Network auditing is a must for any organization. Networks are dynamic entities; they grow, shrink, change and divide themselves continuously. Network administrators cannot even assume this process is entirely under their control. Users add devices and sometimes even new hardware to the network infrastructure. Even worse, it is not the first time a user would install software they need without informing the administrator. These activities can have drastic repercussions on network security. To solve this, an administrator needs to perform regular network auditing and monitor any changes to the preset baseline
Network auditing is a process in which your network is mapped both in terms of software and hardware. The process can be daunting if done manually, but luckily some tools can help automate a large part of the process. The administrator needs to know what machines and devices are connected to the network. He should also know what operating systems are running and to what service pack/patch level. Another point on the checklist should be what user accounts and groups are on each machine as well as what shares are available and to whom. A good network audit will also include what hardware makes up each machine, what policies affect that machine and whether it is a physical or a virtual machine. The more detailed the specification the better.
Once the machines running on our system are mapped, the administrator should then move to audit what software is running on each of the machines. This can be done manually, through an application, or simply asking each machine owner to run a script that would automatically catalogue applications and send the administrator an email with a report of the software installed. After the product stock is done, the procedure would then be able to index the administrations which are introduced, which are running and which are halted. The review of the machines can be settled by taking note of which ports each machine tunes in on and what programming is really running at the season of the review.
Once the administrator finishes up auditing the PCs on the network, she/he can proceed onward to classifying the devices. These can incorporate printers, fax machines, switches, get to focuses, arrange capacity and whatever other gadget that has availability with the system. When this is done, the system review would be finished, yet the information will now should be dissected. Is any machine running unapproved programming or equipment? Is any machine lacking vital patches? After these and other important inquiries to every particular system are tended to and machines that weren’t up to standard are acquired line, the chairman now has a powerful security/stock benchmark for all machines on the system.
Where should an administrator go from here?
So what can the information gathered through the network audit be used for? Network auditing tools can be set to run an audit automatically on a schedule, for example every Friday. These weekly reports can then be used to monitor changes on the network, based on the baseline the administrator would have created, and report changes when they occur. The administrator can then enforce proper change management policies on the network. He/she would also be able to detect and take action against unauthorized software/hardware that might potentially jeopardize the network’s security, or even put the company at risk of legal action as the user installing this software might not have the necessary licenses.
A regular security audit can possibly distinguish burglary; a few clients may choose a small amount of the memory accessible on their workstation may be put to better use at home, for instance. Another basic case is the point at which a client may figure it wouldn’t be an issue on the off chance that he/she bought and connected a wireless access point at work to have internet connectivity on his mobile phone. This process can also help the administrator know if users disabled the company antivirus or uninstalled any other security software on his system.
All in all, network auditing is important for any administrator. Networks change dynamically both through the actions of the administrator and without his or her intervention. Regular network auditing is the only way an administrator can keep up with changes to the network under care.
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This post was written by Suman Mondal