Monday, March 27, 2006

Choose a network management tool that can also help secure your systems

Most management tools do an excellent job of keeping track of your network interfaces, server processes, and network statistics. But you can get the maximum benefit from network management tools by selecting the right tool and using it to keep your network secure.

Know what you're looking for

When researching network management tools, keep in mind that the best tools have three key features.

One simple interface:

All of the information you need should be on one interface; you shouldn't have to switch between different screens. The interface should be Web-based and customizable for each administrator who needs to see the information. By giving system administrators, managers, and department heads a customized view that they can work with, they can become another set of eyes for your network operations.

Ability to recognize normal operations:

Most security-related events occur outside of the normal operating parameters of your network. Your tool must be able to tell the difference between normal traffic and abnormal traffic, and it should be able to report that information accurately.

Actionable information:

If you're going to use the tool to manage the security of your network, you must be able to act on that information from the same screen that delivered it. In other words, you should be able to detect a security-related event and then use the same tool to deal with the problem

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