Network User Monitoring
These days, network user monitoring is not so much a Big Brother activity as a security essential. It can cost businesses millions to recover from an online attack, insider theft or accidental disclosure, and no business is immune to network threats.
Various tools exist to mitigate network threats. Content control filters can prevent employees visiting websites likely to harbor malware, NetFlow and IPFIX mechanisms can act as tools for early threat detection, and event log analyzers can protect confidential information from accidental disclosure or mitigate the consequences once a breach has been identified.
However, none of these solutions provide one, comprehensive window into all the network issues a business can encounter. Furthermore, implementing and managing multiple solutions can be resource-intensive without necessarily achieving their goals. For these reasons, many businesses are taking advantage of network user monitoring software to log, retain, review and report on user activity.
How Network User Monitoring Software Works
Network user monitoring software works by using deep packet inspection techniques to extract user metadata from network packets. Wire data analytics performed on the raw network traffic yields human readable and meaningful metadata on what protocols and applications are being used, who is using them, what devices are on the network and what data accesses are being made. Metadata rollups and drilldowns give businesses total visibility across an entire network in order to:
- Monitor network security.
- Monitor network performance.
- Monitor user activity.
- Troubleshoot network issues.
- Analyze bandwidth usage.
- Monitor web usage.
- Provide network and user forensics.
- Identify trends and report to management.
Being able to access this data in real time helps accelerate the speed at which businesses can identify security issues, troubleshoot network problems and eliminate user abuse of the system – thus increasing user productivity. Network user monitoring software can also help enhance the performance of the network by identifying redundant or unused network resources and highlighting areas of high demand.
Network User Monitoring for Large Networks
There are two types of software for network user monitoring – software that uses agents, and agent-free software. Software that uses agents has its advantages inasmuch as it is installed on each individual device to capture keystrokes and mouse clicks in locally-running applications. However, it is an inappropriate solution for network user monitoring for large networks due to the individual installation and software maintenance required on each device. It is also unsuitable for public access networks or BYOD networks where the network administrator has no opportunity to install agents onto the end users´ devices.
Agent-free software connects to the network via the core switch, and uses a monitoring (SPAN) port or mirror port to simplify network user monitoring for large networks. Once installed, businesses can configure the software from any web browser on the network to send instant alerts when specific network events occur, or to schedule reports by individual user, user group, application or universally.
Agent-free software for network user monitoring for large networks is completely non-intrusive and has no impact on network performance. It stores traffic data in its own database, so that historic activity on the network as well as real time activity can be viewed via the web-based portal. It can be deployed quickly and managed centrally, reducing maintenance overheads for administrators and IT security.
Network User Monitoring for Remote Sites
A further advantage of agent-free software is that it enables network user monitoring for remote sites, where monitoring might not otherwise be an option due to a centralized IT team. Whereas NetFlow flow statistics are available from supported devices that can route data between two or more networks, they do not provide the deeper packet capture traffic analysis needed to monitor off-site activity on cloud-based applications or to troubleshoot remote network problems.
With agent-free network user monitoring for remote sites, the software is installed in each remote site. Each network can be monitored individually, or the software at each remote site can be configured to report back to a “Central Manager”. In the latter instance, data from all remote sites is stored centrally and businesses get a single reference point for all traffic and security information across the enterprise.
Network user monitoring for remote sites has multiple applications in the absence of an onsite IT team. The software can be configured to report activity associated with ransomware attacks, identify user abuse to enforce acceptable use policies, and prevent insider theft or accidental disclosure. It can even identify threats issues originating from devices that connect to the network wirelessly.
LANGuardian from NetFort
LANGuardian is the industry´s leading agent-free, deep packet inspecting software for network user monitoring. Easy to install and configure, LANGuardian generates and stores network metadata in rich detail over long periods for multiple network security and operational use cases. It can be deployed within minutes to give businesses a single dashboard view of their entire network.
LANGuardian´s key features include a comprehensive search facility, a robust reporting mechanism and a versatile alert engine. Because LANGuardian drills down to the minutest detail, our software for network user monitoring can reveal exactly what is happening on a network´s infrastructure by username, IP address, subnet, file name or web address.
LANGuardian uses advanced content-based application recognition to analyze packet content as well as packet headers – eliminating reliance on source address, destination address and port numbers to identify the application associated with network traffic. It also enables the identification of applications using random port numbers, or standard port numbers for non-standard purposes.
Try LANGuardian Free for Thirty Days
If your business does not have total visibility over activity on your network, or if the mechanisms you currently use are straining the resources of your IT security and administration, try our software for network user monitoring free for thirty days. Our trial offer includes all the software you will need to deploy LANGuardian on your own hardware, VMware or Hyper-V.
There are no credit cards required in order to take advantage of this opportunity, no contracts to sign nor commitment on you to continue using our software for network user monitoring once the trial period has expired. Simply sign up for your free trial of LANGuardian today, or contact us with any questions you have or for more information about this opportunity.