We’ve been hearing a lot about big enterprise companies being hacked these days, but did you know that SMBs are increasingly becoming a more attractive victim?
As SMBs tend to hold equally attractive customer data on their servers, they are most likely to have weaker levels of security than the big enterprise companies.
As a start-up business, it is understandable why businesses may slack on the security. For more established businesses, security isn’t an area to neglect – especially if you don’t want to put your reputation on the line.
Don’t underestimate the enemy
It doesn’t matter how small or insignificant you think your business is, the data you hold on your server is valuable to someone. Cyber criminals know this and would seek to access this data and use it against you.
Some hackers are opportunists. If you have weak security, they will take advantage of this. In fact, some people make it their hobby to find security weaknesses in companies.
There are hackers who actually do this to help companies identify unknown security flaws. These are called white-hat hackers, and you’ll be lucky to come across one of these. In fact, you can hire white hat hackers to help find the holes in your security.
Defence is the best weapon
Instead of waiting to be broken into, it’s a no brainer to proactively protect your data. Security is not something that should be overlooked, and it certainly should be done reactively as it may be too late once you are compromised. There are a few critical things that should be of importance when securing your data and servers, and you should look to revise your server-side security before the worst happens.
Encrypt your data
Every piece of business critical data and transmissions going to and from your business should be encrypted. Even if the data is accessed, sufficient levels of encryption would render that data unusable for unauthorised parties.
Multiple layers of security
Wrap up your servers inside and out. If an attacker gets through one layer of the network, make sure there are more layers of security after it. If someone is determined enough, it’ll only be a matter of time, and having multiple layers would help in prolonging an attack for you to identify and take effective action.
You should defend every stage from the perimeter, all the way down to file encryption.
UTM (Unified Threat Management)
A UTM is placed in front of your dedicated server and is a versatile tool that tends to contain multiple features such as an Intrusion Detection System (IDS), Firewall, VPN and Content Filtering. These are easily configurable and can be deployed without the need of a dedicated IT support team.
Protect your connections to your server
Using a standard password to authenticate a connection to a server would open yourself up to risks of a brute force attack. This is where someone attempts to guess your password through various methods. There are a few things you could do to improve your connections to your server.
The use of SSH keys instead of a standard password would make your server much harder to access through brute force methods – if anything, it’s impenetrable.
SSH keys essentially comes in pairs, a private key and a public key. The private key is stored locally on the machine of the user whilst the public key is stored on the server that the user wants to connect to.This initiates an action for the system to check matching key pairs and authenticate a connection.
You could even step it up a notch by securing your private key with a secure password.
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS), are both encryption protocols that ensure the privacy of the communications between a user and a client. This would help prevent third parties eavesdropping and picking up key information such as bank details, emails and other sensitive information.
Update your software and audit before it’s too late
You may think your dedicated server is secure, but it’s worth giving it a health check on a regular basis. Don’t overlook updates to your software as they could bring security fixes and improvements that would patch up any areas of weakness to security.
Have a regular audit cycle to keep up to date and on top of security. Without regular audits, there could be security flaws present for long periods of time, opening yourself up to potential attacks the longer it exists.
As technology develops, hacking methods become more sophisticated. If you don’t keep up with security, you’ll quickly find yourself behind the curve and exposed for potential threats.
Data security should be a bare minimum consideration for companies whether they are large, small or even a start up.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Securing your data and server may seem a big challenge, but you don’t have to do this alone. Having a good partnership with your provider is important as they can guide you through the process and help with the set-up. If you don’t have the capability to secure your network, then it’s worth considering outsourcing the help.
If you’re looking to discuss your server side security requirements with someone, feel free to get in touch with us and we’ll see how we can help.