Over the years, cyber threats have continued to evolve and have become more complex despite advancements in security technologies. Internationally recognized brands such as Sony, J P Morgan Chase and the Home Depot have been victimized by cyber-crime in recent years. According to Gartner Research, 4.9 billion connected things were in use in 2015. This is an increase of 30% from 2014. As more and more devices come into use, they create disruption and opportunities—but these also come with increased risk.
The role of network monitoring in enabling proactive IT security
It is imperative for every business to put in place a strong network monitoring solution as a critical part of establishing a secure IT system. Monitoring offers IT teams the visibility to understand and measure the effectiveness of the overall security strategy in terms of compliance and performance. It also makes it possible to detect attacks and security breaches early on before a minor breach becomes a major one and impacts a business negatively.
Security breaches have been responsible for businesses losing millions in revenue. Despite significant investments that organisations have made in security systems in recent years, breaches still continue to happen. This is because most security programs are not robust enough to manage threats; even the policies and procedures used to implement security programs are not perfect. In addition to these, human error is a significant factor that can lead to serious security issues. In such a risky IT landscape, monitoring networks is one of the main security tasks that an IT worker needs to address.
Monitoring plays a crucial role as it pinpoints suspicious issues. It also makes it possible to measure security configurations to see if they are as secure and as compliant as they should be. To manage threats effectively, it is necessary to build instrumentation into the network to proactively detect breaches. In recent years, more network oriented attacks have led to a change in focus from monitoring and establishing defences away from the endpoint and towards the network. This means IT teams today require active, real-time scrutiny of network traffic to identify and prevent attacks before they happen.
Protect your network with open source IT monitoring tools
Although security threats are complex and continually evolving, it is not always necessary to buy expensive software to address the issue. Today, there are several open source tools that offer network and server monitoring along with graphing. They also offer switch and router configuration backups. Cacti is an industry leading open-source network monitoring tool that can monitor entire networks and provide status on bandwidth utilization, port error count and CPU utilization. Cacti also provides detailed information on how much bandwidth is in use and which computers are using it. If the bandwidth in use changes noticeably, this could indicate a network-related issue. The software then notifies IT teams so that they can proactively take measures to address the problem and keep the system secure. Knowing how much bandwidth is in use allows IT workers to understand and forecast usage requirements. They can then plan accordingly for network capacity and check if the network hardware is failing or overloaded.
Cacti can be also be used to monitor Windows or Linux-based computers on the network for general health status. It can create baseline network utilization logs and monitor the health of network hosts. In addition, the Cacti website offers valuable information and downloads for multiple platforms. A very active community supports Cacti, and plug-ins are available for a massive array of hardware and software.
Royal Cyber offers comprehensive security services based on Cacti and other open source software to strategically combat threats and improve security measures. Contact us for a complimentary consultation.