File server security best practices

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Data is the lifeblood of all organizations. Securing the repositories that store this vital asset is crucial to prevent unwanted exposure, theft, and loss. Admins and data owners should implement the below-listed best practices to strengthen their file server security, meet compliance mandates, and more.

8 best practices for file server security


Back up essential information

Automate the storage of encrypted backups of your most critical information with at least one copy stored outside your network. Conduct periodic tests on the restoration process and verify the integrity of the stored backup data.


Keep your OS and applications up to date

The use of unpatched and outdated software is a weak point that perpetrators could manipulate to gain unwarranted access into your critical file servers. This is why it's crucial to keep software used within your file servers and the server operating system up to date.


Practice PoLP

The principle of least privilege (PoLP) limits unnecessary access to critical data by providing employees with the bare minimum privileges required to carry out their legitimate daily tasks. It also helps maintain data confidentiality, minimize your cyberattack surface, and meet multiple compliance requirements.


Reinforce your firewalls

Restrict internet access to your file servers to reduce attack vectors. Ensure that only the DNS and NTP services from within your network can access the file servers. Use a firewall to monitor both inbound and outbound traffic, scrutinize open ports, and block access requests from unknown and suspicious IP addresses.


Enable quick malware detection

Malware, like ransomware, sets off sudden spikes in file modifications like rename and deletion of files on infiltration. It is vital to employ a quick security incident response tool that can detect attacks like these right at their onset and initiate responses designed to cut off the attack and isolate infected machines for further analysis.


Assess security vulnerabilities

Unearth hidden security vulnerabilities within your file servers like weak authentication methods, overexposed critical data, permission hygiene issues, unprotected data transfers, and more. Use actionable insights from security assessments to identify and eliminate these gaps within your security infrastructure.


Enforce uninterrupted file auditing

Using native tools to keep track of file accesses is a time-consuming and grueling task for even the most experienced admins. Instead, use dedicated third-party file server auditing software for auditing all file modifications, including high-risk actions like rename, permission change, and copy and paste with details on who modified what, when, and from where.


Encrypt data in transit and at rest

Locate and encrypt sensitive personal data stored within your file servers with the help of a data loss prevention solution. In addition, ensure the security of your data during its transmission by enforcing end-to-end encryption that uses Secure Socket Layer certificates.

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