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New Tool Lets Enterprises Manage Security on Multiple Linux Servers

Trusted Computer Solutions readies software that can 'lock down' servers running Red Hat, CentOS, or Oracle Enterprise Linux

The good news about open source security tools is that they're cheap and don't require much administration. The bad news about open source security tools is that they're cheap and don't require much administration.

That's the problem faced by many computing environments that use a large number of Linux servers. The security tools available in the open source environment are easy to procure, but they don't offer a central method of handling administration across multiple servers.

Trusted Computer Solutions Inc. tomorrow will attempt to jump into this void with the introduction of Security Blanket 2.0 Enterprise Edition, an automated "system lock down" and security management tool for Linux operating systems that can manage all local and remote Linux servers from a centralized Web-based management console.

The idea is to make it easier for larger Linux environments, such as government and educational organizations, to do the "hardening" process required to meet security compliance requirements, says Jamie Adams, senior developer at TCS.

"This will help organizations lock everything down to make assessors happy," Adams says. "It helps you figure out what needs to be configured, and then it helps you do the configuration. Then it helps you enforce the policy, making sure all of your servers are configured consistently and all the patches are up to date."

Currently, the primary open source tool for security administration is Bastille, but Bastille can't configure multiple servers from a central location and doesn't always meet current standards for compliance. "There's no commercial entity working on it," Adams observes. "You're not always getting updates right away."

The Enterprise version enables administrators to easily group Linux servers, associate a lockdown profile with a group of servers, scan all servers within a group to determine compliance, and configure the server operating systems to the lockdown level of the chosen profile.

Security Blanket 2.0 Enterprise includes the security guidelines recommended by the Center for Internet Security (CIS), the Defense Information Security Agency (DISA) Security Technical Implementation Guides (STIGs), and select guidelines from the SANS Institute’s defined risks associated with Linux. It lets administrators group servers, select one of these industry lockdown profiles (or build their own), assess the state of the servers against the profile, and then automatically configure the operating systems to meet those profile guidelines, TCS says.

Automation might increase organizations' interest in server hardening, which many still don't do, said Forrester Research in a report issued last year.

"Although server hardening is a well-established practice, only [45 percent] of interviewees harden all of their servers, and [26 percent] left some Internet-facing servers unhardened," Forrester said. "Why? Perhaps because they feel they can't spare the time -- today, [53 percent] of systems administrators harden their servers manually."

Security Blanket Enterprise Edition starts at $3,000 for a console that supports up to 100 servers. Server licenses start at $198 per server.

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  • The Center for Internet Security (CIS)
  • Forrester Research Inc.
  • The SANS Institute
  • Trusted Computer Solutions Inc.