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What is monitoring software?

This article explains what monitoring software is, how important it is to protect your network, and why you need it.
Man looking at a dashboard of monitoring software.

This article covers monitoring software. It is important to identify a breach in your network as quickly as possible, and monitoring software helps an organization do this.

The importance of protecting your network

Most organizations have system administrators and/or network administrators who have to protect the network from outside attacks and inside threats and assist network users in their day-to-day work.

Network administrators cannot monitor network traffic full-time, and it is risky to depend on users reporting issues as your only way of monitoring potential threats. You do not know when a hacker will attack, how they will attack, or how many approaches they may use simultaneously.

Intelligent hackers may even know when your organization is busiest, and they could time their attack to match the time that network administrators are busy so that the attack has a better chance of sneaking in.

Understanding your security

Even if an attack is stopped by your network security, your network administrators need to know that an attack was attempted. They need to know where it happened when it happened, and whether anything was breached, damaged, or altered.

The organization may also need to report the incident to the board, clients, or stockholders, depending on the attack. System log files will record who accessed the network and when what files they accessed, and other useful information.

However, manually monitoring these files full-time would be a resource-heavy task for an administrator, so monitoring software can monitor these files for you.

What is monitoring software?

Monitoring software has been designed to search system log files and extract data if something happens – even if an attack was not successful.

This means that attacks can be detected quickly and that the network administrator can be told what happened and when it happened.

What types of monitoring software are there?

There are three main types of software monitoring systems. Typically, an organization will have at least one of these, although sometimes they will need two or all three. These three systems are:

  • IPS, intrusion prevention system
  • IDS, intrusion detection system
  • MDM, mobile device management
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