Information deemed necessary for effective accountability of system components includes hardware inventory specifications, software license information, software version numbers, component owners, and for networked components or devices, machine names and network addresses. Inventory specifications include manufacturer, device type, model, serial number, and physical location.
[SP 800-128] provides guidance on security-focused configuration management.