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Which is more secure: a remote, managed server with a Cisco Firewall or a small office network?

Posted on 2009-05-11
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06
Hello,

Were starting to wrestle with a number of decisions about how to best protect our small (3-person) office data.

What I'd like to do is get a handle on the relative level of security that might be afforded by using a firewall-protected, dedicated, 3rd-party-managed server located in a Tier II SAS 70 data center compared to a typical small in-house network (please).

The managed server would be configured with a Cisco firewall and a package of security services would be subscribed to in order to keep the firewall up-to-date.  (I have no interest/ability to manage a server or firewall.)  

We would access this server via a VPN connection configured with the data centers assistance. The server would be used as storage for all of our office files, work product, etc., but it would not be used to host any actual software applications.

What Im wondering is: How much more (or less) secure a remote, firewall-protected server might be when compared to an in-house network consisting of a router, several PCs, a network hard drive and a Norton Internet Security suite (software firewall and anti-virus)?

Part of what is motivating this is that its getting to be a major PITA to have to sync files before (and after) being out of the office.  Plus, a growing level of angst over my doing (or not doing) something that might allow our current network to get hacked.  

Costs of the managed server (within reason) are not a factor in any of the above.

Many thanks!
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Question by:blockmental
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marine7275 earned 250 total points
ID: 24360455
Both of your solutions are relative to who is hosting your managed network and who sets your in house network up.

Being only 3 users- I would suggest you go ahead and do the managed solution if its with a reputable hosting company. The good thing about this is, if you get hacked, you can hold them responsible. Most hosting companies follow guidelines to keep your data safe. Cloud Computing is the way of the future and prices are becoming more affordable than they used to be a few years ago. Other benefits include: vitually unlimited bandwidth for host apps, no hardware or software to maintain, and a knowledgeble satff for support issues as they arise. You can let the pros worry about security, DR Headaches, administration, etc so you can worry about yor business.

However, doing a small network with an SBS Server, Watchguard Firewall, AV software is also a good solution if you prefer to keep apps in house. If you have the time, access to the technical expertise, and willingness to keep your network up to date, this is also a good solution. I believe most clients have more worries when they host themselves though.

Just my 2 cents....
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Author Closing Comment

by:blockmental
ID: 31580378
Thanks marine7275,

It's not that I'm lazy, it's just that I REALLY dislike dealing with this stuff and "getting smart" on everything that would be needed to "properly" manage an in-house server would be a lost cause from the get-go.  

Your post confirms what I already suspected, but hearing it from someone that appears knowledgeable about this sort of stuff is most appreciated!
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