Having a dedicated server is one of the true signs that you have made it as a small to medium sized business owner. Unfortunately, it also makes you a likely target of hacking and other security threats. Securing any machine equipped with a web or application server is a huge challenge, one you may not be able to overcome alone. You need to worry about everything from your email and FTP communications to OS and kernel patches. And let’s not forget about those web technologies that can bring you so much functionality along with a lot of grief when not properly secured. This web-based world we live in can be very hazardous to any business so if you want to protect your server, we suggest paying close attention to the contents of this article.
Securing a dedicated server begins with creating a two-layer bullet proof vest to deflect the attempts of the enemy. Two of the most effective weapons to carry into battle: firewall and intrusion protection technology. With a firewall, your server will be able to fight off common exploits such as DDoS (distributed denial of service) and brute force attacks. Usually originating from multiple unsecured, enslaved machines, the dreaded DDoS attack will slam your dedicated server with awful amounts of insignificant traffic, overwhelming critical resources and rendering the hardware inaccessible to legitimate users. A quality firewall with good configurations will enforce rules that filters access and blocks malicious traffic while allowing legitimate traffic to pass. This is all done in a way that reduces latency and slow moving processes, so it all appears transparent to the end-user.
Though similar in a nature, intrusion detection and prevention takes a more advanced approach towards server security. This technology blocks malicious traffic right at the source, locking compromised hosts in a quarantine area all while routing genuine user traffic in a quick and efficient manner. If a firewall represents your first line of defense, then intrusion protection serves as your behind enemy lines mechanism. This powerful combination allows you to shift security measures from a reactive to proactive aspect.
Don’t Stop There
While the implementation of firewalls and intrusion protection make good first steps, one should keep in might that this isn’t the set it and forget it type of deal. In order to stay ahead of the hackers, malware coders and corporate saboteurs you must consistently employ vigilance as well as frequent updates of your patches, blacklists, filters and other vital elements. Purchasing and installing a few security devices and applications can be viewed as the easy part. Managing them with efficiency is an entirely different story.
Because properly securing a dedicated server is cost prohibitive for most small and medium sized organizations, you may want to consider a managed service to help keep the intruders away. Managed hosting is the often overlooked aspect of a dedicated server that could spell the difference between running a successful business, or going down because of a major security breach. If you are not sure where you stand on server security, consult your IT team or speak with a professional firm for guidance.