Best Practices to Secure IT Servers and Infrastructure [Infographic]

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In an increasingly perilous web environment, server-level security is an imperative. Your server and IT infrastructure are vulnerable to numerous threats on the web, and thus, comprehensive security is a must.

Neglecting security may come with detrimental consequences. It’s a costly risk that can hurt your brand and its stakeholders. As most business transactions are now done electronically, prioritizing server security ensures that your data and your customers’ information are protected.

To keep your servers in tip-top condition, here are some recommendations on how you can effectively address the security needs of your server infrastructure:

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1. Control log-in information

Create unique passwords composed of at least 8 characters. The rule of thumb is to combine uppercase and lowercase letters, and at least one number and special character in the password.

A strong password ensures that the login credentials in your server are effectively controlled and managed.

2. Change passwords regularly

To prevent hackers from guessing or stealing your password, it’s essential to update it frequently. It’s recommended to change your password every quarter to limit its utility to hackers.

3. Implement two-factor authentication when possible

Although it’s a bit of a hassle, two-factor authentication provides an additional layer of security. Most Internet-based services like Google, Facebook, and Twitter use two-step verification to protect their users from hackers.

Two-factor authentication requires another form of verification in addition to passwords. For example, you can connect your mobile number to the server, and it will send you a unique code that you can use to log in on top of the password that you’re using.

4. Store credentials securely

Protecting your users’ passwords and information is one of the most important aspects of server security. To avoid data breach, one of the best ways to secure credentials securely is to employ password hashing.

Essentially, to hash a password means to transform it into a unique value before storing it in your database. The algorithm is one-way, which means it’s impossible to turn the hashed password to its original form. Additional security measures can be taken to provide extra security to hashing.

5. Delete users and groups that are no longer in use

To prevent unauthorized access to your server, make sure to regularly check your server and immediately remove or delete inactive users and unused groups.

6. Always scan for viruses

Regularly scan your servers for viruses to immediately detect malicious files that can threaten your security. Make sure to update your antivirus software as well to ensure that it’s equipped with the right tools and information to combat new threats and viruses.

7. Update software and operating systems

Similar to antivirus software, make sure that you update your infrastructure packages and operating systems. An updated system improves not only your security, but also your system’s speed, reliability, and efficiency.

Regular updates fix your software’s bugs and guarantees that there are no holes in the security of your system.

8. Have a robust firewall system

A firewall is crucial to your server infrastructure. It provides extra protection in addition to the built-in security features of your system. Through a firewall, you can control the pieces of software or services that you need to expose to the network.

This significantly reduces your vulnerability to attacks, as exposing only a few components of your software means there’s less material for hackers to exploit.

9. Utilize SSH key authentication

Using SSH key authentication is a good alternative to password-based logins. SSH keys are cryptographic keys that contain more bits of data than a typical password, which is more difficult to crack and less vulnerable to attacks.

Additionally, SSH key authentication is more convenient, as users no longer need to remember their passwords when they use SSH keys through a program called an SSH agent.

10. Use VPNs and private networking when available

Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) keeps your browsing secure, and internal communication private. Through a VPN, you can guarantee safe connections between your servers and remote resources. VPN is also protected by encryption, which means attackers can not easily comprehend its traffic.

11. Encrypt data when needed

Encryption is crucial in achieving data security. Simply put, encryption is the process of translating sensitive electronic data into an intelligible code. This way, only those with authorized access can access and decipher the code.  Data encryption is used to protect valuable customer data, credit card numbers, company files, and many others.

12. Install trusted software

Install software or any packages from credible and trusted sources to prevent security risks to your infrastructure. You may be tempted to use software from unknown sources since they are a cheaper option, but some of these contain malware that can compromise your system’s security.

13. Regularly check for vulnerabilities

Regular network vulnerability scanning is recommended to help identify weaknesses in your server. This allows you to immediately address security issues before hackers compromise your system.

14. Backup data

Regularly backup your data so that you can easily recover lost or corrupted data from an attack or system failure. To keep everything secure, encrypt backed up data that contains sensitive information, and protect it with a password if possible.

15. Hire a professional

As most transactions are now done through a computer, businesses should prioritize server security. This entails hiring an IT professional who can guarantee the security of your servers and infrastructure.

If an in-house professional is out of the question, there are numerous outsourcing services that can be availed of. Outsourcing IT professionals is one way to ensure that the services your business are providing are running efficiently and that your servers are secured and protected from different threats across the web.

 

There are numerous threats that lurk on the web, and each is a potential detriment to your company and brand. Efficient and comprehensive server-level security is an investment that will help you avoid the costly consequences of data breach and other similar attacks on your server infrastructure.

In a dangerous web environment, it surely pays to be extra vigilant and prepared.

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James Patterson
James Patterson

James Patterson, Head of Business Development, Global Corporate Clients joined transcosmos in 2007. He oversees business development and sales and marketing initiatives throughout the EMEA and APAC regions for transcosmos IT and Customer Support Services, managing a team of sales professionals and consultants in these territories. James fully understands and supports the requirements and challenges of complex IT Support and Customer Service environments, having guided an array of large organizations through the consultative process of developing complex solutions to fit the customer’s needs. Previous to transcosmos, James was a regional Sales Manager in the Health and Leisure Industry winning many awards for exceeding sales targets and being innovative.

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