What is Server Hardening?

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What is Server Hardening?

Server hardening is the process of reducing a server’s exposure to cyber threats. It involves implementing a set of security measures to protect your servers from unauthorized access, data breaches, and other malicious activities. Hardening your server is like putting something together properly so it is sturdy, well assembled, and useful. Then it involves taking care of it to make sure that it is properly maintained.

Initial Hardening

Several actions must be performed at the onset as part of the server hardening process.

These include:

Updating Outdated Operating Systems

Keeping your server's operating system updated and patched is important to protect against potential exploits. These updates enhance system stability by fixing bugs and contribute to improved performance by optimizing server efficiency. For certain industries, regular updates are a compliance necessity. Net Friends will update your server regularly and all urgent security-based patches will be implemented as needed.

Disabling Non-Essential Services

Disabling non-essential services can help reduce the attack surface of your servers. It is essential to disable any services that are not required for your business operations. During your onboarding, Net Friends will do a complete analysis of what services are on your server and work with you to determine what is necessary and what can be disabled.

Align Settings with Best Practices

Within Microsoft, there are an overwhelming number of settings that can impact the security of all your Microsoft products. Only a small percentage of businesses have these settings configured to provide optimal security. We will work with you to determine what your security profile is and then implement settings to provide an appropriate level of security.

Enforcing Strong Password Policies

Enforcing strong password policies can help prevent unauthorized access to your servers. It is essential to use complex passwords and change them regularly. We will help your business create and implement password policies that will be readily adopted by your staff.  

Limiting User Access

Limiting user access can help reduce the risk of unauthorized access to your servers. It is essential to grant access only to those who need it and to monitor user activity. Often, we find accounts for people who are no longer with the company and accounts for people who do not need access. While it seems smart to give access to senior management, the more people who have access means more opportunities for hackers to get in. Net Friends will limit your user access and will monitor it. If it changes, we will investigate.

You can learn more about why monitoring access changes is important in this article: Why Monitor Server Changes?.

Keeping Your Server Hardened

Once your servers are hardened, you want to make sure that they stay that way.

Regular patching and updating of operating systems are critical to keep your servers secure. Net Friends will handle this for you, ensuring the latest security measures are in place. If there is an urgent security update, we will take care of it promptly.

Regular audits will help to identify any changes to your systems and make sure that everything is up and running as it should be. We will look at a variety of factors that can affect your server performance and security.

Vulnerability scans and penetration tests will be performed regularly. This information will help identify vulnerabilities in your servers.  

Keeping current with the latest security trends can help you stay ahead of cyber threats. Net Friends stays informed about cyber threats through a variety of sources on your behalf. We work hard to keep on top of any new security issues so both our internal and our client systems remain secure. Net Friends regularly updates our Server Hardening processes and ongoing management practices for all covered servers.

Regular reporting on the status of your server. Once your server is hardened, we will monitor it for any changes and then report on them. You will receive a monthly report about the latest changes and any further details about the maintenance we performed.

Server hardening is essential for protecting your business from cyber threats. By implementing the security measures outlined in this article, you can reduce the risk of data breaches, downtime, and other malicious activities. We encourage businesses to implement server hardening practices to ensure the security of their servers and data.

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“Net Friends has been an absolute GAME CHANGER when it comes to supporting our team and providing support. They are incredibly helpful, friendly, smart, and well organized.”
Kye Gardner
Alera Health