A server crash can be detrimental on its own for a business. The situation is even worse if the server has been hacked or compromised. This means the server is no longer under the control of its rightful owners and is being exploited by a hacker.
There are several potential nightmares this can cause, but let’s start by discussing how a server compromise happens and which practices allow it to take place.
What Causes a Server to be Compromised?
There are two primary ways that a server can be compromised:
- The hacker has guessed or somehow acquired illegally the password of a user or administrator on the server. This could be an email, ftp, or ssh user.
- The hacker has gained access through a security breach, usually through taking advantage of a security hole, or a weakened security structure.
There are many ways to prevent a server from being compromised that companies simply do not give their due diligence in providing for.
Here are some ways companies fail to engage in proper server and network security:
- Usage of Weak Passwords: Using passwords that are easy to guess or compromise through a brute force attack is a big security risk, as is not securing your passwords. Writing passwords down in unsecured locations is a big cause of security breaches.
- Using Unsecure Protocols: When connecting to company services, using unsecure protocols leaves an easy access point for hackers to compromise your data or take down your server.
- Not Maintaining Regular Backups: If a server goes down, often times it will be necessary to restore data from a backup. If backup data is not regularly stored, it will be difficult to recover from the crash. Furthermore, if diligence isn’t maintained when managing the backups, restoring your server could restore a compromised backup.
- Working With Unsecure Third Party Applications: While third party applications may be a useful solution in many cases, working with third party applications can be security hole for your business if you work with applications that are unsecure and/or not constantly updated to resolve exploits. Always ensure when working with third party applications that the software is always updated.
How Do I Know If My Server Has Been Compromised?
It is possible for a server to be compromised for a long time without anyone noticing. While many hackers compromise a system simply to bring down the network, sometimes bringing down the network may be a means of installing viruses, spyware, or other malware into the system to compromise private information for whatever means the hacker may need it. Depending on the security hole that is being exploited, it is possible that the hacker may not need to crash your server at all to take control. This means you may never have any sign of your sever ever being hacked in the first place.
This is why it’s important to have a means of checking your system periodically for malware. There are plenty of free antivirus and antispyware programs out there, but depending on your specific IT environment, paid protection may be better. Consider both the cost of the software you are considering as well as the value of the systems and information you wish to protect. Information compromise can cost your company substantially more than what it would cost to monitor and protect your server in the first place.
Potential Consequences of a Server Compromise
There are several negative outcomes that can arise from having a server compromise take place. First, if your server is compromised not only is your company at risk and any of its employees if their private information is stored on the server, but the same is also true for the personal information of your clients. Security breaches have happened to companies both big and small, and they never mean anything good for the clients who provide business to the company. Not only are the customers put at risk by private information being compromised, but even if the company itself gets out of it with minimal damage as far as proprietary information compromise, it still can take a massive reputation hit from customers no longer wishing to do business with a company that doesn’t adequately protect its servers.
Server compromise has caused the downfall of major companies. Those companies that got away with it and still continued to do successful business still saw huge losses from compromises that were largely avoidable. While it’s impossible to guarantee your server will never be compromised, it’s more often than not that servers are compromised due to an avoidable mistake rather than something that the IT department actively tried to prevent and was unable to do so.
What Do I Do If I’ve Been Hacked?
Obviously the best solution is to be proactive in avoiding being hacked in the first place, but if your systems are already compromised there are options to recover. First, shut down immediately if you don’t know where the breach took place and you don’t have a trained IT professional available to resolve your issue. Next, due the best you can to pinpoint where the breach took place and ensure that you have a way to combat the attack before you bring systems back online. Finally, if you don’t know what to do, contact an IT professional before bringing systems back up. While it may be financially damaging to have systems down, if you continue to run your systems during a compromise you are putting your company and the private information of itself and its clients at risk. It’s just not worth it.
Due to the fact that a server crash is so detrimental to a business, it’s important to ensure that you have a reliable IT team managing your server in the event of a compromise or crash. TVG Consulting is here to assist you in managing your servers efficiently so that you can experience minimal downtime and have the best options available in protecting your servers from compromise. TVG Consulting offers server maintenance services in Los Angeles and surrounding areas. Contact TVG Consulting today to discuss the future of yourself and your business with IT solutions that work.