As a business operating online, it is essential to prioritize the security of your web application server to protect your data and maintain the trust of your users. Web servers are one of an organization’s multiple targeted public faces because of the sensitive data they usually host. Securing a web server is as dominant as confirming the website or web application and the network around it. Although securing a web server requires daunting specialist expertise, it is not impossible.
This article will explore essential tips to secure your web application server effectively.
What is Secure Web Server?
A secure web server typically falls into two categories. Firstly, it can be a public web server that employs SSL and encrypts sensitive data for user protection. Secondly, it can be a server used exclusively by a team within a local network, safeguarded against external threats. Staying updated with the ever-changing security landscape is crucial to ensure server security and mitigate potential risks.
Tips to Secure Web Application Server
Securing your website and web application server is essential to protect your data and ensure website safety from hackers. The value of your data is significant, and any compromise or intrusion by hackers can have severe consequences. To ensure the security of your web application, it is essential to address and secure all its surrounding components, thus safeguarding the entirety of the application. Here we discuss the critical tips to secure a web application server:
Create Strong passwords
Securing your server begins with employing strong passwords. Experts advise using passwords with a minimum of 12 characters, uppercase and lowercase letters, incorporating numbers, and special characters like exclamation points and ampersands. It is crucial to avoid using the same password for multiple systems and regularly change all passwords. Experts often suggest utilizing a password manager to assist with password management, considering the challenge of remembering multiple complex passwords.
Use Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication provides an additional security layer to safeguard your online identity. To enable 2FA, you provide a secondary form of authentication along with your username and password. That can include various methods like retinal scans, fingerprints, or frequently changing one-time codes and passwords (typically every 30 seconds). Implementing 2FA significantly enhances the protection of your online accounts.
Keep Your Server-Updated
Regularly checking for server updates is crucial. To keep your server up-to-date, confirm it receives the latest security patches and resolves any known security vulnerabilities in older versions. Failing to use the latest updates puts your server at risk of compromise within minutes. If you prefer a more hands-off approach to maintenance, enabling automatic updates allows your server to stay current without manual intervention. This way, your server can effortlessly keep itself updated.
A firewall is crucial for maintaining a strong security layer and preventing unauthorized access. You enhance security by manually blocking unfamiliar IP addresses or ranges and allowing access only to trusted ones. Closing unused ports is essential to prevent attackers from exploiting them. The next command can help identify and close unnecessary ports using Linux. Firewall rules effectively block unwanted traffic and protect against server manipulation as a reliable defense against DDoS attacks.
Secure File Transfer Protocol
Using File Transfer Protocol Secure (FTPS), files can be safely transferred to and from a server, reducing the risk of data compromise or theft by malicious actors. FTPS employs encryption for data files and authentication information, utilizing command and data channels. However, it’s crucial to note that FTPS solely protects files during the transfer process. Once the files reach the server, the data is no longer encrypted. To enhance security further, encrypting the files before sending them adds a layer of protection.
Use Private Networks and VPNs
Utilizing private and virtual private networks (VPNs) and software is recommended to ensure secure communication. Unlike open networks vulnerable to attacks, personal and virtual private networks restrict access to authorized users. Private networks establish isolated communication channels using private IPs within the same range, allowing secure information exchange between servers without exposure to public spaces. VPNs are ideal for connecting to remote servers on a local private network, providing safe and private connections spanning multiple remote servers.
Take Away Unnecessary Services
Increase server security by reducing the attack vector. Install and maintain only the essential requirements for running your services. Enable only necessary network ports for the server OS and installed components. Minimize the system by having only the required features for a Windows OS server and essential packages for a Linux OS server. Configure a firewall to allow specific ports and block unnecessary communication. Prioritize checking dependencies before installing software to avoid adding extreme elements.
Regular backup is essential in case of unforeseen issues. Maintain encrypted backups of your critical data either offsite or through a cloud data backup and restore solution. Whether you opt for automated backup jobs or perform them manually, it is crucial to establish a regular backup routine as a precautionary measure. Conducting thorough backup tests is recommended. That involves conducting “sanity checks” where administrators or end users verify the integrity of data recovery processes.
Use a Multi-Server Environment
Isolation is a top-notch server protection method achieved through dedicated bare metal servers that have no resource sharing with others. While highly secure, this approach is also costly. Isolated execution environments in a data center enable Separation of Duties (SoD) and server configuration based on specific functions. Separating database servers and web application servers is a standard security practice. That is particularly valuable for larger businesses aiming to avoid security breaches. Independent database servers protect sensitive information and system files from hackers with administrative access.
Securing your web application server is a continuous effort that requires a proactive and multi-layered approach. Implementing these essential tips, you can significantly enhance the security of your server and protect your valuable data. A robust server security strategy is key to keeping server updates, two-factor authentication, web application firewalls, secure data transmission, regular backups, and the use of a multi-server environment. Remember, investing in security measures today can save you from potential disasters tomorrow. Safeguard your web application server and provide users with a secure and reliable experience.