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HI all! I am looking for some information to justify a Linux server over a Windows server for s small business. I have already started to make a great argument ...
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  1. #1
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    Linux vs. Windows as a Business Server


    HI all! I am looking for some information to justify a Linux server over a Windows server for s small business. I have already started to make a great argument for Linux, even though I'm new to it! But our service contract on our server hardware is going to expire soon, so I wanted to gather all of the infomation I can in my defense.

    Here are things I know I will hear:
    What about anti-virus software [for emails]? We pay monthly for Norton right now.
    What about interfacing windows boxes with the server - won't this be a problem?
    What about security, being forced to keep ports open for mail and web services, isn't this a potential serious problem? (I've covered that one pretty good myself, but maybe someone out there knows more )
    What about being hacked? Is this a serious threat?

    I'm sure theres going to be more - but I want to go in with some ammo - even though I can answer several of the above questions, it never hurts to have the most information I can get.

    Thanks for your time!

  2. #2
    Linux Guru kkubasik's Avatar
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    simply put, all your security related questions YOU WERE RUNNING WINDOWS! ok, now that we have that on the table, yes, certain ports will be open for e-mail and such, but thats the same one windows...a server HAS to have ports open to communicate. Virus software, you really dont need it, but there is alot of opensource virus software, also, you can checkout the link at the bottom of the page (banner). Hackers, you had much more to fear with windows. A well configured and managed linux box with good passwords, while it is not imprgniable (nothing is, unless its not connected to a network) unlesss you have some top secret gonverment infor and 64674657546546 monies that can be downloaded, no one proficent enough or determined enought is gonna bother. Finaly windows interfacing. what will you be using this for? fileserver? I do that at home, samba works just fine, mail? pop3 and imap and smtp are standards, no compatiability issues there, obviously web is no trouble (over 1/3 of the web runs some form of apache). In conclusion, security is always a threat, but linux is roughly akin to defending a castle and windows a wooden fort, both are difficul, require vigilance, and both can be done. But in the end, your going to find linux easier.
    Avoid the Gates of Hell. Use Linux
    A Penny for your Thoughts

    Formerly Known as qub333

  3. #3
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    OK. The current server performs the following:
    Runs an Exchange server (managing email by d/l'ing it from a pop account, very slow compared to running your own mail server!)

    Serves as a fileserver, granting users permission to certain directories based on their windows login ID.

    Runs Symantec A.V. that controls the client anti-virus software and keeps them all updated. In addition it scans all incomming and outgoing messages for virus'. We DO need an anti-virus software that will scan attachments in emails.

    Performs backups of clients specified in a configuration file and itself nightly.

    Do not have, but would run with new server:

    Anti-Spam software

    Web Server

    SQL - either MySQL or progressive SQL

    Our own mail server (instead of having a pop account somewhere)

    Possibly some sort of firewall - currently have a sonic-wall hardware firewall and are out of user licenses. (Company may prefer to stay with a hardware firewall though)

    Possibly serve as a DHCP server.

    Everyone gang together to help me make my argument! The wife of the president of our company is very leary about security - and for some reason has it in her head that Linux is not secure. I try to argue my point all day, but get noplace! Any ideas on an explanation that may suffice for her? If I can convice her, I can convince anyone!

  4. #4
    Linux Guru kkubasik's Avatar
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    firewall, easy said, easy done, there are several firewall programs in linux
    ---
    mailserver, great idea, i do it at work, make sure you have it up and running before you start using it, but its very handy as interoffice e-mails (and those fools that think e-mail stands for ftp) w/ large attachments are a breeze as its all on a lan.
    ---
    checkout the banner for virus scan software, there is more outhere, and im sure that someone here will know somemore about it, i personly use client scanning,
    ---
    backups are simply, write a script and throw it in a cron program (i use dixie-cron) and you can set a time for it to execute every day.
    --
    anti-spam, there are several programs, i dont run one, again i use client side for some of this.
    --
    Linux is webserving with mySQL it the most common implementation of linux and of apache and of mySQL.
    ---
    linux will server as a dhcp, requires little to no resources, i had a problem with my network when i first installe vsftpd, somewhere in there, i had gotten a small silent dhcp client that configured and ran perfectly (except i had 2 dhcp servers running.....wow that was confusing)
    ---
    For security, go out and look at the book "HAcking Exposed" I dont have the authors name, but its a big red book, and it explains network security holes. it has both a windows chapter and a unix/linux chapter (2 os's) the windows chapter is 250 some pages, the linux, a mere 70 some.... Simply put, a linux system runs less unessicary processes, so there are less loopholes. Also since the code is opensoure, if there is a problem with it, it tends to be resolved quicky. there are rarely to never the backdoors in opensource programs that closed source ones might have and if there is one, unlike a cs where it might be rampant in the underground cracker wor;d for weeks before a fix is released, any problems w/ os are generaly resolved soon as everyone knows about them. ALso, since you can see the source, you can see any problems with it, and they are resolved by those hackers/gurus that read the code and make sure that it is good. if your wife is REALLY security anal, the NSA has never approved windows as a secure os, guess what they run, the MOST TOP SECRET government organization in the world, the actualy have a variety of os's some of whitch are internal, but they sure as hell dont have any exchange servers. Also there is a kernel from either nasa or the nsa that is compiled specificaly for security, i have never looked at it, but that should handle some of the credential work. If you need more ammo, continue to post her arguments here.
    Avoid the Gates of Hell. Use Linux
    A Penny for your Thoughts

    Formerly Known as qub333

  5. #5
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    Hi there

    Have a look at clarkconnect.
    you can download a community version on their site clarkconnect.org. it very simple to set up...install it on a server, then log on from a brower on a client machine and follow the instructions. It has email, spam control, dhcp, ftp server, web server and firewall built in by default.

    The only thing that you have to install and setup yourself is some sort of antivirus...ClamAV (and the clamassassin wrapper) is the one I use, and I set it up to scan incoming and outgoing emails by default.
    To be honest it took me a couple of weeks to get this working (between searching forums and readin how-to's and actually trying to put them all together), but then again I am very very new to linux so I take pride in the fact that it only took a couple of weeks... if you need any help, I'd be glad to give you a hand, just send me a msg.

    Not very hard to set up at all.
    There are other options like that such as YourEsale.org, and trustix which contains ClamAV by default...but I havent tried those

  6. #6
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    I think you should look around for goverments and top secret people using linux and show her that. That would convice me. (I think, but I'm already conviced so how would I know?)

    There is some kernel module or something called se-linux in Fedora Core that I think is government approved on security or something. Hes a page from the NSA on se-linux http://www.nsa.gov/selinux/

    I used clarkconnect at a nature center I volunteer at and it setup very fast and worked very good. That's what I would recommend.

  7. #7
    Linux Engineer jledhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qub333
    but linux is roughly akin to defending a castle and windows a wooden fort
    thats pretty good

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