Spiceworks Debuts Free Network Management Tools

The free cloud-based network management tools available include Blacklist Check and IP Reputation, IP Lookup, Port Scanner and Tester and Subnet Calculator.

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Networking specialist Spiceworks announced four cloud-based tools to help IT pros more effectively manage their networks.

The free tools include Blacklist Check and IP Reputation, IP Lookup, Port Scanner and Tester and Subnet Calculator. They enable IT pros to analyze unknown IP addresses, identify network vulnerabilities and understand network ranges.

Blacklist Check and IP Reputation uses AlienVault’s Open Threat Exchange to identify whether an IP address or hostname is blacklisted or flagged as malicious.

IT professionals can use the tool to determine whether their organization’s email servers are listed on an antispam database or email blacklist.

"IT departments are responsible for managing and protecting more computers, smartphones and connected things than ever before—a potentially overwhelming task with huge security implications," Peter Tsai, IT analyst at Spiceworks, told eWEEK. "And as the number of cyber-threats continues to grow, understanding everything on a network is the first step toward identifying and addressing vulnerabilities and better protecting data."

Network management tools make it easier for organizations to inventory and analyze their PCs, servers, networking equipment and more, he said.

"For example, a network scanner can uncover PCs or servers running outdated firmware, end-of-life operating systems with known vulnerabilities, or no antivirus software," Tsai said. "Additionally, a port scanner can help IT pros understand whether their firewall is appropriately locked down or if they’re unnecessarily exposing their organization to internet-based threats."

The Spiceworks IP Lookup analyzes IP addresses and hostnames to provide details about the internet service provider’s domain, the organization or owner of the address and the country, state and city of origin.

The Port Scanner and Tester identifies which ports are open to the internet based on a given IP address, regardless of whether it is a router, switch or server, while the Subnet Calculator can be used to understand network ranges and divide an organization’s IP network into smaller subnets.

"To minimize vulnerabilities, IT departments should enlist a network security strategy that covers people and processes in addition to technology," Tsai said. "That means on top of utilizing security technologies like encryption, companies should enforce strong password requirements and user access control policies and train employees on common threats so they don't fall victim to phishing schemes or malware."

IT departments also can utilize network security tools such as the Blacklist Check and IP Lookup to better identify and protect against websites compromised by malware, trojans or spyware.

"At Spiceworks, our goal is to make life better for IT professionals by simplifying their jobs any way we can," Tsai said. "In conversations with IT pros, they’ve echoed this theme of simplicity, telling us loud and clear they want easy-to-use tools that provide immediate value. With this in mind, we’re developing accessible yet powerful IT tools with minimal overhead so they can see value right away."