Network management applications and programs are often overlooked tools for hardening your network infrastructure. Reasons for this include the following:
Traditionally, network management has not really been considered a security mechanism. This is even evident in the design of many of the management protocols we use; many of them have no authentication or weak authentication and no encryption of data.
Network management is often considered an afterthought in network design and implementation.
As network administrators, we wind up spending so much time reacting to problems and incidents that we rarely find the time to really consider network management and what we can accomplish with it. Sure, we all know we need it and we know we want it ”but we don t always know what we want to accomplish with it. You can see this put into practice with industry reports that put over 60 percent of network management implementations as failed projects or as projects that did not live up to expectations.
In this chapter, we are going to look at two aspects of network management. The first aspect is an examination of how you can use network management tools to increase the security of your network and ensure that your network management implementation accomplishes the goals and objectives you define. The second aspect is an examination of the network management protocols and utilities that exist and how you can secure them.