externally hosted application - access to the private network

Posted on 2013-09-24
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-10-07
I am trying to establish (albeit from a layman’s low tech management standpoint – please bare this in mind in your responses) how one of our externally hosted IT applications works. I asked for a diagram of the infrastructure behind the application from the 3rd party, and all I have been told is there is just 1 server in the hosting companies private network. There are appropriate firewall rules between our private network and the 3rd party who host and manage the application.

My question is, is it common for such a setup for an externally hosted application – i.e. firewall rules that allow customer access directly into the private network to access the application, and also just a single server that houses both the application and the database? My view was normally you’d have a DMZ application server that we would access, and that would have appropriate firewalls to the database server in the private network? Which setup is more common? Have you ever come across a hosted app whereby your staff is allowed straight into the private network to access it? Aren’t the application code and the database server normally 2 different computers? I wasn’t sure if this sounded like a mistake in the infrastructure diagram – so wondered how common such a setup was?
Question by:pma111
LVL 39

Accepted Solution

Aaron Tomosky earned 1000 total points
ID: 39519952
Ill answer a few of those questions to get you started:
Computers got powerful so it's pretty normal to have a database and application on the same server.
While a dmz can be setup well, i usually see them open to the wan which is just asking for your server to get hacked.
As far as the hosted application, usually a VPN is used to tie that into your LAN but there are many ways depending on exactly who needs access to what and the specific application is and what hardware firewalls and such you have access to.
LVL 20

Assisted Solution

carlmd earned 1000 total points
ID: 39520564
This setup is far more common then you might think. Sites want to save money and complexity by running the application and database on one server. With current firewalls it is possible to retstrict outside access to just that server on your lan, and the login process would then further restrict them to what they can access and do on that server. As long as the server security is good, then there is really not much of a risk in doing this. Also, as mentioned above, a VPN is another alternative commonly used, but again this typically gives access to the entire LAN, so good firewall rules must be in place to restrict that to only the one server with the application.

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