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LISA '03 — Abstract

Pp. 41-50 of the Proceedings

DryDock: A Document Firewall

Deepak Giridharagopal, The University of Texas at Austin


Auditing a web site's content is an arduous task. For any given page on a web server, system administrators are often ill-equipped to determine who created the document, why it's being served, how long it's been publicly viewable, and how it's changed over time.

To police our web site, we created a secure web publishing application, DryDock, that governs the replication of content from an internal, developmental web server to a stripped-down, external, production web server. DryDock codifies a formal approval process that forces management to approve all web site changes before they are pushed out to the external machine. Users never interact directly with the production machine; DryDock updates the production server on their behalf. This allows administrators to operate their production web server in a more secure and regimented network environment than normally feasible.

DryDock audits documents, tracks revisions, and notifies users of changes via email. Managers can approve files for publication at their leisure without the risk of inappropriate content ever being publicly visible. Web authors can develop pages without intimate knowledge of security policies. And administrators can instantly know the complete history of any file that has ever been published.

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Last changed: 7 Nov. 2003 aw
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