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We are starting a new web development company and know very little about web servers. The hosting company is wanting to lease to us a VPN appliance (Sonicwall TZ215). Do we need this or is the a hardware firewall sufficient for protecting the server from hackers, DOS attacks, etc? The setup for the vpn device is quite expensive not to mention the monthly expense of leasing one. If they are good, we could just buy it and have the hosting company attache our server to it.

This would be for a dedicated physical server (Windows Server 2012 Standard).

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  • Why do you want a VPN server? May 31 '14 at 1:08
  • It is not a VPN server, it is a device that creates a secure network connection from our workstations to the web server. At least this is my understanding.
    – tom
    May 31 '14 at 1:10
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    In general, it sounds like it would be well worth your money for you and your team to hire an experienced sysadmin consultant to come in and help you get off the ground in the right direction.
    – EEAA
    May 31 '14 at 2:25
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    @tom " it is a device that creates a secure network connection from our workstations to the web server" AKA a VPN server...
    – Grant
    May 31 '14 at 2:30
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    Hire someone with a clue to help you run your business. You basically try to run a professional level kitchen (like in a better restaurant) without having a clue about cooking.
    – TomTom
    May 31 '14 at 3:28
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A VPN allows a secure connection from the client machine (your computer) to a server (your web server) so you can communicate with it sending encrypted traffic. It has nothing to do with DOS attacks.

To harden your server, I would recommend using iptables and other firewall hardware/software. Don't open any ports that don't need to be open.

Finally, hire a consultant to get you started on the right path and put you on a 1 year, 5 year, and 10 year plan.

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  • So in your opinion, would a vpn server (as I've been corrected so many times) be better than a hardware firewall or do they provide different levels of security?
    – tom
    May 31 '14 at 14:57
  • @tom - VPNs and firewalls are two completely different technologies, with two completely different use cases. Asking if you should have a firewall or a VPN is like asking if you should purchase a vehicle or a bicycle.
    – EEAA
    May 31 '14 at 19:34

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