TopHosts.Com spoke to two mega industry players to find out how they view the current state of Web hosting security, and what weapons they hold to combat the delivery of malicious code, spyware and denial of service (DoS) attacks.
Bill Warburton, director of product management for EarthLink Business Solutions, says the job of all Web hosting companies should be to keep pace with hackers and, if possible, to stay one step ahead. While security threats and hacking methods grow in complexity, defense technology and expertise are making strides on the providers’ side as well.
“Security problems are spiraling but not out of our control. The hackers are getting better but so is the defense…” Warburton said. “We have experts who’ve been around since the Internet began, and we’re confident our partnerships and proprietary methods can continue to keep hackers at bay.”
Director of Product Management for The Planet, Urvish Vashi, also believes the key to ensuring protection comes from having the right kind of people on your side. The Planet utilizes a 12 person devoted security team which provides 24/7 security-response coverage.
“Our dedicated security team designs our security architecture… and helps us articulate the most effective security practices,” Vashi said. “The security team is an investment by The Planet to make sure we’re staying ahead of the emerging threat landscape.”
One of the single biggest security risks facing Web hosts are denial of service (DoS) attacks – hacker assaults designed to shut down or overwhelm servers through unwanted or malicious messages.
To combat DoS, hosting providers rely on crucial external partnerships with outside companies to protect networks and servers. Warburton highlighted EarthLink’s partnership with Citrix Systems, which provides load-balancing equipment for servers, to defend against DoS. Other associations with Symantec and Brightmail, for anti-virus and spam blocking, have also been significant he said.
The Planet’s VP of Technology, Will Charnock, points to their deployment of Arbor Networks’ Peakflow analysis technology. This early warning system helps them to quickly detect any network anomalies allowing their team to act as fast as possible. Charnock also noted the significance of working with Cisco and Check Point firewalls.
Vashi of The Planet also noted that ensuring the security of hosting services goes beyond just the pre-packaged plans offered to customers. Clients have the right to want even more security, and providers need to be able to accommodate those extra needs. “Meeting the security needs of customers comes from packaging the right level of security in our core infrastructure, as well as in our add-on services like our managed firewall services.”
Among their extra layers of protection, The Planet offers a managed hardware firewall service for customers, as an add-on to hosting plans. For the more complex business solutions, clients can also make use of The Planet’s dedicated account representatives, which work with customers to define special security needs.
For small businesses customers, the biggest concern will always revolve around the security of financially sensitive data and online transactions. Warburton of EarthLink says eCommerce concerns are the most typical among customers and that’s why they matter most. Both EarthLink and The Planet offer a range of digital certificates from GeoTrust, and various CISP/PCI compliant eCommerce packages as well.
But eCommerce security ultimately starts with the hosting provider itself. Above all things, the company you go with should maintain a solid track record and a strong market presence. A long-standing, successful reputation is usually a good reflection of a company’s capabilities in security.