In Part 1 I discussed securing your network perimeter. But as I said in the beginning, IT security is like an onion. Let’s take a look at the next layer of that onion… securing your server environment. Again, this is not meant to be a complete list, but instead a starting point to help you think through your own IT security strategy.
Physically secure your equipment. By physical security I mean making sure your data is secured by securing the devices which store and transmit it. In short, make sure your servers and network equipment aren’t accessible by just anyone. In a best case scenario, the server and network equipment is in a locked rack. Each server has a front bezel which is locked, preventing the removal of hard drives. The room containing the servers and other equipment is also locked and secured from other users. Only a short list of authorized personnel should have any physical access to the server’s room and rack. In larger organizations it is not uncommon for network administrators to never physically touch the servers they administer. In many smaller organizations it is very difficult to physically secure their server from unauthorized access or theft. If your organization doesn’t have this ability, then hosted servers or cloud computing may be a good option.
New hardware for PCs and Servers can help improve your IT security through architecture changes, and feature upgrades. An example of this is some of the new security functionality built right into the new CPUs from Intel and AMD. This helps protect your system from ever getting infected by malware. These days many organizations are replacing PCs every 3 years to help ensure a higher level of security, increase uptime, and end-user productivity.
- Periodically look for old user accounts (should be disabled or deleted)
- Check for outdated Firewall Rules which are no longer needed
- User access & folder level security – Do VPN users only have access to the proper servers? Do AD users have access to folders they shouldn’t?
- Latest service packs and patches – Make sure all servers, server software (SQL, Exchange, etc…), and workstations have the latest service packs and security updates installed. Also check for updates for client software such as Flash player, Acrobat Reader, and Office.
- Check, test, & update anti-virus and anti-malware protection on all workstations and servers.