Dedicated Server Security Best Practices

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April 23, 2022

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dedicated server security best practices
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Organizations all over the world, regardless of their size and industry, require a dedicated server for the best operations in their business. That would give them a lot of benefits like providing the customers satisfactory and excellent practices and having a competitive edge over their competitors. 

However, a security breach or attempt by hackers to compromise the dedicated server can be a nightmare for its owners. This attempt is done to deface the websites or applications and to steal valuable data from a dedicated server. Common security threats to the dedicated server like unauthorized access and improper usage can lead to loss of revenue in case of an ecommerce website or a financial institution or loss of important and sensitive data in case of corporate or government websites.

The best practice to keep your dedicated server safe is to protect it from malware or ransomware from hackers and other unethical users. 

Why Dedicated Server Security Is Important?

Dedicated servers are entirely at your service. You can configure and choose the resources like OS, RAM, storage, and bandwidth as you like. However, this extreme control comes with a little liability marking the importance of setting up a perfect security system for your dedicated server. Here are some important reasons why you should take the security of your dedicated server very seriously.

Protecting servers from malware attack:

Hackers can inject malware into your dedicated server anytime to steal valuable data. This is generally hidden and injected with legitimate applications or scripts. After the malware is on your server, it is easy for the hackers to collect sensitive information from your server. You should choose such a hosting provider who will offer ongoing scanning for any vulnerable malware attack and real-time server monitoring.

Stop password breaches:

Short, and weak passwords are one of the main reasons for security breaches. When you acquire the dedicated server from your host, immediately change the password as default passwords set by your service providers increase the risk of vulnerabilities. Passwords with a random combination of numbers, letters, and symbols will be hard for hackers to break. Choose different passwords for the FTP account, control panel, and email servers. Changing them frequently will keep you more on the safe side.

Protect servers from software vulnerabilities:

Hackers can exploit the software on your dedicated server to get access. Outdated software is more prone to such attacks; so, only install software that gets regular updates. Also, run software with the latest security patches.

Avoid DDoS attacks:

A DDoS attack can cause dedicated server failure and unavailability for your legitimate users during peak hours of traffic. It can also lead to waste of your server resources, and flood your server with false traffic.

Related: How To Pick The Right Dedicated Server Specs?

Ways To Secure Your Dedicated Server

Keeping your dedicated server secure is important for business enterprises to avoid exposing sensitive data to malware, ransomware attacks, and viruses. As a general rule, dedicated servers are considered more secured than shared servers. However, you, as a dedicated server client, undergo a serious security check to keep your server protected and to get peace of mind. Follow the below procedures to protect your dedicated server from multiple vulnerabilities.

Update The Software

Outdated software increases the chance of security threats from hackers. Most server hosting providers release regular software updates and patches to fix any issue with the software. Never trust outdated services and programs, and never skip downloading those patches.

Even a small delay to update your software to its newest version can be dangerous. If you find downloading and installing security patches to the software a tedious job without any dedicated resource team, consider hosting on a managed dedicated server.

Conduct Malware Scans

You never know when viruses, trojans, worms, and spyware can affect your system to steal sensitive customer data and copy your most confidential databases. To stay on the safe side, you should set a regular time to perform regular scans for malware. Anti-virus software can be a precautionary measure to keep the malicious software away.

Related: What Is Malware? 7 Tips To Protect Your Website From Malware

Use DDoS Protection

A distributed denial of service attack can bring down your hosted application or website or entire dedicated server. It can also send a sudden burst of false traffic to your dedicated server; as a result, it can crash at peak hours. It is highly suggested to protect your dedicated server from DDoS attacks.

A DDoS-protected dedicated server is the only feasible way to do so. This dedicated server has an integrated DDoS shield monitoring all incoming traffic. Whenever any malicious traffic is noticed, that connection request is diverted from your server. Not only that, a DDoS shield safely allows your legitimate viewers to reach your server.

Use Trusted Networks 

While logging into your hosting account, use only secure connections. Generally, public networks like a hotel, railway stations, or an airport are not considered highly safe as your server credentials might get exposed there. Choose only trusted networks to stay safe.

Change The SSH Port Of Your Server

SSH ports are used to run many services. Those SSH ports are an easy target for hackers to breach into your dedicated server. This happens as the SSH listening port is the most vulnerable part. It is set to 22 by default, so the hackers use scanning software to look for those dedicated servers where that number has not been changed.

To prevent that attack, immediately change your SSH port. You can choose any number; however, it is advised to choose a number higher than 1024. Most hackers use scanners and operate within a set range and generally don’t scan above 1024. As a result, your SSH port is safe from automated scanners and bots.

Create Separate Accounts For All Users

Only the system administrator should have root access to your dedicated server. Apart from the system administrator, anyone using that server should have their user account with restricted privileges. For example, every user shouldn’t get permission to install software leading to malware. It is secure to give such permissions to system administrators. Other users should be given separate accounts to perform their daily operations. Except that, admins are recommended to use personal accounts too, in case they forget to log out from the admin account.

Adopt A Strict Password Policy

Weak passwords make your dedicated server more risk-prone to any type of attack. You should create a strong password using random symbols, and numbers, containing uppercase and lowercase letters. Never use personal data like your name, phone number, username, or email address as a password. Ask your team with user accounts to follow the same practice. Furthermore, change your passwords regularly after some days or once a month. This step will confuse the hackers and they won’t be able to get to your password. Considering a two-factor authentication will be an added shield to your dedicated server.

Protect Your Databases

Tables of your databases contain sensitive information. The hackers try their best to target those databases using SQL injections. An SQL injection can insert malicious SQL statements manipulating the data in your database. To protect your dedicated server from SQL injections, limit access of users to your dedicated server. Deleting unused services and files is a good way to protect your server from this type of mishap.

Backup Your Data

Generating a backup of the important data on your server is a good practice to add another feather to the security measures of your dedicated server. Backing up your data is a nice habit as anytime you can experience data loss from hardware failure, malware attack by a hacker, or even a natural disaster. The 3-2-1 data backup strategy is best. It means to take at least 3 backups and save them on 2 different storage units.

Related: 10 Significant Reasons To Perform A Website Backup

Remove Unused Software

Unused software can increase vulnerabilities. With time, unused software gets erased from the mind of users for non-using, and no update or patch is available for that. Hackers can access your dedicated server through the path of unused software. Just remove unused software to stay safe.

Choose A Managed Dedicated Server

Implementing all the above guidelines can be challenging if you don’t have any dedicated team of IT resources. The easiest way to secure your dedicated servers is to ask your hosting provider to offer a managed dedicated server. Here your hosting provider will keep your software up to date, back up your data at a regular interval, and install a DDoS shield on your behalf. You just take care of some specific security means like changing passwords of various accounts. 

Related: Tips For Selecting The Best Linux Dedicated Server

Maintain A Security Protocol

A daily routine helps to manage any task more efficiently. The task of keeping your dedicated server safe and more secured is no exception. Establish a chain of roles or commands, and protocol among your team to perform all the above-mentioned functions. Also, you must have a ready plan in case you experience an unwanted security breach to your dedicated server.

Conclusion

Security of data in your dedicated server is the first step for your successful and secure business. Now it is clear how you can ensure the safety of your dedicated servers. However, to implement the above steps you need dedicated IT resources or ask for a fully managed dedicated server with exclusive 24/7 customer support from your service provider.

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