A console terminal server can provide network administrators with a convenient tool for out-of-band access to console port command functions on vital network elements located at remote network equipment sites. Although this capability can prove to be extremely helpful when dealing with network outages caused by malfunctioning network devices at remote sites, it can also sometimes create a bit of a worry, security-wise, due to the very nature of out-of-band management capabilities.
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Most network administrators are fairly familiar with the concept of using a console terminal server to provide secure, reliable out of band management capabilities for offsite data centers and remote network equipment racks. It’s widely accepted that the out of band communication capabilities provided by a console terminal server can help to maximize uptime and cut maintenance costs for remote network equipment, but in addition to providing an avenue for out of band management, a full featured console terminal server product that includes monitoring and alarm capabilities can also help administrators to be kept better informed regarding conditions at distant network equipment installation sites.
Keeping track of security threats at remote network equipment sites can often pose a challenge. Even though most remote network equipment is protected by password security, it’s still possible for a determined hacker to defeat password protection if he has the time and energy to do so. But if you know that a hack attack is in progress at a remote network equipment site, then its easy to make a few quick configuration changes that will make it much more difficult for Mr. Hacker to gain access to critical command functions. That’s why a console terminal server with an invalid access alarm can prove to be an extremely useful tool for providing additional security to remote network equipment applications.
When deploying a console terminal server (http://www.wti.com/c-50-console-terminal-servers.aspx) in an out of band management application, one of the most important considerations is adequate security. Ideally, console terminal servers should be protected by multiple layers of security and authentication features, and generally speaking, the more layers the better. In addition to more common security features such as password protection and authentication protocols such as LDAP or RADIUS, some console terminal servers include an IP address filter, which enables the console terminal server to accept or reject potential users based on their IP address.
The task of maintaining security in an out of band management application can sometimes prove to be somewhat of a challenge. As anyone in the network security business can tell you, hackers love to wage war against random network elements, and it doesn’t take them long to find an inadequately protected network device. That’s why it’s important to choose a console terminal server unit that includes adequate security to protect sensitive console port command functions from unauthorized access.
Wouldn’t it be nice if your console terminal server could automatically notify you when a network device in a remote equipment rack decides to crash or hiccup? When a console terminal server includes a ping response alarm (or ping-no-answer alarm), the console server unit can regularly ping user selected IP addresses, and then provide prompt notification whenever a device at a target IP address fails to respond to a ping command.
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.
In many remote network management applications, a console terminal server does more than merely providing remote access to console port command functions. Often, the console terminal server also helps network administrators to keep better track of events and conditions at remote sites without the need to constantly send technicians out to check on the site in person. In addition to providing out of band access to remote network elements, a console terminal server can also monitor and log power interruptions, user activity, temperature trends, alarm events and other significant data concerning a remote network site that can help to give administrators a broader perspective of conditions and trends at a remote site in order to assist in planning for future needs and contingencies.
When network administrators need to establish an out of band connection to a console port on a remote network device, they often rely on a console terminal server (http://www.wti.com/c-50-console-terminal-servers.aspx). When normal network communication is down or unavailable, a console terminal server provides a reliable, secure means to communicate with remote network elements without relying on normal network communication. Given this powerful ability to communicate with vital network elements, it’s extremely important that console terminal server units include a multi-layered approach to system security. An IP address filter provides yet another layer of security to protect console terminal server functions from access by unauthorized users.
When choosing a console terminal server solution, it’s especially important to make certain that the console terminal server supports multiple layers of security. The reason for this is simple: since the whole purpose of the console terminal server is to provide remote access to console port command functions on remote network elements, it’s absolutely vital to prevent access by unauthorized users. Ideally, a console terminal server should include general security features such as password protection and IP filtering, authentication protocols such as LDAP, Kerberos, RADIUS and TACACS, plus SSHv2 encryption to make certain that passwords and commands are safe from interception by outsiders.