ClearOS cover Giacomo Lanzi

ClearOS: Linux Server for Small Business

ClearOS (formerly ClarkConnect) is a Linux distribution, with the aim of transforming any standard PC into a dedicated firewall and Internet server / gateway. The software is a solution for small businesses, home offices and networked homes. ClearOS is based on CentOS and offers a very robust set of tools organized in easy to navigate administration pages.

Small business and servers

Small business data centers often rely on one-size-fits-all solutions for standard problems. Because’? They save on costs. Within the Linux world, there are a number of exceptional server software that can help power a business in ways that aren’t always considered.

The problem with small businesses that use Linux can often come in the form of distribution complexity. While Linux has come a long way in terms of ease of use, there can sometimes be an additional level of complexity when it comes to server software. This additional learning curve is very often easily overcome by anyone with a moderate level of computer skills. Note that for anyone who has used Linux before, this is generally a breeze.

But then, who needs a data center solution, without the burden of a high-level IT expert on hand, who could they turn to? One solution is ClearOS.

What is ClearOS

According to the presentation material of the distribution:

“ClearOS is a simple, open and affordable operating system, with an intuitive web-based graphical user interface and a marketplace with over 100 applications to choose from, with more being added every day. By leveraging open source software, you decide which apps you need and only pay for the apps and support you want. “

To verify that these statements respect reality and check that ClearOS is indeed an interesting solution, let’s see the details together.

Editions

First, you need to choose between the versions of the operating system. In fact, ClearOS offers three different platform distributions:

Community: the free edition of ClearOS
Home: Ideal for home offices
Business: Ideal for small businesses, thanks to the inclusion of paid support

To find out the differences of each edition, you can consult the ClearOS function matrix here. There are also the prices on the page which, after all, are contained for the proposed service.

ClearOS price table

Installation

There is really no need to talk about the ClearOS installation process, as it is incredibly simple. If you’ve ever installed Linux, you won’t have any problems with ClearOS.

I wanted to test it with a VirtualBox on my personal computer, and in just 20 minutes I had a working virtual machine with ClearOS ready. The installation time includes the post-installation wizard and the first updates.

Once you have completed the basic installation, post-installation wizard and updates, all done from within an incredibly well-designed web interface, you are ready to start adding applications from the ClearOS Marketplace, which is ‘where the platform really shines.

Taking a look at the process of adding applications to the ClearOS server, it is evident how easy this ecosystem is to use. Once we are done with the initial setup, we are on the “ClearOS Marketplace Getting Started” page. From this screen it is possible to manage the application selection and installation process.

The operating system also comes with a couple of preconfigurations to choose from. In any case, you will have the possibility to choose through the selection of applications / services to be installed on the ClearOS server.

ClearOS functionality

Available features include:

Firewall, Networking and Security:
– Network: the firewall restricts access to systems and provides advanced features, including DMZ, NAT 1 to 1 and Port Forwarding
– Protocol: Peer-to-Peer discovery system allows you to manage the use of peer-to-peer file sharing
– Application: Intrusion Detection and Intrusion Prevention systems provide an additional layer of defense against threats to your network.
– Virtual Private Networking
– Web Proxy and Content Filter
– Email, including Webmail
– Groupware
– Database and Web Server
– File and print services

ClearOS Circles

Costs App

Some of the apps are free, while others have a cost. You have to consult the list of available apps to see if any of these apps / services meet your needs and fit your budget. Once you have selected all the applications you want to install, you can proceed with the installation.

At this point you are ready to configure the custom dashboard. If you don’t want to worry about customizing the dashboard, you can use the default one. The dashboard allows you to select what you want to view through practical drop-down menus. It is also possible to immediately start configuring newly installed applications.

One remarkable thing is that ClearOS has made configuring the LDAP service extremely easy. Normally this process can be quite a headache, but ClearOS has found a way to make it as painless as possible.

The function of ClearOS

One thing not found on ClearOS is a tool for creating a server environment like that of a Microsoft Small Business Server or its successor Windows Server. So, using applications like MS Office, via Terminal Server, will not work. But you can always install the Dropbox app for free and use their Paper Server. This, of course, is not a real alternative for a full office suite, but it is still a partial solution.

However, this is not the point of ClearOS, as the intent is more to serve a business-class server that can help protect and expand a small business network. In other words, if you are looking for an incredibly simple firewall to set up and manage, VPN, DNS, DHCP, and a well-rounded general network appliance, ClearOS is exactly what you need. If you are looking for something to replace a Samba server, ClearOS is not the solution.

ClearOS can be found among the standard SOD templates and you can then install your own VPS with ClearOS in a few seconds.

Useful links:

Share


RSS

More Articles…

Categories …

Tags

RSS Dark Reading

RSS Full Disclosure

  • Trovent Security Advisory 2203-01 / Micro Focus GroupWise transmits session ID in URL January 31, 2023
    Posted by Stefan Pietsch on Jan 30# Trovent Security Advisory 2203-01 # ##################################### Micro Focus GroupWise transmits session ID in URL ################################################# Overview ######## Advisory ID: TRSA-2203-01 Advisory version: 1.0 Advisory status: Public Advisory URL: https://trovent.io/security-advisory-2203-01 Affected product: Micro Focus GroupWise Affected version: prior to 18.4.2 Vendor: Micro Focus, https://www.microfocus.com...
  • APPLE-SA-2023-01-24-1 tvOS 16.3 January 27, 2023
    Posted by Apple Product Security via Fulldisclosure on Jan 26APPLE-SA-2023-01-24-1 tvOS 16.3 tvOS 16.3 addresses the following issues. Information about the security content is also available at https://support.apple.com/HT213601. AppleMobileFileIntegrity Available for: Apple TV 4K (all models) and Apple TV HD Impact: An app may be able to access user-sensitive data Description: This issue was addressed […]
  • [SYSS-2022-047] Razer Synapse - Local Privilege Escalation January 27, 2023
    Posted by Oliver Schwarz via Fulldisclosure on Jan 26Advisory ID: SYSS-2022-047 Product: Razer Synapse Manufacturer: Razer Inc. Affected Version(s): Versions before 3.7.0830.081906 Tested Version(s): 3.7.0731.072516 Vulnerability Type: Improper Certificate Validation (CWE-295) Risk Level: High Solution Status: Open Manufacturer Notification: 2022-08-02 Solution Date: 2022-09-06 Public Disclosure:...
  • [RT-SA-2022-002] Skyhigh Security Secure Web Gateway: Cross-Site Scripting in Single Sign-On Plugin January 26, 2023
    Posted by RedTeam Pentesting GmbH on Jan 26RedTeam Pentesting identified a vulnerability which allows attackers to craft URLs to any third-party website that result in arbitrary content to be injected into the response when accessed through the Secure Web Gateway. While it is possible to inject arbitrary content types, the primary risk arises from JavaScript […]
  • t2'23: Call For Papers 2023 (Helsinki, Finland) January 24, 2023
    Posted by Tomi Tuominen via Fulldisclosure on Jan 23Call For Papers 2023 Tired of your bosses suspecting conference trips to exotic locations being just a ploy to partake in Security Vacation Club? Prove them wrong by coming to Helsinki, Finland on May 4-5 2023! Guaranteed lack of sunburn, good potential for rain or slush. In […]
  • Re: HNS-2022-01 - HN Security Advisory - Multiple vulnerabilities in Solaris dtprintinfo and libXm/libXpm January 24, 2023
    Posted by Marco Ivaldi on Jan 23Hello again, Just a quick update. Mitre has assigned the following additional CVE IDs: * CVE-2023-24039 - Stack-based buffer overflow in libXm ParseColors * CVE-2023-24040 - Printer name injection and heap memory disclosure We have updated the advisory accordingly: https://github.com/hnsecurity/vulns/blob/main/HNS-2022-01-dtprintinfo.txt Regards, Marco
  • APPLE-SA-2023-01-23-8 Safari 16.3 January 24, 2023
    Posted by Apple Product Security via Fulldisclosure on Jan 23APPLE-SA-2023-01-23-8 Safari 16.3 Safari 16.3 addresses the following issues. Information about the security content is also available at https://support.apple.com/HT213600. WebKit Available for: macOS Big Sur and macOS Monterey Impact: Processing maliciously crafted web content may lead to arbitrary code execution Description: The issue was addressed with […]
  • APPLE-SA-2023-01-23-7 watchOS 9.3 January 24, 2023
    Posted by Apple Product Security via Fulldisclosure on Jan 23APPLE-SA-2023-01-23-7 watchOS 9.3 watchOS 9.3 addresses the following issues. Information about the security content is also available at https://support.apple.com/HT213599. AppleMobileFileIntegrity Available for: Apple Watch Series 4 and later Impact: An app may be able to access user-sensitive data Description: This issue was addressed by enabling hardened […]
  • APPLE-SA-2023-01-23-6 macOS Big Sur 11.7.3 January 24, 2023
    Posted by Apple Product Security via Fulldisclosure on Jan 23APPLE-SA-2023-01-23-6 macOS Big Sur 11.7.3 macOS Big Sur 11.7.3 addresses the following issues. Information about the security content is also available at https://support.apple.com/HT213603. AppleMobileFileIntegrity Available for: macOS Big Sur Impact: An app may be able to access user-sensitive data Description: This issue was addressed by enabling […]
  • APPLE-SA-2023-01-23-5 macOS Monterey 12.6.3 January 24, 2023
    Posted by Apple Product Security via Fulldisclosure on Jan 23APPLE-SA-2023-01-23-5 macOS Monterey 12.6.3 macOS Monterey 12.6.3 addresses the following issues. Information about the security content is also available at https://support.apple.com/HT213604. AppleMobileFileIntegrity Available for: macOS Monterey Impact: An app may be able to access user-sensitive data Description: This issue was addressed by enabling hardened runtime. CVE-2023-23499: […]

Customers

Newsletter