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WordPress Security in a Cloud Server Environment

For many Internet marketing and small business owners, operating WordPress in a cloud, or virtualized, environment provides several key benefits over the typical shared hosting plan available from most hosting providers. One of the primary benefits is the complete configuration control available with a cloud server. Process control, memory and disk space allocation, and database configuration can be customized to provide the greatest level of service to the WordPress web server and website visitors.

This greater level of configuration control and flexibility comes with a caveat, however, in that having complete control means that the cloud server, MySQL database, Apache web server, and WordPress installation must be secured against Internet threats. Firewall security monitoring in cloud security, access control, anti-spam and anti-virus are all required to properly secure the virtual server.

Fortunately, there are numerous security tools available that greatly enhance the level of system security in a cloud server WordPress deployment. One of these security tools is OSSEC, an Open Source Host-based Intrusion Detection System. OSSEC performs log analysis, file integrity checking, policy monitoring, rootkit detection, real-time alerting and active response to server security threats. OSSEC is supported on most operating systems, but of primary concern to those using WordPress as their CMS platform, both Linux and Windows are supported. Some Key Benefits Compliance Requirements OSSEC helps customers meet specific compliance requirements such as PCI, HIPAA etc., by detecting and alerting on unauthorized file system modifications and malicious behavior. For PCI, it covers file integrity monitoring, log inspection and monitoring, and policy enforcement/checking. Real-time and Configurable Alerts OSSEC allows for the configuration of customized incident reporting, raising the priority of critical incidents over those considered less important to system and web server security. Integration with common services such as SMTP, SMS and syslog allows for a variety of alert methods. If Active Response is configured, the OSSEC system can block an attack immediately and automatically, ensuring attacks are halted when detected. Centralized Management OSSEC provides a centralized management capability that allows multiple OSSEC deployments to be managed from a central OSSEC policy server. This offers a greater level of flexibility and ease of management for owners/operators of multiple cloud server deployments.

The OSSEC platform is extremely robust and dependable, but does require a certain level of systems administration experience to properly install and configure. It is advisable that an experienced Internet security expert be consulted prior to deploying OSSEC to your Linux or Windows cloud server deployment. Using an experienced OSSEC resource will help ease the process of deploying OSSEC and protecting your WordPress cloud server platform.

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