Network security auditing is an essential task for modern enterprises that involves auditing your IT assets and policies. An audit can be helpful in exposing potential vulnerabilities. It can also provide you with a high-order overview of the network which can be useful when trying to solve specific problems. Audits can also give you an understanding of how protected your organization is against known security threats.
In this article, we take a look at the best network security auditing tools including port scanners, vulnerability scanners and more to help you audit your network for security concerns.
Here is our list of the best network security auditing tools:
- SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager Our top pick for network security auditing. Configuration management tool with vulnerability scanning, reporting, and alerts.
- Netwrix Auditor Network security auditing software with configuration monitoring, automated alerts, and a Rest API.
- Nessus Free vulnerability assessment tool with over 450 configuration templates and customizable reports.
- Nmap Open-source port scanner and network mapper available as a command-line interface or as a GUI (Zenmap).
- OpenVAS Vulnerability assessment tool for Linux users with regular updates.
- Acunetix A network security scanner that can detect over 50,000 network vulnerabilities and integrates with OpenVAS.
- Kaseya VSA RMM software with IT asset discovery, custom dashboards, reports, and automation.
- Spiceworks Inventory Network inventory tool that automatically discovers network devices.
- Network Inventory Advisor inventory scanning tool compatible with Windows, Mac OS, and Linux devices.
- ManageEngine AdAudit Plus Auditing tool for Active Directory with over 200 pre-configured reports.
- Metasploit Penetration testing tool that allows you to hack into exploits in your network.
Best Network Security Auditing Tools
1. SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager (FREE TRIAL)
SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager is a device configuration and auditing tool that lets you manage the configuration of network devices. You can deploy configurations to devices inside your network. You can also view unauthorized or incorrect configurations.
The Network vulnerability scanning feature monitors the network and automatically deploys firmware updates to outdated devices. Through the dashboard, you can view a range of data on status to view the state of your environment. For example, there is a mixture of lists and graphs details everything from Firmware Vulnerabilities to Policy Violations, Overall Configuration Changes, and more.
There are also additional features like reports and alerts. The reporting feature enables you to generate reports on all network devices. Alerts notify you about configuration changes and provide additional details about the changes and the login ID behind the changes. If a change isn’t desirable then you can rollback to an archive copy.
SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager is one of the top network security auditing tools because it gives you the ability to shut down vulnerabilities throughout your network. Prices start at $3,085 (£2,379.15). You can download a 30-day free trial.
2. Netwrix Auditor
Netwrix Auditor is a network security auditing software that can monitor configuration changes in your environment. Through the dashboard, you can view information on system changes including Action, Who, What, When, and Where. All of the information provides you everything you need to know about the nature of the changes and what happened.
The user can also view the same information about login attempts and port scanning attempts. Failed logins are marked with a red box, which helps you to see immediately if someone is trying to break into your network. You can also view hardware monitoring information on CPU temperature, power supply, and cooling fan status.
An alerts system provides an automated incident response. You can configure scripts that Netwrix Auditor will execute when an alert is generated. For example, if a divide fails then you can configure the settings to generate a Helpdesk ticket for your team to start the remediation process.
Netwrix Auditor is one of the top network security auditing tools for those who want a solution with automation and a rest API. There is a free community edition, but you’ll have to purchase the software if you want to view more in-depth detail on network events. Contact the company directly for a quote. You can download the 20-day free trial.
Nessus is a free vulnerability assessment tool that can be used for auditing, configuration management, and patch management. Nessus is well-equipped to confront the latest threats releasing plugins for new vulnerabilities within an average of 24 hours. Plugins are added automatically so the user is ready to discover new cyber-attacks.
Configuring Nessus is easy because you have the support of over 450 different configuration templates. For example, there is a range of scan templates including Basic Network Scan, Advanced Scan, Malware Scan, Host Discovery, WannaCry Ransomware, and more. The variety of templates makes it easy to find the vulnerabilities you need.
You can also generate customizable reports to reflect on new entry points. Create reports detailing specific vulnerabilities by host or plugin. For example, you could generate a Hosts Executive Summary report and see how many hosts are categorized as Critical, High, Medium, Low, and Info. Reports can be created in HTML, CSV, and .nessus XML to share with your team.
Nessus is ideal if you’re looking for an auditing solution that is equipped to discover new online threats. The Essentials version of Nessus is available for free and can scan up to 16 IPs. Paid versions start at $2,390 (£1843) for Nessus Professional, which comes with a one-year subscription and unlimited IPs. You can try a free trial version.
Nmap is an open-source port scanner and network security scanner. With Nmap, you can discover hosts and find open ports vulnerable to being attacked. The software tells you whether ports are open, closed or filtered, via a command-line interface. The interface also tells you additional information such as the Port, State, Service, and Version of entities discovered. You can use the program to identify what OS version a piece of software is running so that you can patch any glaring weaknesses.
There is also the option to create automated scans. Nmap allows you to write scripts in Lua to run scans automatically. Automating scans is beneficial because it saves you time so that you don’t have to run scans manually to discover vulnerabilities.
If you’re not a fan of command-line interfaces then you can switch to Zenmap, the GUI version of Nmap. With Zenmap the user can save scan profiles and run common scans without having to manually set up a scan every time. You can also save scan results to review later on.
Nmap is a popular port scanning tool because it’s simple enough for new users and offers more experienced users a ton of advanced features. It’s also free! Nmap is available for Linux, Windows, UNIX, and FreeBSD. You can download the program for free.
OpenVAS is an open-source vulnerability scanning software aimed at Linux environments that offers authenticated and unauthenticated testing. OpenVAS is constantly updated to detect the latest vulnerabilities with the Greenbone Network Vulnerability Tests public feed, which includes over 50,000 different vulnerabilities.
It’s is a good fit for enterprises looking for an affordable vulnerability scanning tool for testing out the defenses of a network. OpenVAS is available for free.
Acunetix is a network security scanner and one of the top network security auditing tools that can test for over 50,000 network vulnerabilities. It discovers issues like open ports that leave your systems open to being compromised.
Scan results can be viewed through the dashboard, which details the severity and status of vulnerabilities. The tool can also test for weak passwords on database servers, FTP, IMAP, SSH, POP3, SSH, Telnet, socks, and more.
There is also a configuration management feature that automatically detects misconfigurations in your network. You can use the feature to discover issues such as weak SNMP community strings or TLS/SSL ciphers that attackers can exploit. Having vulnerabilities listed allows you to organize your remediation and eliminate entry points more effectively.
The platform integrates with OpenVAS and you can run scans automatically through the cloud-based user interface. Similarly, any issues you discover can be monitored with external tools including Jira, GitHub, and Microsoft TFS. The integrations give you the option to choose where you want to see your environment.
Acunetix is worth a look for users who want a network auditing tool that’s easy to navigate that can integrate with other tools. The software offers 1 year of free network scanning. It starts at $4,495 (£3,466) for support for 1-5 websites. You can try the free trial version.
7. Kaseya VSA
Kaseya VSA is an RMM software that can discover and manage endpoints. The tool automatically stores audit information from devices throughout your network. View discovered devices in a list format and view data including name, OS type, CPU, RAM, disk volumes, license, manufacturer, and more. A search bar helps you to navigate and find the performance data you need.
The platform itself is highly customizable. The user can create custom dashboards to manage their devices. The dashboard lets you track the status of a patch, agents, and operating systems. There are also customizable reports that you can use to manage devices.
Policy-based automation enables you to automatically complete tasks like software, patch, and antivirus deployment. On the communities, Automation Exchange, there are over 500 scripts included out-of-the-box you can use to configure your monitoring environment.
Kaseya VSA is ideal for larger companies looking for an automated IT inventory management tool. To find out pricing details, you will have to contact the company directly for a quote. You can also start a 14-day free trial.
8. Spiceworks Inventory
Spiceworks Inventory is a network inventory tool that takes an inventory of devices with IP addresses. You can automatically discover data on connected Devices and view it in a list format. Simply enter the IP range you want to scan and start scanning to identify devices. Once finished scanning, you can view the software installed, manufacturer, MAC address, open ports, and more.
You can use the tool to configure email reports. The user can create customized reports and email them to other employees on a schedule. Customization options include the ability to select what columns to display.
For example, if you wanted to generate a report on whether devices had antivirus installed then you can select the AntiVirus Name, Antivirus Version, and AntiVirus Up-to-Date? Options to verify the device is protected
Spiceworks Inventory is an excellent tool if you want to take an inventory of Windows and Mac devices without paying anything upfront. The software is available completely free with support for unlimited devices and users. Download Spiceworks Inventory for free.
9. Network Inventory Advisor
Network Inventory Advisor is an inventory scanning tool that can automatically detect Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and SNMP-enabled devices. Device data is displayed in a list format detailing the OS and storage space of devices.
You can navigate inventory data to view All license keys, All hardware, All software, All Alerts or a Network Summary. In the All Alerts view you can view a list of notifications on your environment. The notifications tell you about hardware/software changes and storage issues.
The software licensing management feature that can track software licenses. For example, the tool scans for serial numbers and license codes to help you keep your software up to date. This tool can collect software licenses for a range of providers including Microsoft, Symantec, Autodesk, Adobe, Corel, and more.
Network Inventory Advisor is intended for those looking for a simple inventory management solution that can manage a range of devices. They offer a scalable pricing model starting at $89 (£68.65) for 25 nodes going up to an unlimited custom package. There’s a 15-day free trial.
10. ManageEngine AdAudit Plus
ManageEngine AdAudit Plus is a real-time auditing platform for Active Directory. You can monitor AD domain controllers, users, groups, and more. To manage your service you can view user actions and permissions changes to see how your environment is changing.
There are over 200 pre-configured reports that you can choose from to document AD. Schedule reports run at regular intervals so that you stay up to date on AD changes. For more pressing issues like unauthorized access to the network, alerts send you an email notification to take action.
The software also has the ability to audit Windows File Server. The user can monitor when documents are created, edited and deleted. This tool has been designed to meet a range of compliance requirements including SOX, HIPAA, GLBA, PCI-DSS, FISMA, and more.
ManageEngine AdAudit Plus is a tool designed for companies that want to audit Active Directory usage and file servers. It’s is available on Windows, but you’ll have to contact the company directly for a quote. You can download the 30-day free trial.
Metasploit is an open-source penetration testing software for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux, that many companies use to test network defenses. Running a penetration test with Metasploit allows you to find vulnerabilities in your network from the perspective of an attacker. The Metasploit framework comes with a range of exploits with almost 500 different payloads you can use to simulate a cyberattack.
The tool offers plugins that can integrate with other monitoring services such as Nessus Pro and Nmap. For example, you can import Nmap scans directly into Metasploit. The integrations that are compatible with these external services enable the software to work alongside other tools in your cybersecurity strategy.
Metasploit is available as an open-source (Metasploit Framework) or commercial tool (Metasploit Pro). The commercial version includes additional features like network discovery and a remote API. To find out pricing information you’ll have to contact the company directly. There is a 14-day free trial available for the commercial version.
Auditing your network, managing your IT inventory, and checking for vulnerabilities is something that every company needs to do. Conducting simple tasks like maintaining an inventory of devices and regularly searching for configuration issues ensures that your network is prepared for the future. If you don’t regularly monitor your infrastructure there’s no way you can manage new vulnerabilities effectively.
SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager is our editor’s choice for managing device configurations. Other standout tools include NetWrix, and Nmap (the latter is ideal if you’re looking for a free vulnerability scanning solution). No matter what tool you choose, taking a proactive approach will give you the best line of defense against new threats.