11 Steps to secure your Windows VPS Hosting
Securing your Windows VPS Hosting is vital. In fact, it is equal to keeping your VPS live on the public network. Most of us do overlook this simple step. After buying your Windows VPS hosting and receiving your VPS login details, security is the next smart move. Today, we are sharing 11 Tips which you can easily avail to secure your Windows VPS Hosting.
Our 11 Steps to Securing your Windows VPS Hosting is an easy to follow guide that everyone should use to secure the basics of a web server. Follow this guide to prevent your server from getting hacked. Most admins opting own Windows Cloud VPS leave it up to the Cloud Provider and expect them to provide security for their server. However, most public cloud providers simply provide IAAS which means that you as an admin are responsible for securing your Windows Cloud server. Follow these quick steps below to secure your Windows 2012/2016 Cloud VM before making it available to the public:
1. Use a Firewall in your Windows VPS Hosting
Make sure that your Windows VPS Hosting has a firewall running all the time. The default Windows Firewall comes with every Windows OS and is recommended to keep it enabled. Below are some of its benefits:
- Prevents hackers and malicious software
- Filters information coming from the Internet according to your settings
Know what ports are open and how to block and unblock an IP. These are basic things you need to understand the daily security of your system. If someone from an IP begins a brute force attack you now know how to stop them, right away.
2. Install any required Service Packs and Updates
Get the latest updates and downloads for your Windows server for better performance. Make sure your Windows VPS Server is using current, updated software. An old OS can lead to an easy target for your server. If you’re not sure then ask your provider for the latest update and enable Microsoft auto update to enable installation of latest patches and updates.
3. Enforce SSL/TLS on Remote Connections
While there are many alternatives, enforcing a free SSL Certificate can be one of the primary steps for your Windows VPS hosting. Restricting connection by IP and enabling SSL/TLS encryption on database ports is a must for remote connections. A certificate is needed to authenticate your Windows VPS. SSL (TLS 1.0) will be used for server authentication and for encrypting all data transferred between the server and the client. Encryption protects against the risk of interception of the client/server communication.
4. Limit Public Network access
Enabling public Internet access for users can open new doors for your business. Although allowing users on the public network would also open your server to hacking and intrusion attempt. Set up a VPN tunnels to prevent outsider usage and ensure that your private network communication is encrypted with 128 bit encryption keys.
5. Intrusion Detection System (IDS)
An intrusion detection system or IDS is like a burglar alarm on your Windows VPS Server. It keeps a record of which files were changed when and alerts you of anything new or altered. This is critical because hackers usually try to replace binary applications. Apply IDS to save your Server from the threat. We recommend checking out the Top 5 Free Windows IDS which you can use to secure your Window Server.
6. Enable a Bastion Host
A bastion host is a special purpose computer on a network specifically designed and configured to withstand attacks. The idea of a bastion host is to prevent direct access to your server from the public network and minimise the chances of penetration. The computer generally hosts a single application, for example, a proxy server and all other services are removed or limited to reduce the threat to the computer. It usually involves access from untrusted networks or computers.
7. Enable BitLocker for server drive encryption
Thanks to the improvements of virtualization and storage technologies, it’s not difficult to clone a disk. A great advantage for disaster recovery, but also a potential risk for the security of your information. BitLocker protects your Windows VPS hosting from offline attack. And protects your data if a malicious user boots from an alternate Operating System. It requires administrator privileges on the server to install.
8. Use alternate ports for common services
Default ports for privileged services like RDP, SQL Server can be used to break into your server. Change the ports to your own custom ports to thwart such attempts. This significantly reduces your chances of having any services remotely hacked. It definitely goes a long way in securing your Terminal Server or Remote Desktop Server. Anyone attempting to connect to alternate ports is blocked entirely for a specific span of time.
9. Install and configure a virus protection solution
Secure your server from malware attacks by installing an antivirus for downloading – uploading files, and browsing sites safely. Installing Antivirus software can ensure an online and offline security for your server. Server Scan allows you to configure the way in which your security File Servers scans the files located on the server. File Server protects Windows-based file servers against various kinds of malware, such as viruses, spyware, adware, rootkits and so on.
10. Remove unnecessary protocols and bindings
Do an audit of the services running on the server and disable all unwanted services and their bindings to reduce your attack threat. Instead, use port binding which involves specific information configurations to reveal where and how messages are transmitted and delivered within the network. This can keep a track of unknown activities on your server.
11. Set a secure password for your Administrator user account
You should also be setting the password to something secure. First note, do not write or store the password anywhere! The weakest link in any password-based security is the end user, so make sure you reduce the chance of your password getting stolen or seen.
When setting a secure password please consider the following guidelines :
- At least 10 characters long, the longer the better
- Capitals, numbers, lowercase, and a symbol or two!
- Do not use the same password twice
- Avoid using variations of the same password
- Enforce SSL/TLS on Remote Connections
Restricting connection to privileges services by IP and enabling SSL/TLS encryption on database ports is a must for remote connections.
We have also created an infographic for Securing Windows VPS, which you can download here and use it as a ready reference.
Security is essential when you are online. We should never risk our customer’s personal and private information. Neither should we invite intruders and their problems. If you have any other tips not included in this article, please put in your comments below.
At Diadem, we provide secure and scalable Windows Cloud VPS along with automated backups as part of our managed services at our Uptime certified TIER IV datacenter facility in India. To know more about how we can assist your business in getting the optimal security features for your hosted services, get in touch with us.