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Basics Of Effective Server Management

Server infrastructure helps organizations in managing most of their IT functions which includes data storage, website hosting, emails, and software applications. Although a number of organizations have shifted to cloud servers, some organizations still have in-house servers or hybrid server infrastructure. In order to ensure efficiency of in-house and hybrid server infrastructures, organizations need to undertake effective server management.

Goals Of Server Management

An effective server management strategy should focus on three primary goals:

  • Work towards minimizing or eliminating server slowdowns and downtime.
  • Building secure server environment.
  • Ensuring that the server continues to meet the needs of the organization as it grows.

Server Management Basics

Hardware Management: This is the first step towards server management. Some important hardware elements that need continuous monitoring are CPU (Central Processing Unit), RAM (Random Access Memory), and Hard Drive. Other hardware management elements include CPU temperature and operating environment. An important point of consideration while choosing server hardware is to keep in mind the required server specifications. Make sure to choose excess storage and processing capacity as it would allow easy up-scaling of server, when required.

Software Management: In order to ensure effective software management, it is important to understand the software dependencies in the server infrastructure. A suggested approach is to employ basic best practices along with application management. The software, firmware and operating systems should be regularly updated for performance and security. Outdated versions may lead to poor performance and also create vulnerabilities that may be exploited by cyber criminals to infect organization’s network and server. Software that are no longer used should also be removed.

Security: Maintaining secure network is an important component of server management. The security policies may vary depending upon industry type and individual organization’s needs. However, some common server security solutions include-

  • Installing and regularly updating antivirus software.
  • Enable firewall
  • Use access control software such as Kisi, ISONAS, ADT, NetMotion Mobility, etc.
  • Employ data encryption
  • Implement SIEM tools such as SolarWinds Security Event Manager, Micro Focus ArcSight ESM, Splunk Enterprise Security, IBM QRadar, etc.
  • Use security logging best practices

Backups: The last step towards effective server management is to take regular backups. Make sure to employ server backup software among other backup solutions. Some examples of popular server backup software are V2 Cloud, Unitrends, Veeam, GoodSync, BackupVault, etc.

We, at Centex Technologies, help businesses in ensuring effective server management by employing customized solutions. For more information, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

Differentiating Between IT Security & Cybersecurity

IT security and cybersecurity are often mistaken to be the same. However, in reality both these terms define different concepts. Both these segments have many overlapping areas but there are certain differences that need to be understood.

IT security or Information Technology security includes protocols, processes and tools to implement certain measures in order to secure and protect information/ organization’s data by using different technologies. The information to be protected includes both digital and physical (paper form) data.

Cybersecurity may be considered as a subset of Information security. It includes systems and processes used as precautionary measures to safeguard an organization against crime involving Internet; for example, protection against unauthorized access to computer systems and data connected to Internet. Cybersecurity is typically focused on protecting electronic data.

Let us take a look at some basic points that can be used to differentiate between IT security and Cybersecurity:

  • Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting an organization’s data, services and applications from individuals or entities outside the resource on the Internet, whereas IT security is about protecting critical information from unauthorized user access and data modification or removal in order to ensure uninterrupted services.
  • Cybersecurity is focused on building the ability to protect an organization’s cyber space from attacks. On the contrary, IT security deals with protection from any form of threat, irrespective of the environment.
  • Cybersecurity tools work against cybercrimes and cyber frauds like phishing attacks, data breach, cyber bullying, etc. IT security helps an organization strive against unauthorized access, disclosure and disruption which may be cyber or physical.
  • Cybersecurity professionals deal with advanced persistent threats. The process involves protection of company logins, profiles, server resources, applications, databases etc. Information or IT security is the basis of data security. IT security professionals prioritize resources before dealing with the threats.

Centex Technologies provides cybersecurity and IT security solutions to enterprises. For more information, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

Pillars Of Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is an important aspect for every organization. The core of Cybersecurity is to protect information systems that store, process and transmit organizational data to different nodes of a network or server.

Every Cybersecurity strategy is based on five key tenets:

  • Confidentiality: It is a data oriented attribute. Confidentiality can be defined as protection of the information from disclosure to unauthorized individuals, systems or entities. An example of confidentiality breach includes the theft of user data such as credit card details from retail outlets. This data is supposed to be confidential but once stolen by the cyber criminals, the card details are sold on dark web and is made public.
  • Integrity: Integrity is also data oriented attribute of Cybersecurity. It means protecting the information, systems, and services of an organization from unauthorized modification or destruction. The integrity of an organization’s system is violated in cyber-attacks which may include instances where cyber criminals hack the system and make changes to business servers and applications.
  • Availability: This tenet is service oriented. Availability defines timely and reliable access to data, information and services by authorized users. A simple example of threat to “availability” is a Denial of Service (DoS) attack. The cyber criminals send multiple requests to organization’s server causing it to slow down or altogether shut down. This prevents users from gaining access to information or services.
  • Non-Repudiation: Non-repudiation is entity oriented pillar of Cybersecurity. It refers to the ability to correlate a recorded action with originating entity with high certainty and efficiency. Example of non-repudiation violations includes unauthorized manipulation of financial transaction logs making it impossible to track if a financial purchase or stock trade was actually performed by the company.
  • Authentication: Authentication is also entity oriented attribute. It defines the ability of a Cybersecurity system to verify the identity of an individual or entity trying to access data, information or systems in a network. An example of authentication violation is where the authentication policies fail to differentiate between authorized and non-authorized users and cyber criminals may gain access to organization’s systems.

Centex Technologies offers Cybersecurity solutions that are unique to an organization’s infrastructure. To know more, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

Protecting Your Computer Network: Tips To Configure Firewall

Firewall is a critical part of first line of defense against online attacks. This makes configuring firewall an important step for ensuring network security. Breaking down the process of firewall configuration into simpler steps can make the process more manageable.

Following are some crucial steps for firewall configuration irrespective of the firewall platform:

Ensure Firewall Is Secure: Securing firewall is the first step towards configuration and management of firewall. So, make sure to –

  • Disable simple network management protocol (SNMP)
  • Rename, disable or delete any default user account and modify default passwords.
  • Establish additional administrator accounts based on responsibilities, specifically if firewall will be managed by multiple administrators.

Create Firewall Zones & Corresponding IP Addresses: The more zones you establish, the higher will be network security. Before proceeding to defend valuable assets, it is first important to identify these assets and then plan out network structure to position networks based on functionality and data sensitivity. Now design a secure structure and create equivalent IP address structure. The next step is to architect firewall zones and allocate them to firewall interfaces.

Configure Access Control Lists (ACLs): After firewall zones have been created and allocated to firewall interfaces, the next step is to determine the traffic that will flow in and out of each zone. This is facilitated by Access Control Lists. Use both outbound & inbound ACLs to each interface and sub-interface on the network firewall.

Configure Other Firewall Services To Required Standards: Depending upon the chosen firewall platform and its abilities such as Intrusion Prevention System, Network Time Protocol, DHCP, etc, configure relevant firewall services and disable additional services.

Conduct Network Firewall Configuration Tests: Test the firewall configuration to testing and verify that the firewall is working as expected. Include both penetration testing and vulnerability scanning to test firewall configuration.

Constant Firewall Management: After completing firewall configuration, ensure secure firewall management. Take following steps to effectively manage firewall –

  • Perform Vulnerability Scans
  • Monitor Logs
  • Regularly Review Firewall Rules
  • Update Firmware
  • Document Progress

In addition to these crucial steps, implement following additional tips for firewall configuration:

  • Fulfill standard regulatory mandates
  • Frequently change configuration settings
  • Set default setting to block all traffic and monitor user access
  • Establish & use secure connection only

For more information on tips on how to protect your computer network from cyber-attacks, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

Understanding Network Security Threats

What Is A Network Security Attack?

A network security attack is an action or attempt aimed at gaining unauthorized access to an organization’s network. The objective of these attacks is to steal data or perform other malicious activity. Network attacks can be classified into two main types:

  • Passive Attack: In this type of attacks, attackers gain access to the organization’s network and monitor or steal data but without making any change to the data.
  • Active Attack: In an active attack, attackers not only gain unauthorized access to the data but also modify data by deleting, encrypting, or otherwise harming it.

The main focus of network security attackers is to bypass peripheral security of an organization and gain access to internal systems. But in some cases, attackers may combine other types of attacks such as endpoint compromise, malware induction, etc.

What Are Common Network Security Threats?

The types of network security threats are defined by the threat vectors used by the network security attackers to penetrate the network:

  • Unauthorized Access: The attackers gain access to the network without receiving legitimate permission. Some causes of unauthorized access are weak passwords, insufficient protection against social engineering, compromised accounts, and insider threats.
  • Distributed Denial of Service Attacks: Attacks build a network of bots and compromised devices to direct false traffic at the organization’s network or server. This overwhelms the server resulting in interruption of security layers.
  • Man In The Middle Attack: It involves interception of traffic between organization’s network and external sites. If the communication is insecure, attackers can circumvent the security and steal the data being transmitted.
  • Code & SQL Injection Attacks: Many websites accept user inputs through forms but do not sanitize them. Attackers fill out these forms or make an API call, passing malicious code instead of expected data values. Once the code is executed, it allows attackers to compromise the network.

What Are The Best Practices To Stay Protected Against Network Security Threats?

Following are some best practices to stay protected against network security threats:

  • Segregate the organization’s network
  • Regulate internet access via proxy server
  • Place security devices correctly
  • Use network address translation
  • Monitor network traffic
  • Use deception technology

For more information on things to know about network security threats, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.

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