Why Should You Be Concerned About Server Security?

Strong server security is essential to safeguard your business as adversaries devise increasingly sophisticated ways to attack. It doesn't have to be difficult, thankfully. I'll describe server security, why it's so essential, and show you how to set up a fully secured server in this article.


What is server security?

The processes and tools used to safeguard the important data and assets kept on an organization's servers, as well as the server's resources, are referred to as server security. Because of the sensitive data they contain, servers are repeatedly targeted by cybercriminals looking to profit from security flaws.


Servers are at the core of an organization's IT infrastructure, allowing a large number of users, often remotely, to access the same data or functionality. Overall, they are used to host files, power the internet, and run email systems. The problem is that something as straightforward as a weak password, a lack of antivirus software, or user error could result in a significant loss for the company.


Server security should be organized in layers to be the most effective. You must address possible problems in your network, the server's operating system, and any applications or software hosted on your server for maximum protection.


Do I need to be concerned?Do I need to be concerned?

The risk of being attacked by cybercriminals is very real for businesses, and the stakes are high. Juniper Research forecasts that the average cost of a data breach will surpass $150 million by 2020. A security breach can result in negative publicity, which can harm a brand's reputation in addition to the direct financial loss.


While Marriott International and Yahoo have been at the center of major data breaches, smaller companies are not immune. According to a report by Accenture, small businesses are the target of 43% of cyberattacks.


Common server security issues

Cybercriminals may be getting smarter, but we shouldn't make it easy for them. Make sure you and your employees don't make any of these common server security mistakes:


- Passwords


Passwords can be stolen and sold on the dark web due to weak passwords. If you're worried about the security of your passwords, use a password manager.


- Outdated software/OS


Cybercriminals are constantly looking for software flaws to exploit, so running an outdated version puts you at risk.


- Patch management


Patch management services ensure code updates are acquired, tested, and installed.


- Open network ports


Misconfigured servers are easy targets.


- Old and unnecessary accounts


Hackers can access unused accounts.


- Bad physical security


Virtual threats aren't Unsecured keys can be just as harmful.


Server security hardening

To ensure your server's safeguard, you must finish the server security hardening process. In simple terms, this means combining basic and advanced security steps to address security flaws in your server software and operating system in order to improve overall server security.


Several common methods for server hardening include the following:


- Utilization of strong passwords


- Assuring that data is encrypted during transmission


- Conducting routine system backups


- Maintaining current operating systems and applying security patches as they become available


- Eliminating superfluous third-party software


- Including the installation of firewalls and antivirus software


How to make your server more secure

When looking for information on how to secure a server, you may be confronted with an overwhelming amount of technical information. In this section, we've simplified things by breaking down the most important web server security best practices that you should adhere to in order to be adequately protected.


Make sure you're connected securely

Cybercriminals use advanced algorithms to test a large number of different combinations of letters and numbers in an attempt to crack passwords. Brute-force attacks are particularly vulnerable to passwords. SSH (Secure Shell) is a more secure alternative to password-based authentication because it allows you to establish a secure connection with your server without revealing your password. SSH keys are a pair of cryptographically secure keys that each contain a public and a private key that are used to connect to a server. Even though the public key can be freely distributed, the private key must be kept strictly confidential by the user. Using SSH to communicate ensures that all information is transmitted in an encrypted format.

In addition, a proxy server can be used as an additional layer of security. Proxy servers hide all users on your network behind the proxy's IP address, making it more difficult for hackers to target specific devices in order to gain access to your network.


Connect via a private network or VPNConnect via a private network or VPN

Another recommended security practice is to ensure secure data communications by utilizing a private network or virtual private network (VPN). Through the use of a private IP address, a private network can be restricted to specific users or servers. When remote servers are connected via a VPN, the same environment can be achieved. This encrypts data sent to and received from the server and provides users with the same functionality as if they were connected to a private network on a local level.


Employ SSL/TLSEmploy SSL/TLS

Authentication and encryption of server security certificates are accomplished through the use of cryptographic protocols, such as SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and its successor TLS (Transport Layer Security). Put another way, they protect network communications by scrambling sensitive data sent over the internet, such as passwords, usernames, and credit card details. This allows servers to validate entities, which in turn helps to protect network communications.


Update your operating system on a routine basisUpdate your operating system on a routine basis

Maintaining the most current edition of your operating system is a critical step in securing your server. Hackers regularly expose flaws in software, which developers then work to fix. Updates are distributed in the form of security patches and should be applied immediately, if possible automatically. Inadequately updating your operating system, as well as any other software that runs on your server, leaves your system vulnerable to known vulnerabilities.


Configure the operating system according to best practicesConfigure the operating system according to best practices

Make sure your operating system is configured as per server security best practices for the best protection. Included amongst these are, but are not limited to:


- Changing any installed third-party software's default passwords


- limiting user privileges to the bare minimum required for the individual to perform their duties


- Delete or disable any accounts that are no longer in use.


- Creating strict password guidelines and ensuring that all system passwords adhere to them


- Disabling any services or applications that are no longer in use.



Server security checklist

Now that you've seen what good security looks like, go over our handy server security checklist to make sure you've covered everything. From initial setup to long-term maintenance, we'll walk you through all you need to know.


Record server detailsRecord server details

To begin, identify and write down all pertinent information about your servers, such as the server identification number and MAC address.


Consider physical safety precautionsConsider physical safety precautions

Although the server is virtually vulnerable to attackers, physical safeguards should be considered to prevent unauthorized access. Limit who has access to the server room to as few people as possible, and keep the keys safe.


Set up logging on the serverSet up logging on the server

By configuring event logs, you can keep track of what's going on and enable traceability. Log account logins, system configuration changes, and permission changes, as well as monitor remote access logs and follow up on any unusual activity. Consider storing logs on a different log server.


Patching flaws is not a good ideaPatching flaws is not a good idea

Verify that the operating system, as well as any other software or applications, are up to date.


Software should be restrictedSoftware should be restricted

Remove any software or operating system components that are no longer in use. In the same way, any unnecessary services should be turned off.


Monitor hardwareMonitor hardware

Maintain your server's hardware and inspect it on a regular basis for any worn or damaged components that may need to be replaced.


Ensure system integrityEnsure system integrity

For all system administrators, use strong authentication methods like two-factor authentication. Remove any accounts that aren't needed anymore.


Backup procedures should be implementedBackup procedures should be implemented

Attempt to automate regular server backups and verify that they are functioning properly on a regular basis. You should check recovery images on a regular basis.

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