For individuals not completely immersed in the world of IT and cybersecurity, it can be hard to keep up with the latest terms and acronyms. (Heck, sometimes it is even hard for the folks that are fully immersed in the world of IT and cybersecurity!) One set of terms appearing with increasing frequency is “client side” and “server side.” In this blog, we’ll look at the difference between client side and server side and why these terms are relevant to a business’s overall security posture.
Client Side and Server Side
Before we get too deep into the explanation, let’s first look at the origins of the terms. Within the context of IT, the words “client” and “server” relate to the basic structure of connected devices. So, end user devices, like desktops, laptops, mobile phones, and tablets are considered ‘clients,’ while the systems that the devices are connected to are referred to as ‘servers.’
Client devices send requests to the server and the server responds to the request. Servers usually support multiple client devices at the same time, and client devices usually send requests to multiple different servers while operating on the internet.
What does client side mean?
For web developers, the term ‘client side’ means any activity that is taking place on the client device. This could be a web page being displayed, including text, videos, and images, or any operation or calculation underway in the background.
What does server side mean?
Server side refers to anything happening on the server instead of the end user’s device. In the short span of internet history, there was a time when everything operated on the server side, even things like dynamic web pages. However, the process of transmitting data from the end user’s device (client side) to the server side took far too long—something referred to as latency. To combat this problem, web developers started building code (sometimes called scripts) that operated more on the client side, making webpage operations much faster.
What does client side have to do with security?
Recent research suggests that vulnerable web applications account for more than a third of all attack vectors. Since many web applications operate on the client-side, your customers become vulnerable to attacks like Magecart, e-skimming, sideloading, cross-site scripting (XSS) and formjacking. But vulnerable web applications aren’t the only way that threat actors access client-side assets. Server-side website security misconfigurations and the addition of third- and fourth-party code or supplemental applications can cause security problems as well.
Therefore, implementing effective client side security is critical if you want to protect your customers.
What kind of security protects from client-side attacks?
To protect your customers from client-side attacks, you need to monitor for suspicious script activity at all times and the best way to do that is by using security technology designed for just this activity. Tools like Feroot’s Inspector helps businesses automatically discover and report on web assets and data access. It also identifies client-side security vulnerabilities and provides specific threat remediation to ensure customers are protected. Feroot’s PageGuard solution is based on the Zero Trust model and runs continuously in the background to automatically detect and block unauthorized, anomalous, or malicious scripts and code behaviors. To learn more, check out our Inspector and PageGuard products. They are specifically designed to continuously scan and protect your business and your customers from attackers. To learn firsthand how the products work, please request a demo here: link.