Best Practices to Secure IT Servers and Infrastructure
A traditional IT infrastructure is composed of hardware, software, an operating system, data storage, and network components. As the digital landscape is rapidly changing, cyber-attacks are also increasing in number and intensity, putting the security of IT assets at stake. This is a cause of concern for small and large businesses alike, with cyber security as one of the most critical issues to address. Securing your IT infrastructure is important to reduce the level of potential risks. Security measures also include an organization's capability to recover after an attack.
The ultimate purpose is to avoid or minimize the costs resulting from an incident. Overlooking security can result in an organization ending up with financial and reputational damages. Not only can it hurt its brand image and stakeholders, it can also result in disgruntled customers who would never want to return to you. It is also important to comply with information security standards if you want to claim cyber insurance in case of a breach incident. Insurance companies will sell you the insurance without much fuss but if you have not complied with the growing number of security requirements, you will end up with a rejected claim when an incident occurs. Since business transactions are now mostly electronic, it is important to prioritize server and infrastructure security to protect your customer’s sensitive information.
Here are some best practices that can help you address security needs of your IT servers and infrastructure:
Follow Password Best Practices
As unbelievable as it may sound, ‘123456’ is still one of the most common passwords. But you are not living in the 90’s anymore, and you need to make your password game stronger. Users should be asked to keep a strong password; one that has at least 8 characters, contains a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, at least one special character, and one digit. It is also essential to frequently update your password in order to limit its probability of getting cracked. This one may seem hard to follow, but another important practice is to not keep the same password for different accounts.
If doing all this seems hard to handle, you can make use of a password manager. It generates unique, strong passwords and remembers them so that you don't have to.
Password managers remove the hassle of remembering different passwords of all your accounts. Rather, it has a master password to allow login. Once logged in with the master password, the password manager automatically fills login information of a website you are trying to access. You don't need to worry about what username, email, or password you used for a particular website, since your password manager does that for you.
Implement Two-Factor Authentication
Before allowing access to a server, two-factor authentication asks for a second-time verification from the user in addition to a password. For instance, after you enter the password, the server sends a unique code to your personal mobile number to verify your identity before allowing access. Though it is a hassle at times, two-factor authentication is important for an additional layer of security. This means that even if your password gets hacked, the password alone is not enough to authenticate and allow access. To sign in to a service, the user will be required to enter a second code that they receive on their authorized phone. Internet-based service giants like Facebook, Twitter, and Google use it for protecting their users from hackers – and so should you.
Remove Inactive Users and Groups
This is especially important to prevent unauthorized access to the server. Users that are no longer active can be a threat at any point of time. It is imperative to regularly check the server and delete all inactive users or unused groups.
There are also tools available that give alert notifications when new accounts are created on the services you use. For example, if a new admin account is created on the server, you get an alert. Similarly, you get an alert on a new global admin account on office 365. You also get an alert when new forwarding rules are enabled on your office 365 instance. This alert is important, since hackers can use forwarding rules to imitate you and make requests from vendors such as updating bank accounts, while hiding their replies.
Regularly Update Programs and Take Data Backups
Updating operating systems and software programs including anti-malware packages not only improves your security, but also improves system’s reliability, speed, and efficiency. Applying regular patches fixes bugs in the software and ensures that there are no vulnerability loopholes in your IT infrastructure. It is also recommended to conduct regular vulnerability scanning to identify server weaknesses and proactively address security issues.
Use anti-malware with centralized control and alerts to help you manage the network as a whole. Alerts can help users identify whenever a virus threat is detected or when new patches are available. Take regular data backups so that in case of a data breach or system failure, any lost or corrupted data can be easily recovered. Encrypt and password-protect data that contains sensitive information.
Install a Robust Firewall System
A firewall is the key to your IT server infrastructure security. In addition to inbuilt security features of a system, a firewall provides extra protection to the parts of services that are exposed to the network. This helps to significantly reduce vulnerability to attacks, as exposure to fewer system components means lesser areas for hackers to exploit. For example, you can use a firewall to filter traffic between server and workstations. This ensures that even if a workstation gets compromised, the entire network will not get compromised.
Hire a Professional
If all of this is overwhelming for you and you don’t have in-house expertise to manage your IT servers and infrastructure security needs, hire a professional to do it for you. Professional services help implement best practices to avoid costly consequences of a data breach.
Digital Sky Solutions ensures that your business provides efficient services by enabling maximum security of your servers from cyber threats.
To find out more about how we can assist you, reach out to us at (250) 483-5623.