As a small business owner, you can never do too much when it comes to ensuring your server’s security. Almost every day, there’s news of servers or websites being attacked and how the hackers got away with hundreds of thousands of records. Whether out of malice, or because a kid in a basement simply got too curious, you should remember anyone can attack your server at any time for any number of reasons.
How can you as small business owner prevent attacks on your data centers when even the largest corporations have failed to do so? Well, just because the big guys couldn’t prevent attacks doesn’t mean you should sit back and let fate decide what’s in store for your server. Don’t make attacking your servers easy!
Don’t know where to start? We’ve got 10 tips that can help you secure your server so attackers don’t get away with information they shouldn’t.
1. Develop an IT Policy
Every business should have an IT policy that is not only strictly adhered to, but also regularly monitored and improved upon. The policy should outline what roles everyone in the business will play, what rules they should all abide by, the preventive measures that need to be implemented, what to do after an attack and more. It should be broad and all-encompassing and as detailed as possible.
2. Decide What is Important
While it is possible you might set out to protect all of your data, it could prove a little more difficult than focusing on the core data that you absolutely cannot risk – like the addresses, credit card numbers, or social security numbers of your users. So, identify what is absolutely critical data and build your whole security strategy around it.
3. Compare Local vs. Remote Storage
Having your own data storage has its advantages, including full control and accessibility. But, there are many data hosting providers that host incredibly sensitive data for some of the biggest companies out there. They have made data and data security expertise their job. Look in to using these trusted hosting services. Also, remember: cloud storage enables you to access data from anywhere. You could store your non-essential data on cloud hosting, while keeping your core data close to you in a more hybrid environment.
4. Maintain Regular Updates
Software companies send out updates on their products for a reason – usually enhancing security performance. You should have a schedule in place for checking, patching, and updating your software.
5. Monitor Your User Access List
Your staff will come and go. In the end, you are responsible for keeping track of who is allowed access to what data and whose account should be restricted or removed once they have moved on or left your company. It should never be forgotten that most data hacks happen from within a network.
6. Backup Your Security
Many businesses forget that backups are almost always the only way data can be recovered when it has been lost. Be sure to backup data regularly! Your business should have a backup policy that includes regularly simulated drills to test scenarios where there is 100 percent loss of data, as well as partial data recovery. The backup data itself should have its own working policy detailing its secure storage.
7. Assess Your Hardware
Before hackers can get access to your data, they’ll have to bypass your hardware. Routers, Wi-Fi terminals, firewalls and other peripheral security devices should be regularly monitored and updated to prevent attacks before they happen.
8. Keep Track of Your Logs
Logs are rich sources of information that outline who accessed what and when. All server operating systems have logs and, if you can’t make head or tail of them, there are third-party tools that can mine through these logs to give you a clearer image. Use them and know who is doing what on your servers.
9. Disable Remote Access
Unless you or your server’s administrators work remotely, or have an absolutely good reason to do so, your servers should never be accessible from outside the network. And even then, remote access should be timed, so once a configuration or administration job is done, it automatically expires and is disabled.
10. Keep an Eye on the News
Hacking methods and the technology hackers use are constantly evolving. Be sure to keep up with these malicious advancements and, once solutions or preventive measure have been advised, they should be immediately applied on your server and network.
So, there you have it. You should never let your guard down when it comes to your servers. In today’s world of digital commerce, a secure environment that allows quick, easy, and safe online payments could make or break your business.