Heres’s Why Network Discovery Tools Are So Important In 2019

As network technology continues to advance, network discovery tools are more important than ever. Here's why they matter and how they work.

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December 28, 2018
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It has been 12 years since Princeton researchers Mark Newman and Albert-László Barabási wrote about the changes of modern computing networks. Their book “The Structure and Dynamics of Networks” focused on the significant changes that corporate intranets faced. Things have changed even more in recent years, as modern networks have become much more dynamic.

The sudden emergence of dynamic networks has been a game changer for most of the corporate world. It makes their systems more responsive, but it also creates more competition. This has led to the adaption of a number of cutting-edge network discovery tools. What are network discovery tools? How do they work and what are their implications? Advancements in modern networks are making network discovery tools much more of a necessity.

Assessing the Network Inventory

Are you aware of all of the devices on your network? Most organizations are not. This is a problem, because devices connecting to your network create a number of liabilities.

This is something that has caught organizations by surprise, which is partially due to the sudden surge in Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) activity. The BYOD market will have increased ten-fold in 2022 since it was adapted in 2014.

The good news is that there are a number of new solutions that make it easier to deal with network inventory issues. Network inventory tools are going to play a very big role in the future of network management. They enable admins to monitor all activity and look for compliance red flags among all connected devices.

Understanding the Nuances of Network Connection Protocols

The Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol server assigns a unique IP address to every device connected to the network. This type of dynamic IP address is confusing to most users, because a device in Bangladesh and Seattle could share the same address if they are connected to the same network.

Does this mean that the devices connected to the network cannot be differentiated? No. They are all given their own media access control address. This is assigned to the hardware configurations of every device, so they will all leave a unique fingerprint.

Network Discovery, Asset Management, and Network Monitoring

You can use a network discovery tool to investigate the internal activity of any network.  This is important for making sure:

  • Necessary devices are able to use the network appropriately
  • Devices without the right permissions are not given access to network resources
  • All activity is done within compliance guidelines
  • There aren’t any indications that any device has been compromised

There are many great benefits of network discovery tools. They ensure compliance and minimize the risks of security breaches considerably.

Of course, network discovery tools aren’t the only types of technology worth investing in. You should also look into using hardware discovery technology. This is suitable for more granular investigations that require you to take a top down look at all devices connected to your servers. You can use a layer-2 or layer-3 topological approach to identify all devices in your network and monitor their activity. Layer-3 systems are more prevalent, but often lack the specificity that layer-2 protocols provide. They provide exceptional detail on the physical and virtual technology behind these devices.  Juniper Networks has more details on the sophistication of layer-2 networks, which should help you understand the importance of constructing the network properly.

Final Thoughts: Modern Networks Require State-of-the-Art Network Discovery Tools

Network discovery tools are the newest form of technology. They are necessary in a new era where dynamic networks have become the norm. It is important for all network administrators to make sure that they have the right network inventory and discovery tools at their disposal to ensure maximum security and make sure the network operates reliably for all users.