Dedicated server security is one of the most important considerations for any webmaster. It’s much more important to think about security when you are using a dedicated server than when you are using shared hosting. Under a shared hosting account you are sharing the server with other websites so security concerns are already down the list aways right from the get-go. But with dedicated hosting it is paramount.
Change Your Passwords
The first security measure to take with a dedicated server is to make sure you change passwords, and you should do it often. When first configuring your dedicated server, make sure you change the passwords as a first measure of security. Then I’d say you should change them at least every six months. For tighter security, change them every quarter.
Another word on passwords, make them difficult to decipher. Industry best practices say to use long passwords that contain numbers and letters, capitals and lower case, and a couple of special characters. You don’t want your passwords to be easily guessed by hackers.
Disable FTP And Use SSH
If you aren’t using a service then disable it. For instance, if you don’t use FTP then disable it so that it doesn’t become a security hole. Hackers find dead holes and sneak into them. If you do use FTP, be sure not to send passwords and private information through them because they are sent in plain text and can be easily detected with snooping.
Instead of Telnet, use SSH (Secure Shell). It’s much more secure. Disable Telnet, which is one of the biggest security risks on a dedicated server and make maximum usage out of your secure shell.
Install A Firewall And Virus Protection
One of the most essential tools for any dedicated server host is a firewall. A good firewall can detect hacker attempts and notify you of them while they are going on.
Another thing you need to take care of quickly is virus protection. Just like on your personal computer, a virus can do some real damage to your server. However, unlike a personal computer, damage done on a server can take out loads of potentially valuable data that could affect your customers and business partners. That would be very bad for business.
If you run a Windows-based server then you’ll have real issues with viruses. You’ll have to run virus scans on a regular basis. The reason is because most viruses are written for Windows (which is another reason for using Linux or Unix instead).
But Linux isn’t completely free of viruses and worms, either. Make sure your firewall is up to date and update your software on a regular basis. Also be sure disable those service, like Telnet, that you don’t use.
Back Up Your Information
You might as well just plan for it now. You will have a problem at some point. Maybe not a hacker attempt. You can lose information just by human error. An administrator could type a wrong command or a storm could not knock out your power. Make sure you back up your information on a regular basis. Monthly at a bare minimum. But if you can do it weekly, or daily, that’s even better.
Perform Regular Maintenance On Your Dedicated Server
Even though everything has gone well during your new dedicated server set up, you’ll still need to perform regular maintenance. Your job as administrator is never done. Just like you maintain your automobile with tune ups and oil changes, you’ll need to run regular maintenance checks on your dedicated server to ensure that nothing does go wrong. Think of it as preventive medicine for your server. Nothing beats a cure better than an ounce of prevention.