Whether you are on a shared cloud hosting plan or a fully functional cloud VPS, it is always important to take active steps towards securing your cloud hosting server or account. Even the smallest mistake can lead to serious security breach or worse: data destruction. In this article, we are going to discuss how to secure your cloud hosting server properly.
Use a Strong Password
Yes, you need to set a strong password for your cloud hosting account. Don’t mess around with your usual password of “12345678” or your birthday. You are storing valuable information on the cloud, even when it’s ‘only’ a personal blog, so securing it with a strong password is a must.
A strong password is even more important if you have root access to the server. The root account can be protected using SSH keys or cryptographic keys instead of a standard password; don’t forget to disable password-based logins after adding a valid key for root user. This way, only computers with the correct crypto key can access the server via SSH.
Some cloud services now offer two-factor authentication. This basically means every login will be verified, either via a text message or other method (i.e. a native app on your smartphone). Two-factor authentication can help prevent unauthorized login effectively. Use this login method whenever it is available.
For shared cloud hosting, file encryption is not always possible. A lot of service providers support encryption natively, but your hosting company may not offer it as part of the service package. File encryption may also not be the most effective way to secure web files that are accessed frequently.
However, you can use SSL security to secure connections to and from the cloud server. SSL certificates are very affordable these days. Some hosting companies even offer them for free as a bonus or as part of your cloud hosting plan. Set up the SSL certificate correctly on the cloud server and you can start using secured protocols (such as HTTPS) to connect to it.
Another benefit of encryption connections to and from the server is credibility. Search engines now prioritize websites with SSL security when ranking search results. Visitors love seeing a valid SSL certificate when browsing too, since they instantly know the site can be trusted. Of course, ecommerce sites who are using cloud hosting must use SSL security, at least on pages where customers enter their personal information.
Maintain Multiple Backups
Part of securing your cloud hosting server is maintaining multiple backups. I know that cloud hosting is designed with multiple redundancies to offer unrivaled uptime. There is very little chance of losing your data once it is stored in the cloud. I said ‘very little chance’ because data loss is still possible.
Backup your website or other files stored in the cloud to remote locations. You can actually count on free cloud storage or cloud backup services for storing backup files. A lot of cloud storage services offer many as 50GB of storage space for free too.
Another good idea is to maintain at least one offline backup, especially now that hard drives are very cheap and immensely reliable. You don’t need to back up your files locally every day; a once-a-month routine is usually more than enough for securing most cloud hosting accounts.
Should a catastrophic failure occur – or you simply aren’t happy with the cloud hosting service anymore – you can quickly restore your files to the same or different cloud server without a problem. Besides, there is no such thing as too many backups.
Some of you may be running a large site or cloud hosting server with multiple administrators. Others may have several users connecting to the same cloud hosting server at once. To prevent security breach and to further protect the files stored in the cloud, always use proper access or user management.
Depending on the cloud hosting service you use, you may already have the tools you need to manage multiple users. Some shared cloud hosting services, for instance, allow up to 10 users with different access levels on a single account. Reseller cloud hosting is perfect for a large number of sites with individual administrators.
When I first started using my own cloud VPS, I was having a lot of trouble trying to secure the server properly. I didn’t configure my firewall correctly and ended up having more than 100 WordPress sites infected by a worm. Although I would really love to say otherwise, securing a server – and maintaining the same level of security at all times – is not always easy.
Luckily, you can always get help. The hosting company may offer managed cloud hosting for inexperienced site owners who want to enjoy the performance benefits of a cloud VPS. There are also internet security services available for you to choose from. Don’t hesitate to get help and keep your cloud hosting server absolutely secured.