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What is a Jump Server?

A jump server is defined as a system on a network that accesses and manages all the devices in a different zone of security. It is a rugged and monitoring device that spans two different security zones and enables a controlled means of access between them.

Example - Managing a DMZ from trusted networks.

What is a Jump Server?

SSH Jump Server

A server accessible from the internet, a regular Linux server that can access other Linux machines in a private network using an SSH protocol is known as SSH Jump Servers. The purpose of these servers is to act as a gateway to reduce the size of any potential attack surface. In addition, if we have a dedicated SSH access point, it becomes easier to have an aggregated audit log of all SSH connections.

Advantages of Jump Servers

Following are the advantages of Jump Servers -

  • Increase in productivity - With the help of jump servers, it becomes easier for the admin to complete the work on the different networks without multiple logging in and logging outs into the prioritized area. It also gives adequate access controls. For example, suppose a scenario where the admin has to perform Microsoft desktop protocol(RDP) sessions on different client systems. If there would be no jump server, the systems may slow down significantly. So, it maintains the speed while running in multiple environments.
  • Security increment - When there are jump servers, there is a separation between the user workstation and the assets within the network. This separation enhances security because user's workstations are at high risk. Also, jump servers have the potential to provide access to sensitive areas, and they are actually hardened in the extreme, which means the updation and installation of software is not relatively easy. They are never used for non-administrative works as the access is tightly monitored and controlled.

Implementation

Jump servers are installed in such a way that they are placed between a secure zone and a DMZ to provide transparent management on devices on the DMZ once we establish a session. The jump server acts as an audit for traffic and a single point where we can manage user accounts. The administrator logins into the jump server and gets access to the DMZ assets, and all the access can be logged for the last audit.

Security Risks

With ease, jump servers come with high-risk factors. These risks can be reduced in the following ways -

  • Secure VLAN that uses a firewall and router
  • Reduce the subnet size
  • Strong logging credentials
  • Restrictions on several programs to be run on the jump server
  • Using multi-factor authentication
  • Keep jump server software up to date.
  • With the help of ACL, by giving access to those who need it.
  • Prohibiting outbound access.

Difference between PAW(Privileged Access Workstation) and Jump Server

  • We need a connection point between the endpoint and a server in the case of a jump server. However, PAW doesn't generally need a connection.
  • PAW is a workstation, whereas a jump server is a server.
  • There are limitations on jump server accessibility, whereas the administrator can carry the PAW workstation.

Similarities between PAW(Privileged Access Workstation) and Jump Server

  • Both of them are used by the users as they can securely access sensitive resources.
  • Both of them cannot be used for general purposes. They are used for privileged purposes.
  • Both of them can be monitored, controlled, etc., according to the request access and assets.





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