I'm doing a degree in network computing and am currently working on my dissertation right now. I am not an expert with networking yet, so I'm kind of struggling to get started with my topic that I've outlined below for which I hope to get your invaluable suggestions and advice!
Today’s small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are a dynamic environment filled with many applications programs, databases, Internet, and wireless access. In addition, SMEs require Internet connectivity to many of its branches. Securing your network and reputation could be provided expensive firewalls. You are to investigate the use of freeware or shareware tools to provide similar functions to that of firewalls. Investigate readily available tools on the public Internet at a budget to provide:
- One appliance network security.
- Provide Internet access (after business hours)
- Keep computers free from virus and malware threats
- Role-based user privileges - define what students, teachers, staff or visitors/customers can access when on your network.
What my professor needs me to do is basically use a server (which can be an old PC running Windows Server 2008) as a firewall (instead of using a standalone firewall device in order to reduce costs) between my internal company network and the Internet.
He wants me to investigate the freeware/shareware applications available on the Internet so that I could run them on that server to make it an effective replacement for a standalone firewall so as to reduce costs, but provide effective security at the same time for a small company network with limited financial resources.
So far, I have got the small company network design ready but that is all I have been able to do. From my understanding the server (old PC running Windows Server 2008) will require 2 network cards - one to connect to my internal company network switch and the other to connect to the Internet.
I would love to get your suggestions/guidance on how to go forward with the rest of everything right now.