GFI LANguard 2012 SR1 now Supports Mac OS

GFI has announced an update to their GFI LANguard product. GFI LANguard is a patch management, vulnerability management and network audit tool. The new features include the ability to patch Mac systemsand enhanced compliance reporting:

Mac OS patching support

GFI LanGuard now automates patching on Apple Mac OS X computers as well as Windows computers, all from the same console.

Enhanced compliance reporting

GFI LanGuard includes dedicated reports for additional compliance standards (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Public Services Network – Code of Connection (PSN CoCo), Sarbanes–Oxley Act (SOX), Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act (GLB/GLBA) as well as the Payment Card Industry Digital Security Standard (PCI-DSS).

More information can be found at their website.

GFI also offers a free 30 day trial.

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3 Tips for Effective Vulnerability Assessments

Every business has different needs, but they also have many things in common. Today, almost all businesses have an IT infrastructure once they reach a certain size. This commonality results in businesses having similar needs.

One such shared need is ensuring that you maintain a secure business network infrastructure.

There are many things an organization can do to keep its network secure, ranging from patch management to firewalls. However, one tactic that is often overlooked is performing a periodic vulnerability assessment.

Regular vulnerability assessments are essential because threats to your network security continually change and evolve, and your security should be able to match this. A user’s PC or network access point might be secure today, but it could become completely vulnerable tomorrow simply because some malicious attacker might have discovered a previously unknown attack vector.

A vulnerability assessment doesn’t come without its own associated costs. You need to strike a balance between security and inconvenience for your end users. Also, it is important that your vulnerability assessments are conducted correctly, as an error could result in the very problems that you are trying to avoid.

With that in mind, we have prepared some tips to ensure efficiency in your vulnerability assessments, helping you to keep your business network secure.

1) Select a proper schedule for your vulnerability assessment:

Vulnerability assessments cover many different tasks. Machines are scanned for missing software patches and they ensure software is correctly configured and that no aspect of your network has changed. You do not want to see that new users have been created, new shares opened or even new PCs or hardware connected to your network without your knowledge.

However, all these checks affect your network performance, making it essential that they are run at times when they least impact productivity. At the same time, they should not be run so infrequently that they leave a large window of opportunity for any attacker to exploit.

Ideally your vulnerability assessments should be run daily and outside of normal business hours. This schedule should be carefully tailored to meet your specific business needs.

2) Do your testing before implementing any changes:

A vulnerability assessment is designed to find deficiencies in your network, be they missing patches or an

incorrect configuration. When this occurs your vulnerability assessment software will offer you a number of options to remedy the situation, or provide you with information on how you might tackle the vulnerability that has been found.

It is important to understand that every network is different. Every computer has different software installed, and is comprised of different hardware. Software patches will alter the core of the software you run and this can lead to potential problems. Likewise, any changes you make to secure your network can also result in issues due to the unique nature of your system.

This is why it is always recommended to have test environments that mirror your live network as much as possible. Any changes can be first implemented on this test network before live deployment. In this way you can prevent yourself from implementing changes that are actually to the detriment of your network operation.

3) Disaster recovery plans are a must:

A bad practice that is often seen in vulnerability assessments and remediation plans is to only think about how we are going to solve an issue only once we actually come face-to-face with the problem itself.

By doing this you can actually cause unnecessary down time as you grapple with unexpected scenarios. A better way to deal with such undesirable events is to plan ahead and create disaster recovery plans for the most common eventualities. This should include a failed patch deployment that results in system instability, measures to take when there is a detected intrusion, as well as the course of action to follow when you encounter a virus infection.

Vulnerability assessment is an important component in maintaining business network security. However, like so many other tasks, it needs to be approached in the right manner. Utilizing the three simple tips above can save you a lot of time in the future and ensure you and your network steer clear of some insidious pitfalls.

This guest post was provided by Emmanuel Carabott on behalf of GFI Software Ltd. GFI is a leading software developer that provides a single source for to address their network security, content security and messaging need. Learn more on what to look out for when choosing a vulnerability scanner:

http://www.gfi.com/network-security-vulnerability-scanner

All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

First Aid Kit for Sys Admins – Free eBook

“You’ve found a virus running on your server. You discover logon IDs on your network that you don’t recognize and you can’t delete them. The logs say someone accessed the payroll admin’s computer and copied the master earning report. A hacker emails you saying they have your credit card database. Any one of these is enough for you to hit the panic button and lose it – don’t.

These things happen, and when they do, just keep a cool head on your shoulders and follow the established procedure for dealing with issues. In our First Aid Kit for Sys Admins, we’re going to give you the steps you need to take to provide immediate aid to hacked systems, infected workstations, compromised services and other computer emergencies that will come up from time to time in any network.”

Network intrusions and cyber attacks are on the rise. Do you know the best techniques to defend your network, or what to do if the worse happens? Our Friends at GFI have released a free eBook (PDF) providing helpful tips to aid in dealing with the myriad of security issues that we face.

The “First Aid Kit for SysAdmins“.

Check it out!

The Benefits of Cloud-based Server Monitoring

There has been a lot said about the cloud and its advantages. Cloud-based server monitoring has been the latest solution to make this transition, but what advantages does it offer? Not being one to shirk a task, we threw down some magic beans and hopped up the resulting beanstalk to poke around the cloud and see how this solution stacks up and what it can offer to busy system administrators to make it worth their while.

Cost

One element that has contributed greatly to the cloud’s popularity is the low start-up costs and the predictable, subscription-based pricing models for IT system administrators looking to do more on a small budget. Cloud-based solutions require no software or hardware changes to your network infrastructure, so you don’t have to worry about capital expenditure costs taking a bite out of your budget.

The low entry cost of cloud-based server monitoring solutions thus provides you with a fast ROI – which is great news for IT departments struggling with budgetary constraints.

Fast Deployment

Cloud-based network monitoring solutions only require the deployment of an agent to the servers and workstations they need to monitor, which means they can be set up in minutes, greatly facilitating their installation on all devices, including remote PCs. System administrators have an easier task as there is no hardware to source, no applications to install, and no firewall ports to open.

Maintenance is simplified as updates and upgrades are automatically deployed by the host, leaving administrators free to concentrate on getting the value out of the system, not keeping it up to date and running and removing any issues that may arise from incompatibility, dependencies or conflicts.

Device and location independence

While many server monitoring solutions can alert you to critical events through email or text message so that you know what is going on, cloud based server monitoring solutions also enable you to log in to a management console through a web browser to see what is going on without the need to connect back into the office network.

Not only does this give you the ability to stay in touch with your network easily while you are out of the office, it also allows you to be proactive and deal with issues rapidly. In turn, this faster reaction time allows you to reduce system downtime and increases your organization’s productivity.

Simplicity

Cloud-based server monitoring solutions bring increased simplicity to the process of keeping your network healthy. While most monitoring solutions can offer pre-configured checks for the most common aspects of Windows servers, as well as easy-to-use interfaces, cloud-based solutions go one step further. They are designed to be implemented and managed by less experienced IT administrators, allowing you to redeploy senior staff with expensive skill sets to more productive tasks.

If you are looking to optimize your network, cloud-based server and network monitoring solutions offer you several advantages. Cost savings, rapid deployments, device and location independence and simplicity makes it easy to understand why cloud-based server monitoring is rapidly gaining ground. In fact, we like it so much at the top of this beanstalk, we think we’ll stay in the cloud a little while longer.

This guest post was provided by Jeff Smith on behalf of GFI Software Ltd. GFI is a leading software developer that provides a single source for network administrators to address their network security, content security and messaging needs. Read more on how you can benefit from cloud-based server monitoring.

All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.