Server Management Best Practices - Firewall
Mar 25, 2022

Server Management Best Practices - Firewall

Every week at MNX solutions we handle issues from server security and patch management to system recovery and performance tuning. In this blog series, we will review a number of firewall best practices that you can implement today on your server infrastructure.First things first, do you utilize a firewall on your server? If your answer is "no" or you are not sure, this should be one of your top priorities.You have two major choices for a firewall: hardware or software.A quick note on hardware vs. software firewallsHardware firewalls can protect every machine on a local network (on the inside or DMZ area) whereas a host based firewall will typically only protect one server. One major advantage of a hardware firewall is a single point of configuration change to affect all systems behind the firewall.Software firewalls are typically installed on each host. This also means that a simple change, depending on how many machines you are working with, can be a complex task involving changes to each host.Each solution has pros and cons. You will need to defined your requirements to help you decide which solution should be used. Generally a layered approach, of using both a hardware firewall and a software firewall will provide you with the best level of protection. A layered approach may also provide protection in the event of a mis-configuration of the hardware or software firewall rules.At MNX Solutions, we utilize two solutions for software based firewalls: CSF and straight IPTables.CSF uses IPTables at the core, but simplifies the administration through configuration files and integration with control panels. CSF also provides additional advanced functionality such as:

  • UI Integration for cPanel, DirectAdmin and Webmin
  • Alert when end-user scripts sending excessive emails per hour - for identifying spamming scripts
  • Daemon process that checks for login authentication failures
  • Suspicious file reporting - reports potential exploit files in /tmp and similar directories
  • Distributed Login Failure Attack detection
  • And much more..

Basic Firewall RulesBy default, you should deny all connections and allow only required connection. If you are running a web server with SSL and SSH access this would mean a base inbound ruleset of:* Open SSH port for my specific IP addresses* Open port 80 for all* Open port 443 for all* Deny everything else inboundThe main point is to ensure you are using some form of a firewall on your hosts. Contact us today if you need help implementing or managing any aspect of your server.

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