Servers 101

Let’s have a “quick” Servers 101 Course. Courtesy of Kayran! If you’ve been on the internet for over an hour, you probably already heard of Servers. In this article, we are answering key questions such as: What is a server? What are different types of existing servers? What exactly do we use Servers For? Why is Server Availability crucial to us? What is a “Server Farm”? Are there any Vulnerabilities in Servers that could expose us to Attacks? That’s really what we are getting at!


Let’s begin, shall we?

What is a Server?

In the Computing world, Servers are pieces of computer hardware or software (aka computer program) that provide functionality for other programs or devices. The latter are known as “clients”. That’s because the Server provides some sort of Service.

The term Server has two closely related meanings :

Server Provides Services
  • A Server is a computer that runs server software (one or more), and provides services to other computers. For the most part, the hardware requirements for this device are higher than the hardware requirements for a normal desktop computer that does not function as a server. In addition, there may be special requirements in the terms of availability, reliability, backup and more.
  • A Server can also be a computer software that provides services to other softwares. Also known as client software – whether the client software is on the same computer as the server software or whether it is located on another computer.

Moving on,

What are Different Types of Servers? What Exactly do we use Servers For?

So, how many?!

TL;DR: Well, you guessed it A Lot!!

There are many types of servers, let’s go over the main ones :

  • Application Server – This is a Host of Web Apps that allows users to run and use these applications without having to install them on their personal devices. They can exist in either the World Wide Web (the Internet) or, on any Local Network.
  • Communications Server – This is an environment that’s needed for one communication endpoint, either the user or a device. It’s being used to find other endpoints and communicate with them.
  • File Server – A Server designed to provide central access to various files. This is a relatively simple activity for a server, and it is essential for business.
  • Web Server – Similar to an Application one. This type hosts Web Pages and through this, enables the Internet to actually exist. Websites use one or more Web Servers. And some Servers even host several websites. Also known as HTTP Server.
  • Database Server – This type is dedicated to handling the databases or one large database of the business. The performance in accessing databases is very significant. Depending on the importance of your database, this may greatly affect efficiency and productivity. Therefore, strong servers are the classic solution for this.
  • Proxy Server – Acts as an intermediary between a client and the server it self. It accepts incoming traffic from the client and sends it to the server.
  • Active Directory – This type is used for Microsoft’s common network management environment called Active Directory.

Beyond that, there are other types. Depending on the different uses required by the business. Of course, like people, there are versatile servers who are able to fulfill more than a single function!

Why is Server Availability crucial to us?

Server Availability is essential and is often quantified in “ninths”. Let’s say that the provider is said to guarantee server availability at least 99.999% of the time. This would be described as having 3 nines available, referring to the nines after the dot. The availability and willingness of the supplier to commit to it is of course significant from a business point of view. Even when discussing internal servers used in the business, it is a must to measure their availability. While we make sure they meet a certain threshold that the business has set for itself.

What is a “Server Farm”?

Server Farm

A server farm is the common name for a place where a large number of servers is concentrated. This farm can even belong to a large business which it uses for its own activities, but it mainly refers to farms that belong to providers, who offer cloud services to businesses. It’s important to note this industry that has been around for a while.

There are known best practices, different approaches, experts and equipment manufacturers who deal specifically with it.
It is not just a simple room with a collection of powerful computers on which server software is installed. This is a unique facility that is (usually) located underground. Servers hold a lot of information, which is often quite sensitive.

Constant Security is needed!

Let’s talk about Server Security.

Server security is necessary to prevent Loss, Theft and Alteration of information. They must be secured using elaborate and advanced security software in addition to the physical security around the farm.

Server Attacks

Without an up-to-date security systems, it will not be possible to protect the information on the servers from Attacks. High levels of security require regular updating of the systems with the latest security measures. Service Providers who do not conduct updates, may endanger the sites!
Hackers target these farms with the intention of causing damage to the servers and the website owners, and potentially getting access to valuable information such as credit card details. High-level server security prevents hackers from doing so.
It is important to note that such attacks can also damage the reputation of the company that provides such services for decades to come. If you aren’t secure – why should anyone put their trust and money in your hands?

Vulnerabilities

There are (unfortunately) a large number of Vulnerabilities that may expose us to dangerous attacks.

Here are some in – Samba Servers.

Additional vulnerabilities in Exchange Servers :

  1. https://msrc.microsoft.com/update-guide/en-US/vulnerability/CVE-2020-0688
  2. https://msrc.microsoft.com/update-guide/en-US/vulnerability/CVE-2020-16875
  3. https://msrc.microsoft.com/update-guide/en-US/vulnerability/CVE-2020-17083
  4. https://msrc.microsoft.com/update-guide/en-US/vulnerability/CVE-2020-17084

It’s important to make sure your Server doesn’t have Vulnerabilities that could put the data it holds at risk.

Kayran Web Vulnerability Scanner assists us in Detecting and Patching these Vulnerabilities.

Protect Your Servers, choose Kayran.

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