GFI LANguard 9.0 Eases Network Security for SMBs

LANguard 9.0 is the latest iteration of GFI's network vulnerability and patch management software. The tool is most useful to SMBs; larger enterprises will want to find something more scalable. The latest version can tell whether a device scanned is real or virtual and can launch a remote desktop connection to a scanned Windows client with one click. It also offers automatic remediation of unauthorized applications.

Vulnerability assessment and patch management go hand-in-hand as essential network and end point security administration. There are a lot of products that scan for vulnerabilities such as open TCP ports, open shares, unused user accounts, weak passwords and missing security updates.

Combining those scans with automated deployment of new patches for operating systems, applications, security software and custom applications moves these products from diagnosis to remediation. From the smallest home office to the largest multinational company, conducting proactive vulnerability assessment and patch management is a time consuming-yet necessary-task.

GFI LANguard traces its heritage to the days when a vulnerability assessment tool could survey and scan the network and then generate a report that an administrator would have to follow up on separately. Yet, as networks have grown in size and complexity, simply scanning and reporting missing patches doesn't provide a complete and proactive solution. LANguard can scan and report vulnerabilities as well as take corrective action such as deploying patches to machines running Microsoft Windows.

GFI LANguard 9.0 is the most recent update to a tried-and-true network vulnerability assessment and patch management software utility that adds the ability to tell whether a scanned machine is real or virtual, one-click launching of a remote desktop connection to scanned Windows clients, and automatic remediation of unauthorized applications. I've used this product for more than five years in my consulting practice, typically to conduct a network security "needs assessment" at client sites which can then be included in proposals.

GFI LANguard 9.0 is an essential component of a network security consultant's toolbox and can also be helpful for SMBs, although very large enterprises should look for a more scalable solution. I began this review by downloading and installing LANguard 9.0, GFI Report Center and the GFI LANguard Report Pack.

Installation went without a hitch, and then I launched LANguard. From the startup screen I chose Scan Entire Network, which performed a complete audit of a range of IP addresses. A compete audit includes OVAL, SANS Top 20, CVE and about 15,000 other vulnerabilities, and takes quite a bit of time depending on your network's size. After running a complete audit, I configured LANguard to run abbreviated scans by running the Custom Scan Wizard and to run regularly scheduled scans and e-mail reports to me with the New Scheduled Scan wizard. Not only are common tasks wizard-driven, but context-sensitive help is thorough and informative; this is a highly accessible security tool.