Cloud services on our mobile devices and PCs can be a life saver. Having cloud services properly running on a PRIVATE network can add yet an additional piece of mind by having one less 3rd party to deal with and can be surprisingly easy and fun to set up with some help from this guide. Included is a rundown of common options, services, and protocols that would be used with a dedicated Linux box to set up and configure cloud services on a private network as well as other benefits to be gained on the private network. The goal here is to have secure remote access from anywhere and it just so happens that any old outdated PC lying around will be a nice suitor to install a fresh Linux distribution as its operating system. While third party cloud services are convenient, as well as maintained by some of the top software app development companies around, it is good practice to maintain data privately as well as keep private data backups. Not to mention that learning how to administer a Linux system can be very gratifying.

To configure network services on a private network, it is important to at least have some basic understanding of the 7 layer OSI (Open Systems Interconnection)model. The OSI model is the standard in which all of the following protocols are built around. This standard has been the backbone for telecommunications since 1983 and is still the standard in 2018 for pioneering networking companies, mobile app development companies, and even some high profile processor manufacturers. For the scope of this guide, layer 3 is the most important protocol in the OSI model. Layer 3 is made up of the TCP and UDP protocols. UDP behaves much like a radio broadcast that doesn’t change behavior, regardless of connection and is known as connectionless. It is also irrelevant to this guide. TCP, simply put, is designed to maintain a connection and then fix itself when problems arise and is a key player in everything discussed here and is known as connection-based.

Install a Debian or Red Hat based Linux onto a dedicated PC.

1. Download the preferred Linux distro .iso disk image. Then find, download, and install any conventional Application for creating bootable media, or burn the .iso image directly to a blank DVD. Any of the usual suspects such as Debian, Fedora, and Ubuntu are kept maintained and updated by some of the top software and even mobile app developers and companies within the open source community.

2. Make sure and check BIOS setting of our Linux Box so that it will boot from our installation disk, whether it's a DVD or flash drive.

3. Boot up the media and begin the installation. The options throughout the installation should be set with regard to familiarity of the OS and basic protocols. For an inexperienced Linux user, most mainstream distributions are designed for the casual user to install so don't sweat. I would highly recommend going with the most basic, default hard drive partition scheme when it gets to that.

Configure the VPN server (Do this on the home network to have remote access)

A VPN(Virtual Private Network) in its most simple form, is a remote connection that behaves as if it is indeed a local connection to the remote host. It is typically authenticated by means of a "shared secret"(Password) but the end to end connection is set up as a secure encrypted tunnel. Other typical uses for this server include using it to get the bandwidth of the remote network in the event of a congested local network.

PPTP- Known to be a simple protocol that is easy to make work but OpenVPN is generally the preferred method.

OpenVPN- Known to be secure and reliable for setting up a private VPN.

Configure SSH(Secure Shell) server

SSH has been a trusted protocol for remote terminal access for some time now, as the method of encryption is very customizable. public key encryption is common practice and ssh even generates keys with the users’ choice of encryption type. SSH allows for private key pair decryption and even encrypted tunnels to be used by other protocols! All of the top software and mobile development companies in the industry rely on SSH for debugging programs as well as system administrators to name a few.

Telnet- super sketchy protocol of accessing a remote shell and was deprecated years ago when SSH hit the scene. Never use this service.

SSHD- The SSH daemon, or background service, that runs while the protocol is being used. Maintaining secure end to end connections is a full time job.

File Transfer

There are many services and protocols that can be used to initiate the heavy lifting of moving files to and from our private cloud once operational. One common scenario that should be familiar to everyone is the classic HTTP(Hyper Text Transfer Protocol) server. This is the protocol used by the web servers to keep us up to date on Donald Trumps latest tweets as well stream our favorite Netflix programs. This service is generally run on port 80 with Apache2 or Nginx on most Linux systems, and any other system for that matter. Encrypted connections known as SSLs(Secure Socket Links) can also be used to run a more secure variation on port 443 known as HTTPS, and you guessed it- the S at the end stands for ‘Secure.’ HTTP can also be set up to connect via SSH encrypted tunneling. Choosing the proper configuration can, at times, be daunting task but it doesn’t require the credentials of a top mobile app development company, believe it or not. Much like riding a bike for the first time, It becomes second nature in no time flat.

Another common protocol for moving files over a network is the FTP(File Transfer Protocol), which is great to use within the safety of a local network but should never be used over a remote connection. Put simply it maintains 2 connections to the host; one to move files and the other to send the commands, in turn making port management impossible.

The beautiful part of using Linux is that there is always an alternate way of doing things although a rodeo at times. “Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning.” – Rich Cook (top mobile app developer)

Author's Bio: 

Kenneth Evans is a Content Marketing Strategist for Top App Development Companies, a research platform for top app development companies in the world. He has been contributing to various blogging platforms and Forums.