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Setting Up A Secure Lan For Mac/pc


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Hey Guys,

I got a project that I'm working on here soon to setup a secure network for a small business (friend) of mine. I want to setup a 'NIX environment that will work cross platform between MAC and PC that focuses on security (of course)...

Any suggestions on...

Linux Server Distributions

Hardware Configurations


Network Compatibility between Mac/PC


Edited by DisK0nn3cT
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Depends what kind of interaction you want between the systems.

I assume you want more than just connecting them into a switch, router = web et cetera.

You didn't mention anything about what you actually want out of it, or what you will be using. By PC do you mean Windows? Is there going to be a server? Will that be Microsoft Server?

I don't know much about Mac, but it has Windows sharing, Linux will have Samba.

I mean, you have lots of options. But it's not easy without having some kind of idea of what the company already has, what their budget is, what the future goals are... What licenses do they have, what is worth using and what's not.

Edited by cabster21
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You need to clarify what you mean by "secure network" as this is a very nebulous term. What services do you want to provide on said network?

Given this, I would recommend PFsense to provide your networking services (firewall, routing etc), Cisco switches, and Dell servers (with NBD on-site support). If its a small firm then consider a half-height rack, Dell R310 servers, a small UPS, and a Dell R210 for PFsense.

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Thanks guys, sorry for the lack of details; i was a little rushed when I posted that.

This is what I am wanting to get out of the network:

1. Setup a local server as a working environment (fileshare) for all computers on the network

2. Mac OSX, Windows 7, and 'Nix machines. (probably 6 max computers on the network)

3. Setup a VPN for remote access out of the office

4. As far as security, this will go hand in hand with the VPN... but what are recomendations on firewalls, etc, or any other security precautions that would be appropriate for this size of a network.

Vako -

Thanks for that info... i've looked into PFsense but have never used it before; i will for sure check into that. This will be a small setup so the half-rack is probably the best route (expense wise as well).

I was planning on running linux on the the server (fileshare) box, probably Ubuntu ... any opinions on that?

- Danny

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TBH, I would personally look at Windows Small Business Server 2008, as it does everything you list and is better supported. It will also just work.

If you want to use *nix, then PFsense will do the firewall/router/VPN stuff, but its not supported. Smoothwall (not the express edition) comes with corporate support and does the same, I just prefer PFsense.

For the fileserver, look at OpenFiler (which also has SME and Enterprise support), as it will be easier to manage than Ubuntu for semi-technical staff.

For email, IM, calendering and document sharing use Google apps.

For policies, you need to enforce AV clients on the Windows machines and possibly the OSX machines. You need to make sure that all machines have updates installed for the OS and AV. You need to setup a backup server, and consider off-site backups. You also need to educate the users, and get the boss to draw up an AUP (acceptable use policy) for the IT systems. Nothing over the top, but just a basic framework of do's and don'ts.

The main thing you need to do is to build a solid system that is easy to use, and that is supportable. You also need to clarify how much you will be expected to support the system.

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Thanks Vako for all your input on the server config and the AUP advice... that will help out a lot.

I think PFSense is the way to go from doing some research. I am looking into firewall from Hacom or random storm that will run PFSense and handle everything from there. Don't think I could stomach the Windows Server honestly :)

- Danny

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