Managing your own server is an important responsibility.
Below is a list of 10 best practices to be a successful systems administrator.
Physically secure your server
No matter how good your passwords are, if you do not physically secure your server, it is vulnerable to intrusion. Remember, you are responsible for any damage caused to BSU network resources originating from your server.
Secure your passwords
The safest place for your password is in your head NOT on a post-it under your keyboard. A lot of damage can be done, not only to your server, but also to the BSU network. You are responsible for the security of your server-even if it is "hacked." Don’t forget to pick a good password.
Passwords are important-have many
Make sure you secure your server with a boot password, a bios password, and an OS password.
Be sure to give users of your server only the access they need and make sure they choose good passwords for their accounts. Passwords should be at least 6 characters and contain at least one number.
Know your OS
Always check the manufacturer's website for your operating system to be sure you aren't missing important security patches or fixes. If your OS manufacturer offers automatic update, we recommend that you turn it on.
Make sure you keep your antivirus program up to date to ensure it does not become infected.
Close the doors
Ports on a server allow people to access to your server's resources. However, they can also represent a vulnerability if they are open and do not need to be open for the services which are running on your server. Be sure to close all inbound and outbound ports that you aren't using.
Some common ports include
- 80 - Web
- 25 - SMTP (mail)
- 24 - telnet
- 21 - FTP
The process for closing ports depends on your operating system. Please refer to your user manual for instructions.
Join some mailing lists
Email lists are an excellent way to stay ahead of the curve and get technical tips. We recommend you join a mailing list for your operating system as well as your AV announcement list if they have one. Educause is an amazing resource and has a mailing list for everything! Check out Educause listserv
Keep the phone number for tech support handy
Post the number for tech support in an easily accessible place. Do not store it on your server.
Keep a regular backup schedule of your data and your OS configuration. This will save time later if anything happens to the server, and you need to rebuild.
Remember, managing your own server is a lot of work. But if you adhere to these 10 best practices, you can minimize your exposure to risk.