Deploying a new server, whether cloud-based or on-prem, is a big project. There are a lot of moving parts and lots of deadlines to meet to ensure a smooth transition. Few people neglect security measures during deployment, but many miss best practices while securing a server.
|“Anyone who has deployed a new server understands how intensive the process can be. That’s why it’s so important to establish a solid security plan before you begin your project.” – Mario Arjona, Chief of Staff, Outsource Solutions Group
Some security measures are obvious. You probably already know how important it is to only allow users with a password to gain access to your server. However, there is more to access control than this basic measure that is not as well known.
To help you optimize your server security, this article will go over what you need to know as you secure your newly deployed server. We’ll discuss potential threats, how to prevent them, and go over 7 best practices.
What is Server Security?
Server security refers to the processes, protocols, and tools used to protect data and resources stored on a server from unauthorized access and other cyber threats. It is a critical aspect of IT for businesses and organizations of all sizes.
41.9 million records were compromised worldwide in March 2023, indicating the scale of breaches that often originate from server vulnerabilities
Protecting your servers involves a combination of hardware and software defenses. For optimal security, it’s important to configure these defenses quickly after deploying any new server. This ensures that bad actors have little to no time to enact a breach.
Biggest Threats to Server Security
Servers across operating systems are prone to a unique set of security issues. Of course, facing such issues is not inevitable. Try some of the following tips to combat the following threats.
|Brute Force Attacks
|Attackers use trial-and-error to guess login info, encryption keys, or find a hidden web page.
|Enforce strong password policies, implement account lockout policies, and use multi-factor authentication.
|Physical Security Breach
|Unauthorized physical access to a server that may lead to theft or hardware damage.
|Use secure server rooms, employ surveillance, and access control systems.
|Overwhelms the server’s resources by flooding it with traffic, causing legitimate requests to fail.
|Use DDoS mitigation services or configure firewalls to limit the rate of requests.
|Inserting malicious SQL queries via input data from the client to the application.
|Use prepared statements and parameterized queries and regularly update database management systems.
|Risks posed by individuals from within the organization, such as employees or contractors.
|Implement strict access controls, monitor user activities, and enforce policies and procedures.
|Attacks that exploit previously unknown vulnerabilities in software or hardware.
|Keep systems up-to-date, use intrusion detection systems, and follow security best practices.
7 Security Tips For Configuring Your New Server
1. Follow the Principle-of-Least-Privilege (PLoP)
Configure server settings to give users and services the minimum level of access needed to perform their tasks. Disable any unnecessary services or features. This helps prevent unauthorized usage or accidental misuse.
It’s also important to regularly review server logs and user activities. This helps to catch any inappropriate access levels and adjust them as needed. Implementing strong audit trails and logging mechanisms will also alert you to any unauthorized attempts to access restricted data.
2. Regular Updates & Security Patches
Ensure that your server’s operating system and all installed software are up-to-date with the latest security patches and updates. This routine should include verifying the source and integrity of the patches to prevent the introduction of malware.
Additionally, it’s wise to have a rollback plan in case an update causes issues. Testing updates in a controlled environment before full deployment can also help prevent unexpected downtime and ensure compatibility.
3. Set up a Firewall
Implement a firewall to control incoming and outgoing traffic. Set up rules to block unauthorized access while allowing legitimate traffic. This is especially helpful in preventing DDoS attacks.
For added protection, consider using both hardware and software firewalls. Hardware firewalls can provide a strong barrier across the perimeter of your network, while software firewalls can offer granular control over individual server traffic.
4. Antivirus & Anti-Malware
Install and maintain reputable antivirus and anti-malware software to protect the server from malicious attacks. Set it to update automatically so that it can recognize and defend against the latest malware.
|More Information on Securing Your Servers
Also, configure your antivirus to perform real-time scanning of files as they are accessed and written to the server. This proactive approach helps you catch malware immediately and prevent it from taking root or spreading.
5. User Access Control
Use strong, unique passwords for server accounts and enforce multi-factor authentication. Regularly review user permissions and remove access for users who no longer need it. Using a password manager can make tracking user authentication credentials much easier.
Another best practice is to implement a policy that mandates password changes at regular intervals. This can reduce the chances of password-related breaches. However, ensure that these mandated changes do not lead to weaker password choices by users.
6. Data Encryption
Protect data in transit and at rest by using encryption. Implement SSL (secure sockets layer) for data in transit and consider full disk encryption (FDE) for data at rest. If you aren’t sure what those are, here are some quick definitions:
- SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser.
- FDE encrypts all data on a hard drive, including the system and program files.
Be aware that encrypting data is not a one-time task. It requires ongoing management to keep up with new threats and evolving security standards. Regularly review your encryption practices to ensure they comply with industry regulations and the latest best practices.
7. Regular Backups
Perform regular backups of critical data and test your backup restoration process. Store backups securely, ideally in a separate location from the server. This could be an entirely different physical location or a segmented private network. Consider backing up data on both.
Testing your backups regularly to verify data integrity and the effectiveness of the restoration process is essential. Should data loss occur, you need confidence that your backups can recover your data quickly and completely.
|Looking For Help With Your Server? OSG Can Provide:
Ensure Secure Servers With Professional Assistance
The advice from this article is only the beginning. While these basic best practices will help you secure your server, you can take your security further with professional support.
Outsource Solutions Group offers powerful cyber security and IT support to keep your servers safe. We have tools and services that make sure your data is well protected from any kind of cyber attack. Get stronger defense systems for your servers, and fewer worries keeping you up at night.
Ready to protect your servers? Get in touch with OSG now.