Sun Java System Reference Configuration Series: Portal Service on Application Server Cluster

Security in the Deployment Architecture

The security requirements of the portal service reference configuration (see Security Requirements) are met through several mechanisms, each of which are discussed in the following sections:

Authentication and Authorization

Each user's access must be limited to the portal services and data channels that he or she is authorized to view.

The reference configuration uses Access Manager and Directory Server to control user access to portal content. The directory service maintains each user's portal desktop profile. This profile includes any desktop customization that is performed by the user, as well as mechanisms for determining what content the user is authorized to view.

Separate Administration

The modularized architecture makes it easy for different organizations to administer different service modules so that each organization has the level of administrative security it needs. In most enterprises, for example, directory services and Access Manager services are administered by security-oriented organizations, while portal services are administered by end-user applications organizations.

Network Segmentation

The portal service must be secured against unauthorized and unauthenticated access.

The deployment architecture uses a secure network topology for the portal service, which includes the use of firewalls, controlled access through load balancers with virtual service addresses, and private subnets behind the firewall.

Figure 2–2 shows a portal services zone in which the portal service, Access Manager service, and directory service modules are deployed behind the Internal Firewall. Within this zone, the deployment architecture protects the service modules in the following ways:

Not shown in Figure 2–2 is that the individual computers hosting service instances are hardened and that the operating system installations are minimized. Minimizing the number of installed Solaris OS packages means fewer security holes. Because the majority of system penetrations are through exploitation of operating system vulnerabilities, minimizing the number of installed operating system packages will reduce the number of vulnerabilities. Minimizing the operating system is covered in detail in Computer Hardware and Operating System Specification.

Secure Remote Access

The secure remote access option provides secure access to portal services, applications, and other content on an internal intranet to employees or customers on the public Internet. This option prevents such access to unauthorized people.

The requirement for secure remote access is met in the Portal Service on Application Server Cluster reference configuration through Portal Server SRA components, specifically the SRA Gateway service, and by network access zones, demarcated by firewalls, that take maximum advantage of the SRA Gateway service. The access zones and the firewalls are represented in Figure 2–2.

The outermost zone in Figure 2–2 is the so-called demilitarized zone, or DMZ, which contains the SRA Gateway service. The Gateway service can only be accessed through the External Firewall at one specific URL. Employees or customers who connect to the portal service with remote browser clients or mobile clients do so by accessing the Gateway service at the specified URL. The External Firewall blocks all other ports and addresses.

Because remote access to the portal service from the public Internet is through the Gateway service, the portal service itself can reside behind an additional firewall (the Internal Firewall) and an additional layer of hardware load balancing.

In addition to deploying the Gateway service behind an Internet-facing firewall, the deployment architecture secures the Gateway service in the following ways: