An Invalid Access Alarm Provides Console Terminal Server Units with an Additional Layer of Security

In any out of band management application, it’s extremely important to make certain that access to the console terminal server unit is adequately protected from unauthorized access. Since the console terminal server provides access to important command functions on remote network elements, it’s absolutely vital that access to the console terminal server is protected by multiple layers of security and authentication features. In addition to security and authentication protocols, it’s also helpful if the console terminal server includes an invalid access alarm, which can notify network administrators when an unauthorized user may be attempting to gain access.

A full featured invalid access alarm should be able to count failed password attempts at the console terminal server, and then automatically notify the appropriate personnel when a user defined threshold count is reached. Ideally, the invalid access alarm should be able to generate separate invalid access attempt counts for the network port and modem ports (if present) and also include the ability to generate alarm notification message via several different communication protocols in order to provide compatibility with the needs of various administrators and support personnel. In addition to email notification, it’s helpful if the console terminal server invalid access alarm can send alerts via SNMP trap, SYSLOG message and text message. It’s also helpful if alarm notifications can be sent to more than one recipient, in the event that the primary administrator is not available, or if support personnel need the option of a fallback address in the event that they’re away from the office when the alarm is generated.

Another useful feature to look for is the ability to lock console terminal server ports when excessive invalid access attempts are detected. When the invalid access alarm feature can lock the console terminal server network port or serial port, this helps to discourage attacks by hackers who maybe using a random password generator in an attempt to bypass security. In some cases, the console terminal server unit includes the ability to lock a port for a user defined period of time when excessive invalid access attempts are detected, and then unlock the port later when the attacks have ceased, in order to restore communication capabilities to authorized users.

A console terminal server provides valuable out of band management capabilities to network administrators who are responsible for remote network equipment sites, and often enables tech support personnel to address problems at remote installations without the time and expense required to travel to the remote site in person. Given the far-flung nature of many large corporate networks, the out of band access capabilities provided by a console terminal server often provide an absolutely indispensable function by allowing administrators to access, diagnose and troubleshoot important network elements when the main network is down. But in order for these valuable out of band management capabilities to be truly worthwhile, it’s equally important that the console terminal server unit is adequately protected by security and authentication measures; an invalid access alarm provides administrators with a powerful tool to monitor the security of their out of band management application and to be kept appraised when unauthorized users may be attempting to defeat security measures.

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