In a world of rapidly increasing cybercrime, the importance of a secure server cannot be overlooked. In this guide, we're going to take a look at some of the best ways to keep your dedicated server as secure as possible, to help you protect your data and business from threats.
What is a dedicated server?
A dedicated server is exactly what it says on the tin. When you pay for a dedicated server, its storage space and computing power are dedicated solely to you and your projects. This is the opposite of shared hosting servers, which are split between multiple tenants, and makes dedicated servers a popular choice as there are fewer security risks.
Learn more: What is a dedicated server?
Why is security important for a dedicated server?
In the age of information, malicious individuals are increasingly turning to one precious resource: data. According to Experian, 85% of businesses see data as one of their most valuable assets. So if you've got a dedicated server sitting there without adequate protection, you could be leaving your business (or even your clients' businesses) exposed to malware, password breaches, and DDoS attacks. This also applies to other types of servers too — it’s always vital to protect sensitive information from hackers.
How to secure your dedicated server
Let’s run through our top tips on how you can keep your dedicated server protected.
Keep your server updated
The easiest way to make sure your dedicated server remains secure is to make sure it’s up to date. When you update your server, you’re ensuring that you’ll receive all the latest security updates and bug fixes from your OS vendor, and that your server is patched up as well as it can be.
Don't install unnecessary plugins and software
Don’t install anything you don’t need. Keep your setup light, and if you’re using a platform like WordPress, try to assess which plugins you’re actually using, and whether you really need them to minimise risk of security issues on your dedicated server.
Only use trusted networks
If you log in to your dedicated server from an unknown and unsecure public network, you’re putting your server at risk of attack. To avoid a nightmare situation, make sure you’re only accessing your server on a known and secure network, rather than allowing employees to log in from anywhere.
Choose secure hosting with DDoS protection
It doesn’t matter how many protective measures you put in place at your end if your host at the other end isn’t doing all they can as well. Make sure that you choose a secure and reputable hosting provider for your dedicated server. Hosting providers that offer DDoS protection are considered to be among the most secure, so take this into account when you’re choosing.
Change your default port numbers
One easy way to boost security is by changing your port numbers from known defaults as it makes your server harder to target. Port 22 is the standard port for SSH connections, adjusting this will throw most hackers off the scent.
Remove root access
When you set up a dedicated server, its default username is named ‘root’ and this user has total permission to perform any action within the server. Due to their permissions, the root user often is a target for hackers. To reduce this risk, we recommend you disable the root user, and instead follow a system of only granting permissions to users when they’re actually needed.
Lock ports to IP addresses
Using a firewall to lock a port's access to a specific IP or set of IPs allows you to control who can and can’t access your server. IP addresses are unique numbers that correspond to specific devices and locations. By locking your ports to these IP addresses, you’re limiting where your dedicated server can be accessed from. Only allowing known employees to access the business network creates a significant layer of protection.
Your database is a cybercriminals goldmine, so you need to put it on maximum security. We recommend keeping user privilege to a minimum, deleting all unnecessary data, and ensuring that it’s SQL injection resistant.
Establish emergency protocols for disaster recovery
Always be prepared for the worst. Make sure you have a thorough emergency protocol in place to minimise the damage that could be caused by a security breach. As a minimum your emergency protocol should include resetting usernames and passwords, and a pre-written statement explaining the situation that can be sent out to customers and put on your website.
Secure password usage - or even SSH keys rather than passwords
Sometimes having strong server security is as simple as choosing a strong password. Forget ‘myserver123’ and ‘serverpassword1991’. Use a random word and number generator and never use the same password twice.
You can take your password security to the next level by logging into your dedicated server using SSH keys and scrapping passwords for good. If you want to find out more about using SSH keys, check out our help page on the topic of using SSH to connect to a server.
While you can put in place any number of protective measures, sometimes things just go wrong. To make sure that your data is safe even in the worst case scenario, be sure to regularly back up your data. That way, if you do encounter problems with your dedicated server, you’ve got a backup plan.
Don’t risk it when it comes to server security
In 2023, information security should be one of the most pressing concerns for all responsible organisations. Allowing sensitive data to fall into the wrong hands could lead to disastrous consequences, both for data subjects, and your business.
How dedicated servers can improve security
Now that we’ve covered how to ensure that your dedicated server is secure, how can you benefit from this security?
Well, as you share your dedicated server with no one else, that means all of the resources are yours, and so is the security. You don’t have to worry about breaches coming from other users when it’s just you. This is a major benefit to dedicated servers and a main reason why so many people opt for them.
If you're looking to invest in dedicated hosting, but you're still worried about data security, you're in safe hands with our Dedicated Servers. Hosted exclusively in ISO 27001 certified data centres with the very latest in security, there's no need to fret.
If you've still got some questions about server security, our range of servers, or anything else, have a chat with our sales team.