BSIT380 - Week 3 Posting - Cybersecurity Controls

Today, we're diving into the fascinating realm of cybersecurity controls – those invisible digital guardians that stand between us and a sea of cyber threats. As an IT expert, I've seen firsthand how these essential controls safeguard our online presence. So, let's break down what cybersecurity controls are and why they're essential and explore some real-world examples.

What Are Cybersecurity Controls?

In the simplest terms, cybersecurity controls are measures implemented to protect the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of information and IT systems. Think of them as a mix of strategies, methods, and tools designed to fend off cyber threats and mitigate risks.

Types of Cybersecurity Controls 

Preventive Controls: These are the digital world's fences and locks. They aim to prevent unauthorized access or damage to systems. Examples include firewalls, antivirus software, and strong password policies.

Detective Controls: Detective controls are the cyber equivalent of alarm systems. They identify and signal any unusual or potentially harmful activity. Intrusion detection systems (IDS) and regular system audits are key examples.

Corrective Controls: Imagine something slips past your defenses. Corrective controls are your plan B, helping to minimize damage and restore normal operations. Examples include backup and recovery procedures and patch management systems.

Physical Controls: Often overlooked in the digital conversation, physical controls are crucial. They involve securing the physical infrastructure that houses your IT systems. Think biometric access controls and security cameras.

Administrative Controls: These refer to policies, procedures, and training that govern how organizations and employees manage cybersecurity. Examples include security awareness training and incident response plans.

Real-World Examples of Cybersecurity Controls

Firewalls: The gatekeepers of your network, firewalls monitor and control incoming and outgoing traffic based on predetermined security rules.

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): An extra layer of security that requires a password and username and something only the user has on them, like a physical token.

Data Encryption: This turns sensitive information into encoded messages that can only be accessed with a key. It's like sending a secret letter that only the recipient can read.

Regular Software Updates: Updating software is like staying up-to-date with your vaccinations; it strengthens your defenses against new strains of cyber threats.

Security Training Programs: Educating employees about the dangers of phishing emails and the importance of secure passwords is like training them to be the first line of defense against cyber threats.

Why Cybersecurity Controls Matter

In our hyper-connected world, the importance of cybersecurity controls cannot be overstated. They protect not just individual users but the entire digital ecosystem from a myriad of threats that evolve daily. From safeguarding personal data to ensuring the stability of global financial markets, cybersecurity controls are the unsung heroes of our digital lives.

Final Thoughts

As we continue to navigate the digital landscape, embracing and understanding cybersecurity controls becomes not just a suggestion but a necessity. By implementing robust cybersecurity measures, we're not just protecting bytes and data but safeguarding our digital identities, freedoms, and way of life.
Stay safe out there, and remember, in cybersecurity, being well-prepared is being well-armed!

Load-Balancing Apache Webservers: A Beginner's Guide


As our digital world grows, the need for reliable and fast websites becomes increasingly crucial. This is where the concept of "load-balancing" comes into play, especially for Apache webservers. In this post, we'll break down the basics of load-balancing, why it's essential, and some strategies to implement it effectively.

Understanding Load-Balancing

At its core, load balancing is about distributing network or application traffic across multiple servers. Think of it like a busy restaurant. If one server is overloaded with all the customers, service becomes slow. But if customers are evenly distributed among several servers, everyone gets served quickly and efficiently. Load-balancing does the same for web traffic to ensure your website remains accessible, performs well, and experiences minimal downtime.


Why is Load-Balancing Important?


  1. Improved Accessibility and Performance: By distributing requests, load-balancing ensures no single server becomes a bottleneck, leading to faster response times and a smoother user experience.
  2. Enhanced Server Uptime: It reduces the risk of server overload, which can lead to crashes. This means your website is more likely to stay up and running consistently.
  3. Scalability: As your website grows, load-balancing allows you to easily add more servers to handle increased traffic without disrupting existing operations.

Strategies for Load-Balancing Apache Webservers

Use a Load Balancer

A load balancer sits before your servers and directs incoming web traffic. It can be a dedicated hardware device or software-based like Apache's mod_proxy_balancer.

Implement Different Load-Balancing Methods

Several methods can be used, each with its pros and cons:

Round Robin: Distributes requests sequentially among servers.
Least Connections: Sends new requests to the server with the fewest active connections.
IP Hash: Directs user requests based on their IP address, ensuring they consistently connect to the same server. 

Monitor Server Health

Regularly check the health of your servers. If one fails, the load balancer should automatically reroute traffic to the remaining healthy servers.

Consider Server Redundancy

Having backup servers in different locations can ensure your website remains operational even if one server or location encounters issues.
Optimize Server Performance

Ensure each server is optimized for performance. This includes regular updates, security patches, and performance tuning.
Use Sticky Sessions (if necessary)

For applications that need to maintain a user session state, "sticky sessions" can be helpful. This method ensures that a user's requests are consistently sent to the same server.



Implementing load balancing is a crucial step in ensuring your website can handle traffic efficiently and reliably. While it may initially seem complex, understanding the basic concepts and strategies makes it a manageable and valuable process.

The Apache software documentation is an excellent resource for more in-depth information. They provide detailed explanations and guidelines for setting up and managing load-balancing on Apache webservers.

Remember, load-balancing aims to keep your website running and provide a seamless and enjoyable experience for your users.




By understanding these fundamental concepts and strategies, you can significantly improve the accessibility, performance, and server uptime of your Apache web servers.

Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA) certification on RHEL8

In the dynamic field of system administration, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 (RHEL8) certifications stand out as a benchmark for IT professionals. A key certification in this domain is the Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA). Obtaining the RHCSA credential signifies an individual's ability to perform core system administration tasks in Red Hat Enterprise Linux environments. This certification is awarded after successfully passing the RHCSA Exam (EX200)​

The RHCSA exam, a performance-based evaluation, focuses on real-world tasks and scenarios pertinent to system administration across various environments and deployment scenarios. This exam, tailored to Red Hat® Enterprise Linux® 8.2, is hands-on and practical, testing knowledge in areas common to a wide range of environments​

​​To be eligible for the RHCSA certification, individuals often have backgrounds as experienced Red Hat Enterprise Linux system administrators, students who have completed specific Red Hat System Administration courses, or IT professionals on the path to becoming a Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE). This certification is also valuable for DevOps professionals wanting to showcase their expertise in container technology and for those required to obtain the certification by their organization or due to mandates like the DOD 8570 directive​

The skills an RHCSA is expected to demonstrate are diverse and foundational for system administration. These include managing files, directories, and command-line environments; creating simple shell scripts; operating and controlling services on running systems; configuring local storage and file systems; deploying, configuring, and maintaining systems; managing users and groups; and handling basic security and container management​

For preparation, Red Hat recommends specific courses based on the individual's background. For Windows system administrators or those with minimal Red Hat Enterprise Linux experience, courses like Red Hat System Administration I and II are suggested. For Linux or UNIX administrators, the RHCSA Rapid Track course with an exam is recommended. Additionally, there's a course on Running Containers with Red Hat Technical Overview for those interested in container management​

In summary, the RHCSA certification for RHEL8 is a comprehensive and practical assessment of a system administrator's skills in managing Red Hat Enterprise Linux environments. It's a valuable credential for professionals seeking to validate and enhance their system administration capabilities in the modern data center.

For more information:

Configuring a Secure NFS Share on Debian 12 Server

Network File System (NFS) is a powerful tool for sharing files across a network, but security is paramount when implementing such services. This guide focuses on configuring a secure NFS share on a Debian 12 server, emphasizing authentication, encryption, and access control to safeguard your data.

Step 1: Update and Upgrade Packages

Ensure your Debian 12 server is running the latest software updates:

sudo apt update sudo apt upgrade

Step 2: Install NFS Server and Related Tools

Install the NFS server package along with additional tools for managing NFS:

sudo apt install nfs-kernel-server nfs-common

Step 3: Create a Dedicated NFS User

Create a dedicated user account for NFS to enhance security. This user will be used to control access to the shared resources:

sudo adduser --system nfsuser

Step 4: Create a Directory for the NFS Share

Choose a directory to share securely. For instance, let's create a directory named "secure_share" in the root directory:

sudo mkdir /secure_share

Set permissions to restrict access:

sudo chmod 700 /secure_share sudo chown nfsuser:nfsuser /secure_share

Step 5: Configure NFS Exports for Secure Share

Edit the /etc/exports file to configure NFS exports. Open the file in a text editor:

sudo nano /etc/exports

Add the following line to export the "secure_share" directory securely:

/secure_share *(rw,async,all_squash,anonuid=1000,anongid=1000,no_subtree_check,sec=sys)

This configuration ensures secure access and maps remote requests to the dedicated NFS user.

Step 6: Configure NFS Security Settings

Edit the NFS server configuration file:

sudo nano /etc/default/nfs-kernel-server

Add the following line to enable support for NFSv4, which has improved security features:

RPCNFSDOPTS="--nfs-version 4"

Save the file and restart the NFS server:

sudo systemctl restart nfs-kernel-server

Step 7: Configure Firewall

If using a firewall, allow NFS traffic. For NFSv4, use:

sudo ufw allow 2049

Reload the firewall:

sudo ufw reload

Step 8: Testing the Secure NFS Share

On the client machine, create a directory for mounting:

sudo mkdir /mnt/secure_nfs

Mount the secure NFS share:

sudo mount -t nfs4 your_debian_server:/secure_share /mnt/secure_nfs

Replace "your_debian_server" with the IP address or hostname of your Debian 12 server.


You've successfully configured a secure NFS share on your Debian 12 server, incorporating user authentication, encryption, and access control. By following these steps, you've taken measures to protect your data and ensure that only authorized users can access the shared resources. Keep in mind that security is an ongoing process, and regular reviews of your NFS configuration are essential to maintaining a robust and secure file-sharing environment.

Embarking on Epic Journeys: A Guide to Pathfinder 2nd Edition

In the vast realm of tabletop role-playing games (RPGs), few titles have captured the hearts and imaginations of players quite like Pathfinder. Launched in 2009 as an evolution of the 3.5 edition of Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder quickly gained popularity for its depth, customization options, and commitment to preserving the spirit of classic fantasy adventures. Now, with the release of Pathfinder 2nd Edition, players find themselves on the brink of a new era of epic storytelling and strategic gameplay.

The Evolution of Pathfinder:

Pathfinder 2nd Edition, released in August 2019 by Paizo Inc., builds upon the solid foundation laid by its predecessor. The game introduces a refined rule set, streamlining gameplay while retaining the intricate mechanics that fans love. The designers at Paizo sought to create an experience that is both accessible to newcomers and satisfyingly complex for seasoned veterans.

Character Creation and Customization:

One of the standout features of Pathfinder 2e is its robust character creation system. Players can bring their unique visions to life with an extensive array of ancestries, backgrounds, and classes. Ancestry choices allow for a diverse range of characters, from the sturdy dwarven warriors to the nimble elven wizards. Combined with a variety of backgrounds, characters are not only mechanically distinct but also possess rich backstories that enhance the overall narrative.

The class system has undergone significant improvements, offering more options and flexibility. Archetypes, introduced in the Pathfinder 2e Core Rulebook, allow characters to specialize further within their chosen class, creating a diverse party dynamic that encourages cooperation and teamwork.

Streamlined Gameplay Mechanics:

Pathfinder 2e has made notable changes to its gameplay mechanics, aiming for a smoother and more intuitive experience. The introduction of the three-action economy simplifies turn-based combat, allowing players to perform a variety of actions within their turn. This system not only accelerates combat but also adds strategic depth as players decide between attacking multiple foes, moving into advantageous positions, or utilizing powerful special abilities.

Additionally, the proficiency system replaces the complex bonuses of the previous edition, making it easier for players to understand their character's capabilities. This change contributes to a more accessible entry point for newcomers while maintaining the complexity and depth that seasoned players crave.

Engaging Storytelling:

Pathfinder has always placed a strong emphasis on storytelling, and the 2nd Edition continues this tradition. The game provides Game Masters (GMs) with a wealth of tools to craft immersive worlds and gripping narratives. The Adventure Paths, Paizo's pre-written campaigns, offer epic storylines that can span dozens of sessions, providing a cohesive and engaging experience for players.

Community and Support:

Pathfinder's dedicated community has played a crucial role in the game's success. Online forums, social media groups, and fan-generated content have fostered a vibrant ecosystem where players can share experiences, seek advice, and contribute to the ever-expanding tapestry of Pathfinder adventures.

Paizo's commitment to ongoing support is evident in regular updates, errata, and the release of new content. The publisher actively listens to player feedback, demonstrating a genuine interest in maintaining a dynamic and evolving gaming system.


Pathfinder 2nd Edition stands as a testament to the evolution of tabletop role-playing games. With its deep customization options, streamlined mechanics, and engaging storytelling, Pathfinder 2e offers an unparalleled gaming experience for both newcomers and veterans alike. As players continue to embark on epic journeys in the rich and diverse worlds of Golarion, the legacy of Pathfinder grows, ensuring its place as a cornerstone of the RPG genre. So, gather your party, sharpen your swords, and let the adventures unfold in the boundless realms of Pathfinder 2nd Edition.

BSIT380 - Week 2 Posting

What is an SLA? 


A Service Level Agreement (SLA) is a formal contract that describes in detail the level of service a service provider commits to delivering to a customer. SLAs are pivotal in establishing expectations, performance criteria, and responsibilities between the parties involved.

I'm most familiar with how SLAs are used in the Information Technology industry. However, SLAs can be used in any industry where there is a need for two entities, one providing a service and one receiving the service, to define their relationship in a manner that is legally binding. Wouldn't it be interesting if matrimony came with an SLA attached to the marriage license?

For more information on SLAs:

Overby, S., Greiner, L., & Gibbons Paul, L. (2017, July 5). What is an SLA? Best practices for service-level agreements. CIO.


Coursera Staff. (2023, November 29). What is a service-level agreement (SLA)? and how to write one. Coursera.

BSIT380 - Week 1 Posting - Welcome!

This is my first Blog entry for a college course I have just started, called " BSIT 380 - System Hardening and Network Risk Management." This is a cybersecurity course, and I'm not a cybersecurity analyst, so this should be an interesting 12 weeks. My experience is mainly in Linux/Unix systems administration, systems engineering, and data center design and management.
The book for this class is the CompTIA CySA+ Cybersecurity Analyst Certification All-in-One Exam Guide, Second Edition (Exam CS0-002), which is an excellent book to read and an interesting certification to achieve. I may have to take the exam at the end of this course and see how I do. I hold a current CompTIA CASP+ certification, so I hope that knowledge comes in handy for completing this class. Wish me luck!


BSIT200 - Week 12 Posting - Passwords...

 About 21 years ago, Mr. Bill Burr wrote information security guidelines for the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and is responsible for the most obnoxious advice ever given about passwords. It's the one about how your password must be 15 characters long, include uppercase, lowercase, numbers, symbols, hieroglyphics, and a blood sample, and must be changed every 60 days. 

He has since apologized for writing a standard for passwords that no one can remember, and that causes people to write down their passwords, which defeats the purpose of complicated passwords in the first place. 

There's an excellent article about it here:

 This is the last blog posting for this class I'm taking (BSIT200), but no worries. I'm sure the next class I take will require blogging as well. 

Fools are everywhere...

“A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.”
-- Douglas Adams, “Mostly Harmless”

BSIT-220 - Week 11 posting - Documentation

One of the things that bothers me the most where I work are people that won't document what they do in fear that their employer will keep their documentation and replace them with a lower cost employee. These people don't realize that having or not having documentation will in no way stop their employer from firing them with no reason given. 

Back in the day when I worked at Dell, accountants decided that Dell needed to reduce their workforce by 10%. At the time, that meant that 8000 people needed to be laid off. So to make it "not personal" they decided to select a specific pay grade, and then lay off everyone in that pay grade. It had nothing to do with work performance. I saw people (myself included) that produced millions in revenue for Dell, lose their jobs. 

So if documentation (or the lack thereof) doesn't contribute to job security, what does it do?  

Documentation ensures that processes are efficient, consistent, and scalable. Documentation ensures critical business processes survive the loss of personnel or resources. 

Documentation ensures that you can go on vacation, and that the person that has to do your job while you are away, does not develop a personal dislike for you. It also keeps your phone from ringing on your time off. Most importantly, unless you have a photographic memory, documentation helps you keep knowledge organized and available when you need it. 

Make the time to document your business processes. You will be glad you did.

BSIT-200 Week 11 Posting - Printers Kill Trees

 I can understand why in some situations we might need a "hard copy" of a document. But in my line of work, I see people print a lot of things that don't need to be printed. I generally tend to print things to a PDF file and then read them on my laptop or tablet. Where I see the biggest part of the problem is when business have to print documents that require "original signatures" to make them valid. I consider this to be a failure of the encryption and authentication methods used today by IT. 

If we had a secure and easy to use method of identifying ourselves via a cryptographic token, and the method was legally accepted by the US Government and business, I'm sure the pile of paper I had to deal with the last time I bought a house would be reduced drastically. We do have methods for signing a PDF file with a cryptographic token, but I don't think the legal system has caught up with it yet. Also the technology is not as wide-spread as it should be. 

BSIT220 - Week 10 Post - Network Segmentation

The most important reason for configuring network segmentation is improving network security. Network segmentation involves dividing a computer network into smaller more manageable parts. This helps limit any damage if there's a security breach and can help prevent unauthorized access to important data or systems. Segmentation can also help to contain security problems by stopping threats from spreading.

Implementing network segmentation involves configuring Routers and Switches to create and manage different network segments, thus enabling the control of traffic in order to enforce security policies. Segments can be configured through the use of Virtual Local Area Networks (VLANs), which create logically separate networks within a single physical infrastructure.

Firewalls can be used to monitor and control incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules, to regulate the flow of data between different segments, and to enforce security policies at the boundary of each segment.

Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems (IDPS) can be deployed to monitor network traffic, detect potential security threats or violations, and take proactive measures to prevent security breaches.

Implementing antivirus, anti-malware, and encryption solutions helps to safeguard data and communications within each network segment.

Implementing network segmentation effectively requires a certain level of expertise in various areas of IT.

Understanding network architecture, protocols, and components is essential for designing and configuring network segmentation in a way that aligns with the organization's requirements and security policies.

Knowledge of cybersecurity principles, best practices, relevant industry regulations, compliance standards, and emerging threats is important for identifying potential vulnerabilities and security measures to protect against cyber-attacks.

Proficiency in IT infrastructure management, including hardware, software, and network administration, is necessary for deploying and maintaining the software and hardware components required for network segmentation.

Having skilled professionals with expertise in these areas will contribute to the successful implementation and management of network segmentation, ensuring that the network remains secure, resilient, and capable of supporting the organization’s operational requirements.


BSIT-200 Week 10 Post - Why I love iOS and hate Android.

My preference for a mobile device operating system is Apple's iOS, which strikes a lot of people as odd, since I am a Linux Systems Administrator. Most Linux Admins prefer Android, since it is similiar to Linux, and can be tinkered with. I've heard some people actually refer to Android as a Linux Distribution!

However, my reason for liking iOS is simple. After a long day of supporting Linux servers and end-users, and dealing with other people's IT problems, the last thing I want to do is come home to IT problems. I have plenty to do at work. Bringing IT stress home is counter-productive.

I have an iPhone and an iPad, and I've never had a problem with any of these devices. The way they are designed allows me to perform the tasks that I want to perform without any issues, and without me having to fix, side-load, tweak, configure, or otherwise mess with, iOS in any way. I use Apple's Apps, and they just work. If I want to self-induce an IT headache, I have a Windows 11 Laptop for that. If I want to see a computer that just works,  I have a Linux PC and Linux servers for that. I'd rather leave all the IT stress at work where it belongs.

I tried Android once a few years ago and I did not like it. It made me work, by having to spend time configuring things and making them work. Also, the applications just didn't look as good as their iOS counterparts, nor did they seem as intuitive to use. I was using a Samsung Galaxy S10 (when it was new) and as an end-user, I just wasn't impressed. Someone suggested that I wanted to look into side-loading some apps and hacking something. 

No. Just, no.


BSIT-220 Week 9 Post

Presenting my favorite Internet Service Provider of All-Time: 

Fastwyre Broadband


Plans start at $44.99/month for 100Mbps access, with their most popular plan being the 1Gbps service priced at $69.99/month. A new 2Gbps service is now available for $99.99/month. There are no data caps, and no contracts. Connections to homes are via fiber optic cable, and require a media converter (fiber to Ethernet) and a cable modem/router.Their fiber optic cables are buried, which protects them from the elements. We shall see how well they survive the ground freezing this winter. I should not be too worried since they are also a internet service provider in Alaska, so they should know something about bad weather.

Pros: Fast reliable access, available in Bellevue and parts of Papillion.Can be combined with a telephone service.Cables are buried, which protects them from the elements.

Cons:  Outages are possible due to cable damage. However, they have no where near as many reported outages (in my area) as Cox Communications.

I've had their service for a few months now after giving up on Cox Communications. I work from home, so having a reliable internet connection with good uptime is very important to me. My livelihood and income depend on it! I highly recommend this provider!


BSIT220 - Week 8 Blog Posting - IPv6 has a lot of addresses

IPv6, short for Internet Protocol version 6, is the successor to IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4) and represents a fundamental shift in how the Internet addresses devices. IPv6 was developed to overcome the limitations of IPv4, primarily the exhaustion of available IPv4 addresses due to the rapid growth of internet-connected devices. At its core, IPv6 expands the address space from 32 bits in IPv4 to a whopping 128 bits, resulting in an astronomical number of unique addresses, approximately 3.4 x 10^38 addresses. This abundance of addresses ensures that every device, from smartphones and laptops to IoT devices and more, can have its unique, globally reachable IP address. IPv6 addresses are represented as eight groups of four hexadecimal digits, separated by colons, making them longer but more versatile.

IPv6 introduces several other key improvements, such as simplified header formats that enhance routing efficiency and reduce the processing burden on routers. Additionally, it incorporates built-in support for quality of service (QoS) and security, making it more suitable for the demands of today's internet. In essence, IPv6 not only addresses the address space scarcity issue but also brings improved network performance, security, and scalability, laying the groundwork for the ever-expanding digital world we inhabit. While the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 is ongoing, understanding the basics of IPv6 is crucial for network administrators and organizations looking to future-proof their networking infrastructure and ensure seamless connectivity for all their devices in the rapidly evolving digital landscape.

“IPv6.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 18 Oct. 2023,