An Invalid Access Alarm Provides Much Needed Security for Console Server Applications

The purpose of a Console Server is to provide out of band access to console port command functions on remote network elements. This capability can be absolutely vital for any network administrator who’s responsible for keeping remote network equipment sites up and running 24/7, but it also prevents somewhat of a challenge, security-wise, due to the same remote command access capabilities that make it such an important tool for out of band management. That’s why it’s important that console server products include a robust assortment of security features, plus features such as an Invalid Access Alarm to keep administrators notified when unauthorized users may be attempting to gain access to sensitive command functions.

An invalid access alarm allows the console server to track and count unsuccessful log in attempts, and promptly notify network administrators when unusual or excessive failed password attempts are detected. In many cases, excessive failed password attempts can be an indication that unauthorized personnel are trying to hack their way past password security, trying common passwords or using a random text generator in an attempt to access console server command functions.

In some cases, invalid access alarms include the ability to notify administrators when the number of failed password attempts rises above a user-defined threshold. Invalid access alarms should be able to provide notification via email, text message, SNMP trap, SYSLOG and other popular communication protocols in order to allow administrators to react quickly when suspicious password activity is detected, and implement preventative measures to make sure that hackers and others are not successful in defeating console server security measures. It’s also handy if the invalid access alarm includes the ability to send notification to multiple IT support personnel, in order to provide backup in the event that the principle administrator is not available.

Most network administrators already know that a console server can save both time and money by allowing quick response to problems at remote equipment sites without the need to send support personnel to the site in person. A console server provides very powerful capabilities for out of band management, but with this power there also comes a responsibility to ensure that access to command functions remains safe from unauthorized access. An invalid access alarm is just one of many security and authentication features that network administrators should look for when choosing a console server for reliable, secure out of band management of remote network devices.

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