Whether you have a personal blog, a small website for your startup, or a website for your large business, ensuring your site or blog’s security is extremely important. This makes it crucial to examine what types of security protocols your web hosting service provider implements to safeguard your data and other confidential information. From using virtual security services to safeguard the virtualised networks to using robust security methods to protect the software and hardware in use, ensuring personnel security in terms of proper authorization, administration privileges to servers, etc and much more, hosting service providers take several steps to reduce security risks to the minimum.
If you are wondering why such emphasis is given to web hosting, remember that lack of security can be devastating to your business as it can cause identity theft, data theft, loss of income, or all of these together with a big jolt to your reputation in the market. Thus, it becomes important to know what aspects of security you need to look for when choosing your web hosting provider. We bring you the key areas where the level of security needs to be robust for hosting service providers.
The datacenters of most reputed hosting service providers come equipped with access policies based on authorization, surveillance cameras, biometric locks, etc. Their security employees have to undergo comprehensive background checks and given limited datacenter access based on the nature of tasks they are allotted to perform. Datacenter’s operations and equipment follow standard security protocols. Some service providers may even have a proactive attitude where they assess customer case studies, past practices, and the time dedicated for security research and study, etc. to plan and determine how they can secure their datacenter(s).
In theweb hosting landscape, most cybercrimes today focus on DDoS (Distributed Denial-of-Service) attacks, which are one of the major causes of financial loss. Such attacks can interrupt your email, website, or web applications, thus making you lose a huge chunk of your business and creating havoc with your usual business activities. If you wonder what triggers such attacks, the reasons are varied – from bragging rights, extortion, and making political statements, to destroying or harming competition, etc. Network intrusion and unauthorized network access are other risks that web hosting service providers have to battle with. Implementing a network intrusion detection system, robust firewalls, and DDoS protection systems are some steps that these service providers take to ensure network security.
Most reputed hosting service providers opt for hardware vendors that boast of an almost impeccable track record of offering products with high-security standards in addition to providing quality support.
Implementation of modern tools like host-based intrusion detection systems is also on the rise as they can use host log information and heuristic scanners apart from monitoring system activity to help in spotting changes to the configuration files and system, which may occur due to malicious tampering, accidents, or could be triggered by external intrusions.
Hosting service providers usually use a diverse range of software products – from Operating Systems such as Windows, Linux, BSD, etc. to server software that includes versions and flavors of MySQL, MSSQL, Apache, Resin, IIS, Tomcat, etc. To ensure software security, steps taken may include the following:
- Running periodic security scans via enterprise-grade security software to find out if there are known vulnerabilities for any servers.
- Automatic and timely updates for servers to ensure they always have the most recent security patches installed and that new vulnerability, if any, is taken care of at the earliest.
- Timely application of bug fixes and security patches for server software and operating systems.
- Beta testing of software upgrades that are perceived to belong to the high-risk zone to document their impact analysis and assessing as well as fixing other issues before their live deployment.
The application software used by hosting service providers often has third-party products or components, which can give rise to security vulnerabilities. A method to handle this is conducting comprehensive testing of all elements of such products so that the web hosting service provider gains complete knowledge about their architecture and implementation. This, in turn, would let them have full control over all the variables involved in any specific component or product, thus ensuring top-notch security in terms of all application software.
This is probably the weakest link in a hosting service provider’s security chain as it’s often said that the “human factor” often triggers the biggest and the most serious security threats. After all, hiring a solitary personnel with the wrong attitude or credentials, who has the requisite access to confidential information, can cause more damage than any external attack ever could.
Hosting service providers deal with such risks by recruiting personnel after a thorough background check, and by training them in standard security procedures. Additional steps include giving proper authorization and the necessary administrator privileges, which would expire right after the task requiring them expires.