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Updating files in /etc Remotely (and automated)

I will be working with a server on the Internet that uses rsync and is running Debian.  I will be setting up initial /etc/rsyncd.conf and /etc/rsyncd.secrets files on it.  But along the way, whenever a new user is added, they'll need to be updated.  I can use ssh on this system, but, of course, I don't want to allow root access.

I'd like to be able to have these files updated automatically when I add a new user to another system.  I could create new copies of the files locally, where the users are added and use scp to copy them to a directory on the server.  But that's where there are problems.  How can I chown the files to root, copy them to /etc, and chmod as needed for rsync to use them automatically?

I don't see a way to do that without security issues.  I need to somehow ssh in and do an su or run three commands as sudo (I need to mv the file, chown it, and chmod it).

I am far from an expert in security, but I can see that if I have anything in place to make this easy, then anyone hacking my user account could easily mess up anything in the system.

Is there some way I can set this up so I can update rsyncd.conf and rsyncd.secrets only automatically when I have the newer versions on my local system to be uploaded?

Thanks for any ideas!


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