If you are thinking about utilising servers for either personal or business purposes, you need to know how to secure a dedicated server. With a dedicated server, it’s easy for you to ensure the safety of your data and information since you can add features like DDoS protection.
Cyber-attacks frequently happen, with websites of all sizes and copes being common targets. Having a dedicated server is a step towards the right direction since you’ll be better off in matters related to security, than when you choose other hosting options.
Even so, you shouldn’t stop at that. Adding security to your dedicated server will go a long way in protecting your website from attacks. Here’s how you can add protection to your dedicated server.
1. Be on the Lookout for Updates
As a website owner, you should always be on the lookout for security updates and pertinent patches. This needs to be manually done severally every week. Do not wait for software notifications to inform you when updates are available.
Often, vulnerabilities result from failure to install patches to known security issues as well as failure to install necessary updates. When you check out for security updates, you will also be able to pinpoint components and plugins that are out-dated, and thus need to be removed.
Getting rid of such components will ensure that you are not prone to vulnerabilities that might exist through those components. By taking a proactive approach in that security updates get installed when they are available, chances of your dedicated server getting attacked will be minimised.
Your software also needs to be kept updated. Out-dated software may not have the necessary security patches, and protection required to guarantee the safety of your data. In this regard, always install new versions of the software that you’re using whenever it’s available on the dedicated server. Similarly, use reliable server security scans so that you stay protected.
2. Implement a Watertight Password Policy
Before you even think about how to secure a dedicated server, you need to change the server’s passwords as soon as you acquire it. Your host may have set default passwords, which increase the risk of vulnerabilities. By resetting your passwords, you’ll be ensuring that only a few individuals can access your dedicated server.
To set a waterproof password that safeguards your dedicated server against attacks, you should use a random grouping of lower and uppercase letters, symbols, and numbers. Avoid using words that are similar to your identity. Likewise, ensure that your dedicated server’s password gets changed regularly.
Every time you come up with a new password for your server, it should be unique and different from the previous one. If other users have access to the server, ensure that they are well-trained to change their passwords regularly.
Besides implementing a watertight password policy for your server, it is advisable to incorporate two-step authentication into the login process. Once this is implemented, logins made to the server from untrusted devices will need to get confirmed in two ways.
Users will not only be required to enter a password, but also an access code sent to them via email or text. This will significantly enhance the security of your dedicated server without wasting the time of your approved users or admins.
3. Use Secure Networks When Logging into Your Server
When learning how to secure a dedicated server, you need to understand the significance of logging into your server dashboard using secure networks only. For server security purposes, avoid logging into the server when connected to untrusted or unsecured networks such as public Wi-Fi hotspots.
Information transmitted via unsecured networks (usernames, passwords, etc.) can be seen by other users including those who have minimal computer knowledge. When malicious individuals access such information, they can use it to intrude and harm your system.
Therefore, always ensure that you are using secured and trusted networks such as your protected wireless network when accessing your dedicated server. Also, ascertain that all users who have access to the server are aware that they should log in when using untrusted networks.
4. Incorporate DDoS Protection
More servers are falling victim to DDoS attacks. To ensure that your dedicated server isn’t part of the statistics, you should opt for DDoS protection. This security add-on requires a significant financial investment but is worthwhile considering the losses that typically arise from DDoS attacks.
Often, hackers perpetrate DDoS attacks by flooding your server with traffic. This can cause the server to either slow down page load times or shut down the server altogether. Needless to say, this will translate to poor user experience.
A dedicated server that comes with DDoS protection allows the hosting company to sift through web traffic. That way, illicit traffic is barred from accessing your system. The added layer of security provided will ensure that only legitimate visitors access your site.
There are dozens of DDoS protection options to choose from. These options are meant to protect you against an attack of any size, ranging from 10 GBPS to 100 GBPS. Besides adding DDoS protection to your dedicated server, you should only choose hosting companies that provide plenty of security options as well as 24/7 system surveillance. This way, you won’t need to worry about how to secure a dedicated server.
5. Maintain Your Database and Back Up Your Data
You should dedicate time and effort towards ensuring that your database is well-maintained. More importantly, make sure that the database isn’t prone to SQL injection. Similarly, consider deleting unnecessary data as well as minimising access that other users have to your server. This is particularly important if your site collects sensitive important from clients including payment information.
You can add a layer of security to the server by regularly backing up data. Even after taking all the necessary security precautions and knowing how to secure a dedicated server, it’s a good idea to implement a backup plan. In this regard, take time to back up your important data regularly.
With a backup plan, it will be easy for you to recover and restore any data that gets lost in the event of an attack. You don’t have to undertake data backups manually. You can just schedule site backups. Once this is done, there’s an assurance that you’ll have access to recent data backups even if your server’s security gets compromised. Therefore, you won’t risk losing important files.
Likewise, you need an emergency plan that will help you perform damage control in case of a breach. This implies having a chain of command that guides you on the steps to take so that users’ data gets protected during a vulnerability or an attack.
As your company grows, so does the data that your server handles. Having a contingency plan in place will help you deal with breaches without incurring the wrath of those whose data is in your possession.
6. Opt for a Managed Server
Even after putting in place necessary measures, your dedicated server won’t be immune to attacks. Managing a server and implementing all the required security measures is cumbersome. If you lack the expertise on how to secure a dedicated server, you should opt for a managed host rather than maintaining the server on your own.
With a managed server, you will have an administrator whose role is to handle essential aspects of the server including data backups, and security software installation. This saves you significant time and effort, thus allowing you to focus on other important aspects of your business.
If you lack the time and expertise, you shouldn’t compromise on the security of your dedicated server. Hiring a server manager may look costly, but it can lead to long term savings in costs. These professionals will not only manage your server but also detect malware and other vulnerabilities injected into it. Likewise, they undertake a regular review of vulnerabilities to prioritise security risks.
Extra Tip on How to Secure a Dedicated Server
Irrespective of how many security measures you put in place, your server will still be at risk if you download plugins, themes, and other components from unknown sources. Therefore, ensure that all website components are downloaded only from trusted sources.
You should avoid open-source website component sources since it’s hard to tell whether they are secure or not. Installing antivirus software on your server will give you peace of mind since components downloaded from unknown sources will first get scrutinised before installation.
The beauty of having a dedicated server is that you will be the only user. This doesn’t mean that you don’t face the threat of hacking attacks. Every server is prone to cyber-attack incidents. To minimise vulnerabilities and prevent attacks, you must know how to secure a dedicated server.
Most vulnerabilities result from overlooking crucial aspects such as software and database updates. Nonetheless, these seemingly insignificant security measures can make the difference by significantly reducing the chances of your server falling victim to vulnerabilities and cyber-attack incidents.