When it comes to network security there are a lot of choices as to what software you actually use. You can apply firewalls, antivirus software, internet access controls and network scanners. Seeing where the network scanner fits into this security puzzle can be a little difficult. However, a network scanner can actually perform a multitude of different tasks for an administrator. Let’s look at some of its typical functions and how they might help you with your daily security routines.
Patch scanning and deployment:
One of the major functions of a network scanner is to locate and deploy patches. The ability to execute this differs amongst different network scanners. At the most basic level a network scanner will be able to perform patch detection on operating systems, but will be unable to deploy them. Advanced network scanners, on the other hand, can perform both actions on operating systems and applications, even in multiple languages.
Software and hardware inventory:
A good network scanner will map the software and hardware on your network. This can be very useful, not only to run inventories, but also to detect whenever users install new unauthorized software or hardware. A good network scanner can perform this task automatically, informing you when changes are detected.
By gathering information and creating reports on various security aspects relating to your network, good network scanners provide you with information on your security policies, shares and who has access to them, as well as what computers and devices are connected to your network. This information can be essential for the detection of rogue access points and unauthorized virtual machines, as well as the addition of new unauthorized users.
The most useful aspect a network scanner brings to your organization is its vulnerability assessment. Vulnerabilities come in many different shapes and sizes, ranging from incorrect software configurations to actual software security issues for which a patch is not yet available. Performing periodic audits without any automated tools can be a very time consuming process and also prone to human error. A network scanner can regularly check all of your network’s software for new vulnerabilities, reporting them to you as they are discovered and saving you considerable time, as well as providing you with accurate audits.
An important feature of a good network scanner is its remediation options. These can include patch deployment and information resources to allow you to easily take corrective actions in relation to any newly detected vulnerability.
By automating the monitoring process, your network can be maintained in a cost effective manner. Remediation actions can then be performed without too much effort. In addition, a good network scanner should provide you with the resources necessary to analyze and know how to approach any vulnerability that might be detected. This is not only extremely convenient, but it also improves your network security as the time required to fix potential security hazards is greatly reduced.
This guest post was provided by Emmanuel Carabott on behalf of GFI Software Ltd. GFI is a leading software developer that provides a single source for network administrators to address their network security, content security and messaging needs. Read more on the importance of using a network scanner.
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