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6 Ways to Secure and Protect Your Server   no comments

Jun 24, 2020 @ 9:00am Web hosting

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If you manage or host a cloud or dedicated server, it’s essential that it is secure and protected. Whether the server exists to host files for a website or is networking computers for a business, it needs to be protected from malicious software, hackers, and threats. These threats can include a variety of harmful programs, such as ransomware, viruses, and rootkits.

Failing to secure your server can lead to lost or corrupted data, damage to devices connected to the network, and unauthorized individuals getting access to sensitive data. There are a number of ways that you can protect your server, and they go beyond simply having a suite of security applications in place.

Anti-malware Software

Even if you’re renting server space from a third-party, you still need protection against malware. If not already installed, consider downloading and configuring firewall, antivirus, and anti-spam software on your server. You can find many options available as plugins for your preferred CMS, such as WordPress, or web hosting manager, such as cPanel. The main thing is that you have a complete set of software that protects against intrusion and will scan files for malware and the like.

Keep Your System Updated

One way that hackers get into many systems is by going through weak points that developers did not notice when creating a piece of software or an operating system. This is why both computers and mobile devices need regular updates. Along with offering new options, updates close off back doors and holes in the security of software.

Therefore, it’s important that all software hosted on a server is kept up to date. For web hosting servers, that means even content management systems and the plugins the CMS uses must be kept current. Many operating systems and applications can be set up to update automatically, but if you’re not comfortable with that, it’s important that you have some way of being notified when important changes are available.

Change Default Settings

There are a variety of default settings that come with programs and even operating systems. They include everything from preset usernames and passwords for admin access to default connection ports. Anything that is left as set up by the software manufacturer may be used as a way to gain easier access to a system.

If you can change, without causing problems for the system, addresses, folders, logins and port settings, you should do so. Even leaving the URL for admin access to a server or programs on the server can make it easier for hackers to get in. There are hacking tools that specifically scan websites and servers for default URLs and folders, so changing default login locations is important. On this same basis, it’s a good idea to make sure that directories are protected so that people cannot see their contents.

Use Robust Passwords and Keep Track of Permissions

Another important part of keeping a server secure is to ensure that passwords are robust and that people are only given access to areas that they need to do their job. Aside from malice, giving an intern administrative access to databases could lead to major problems through simple error.

Two key parts of keeping a server secure in relation to passwords are ensuring that simple passwords are not in use and that passwords are changed on a regular basis. There are a number of ways to tackle the issue of making sure passwords are complex enough, including using computer generated passwords or using passphrases. Computer generated passwords normally require certain characters, length and require a combination of upper and lower case letters; passphrases are combinations of words, and they tend to be easier to remember and more secure than passwords. There should also be a set time that passwords expire, which will require users on the network to change them on a regular basis.

Along with ensuring that people are only given access to parts of a server that they need to have, it’s important that permissions are updated when people leave a job or move to a different part of the company. This can be done with proper database management and doing occasional audits to ensure that access levels are appropriate.

Employ Brute Force Detection and Active Monitoring

Another important part of keeping a server secure is knowing what is happening with it at all times. Even the best anti-malware software cannot prevent all intrusions, and hackers are constantly figuring out new ways to circumvent security systems. Therefore, it’s important that activity on a server is always being monitored.

Things that normally indicate a problem include incredibly high data transfer or processing power use as well as multiple failed login attempts. Brute force hacking involves trying to login to a system over and over again with different login and password combinations. In addition to draining system resources, it can also eventually allow a hacker to find a combination that lets them into your system. Real-time monitoring can help detect these issues and alert the appropriate people, and it can also shut down brute force login attempts.

Encryption

There are a number of types of data that you should be encrypting when they are transferred through a server. Logins, personal information and database information need to be encrypted, and it’s important that the highest level of encryption that works with the system is used. Lower level and older types of encryption are easy for many hackers to break through, so while they’re better than nothing, they’re still not providing proper protection for your server’s data.

When hackers can break your server’s encryption, they may be able to gain access to a variety of sensitive information, which can include login details. As with everything else, encryption upgrades may need to be done periodically to ensure that you’re using the latest and most effective methods available.

For those of you who feel there’s just not enough time in your day to maintain your server’s security, or if you just prefer someone else does it for you, at TurnKey Internet we got your back. We offer Fully Managed solutions that include Server Hardening. We’ll take care of securing and protecting your server so you can focus on running your business. For more information, visit https://turnkeyinternet.net/managed/

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Written by David Maurer on June 24th, 2020

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