Websites help businesses to reach out to them directly with targeted communication messages. Web hosting remains a crucial discussion topic, with several incidents of data breaches happening globally. There is also increased use of data centers and cloud infrastructure that has borne the brunt of cyberattacks. It is essential to ensure the security of your VPS or dedicated server.
The risks of an imminent data breach have increased manifold over the years. According to a study done over the last 18 months with around 300 CISOs, approximately 80% of businesses had to face cloud security breaches. Businesses must have robust security measures for their servers and data centers before publicly available. This article will discuss some of the tips you can follow to ensure your dedicated server/ VPS security.
Use of a secure password policy
Most brute force attacks are successful due to poor passwords. Passwords that use a specific pattern can be broken easily, which will, in turn, expose your networks. The passwords you create must be as per global password best practices. It becomes necessary to enforce a rigid password policy across your organization.
It is better to use a single-sign-on system for all employees’ applications within the organization’s network. In the absence of such a system, a password manager can be of help. It will store the passwords that your employees use. It will also help to suggest a password when needed for securing the VPS.
The use of an SSL certificate helps.
One of the best ways to ensure your dedicated server/ VPS security is to use an SSL certificate. It helps by creating an encrypted communication channel between the client and the server that prevents anything from affecting privacy. Using this certificate will be essential when using your user credentials, transmitting files or using your email server.
You must buy SSL certificate, as the authenticated certificates can help validate the entities that interact with the server. An encrypted channel can be created using the Public Key Infrastructure that can prevent any man-in-the-middle attacks. The server can be made to trust a reputed Certification Authority and encrypt the system. You can use a RapidSSL Wildcard certificate to secure chosen primary domain and multiple first-level sub-domains.
Use firewalls to restrict access.
It is necessary to have an added layer of protection by using a firewall to block unwanted users. If you are using Linux-based systems, maybe you will come across pre-installed firewalls. You may also use ConfigServer Firewall to secure your VPS and allow you to configure the settings easily.
The Remote Desktop’s default port must be changed before any restriction can be imposed on unknown IP addresses from accessing the VPS. You can undertake IP-based regulation using Windows Firewall, but you must be careful when doing it.
You have to access the server for various activities, and you must install an antivirus to prevent any virus attacks. The antivirus software from Microsoft can easily integrate with other Windows platforms.
Keep the software versions updated.
The older the version of the software, the more prone the VPS is to cyberattacks. To ensure your VPS or dedicated server’s security, you must keep the software upgraded to the latest versions. All you have to do is to ensure that you receive the notifications when the updates are available. The IT team can then ensure that the updated versions of the software are downloaded onto your systems.
In most cases, the process of updating the systems can be automated as well. Depending on the operating system you are using, you can schedule a VPS command that will run at preset times or through the control panel. If you are using any content management system, you must also monitor them periodically and update them occasionally.
Take frequent backups
We fail to understand the need to take backups and their importance in ensuring security. It is better to have processes to recover the affected data without having to shell out abnormal sums of money. It can also help you to retrieve essential data in case they have been erroneously deleted.
Taking regular backup of your data can also help you check if your systems have faced any attack. It is suggested that you take a weekly or fortnightly backup of your systems. You must also finalize the recovery process beforehand and have it documented. For example, should you use the latest backup or an earlier backup? Or will you restore over a new server? It is also necessary that you store the backups at a geographically different location.
Monitor the server logs
How can you ever know if your server has been the victim of a data breach? You can assess the server logs to understand whether there were any attempts to gain unauthorized access to the servers. It will also allow your IT team to have complete control over access to the server. However, it always helps to ensure that only authorized team members can have access to the VPS.
The team must monitor the events that are occurring apart from the traffic and activity levels. Any unusual spike in activity can raise the alarm, and proper action can be taken before any bog-scale data breach can happen. It will also help your team understand the issue at hand, which will help them solve it.
The SSH login to the server
One of the common ways hackers use to break through passwords is through brute force attacks. The use of a key-based login can easily thwart such attacks. If you are using a Linux-based VPS, you can configure SSH for using key-based login. A pair of keys can be created using a specific command, and the public key can be stored on the local machine. You can also change the default password of the SSH22 port and use a customized password.
The use of SFTP
One of the common ways to upload files to our servers is to use an FTP connection. It can help you to rapidly upload large files without having to login into the cPanel. However, it is an unsafe option and makes your server prone to cyberattacks. You must use a secure version to upload files to your server – the SFTP, to ensure secure file transfer through the encryption mechanism.
SFTP is safer as it ensures your files’ protection as it validates the end-user and the server. It will also help you to assess whether any unsolicited changes were made to the files, and you can undertake audits too. Using a single port can also help to make it easier to secure.
Do periodic audits
Doing periodic assessments can help to ensure your dedicated server/ VPS security. It will include assessing the systems and servers and knowing about the vulnerabilities in the infrastructure. You can also have a comprehensive overview of the services used, the accepted protocols or the ports used to communicate.
When you do an audit, you can assess whether the services are running on the proper network interfaces. You can also validate whether the firewall blocks the targeted traffic or receives alerts about the server vulnerabilities. The audits can be undertaken every month, and you must have competent personnel to carry out these audits.
Remove unnecessary services
Compiler access is enabled for all users by default, and you must disable it for the non-root users. Hackers can also use an unused port to launch an attack. Hence, it would help if you disabled all unused ports permanently. Moreover, it is preferable to prevent the IP addresses from being leaked; therefore, IPV6 must be disabled. The IT team must also check all the applications and assess whether all of them are needed. If some applications are not required, you can close these unnecessary applications.
We have seen an increase in the number of data breaches. Most of them occur due to the need for adequate security measures on the networks. To ensure your VPS or dedicated server’s security, you must take a few steps to prevent attacks on your server. It also requires businesses to imbibe processes that will allow security awareness and vigilance. This article can let you take proper steps towards a secure server environment.