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Security features a vital component of console servers

By Max Burkhalter
August 2, 2013

Console servers enable IT workers with access to the corresponding application to make changes to the data center configuration remotely. You can do everything from adjustingvirtual machine setups on Windows servers to changingswitch or firewall settings. Any device with a console port can be connected to and controlled by the console management platform. This creates incredible potential for operational gains by helping IT managers perform operations from any web-connected location. However, the risks are also great as a poorly-secured console server setup can give an unauthorized and possibly malicious individual the ability to perform the same actions.

The implications of a console server hack
Most security threats are purely logical in nature.They have an impact on data and allow hackers to use machines as bots. However, the data-focused nature of these attacks limits the risk they actually present for businesses. Hacking a console server system gives criminals the power to have a potentially more damaging impact on a company. This type of attack can lead to data theft or botnet installation. Ahacker can also adjust the server configuration, forcing IT managers to shut systems down, reconfigure them and deal with an extended downtime event. In theory, a hacker could even adjust the balance of virtual machines on systems to push them beyond their capacity, causing them to overheat or otherwise malfunction.

Gaining the ability to control the data center remotely could prove incredibly profitable for hackers, especially in an era when cyber​crime could include businesses paying hackers to perform attacks on competitors.

Establishing a secure console management setup
Typical data center and IT security methods come into play when dealing with console management. If the control application is going to be installed on mobile devices, those systems will need to be secured through multiple levels of authentication and a virtual private network connection to ensure workers do not access the data center on a public or insecure network. However, the devices themselves also have to be built for security. This includes a combination of fault tolerance that protects against reliability problems and other security strategies that ensure console servers themselves cannot be hacked, even if a criminal has gained access to the company network.

Organizations using console server systems to maximize data center management capabilities stand to gain a great deal, but doing so depends on investing in a solution that is designed with security in mind.

Perle's wide range of 1 to 48 port Perle Console Servers provide data center managers and network administrators with secure remote management of any device with a serial console port. Plus, they are the only truly fault tolerant Console Servers on the market with the advanced security functionality needed to easily perform secure remote data center management and out-of-band management of IT assets from anywhere in the world.


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