It’s the concern of any network administrator to secure his local area network from any malicious software, intruders, and even careless employees who bring in worms and viruses inadvertently through email and files. For this purpose, various safeguards are often put into effect. Some network administrators would turn to proprietary, paid software for security. Some would use free or open source software. Even some would use hardware solutions that help keep network traffic healthy.
Whichever the case, it would make sense to read reviews on network security software before actually implementing them on one’s network. There are various sources of reviews on network security software, including the following.
About.com provides information on various topics relating to network security. The site also offers extensive reviews on various network security products, such as traffic analyzers, antivirus software, and the like. Apart from reviews, About.com offers tutorials and practical tips on protecting one’s network from malicious software and individuals.
CNet also offers a fairly comprehensive resource for network security meant for downloading directly from their website. Many of these are free software, although some are shareware, which means you can run an evaluation version, but have to pay the license for a full version. CNet offers both editors’ and users’ reviews and rating.
When reading reviews and ratings for network security software, you should consider that these are usually subjective opinions by their writers. However, here are some common things you should look out for.
Function. Different network security software packages have different functions. A piece of software might be meant for sniffing packets. Some might be meant for analyzing traffic. Some might be intended for actively blocking attacks. Some might deal with protecting email and web traffic from malicious software. When you read a software review, be mindful of the function that the software is intended for, and whether the reviewer finds it satisfactory to this end.
Features. Apart from function, you should also consider whether a review finds a software package adequate in terms of features. Whether you are interested in downloading a traffic analyzer, a packet sniffer, or port-locking software, you need to know if it offers features that others don’t. One email scanner, for instance, might be faster than another. Or a firewall software might be more configurable than another. Subjective reviewers will have preferences, of course, but this would help you decide what exactly you need.
Price. Cost is almost always a concern when it comes to acquiring software. However, if your network runs critical applications, and you don’t want work to be disrupted by malicious software or break-ins, then you might want to consider a customized or proprietary software package. If you need rudimentary security, or if your network administrators are competent enough to fix things on their own, then perhaps free software would do the job.
Network security is no joke, especially if you need to protect sensitive information, and if you need to be connected to be productive. It makes sense, therefore, to review network security software before actually purchasing or installing a package, to be sure that it meets your needs satisfactorily.