Real time network monitoring to ensure Network Security
Being able to identify unauthorized network access and internet usage is one of the main benefits to monitor network traffic. Another advantage is to ensure the company controlled network is secure and monitoring for malicious activity. Real time monitoring, coupled with extensive logging of network activity ensures the capability of a supervisor to stop illicit activity almost immediately, and to trace said activity back to any related incidents that may otherwise have gone without notice.
Every day, supposedly secure networks are compromised by unauthorized, insecure actions that weaken or eliminate the effect of passive network defenses. For most organizations, this means that highly sensitive and potentially valuable data assumed to be secure is made available to malicious individuals ready to exploit these holes in the network’s security. Any organization that has the desire to preserve company data stored on computers connected to their network at all is best advised to beef up their defenses to prevent trivial security breaches from resulting in large, expensive, and potentially disastrous penetrations of the organization’s network.
Software for monitoring network traffic
The list of software available for those seeking to monitor network traffic is large, but varies widely in terms of application performance, functionality, and versatility. This software can be categorized into several distinct groups, based on the functionality of the program. A packet sniffer is a network traffic analysis tool designed to intercept, capture and/or back trace network packets, allowing a real time examination of all current network activity. Other software is designed to monitor network bandwidth and in so doing alerting a network administrator to the sudden, unexpected or random spikes in network activity that often signify either an attack or unauthorized transfer of data. Still more software is valuable in logging the activity of all active applications running on a network computer, allowing for the detection of network related viral activity in infected system files. More commonly used software, such as either a software or hardware firewall, can filter and log the port usage of network computers, allowing only authorized connections on specific ports or rerouting packets to specific computers to stop unauthorized connections to other network entities.
Preventing Network Attacks with Network Monitoring Software
Network monitoring software, which is often a requirement in some organizations can be highly complex, is a relatively inexpensive means for an organization with sensitive data to protect their information or to merely monitor network traffic. Few organizations exist that would not stand to gain from the minimal expense necessary to attain greater security. Though not as powerful as fully supported, commercial software, free software does exist that can greatly increase security and expand the capacities of a network administrator. The purchase of better supported, more user friendly and feature rich commercial software is not a large financial burden and will often pay for itself if ever a network attack or data breach were to occur. The capacity to identify, monitor, and back trace illicit activity can make the difference between a lost cause and a lawsuit that stops the spreading of information in its tracks, prevents future security breaches, and brings legal action against the perpetrator.
Benefits to Network Traffic Monitoring
�Prevent network and server performance bottlenecks
�Discover unwanted or potential malicious activity on the network
�Determine which applications or users are consuming the most bandwidth
�Easy track down network issues
�Log and trace back network packets
�Reporting and trending of network traffic