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Network Monitoring Methods

Network monitoring is an essential responsibility for businesses of all sizes.  Medium-sized and large companies typically have a network monitoring system in place either onsite or offsite in the cloud but what about small businesses?  This is exactly what hackers are asking when they are seeking to breach a network.

In the last few years small businesses have become the target for network intrusions because hackers are aware that most small businesses do not implement security practices.  The perception is that network security is only important for large companies, government organizations, and financial institutions.  This perception is rapidly changing with the increased number of small businesses. So, what does network monitoring typically involve?  Let’s start by defining network monitoring.

What is Network Monitoring?

Network monitoring involves multiple methods which are deployed for the purpose of maintaining the security and integrity of an internal network.  The internal network is also known as a Local Area Network (LAN) and monitoring encompasses hardware, software, viruses, spyware, vulnerabilities such as backdoors and security holes, and other aspects that can compromise the integrity of a network.

Network Monitoring Methods

There is a wide variety of network monitoring methods which are implemented by IT professionals.  The techniques are deployed via network monitoring solutions that automatically detect and respond to security and performance problems.

  • Intrusion Detection: Intrusion detection monitors local area networks for unauthorized access by hackers.  This method can be implemented manually however, most IT professionals prefer to use an intrusion detection program which automatically detects viruses and malware, network vulnerabilities such as backdoors, logic bombs and other security threats, individual PCs which are connected to the network and file settings.  intrusion detection programs generate reports following a system check so any issues can be addressed.
  • Packet Sniffing: A packet sniffer is a program that inspects every packet of information that passes through the network.  The purpose of a packet sniffer is to detect unauthorized network monitoring software which may be installed by hackers for spying on business activity and information processes.
  • Vulnerability Scanning: A vulnerability scanner will periodically scan the network for vulnerabilities and weaknesses which open up the potential for an exploit.  This method varies from intrusion detection because it detects a weakness before the attack has taken place.  Intrusion detection identifies unauthorized access after the hacker has breached the network.
  • Firewall Monitoring: Firewalls monitor the traffic that is coming in and out of the network.  Firewall monitoring tracks the activities of a firewall to ensure the screening process for incoming and outgoing connections is functioning properly and securely.
  • Penetration Testing: Penetration testing is carried out by IT professionals by using methods that hackers use to breach a network.  The purpose of this process is to take network security to another level by discovering vulnerabilities that hackers may have knowledge of but have not yet been detected via other monitoring methods.

If you have a small business you may want to consider network monitoring as an essential part of your data security strategy.  As you can see there is a lot involved with keeping a local area network secure which can result in increased network maintenance costs.

The other alternative is to consider using a network monitoring service that will oversee the important security aspects of your underlying infrastructure.  If you would like to learn more about network monitoring contact Thrive Networks to discover ways to reduce costs while maintaining network integrity.

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