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Monday, October 28, 2013

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Up and Running: How to Keep Your Company's Servers Secure

The servers within a company are essential for daily operations. They exchange information and even act as portals for customers. It is important to keep the servers safe and secure. This involves taking several steps to ensure that the server and the surrounding network are not vulnerable to different attacks. Several steps will help a company to keep servers secure.

Strong Access Control
The first step is to put policies and systems in place that provide strong access control. As few people as possible should have direct access to the server or to critical hardware connected to the network. Accounts should be attached to individual employees and never shared. Restricting access to servers and the network will remove many low-level threats that could harm the business.

Limit Public Exposure
It is important to limit public exposure of the network or internal servers. Any public-facing portions of the network or the servers should be separated from internal systems with hardware firewalls or independent machines. This will prevent attacks that use common services on public-facing servers such as the simple mail transfer protocol (SMTP). Public access by employees should be done through an authenticated virtual private network (VPN) connection using encryption and tunneling protocols.

Use Dedicated Hosting

Using shared server hosting presents a security risk since other users on the machine could gain access to the business account. There are even several ways to break through a hypervisor or other virtualization software to gain access to a partition on a virtual dedicated host. Businesses concerned about security should use a true dedicated server with independent hardware. Dedicated servers like those provided through Hi Velocity Hosting are incredibly secure. Additionally, dedicated servers can be equipped with strong customized security solutions that will protect data and the system.

Have an Incident Response Plan
Businesses should develop an incident response plan for the most common types of attacks. The plan should include who is on the response team, what actions need to be taken and how to recover afterwards. It should also include any important information necessary to contact outside help if necessary. Incident response plans should also be practiced on a regular basis. This will help to minimize the impact of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks or other malicious attempts to penetrate the network.

Regular Application Test and Auditing
Businesses must perform regular application testing to make certain deployed programs do not have security holes. The company must also perform regular security audits especially if changes were made to the network or the server. Regular security auditing will detect weaknesses and vulnerabilities before they can be exploited.


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