Sometimes you fall over a product and it blows you away. Network taps have until now been exotic hardware affordable only by large IT departments with the budget to match.
Not any more! nmon have brought out a range of low cost network taps and network traffic analysers with NetFlow support. Looks like network taps just got affordable to the masses.
Why should you be interested? They’re just enterprise doodads aren’t they?
Traditionally they have been enterprise tools…but that’s mainly because of price, not because large enterprises are the only ones with a requirement for them.
Even small networks use switches. The only way you can gain visibility on a switch, without affecting the system as a whole, is via network taps. Network taps provide a great way to troubleshoot your network without affecting the network itself in any way.
But, the biggest use for network taps is for running intrusion detection systems. Network taps afford a way for the intrusion detection system itself to be completely invisible to anything running on the network.
Hopefully, enterprise grade security tools will start to trickle down to smaller and smaller networks. There are a number of open source tools eminently suited to the task.