FileMaker Physical Security Tips

From Dwayne Wright PMP
Certified FileMaker Developer

TWITTER: dwaynewright
YOUTUBE: FileMakerThoughts

If someone who is intent to do harm can physically get to your database file, they have a better chance at ruining your whole day. Here are some questions to ask yourself.

Is your server in a secure location?
If the machine is in an open cube, anyone can do a variety of damage. They can erase the hard drive, they can unplug the machine, they can try to copy the information to an external hard drive, they can open up file sharing setting and they can try to run hacking utilities after hours.

If at all possible, keep the machine that hosts your FileMaker solution in locked server room or even in a locked ( but well ventilated ) cabinet. Install software to protect the hard drive from snooping, copying or the deleting of files. It is very easy to attach external hard drives to a computer system to provide additional storage for files and backup. These external drives can become a security risk. It is a very good idea to make sure these devices are secured as well. Some drives are so small these days that they can fit comfortably in a front pocket of a pair of pants.

Along this same train of thought, you may need to secure the USB / FireWire ports on the computer as well. With external thumb drives, a person could simply plug into the USB port, download data in just a matter of minutes and leave. Storage products that are small in size, large in storage and require no external power are a definite security threat.

You may also want to make sure all servers do not have CD drives that can burn CDs.

Here is something you might not have thought about. Does the server room have a drop ceiling? This is a tad bit on the "Mission Impossible" side but a locked door isn’t much protection when drop ceilings are around. A bad person could simply come by after typical business hours, take the ceiling panel out on both sides and scamper into a locked server room.

Is there a label on the server identifying it’s purpose? Don't tell everyone where the machine is located, only those with a need to know. This is one reason why many servers have cute but cryptic names. Machines labeled Larry, Curly and Moe might be database servers. Kirk, Spock and McCoy might be email servers. This is a handy way for administrators to remember what family of servers serve what operation purpose. If possible, put the database on a headless server ( one without a monitor ).

Where do you keep your backups? Talk about an easy way to steal a bunch of great information! Store backup tapes in a lock box and have at least one set at an alternate location in case something major happens to the facility. You may want to try and password encrypt the information on the tapes as well.

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© 2007 - Dwayne Wright -

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