Servers do much more these days than simple file and printer sharing. Your business computing needs can be broken down into services. These services include file and print sharing, but also may be more specialized like database application servers, or servers dedicated to a major software you use to run your business. We can help you determine what type of server you need, build, implement, and maintain.
The “Guard Dog Security Server” is a customized stand alone server, dedicated to analyzing all your network traffic, and actively responding to security threats. Security threats are quickly shut down by Guard Dog sending firewall commands to a Tomato / DD-WRT router to immediately cut off the threat.
The server itself is based on Security Onion, a well known Open Source NSM “Network Security Monitoring” program, that runs on a customized Linux operating system. We customized Security Onion by adding some of our own programming that draws the latest threat information from various sources and effectively creates an Active Intrusion Protection System.
Good network security has several layers of protection. The first level of protection is at the firewall. The firewall, such as in our Tomato Routers, filters out a lot of unwanted traffic. We developed an America Only Internet feature that will filter out all but American (or whatever list of countries you choose) Internet IP addresses. A well set up firewall is a good first layer of network security. The firewall basically determines with whom your network is willing to communicate.
The Guard Dog Server adds another layer of protection to your overall network security. A copy of all the traffic passing through your router is sent to Security Onion. Security Onion analyzes that traffic to ultimately decide whether there is a threat or not. If a threat is detected, Security Onion will generate an alert which, using some of our own custom programming, results in a rule being sent to the firewall on the Tomato Router. The rule which is generated by the alert basically says “Drop all traffic for the offending IP address and deny further communication.” The rule effectively shuts down hackers trying to break into your network before they can do any damage.
Guard Dog monitors both incoming and outgoing traffic. If, for example, one of your computers on the network is infected with a Malware program, Guard Dog will detect that it is trying to open up suspicious connections to outside servers. These suspicious connections may be to receive further instructions or downloads. Like a real life guard dog, Guard Dog is always looking for an intruder to chew on!
Security Onion consists of an integrated set of Open Source programs that, when used by someone with the right forensic skills, can answer a lot of questions about what an infected computer is trying to do, what information it is trying to steal, and who it is trying to send it to. Security Onion keeps a history of all your router traffic for a week or two. This stored traffic can recreate suspicious activity for analysis. Security Onion is great at detecting and analyzing threats and the damage they do. Our approach is to shut down threats before any damage can be done.
Once set up, Guard Dog Server can be maintained and monitored remotely by our staff. Our servers send Guard Dog daily updates so it will know about the latest security threats.
The Guard Dog Server runs on the combination of a Server and Tomato Router. The cost is around $3000 for a small office with a dozen or so users. For medium sized offices or heavy Internet traffic, we have a more powerful Server at a cost of $5,000, which includes installation.
With our experience setting up hundreds of servers over the years, we can navigate the many choices and arrive at a practical solution. Servers can be expensive and most businesses cannot afford to buy the wrong equipment. Servers require experienced professionals to design and set up, otherwise they can lead to pure misery for all involved. Since we specialize in small and medium sized business computing, we will have a good idea of what server is right for your business, based on our experience working with other companies like yours.
We have experience setting up both Windows and Linux Servers. There are advantages and disadvantages to both and they each have their own place in your computing environment. We view a server as a tool which is used to perform a particular function or functions, usually serving as a platform to run a specific program like an accounting system, or practice management system. Software companies like to sell their own servers to customers who do not have any IT Support, but these servers are generally overpriced and under powered. Have them quote you a price and we will show you what we can do for the same money and will exceed their requirements. In other words, with us, you get more bang for the buck!
Recent versions of Windows Server include Windows Server 2008, and the newer Windows Server 2012. Your major software package may require one of these Windows Server Operating Systems. Windows Server Operating Systems require licenses from Microsoft, or something they call CAL's (Client Access Licenses). The cost and number of CAL's you need to buy is based on things like the number of users who will be using the server. Different features within the Windows Server Operating System can be turned on or off, and often require their own CAL's. Just to illustrate the complexity of Microsoft Licensing, check out the following information from Microsoft Licensing CAL's. If that information does not give you a headache, you can then look at the pricing involved and start shopping! These are all waters that we have navigated and are familiar with, based on servers we have installed. We will save you a great deal of time and money by simply showing you what you need to buy and prevent you from making costly mistakes. The major software application that you need may require that your server runs Microsoft Windows Server.
Server Security, especially for servers accessible through the Internet must have the proper security to keep them from getting hacked. We take server security very seriously because we realize just how dangerous the world is. It is a given fact that there will be attempts to hack into your server every hour of every day. This is just the nature of the Internet and a properly setup and secure server will be prepared and protected from such attacks. We utilize firewall security, user and file security, as well as intrusion detection to keep your servers secure. Servers, and the software they run, must be constantly maintained and updated to protect against the latest security threat. Server Security is something that should be set up and maintained by competent professionals like us. We can set up your server and monitor and maintain it remotely keeping an ever watchful eye for problems.
We have experience setting up both Windows and Linux servers and maintaining them in production environments. We have solutions for all the different types of servers commonly used in small and medium sized businesses. We know what works and have the ability to duplicate our successes and make them work in your computing environment.
We have experience building and maintaining reliable networks. We understand that nothing is more critical to the operation of your business so we do not compromise on quality. When we are finished, you can concentrate on running your business rather than fighting computer and network problems.