As part of our Web Hosting Toolkit, our Liquid Web IP Checker makes it easier than ever to identify IT issues. IP addresses are the unique numbers assigned to every computer that connects to the Internet. When troubleshooting connectivity issues, checking your computer’s IP address is the first step in identifying possible network issues. Correctly identifying your public IP address allows you (and our Support technicians) to find information on the server and it’s log files to pinpoint possible issues between your computer and server.
Finding Your Public IP Address
As the first piece of information in the connection between your local workstation and server, your Public IP address is critical to the information gathering process. Fortunately, you don’t need to navigate complex networking configurations on your computer to find the public IP address; you need to ask an external server what IP identifies with your connection. You can do this by using Liquid Web’s Internet Web Hosting Toolkit. Go to the toolkit website and click on IP Checker. You’ll immediately be shown the public IP address that your computer is reporting.
You can also get additional information about how your computer is identifying itself (including location, operating system, and browser details) by clicking on the link in the extra information area. This information can help identify website compatibility issues based on various user settings.
How Do I Know If My IP Is Public or Private?
Most computers that are attached to a network have both a Public and a Private IP address. The IP address assigned to your computer by your router or wireless modem is generally a Private IP and typically is in one of two “reserved” ranges: either 10.x.x.x or 192.x.x.x. These Private IP ranges allow all of the devices in your local network to communicate with each other. When connecting with devices outside of your local network, your router will provide a Public IP address to outgoing traffic (often all of the devices inside your network will “share” the same Public IP address). The Public IP address allows computers across the Internet to identify each other and communicate effectively. To troubleshoot networking issues, we’ll need to find the Public IP address that your computer is broadcasting to the Internet. With the Public IP you can search through the firewall and server logs to find connection attempts and identify possible issues that may be preventing access.
How Do I Know If MY IP Address Is Blocked?
Most servers have software that works to detect and prevent possible malicious activity. Sometimes this software is part of the firewall or another application, but the result is the same: computers that fail to satisfy this software will be blocked from accessing the server. These blocks can occur due to repeated failed login attempts or even by opening too many connections at the same time (this often happens when transferring a large amount of data via FTP).
Security software typically blocks IPs by an escalating scale. That is, an offending IP address will be blocked for a short amount of time on the first offense, but the blocks will increase in length as the behavior continues until the IP address is permanently barred. An incorrect password saved in an FTP client can result in a permanent block in a short amount of time. If you suspect your server is blocking your IP, you may be able to remove the block automatically. For more information on unblocking your IP, see Unblocking Your IP Address.
Now that you’ve got your Public IP address, you can check your server logs for failed connection attempts or other errors that may indicate why you are having trouble connecting. Or you can share that information with one of Liquid Web’s Most Helpful Humans in Hosting and they can help resolve whatever connectivity issues you are experiencing.
To learn more about the tools Liquidweb offers, submit a ticket with us via our firstname.lastname@example.org email, give us a call at 800-580-4985 or, open a chat with us to speak to one of our skilled Level 3 Support Admins today!
In this guide, we outline the essential requirements for HIPAA compliant servers and how Liquid Web helps fulfill these necessities.
What is HIPAA Compliance?
HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, was passed by Congress to protect sensitive user information related to health insurance. This act helps to reduce health care fraud and mandates a standard for handling confidential healthcare information for consumers and businesses.
HIPAA compliance protects this sensitive information and specifies proper guidelines and standards for handling health insurance data. HIPAA also establishes rules for handling, administering, and maintaining electronic servers as well as the hosting of this Protected Health Information. Read more here.
Key Terms and Important Information:
HIPAA – Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996
PHI – Protected Health Information
Access Control – To limit who can log in or access sensitive PHI data. Access control helps provide accountability for authorized usage and access to servers with confidential information. HIPAA requires that all users are uniquely identifiable and that the server hosting PHI data is only accessible to specifically authorized users and entities.
Audit Control – To log and record hardware, software and procedural work done to maintain and repair HIPAA compliant servers and data centers. HIPAA requires accurate and uniquely accountable logs for the type of work performed, what was accessed, and by whom. This notation is closely related to access control by limiting maintenance to authorized and uniquely identifiable persons or entities, but also refers explicitly to logging any maintenance of physical hardware or server software.
Facility Access Control – To limit physical access to the data center from unauthorized or unaccountable persons. This control makes sure that only designated workers have access to physical servers containing PHI. Liquid Web’s data centers are HIPAA compliant and properly limit access to all servers.
Firewalls and User Identification
To be HIPAA compliant, you must have firewalls in place. Most of the time, compliant hosting will implement hardware, software, and application level firewalls to protect the server from unauthorized users. This security applies to Access Control as well as Transmission Security, which protects PHI from unauthorized access.
HIPAA regulations state the firewalls must be system-wide. The firewall implementations are part of the requirements for limiting access to personal information stored on the server. Firewalls that are properly setup will limit or prevent accessibility from anyone who should not have access, often using explicit whitelists and blacklists. This setup prevents unauthorized employees, clients, or hackers logging into servers with sensitive data.
To be allowed through the firewall your users must have a uniquely identifiable username or identification that has been explicitly allowed access permission. At Liquid Web, our networking team is at hand to secure your server with hardware firewalls, while our support team is ready to protect sensitive PHI data with software firewalls.
Encrypted VPN (Virtual Private Network)
HIPAA compliance requires that remote access to the server through an encrypted VPN tunnel. This VPN protects data entering into the tunnel with an encrypted session that lasts only as long as the session exists. Work done between the remote workstation and the server is protected from interception via this encryption. At Liquid Web, our VPN services are automatically encrypted in order to protect your data.
Password management is an essential part of HIPAA compliance. Safeguarding passwords and isolating them to identifiable users is integral to the protection of sensitive data. Using multi-factor authentication is highly recommended for this process.
Multi-Factor Authentication forces users logging into the secured server system to use both a password and another form of authentication, such as a mobile device, verifying their identity for granting intended access. Authenticating makes it much more difficult for hackers and unauthorized users to use stolen or brute force-acquired login credentials to access the server, as the user will have to do a secondary verification from a device that is unique to them.
Many companies utilize Google Authenticator which allows your users to have a phone app to use as their secondary verification method. Multi-Factor Authentication falls under Access Control.
Private Hosting and Physical Safeguarding
If you want to be HIPAA compliant, your server cannot be on shared hosting. You must have a server that cannot be accessed by any other business or entities, which means it needs to be private or dedicated to your business. This isolated includes requiring a private IP address that is not used by another entity.
By running on shared hosting, you are breaking HIPAA compliance by allowing non-authorized users access to the server. Hosting with Liquid Web gives you your own private, dedicated server strictly used by your business.
HIPAA requirements for limiting user access and having proper authentication. The server itself must also exist within a HIPAA compliant data center. Liquid Web has a high-security, HIPAA compliant data center that all of our clients are hosted within, falling under Facility Access Control.
An SSL certificate must protect any part of your website where sensitive information can be accessed. An SSL provides end-to-end encryption for the accessed data and logins used, to further protect access to the server. HIPAA defines PHI as Protected Health Information and anywhere that a user can access PHI must be protected with SSL.
For more information about SSL and how it works, click here.
Business Associate Agreement (BAA)
A BAA is necessary for HIPAA compliant hosting as it designates the role of the hosting company and defines responsibility for different parts of HIPAA compliance. It does not resolve your business of its HIPAA related duties, but it represents the roles that your business and the hosting company partake.
This Business Associate Agreement allows a hosting company the necessary access to servers to maintain them, while still preventing any other businesses’ unauthorized access to Protected Health Information.
HIPAA compliance requires that all Protected Health Information must have an exact backup ready for restoration. These backups must also be located offsite and not on your server for recovery in the event of disaster or server malfunction. At Liquid Web we have two solutions for this, Guardian and DPM Backups.
By having an offsite backup, you are protecting the Protected Health Information and ensuring that no data loss will occur on restoration. Fully restoration is often achieved with continuous backups notating any changes of information on the server.
To be HIPAA compliant, the appropriate methods are necessary for getting rid of hardware. This disposal usually requires that the data be wiped entirely and destroyed in a manner that will not allow for restoration.
Data destruction is typically peer-reviewed and documented to state precisely the method of destruction. This process is to prevent any future use of the hardware from being able to recover sensitive PHI data. Often called Integrity Control it ensures that data is properly altered or destroyed.
Records and Logging
All logins and maintenance must be fully documented. Any repairs on the physical servers must be logged, especially those related to the security of the server and who logs in to servers for software maintenance and reviews and applies to Audit Control.
At Liquid Web, all of our work is logged and appropriately recorded with HIPAA compliant standards.
HIPAA Compliant Hosting in Review
HIPAA compliance is an integral part of your business. While it can be confusing, our technicians at Liquid Web can ensure you that your Protected Health Information is appropriately handled and follows HIPAA compliant standards. While we have only reviewed a portion of the requirements of HIPAA compliance, feel free to reach out to our HIPAA Specialists for more information about how we handle our data centers and servers.
If you would like to speak with a HIPAA Specialist, start here.