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Lesson 4. Setting Up Gateway Services > Protecting Your Network

Protecting Your Network

Providing secure services in today's environment can be a challenging proposition. Here are some of the issues facing network administrators:

  • Access to services from outside the local network must be limited or controlled.

  • Remote clients need access to internal network resources via the Internet.

  • Internal clients need to share a single external Internet address.

Mac OS X Server provides solutions to each of these challenges. Using the tools available, administrators can customize the security of the services they provide.

For example, attackers can sniff network traffic and possibly obtain your email address and password. Or they can grab information and not allow it to go to the proper destination until they have modified it to suit their needs. Or possibly they knock on a few of the over 65,530 ports on your computer, looking for a way inside. These methods of exploitation and intrusion must be dealt with before they happen.

Depending on the type of attack you are trying to prevent or level of security service you want to have, you can implement specific combinations of services:

  • Firewalls give you control over the types of data that can enter or leave the network.

  • VPN allows trusted users to access your network from outside the firewall.

  • NAT provides a range of IP addresses internally, with only one externally accessible address.

When combined, these services often make a powerful team against the potential threats to your Mac OS X server and your network that exist on the Internet today. While each of these can seem very complicated to set up, they can be implemented quite easily and still retain a high level of security. If further configuration is needed, all three of these services can be expanded, customized, and adapted to fit any need.

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