Welcome back to the second half of our two-part article on how to use network monitoring to close security holes detected through vulnerability management. Last time we talked about what vulnerability management is for businesses and several of the best common ways to deal with vulnerabilities that you find including updates, scripts, and additional security protocols. However, sometimes simple workarounds are not an option. Let's pick up where we left off at vulnerabilities that can't be directly fixed.
When You Can't Fix a Vulnerability
Sometimes a vulnerability is embedded too deep in a program or is too subtle to fix with a simple script, small program, or employee diligence and that's when you need to use more complex tools. Even if they're difficult to deal with, you simply can't afford to leave these vulnerabilities open and unattended. Doing so is risky for your business, your clients, and even your employees whose personal information like names, direct deposit accounts, and social security numbers could be exposed if your security is breached. Open ports, privilege confusion, and email injections are all incredibly dangerous and leave you open to malware and hacker attacks. When you can't permanently close these potential back-doors or cover for them with new procedures, the best thing you can do is guard them and the number one way to keep an eye on potential computer problems and receive warnings at the first sign of an attempted breach is with comprehensive network monitoring.
Network Monitoring as a Vulnerability Management Solution
Network monitoring is the process of keeping track of almost every possible detail on your business network from the heat of individual computers to the flow of traffic into and out of your servers. With even a simple network monitoring arrangement, you should be able to monitor specific ports, terminal activity, and how packets move through your network. Not only can you access an incredible amount of performance insight through these tools, you can also configure the monitoring service to alert you when specific conditions are met that represent your vulnerabilities. All you have to do is set up the network monitoring and indicate the circumstances you'd like to be alerted about should they occur.
Let's say you have a program that needs a port left open in an insecure way and you're worried about unauthorized activity slipping around or even with the packets required by the program. With network monitoring, you can track authorized traffic but any unfamiliar traffic will flag the system and alert your admins to a possible security breach. The monitoring could also catch other interesting and security-relevant information like unusual login locations, after-hours activity, or unexpected resource allocation. The combination of accuracy, versatility, and real-time response is what makes network monitoring perfect to guard your acknowledged but still unfixed vulnerabilities.
Setting Up Vulnerability Network Monitoring
The two most common uses for network monitoring are website availability monitoring, ensuring that business websites are always online, and as a detailed systems-administrator tool for configuring and optimizing a business network. In its unique role as a vulnerability watch-dog, you'll need to set up your network monitoring a little bit different because there are specific issues you'd like to detect and track. It may also take a little bit of time to get a baseline and determine exactly how you want your security admin alerts configured.
Unless you have a network monitoring expert on your team, the best way to achieve your goals is to work with a third party monitoring service and consult with their experts on how to set up monitoring and alerts for your known vulnerabilities. Once their technicians understand your needs, they should be able to help you and your vulnerability management team engage the exact right amount of monitoring and vigilance to ensure that no untreated gaps are left in your business cyber-security infrastructure. Once the initial monitoring arrangement is in place, it will become simple for your team to use monitoring for any known but un-fixable vulnerabilities they discover in the future. For more information and advice on network security for your business, contact us today!