Well this week I’m speaking at Multiple Microsoft events. The first is Microsoft Sinergija 2011 in Belgrade and the second is Microsoft Vizija 9 in Skopje in Macedonia. It’s so amazing to see such passion in numbers. I’m looking forward to it.
As a security guy I’m often asked to look over new products and give my feedback. This week I was contacted by some of those nice folks over at GFI, you know the ones who produce GFI Essentials to name but one. Anyway they asked me if they could guest post…hey being a generous guy I said no problem. So here you are J
3 Reasons to Use a Network Scanner
A network scanner will help you keep control of many areas and systems of your company’s network. The main benefits of a network scanner are the ability to audit the hardware connected to the network, the ability to detect the software that is running on the network and provide assurance that you are in compliance with regulatory security requirements.
Modern networks are more or less “plug and play”. An administrator can bring in a new PC, plug it into a free socket and voilà, an IP address is assigned and is the machine is ready to be used without any additional configuration. The ease of adding new network devices is a double-edged sword. It allows for networks that scale easily and rapidly, but this also means that the administrator can quickly lose control of his network assets. A network scanner will greatly aid the administrator in this situation. Network scanners are designed to scan your network and probe every device that is connected to it. This allows the administrator to keep an up-to-date inventory of all his hardware assets and it will also help him monitor and detect devices that should not be there in the first place.
Every network device can run a piece of software. Hackers very frequently exploit bugs in this software to gain unauthorized access to your systems. To stop this threat, administrators perform a process called patch management, allowing them to look out for vulnerability notifications and download and install patches where necessary. On large networks it is not feasible for a system administrator to monitor every piece of software on every machine. For this task he will need a network scanner. Network scanners probe every single network device that they find, and determine whether a device is running insecure or outdated software. Good network scanners can detect unauthorized software running on client and server PCs. This greatly reduces the risk of cyber-attacks and virus outbreaks.
Companies that process or store customer credit card data must adhere to strict laws and regulations to ensure that this data is safe. One such regulation is the PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), which is mandatory regardless of how small or big a company is. If a company is processing credit cards, it must comply with PCI DSS. There are stiff penalties for those found not in compliance.
Fighting Fire with Fire
Network scanners are a hacker’s favorite tool and many network scanners are available to them. These tools probe your network allowing a hacker to map-to-map parts of your network infrastructure and look for vulnerabilities. To counter this threat, always use a professional, enterprise quality and up-to-date network scanner and detect vulnerabilities before a hacker does.
This guest post was provided by Jeremy Pullicino 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.
All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.