New NCM utility helps you quickly find vulnerable, obsolete, and unsupported hardware on your network

 

The care and feeding of your network involves more than managing configuration changes. To keep devices healthy and end-users happy, you must tend to a list of important things that usually get put off because you are just too busy. Let’s take a look at that list now and discuss why it’s so important.

 

Device failure

Network devices fail for a number of reasons, including human error and hardware and software defects. Many times, there are warranty fixes and technical workarounds, but determining whether you have a defective device isn’t exactly easy. Do you have a reliable way to identify defective devices in your network?


Out-of-support devices

Paying for support is like buying insurance. You don’t want to spend too much for it, but when you need it, you’re glad it’s there. So when devices are mistakenly excluded from support agreements, or you pay for a device that has been taken out of service, you have the problem of either not having sufficient coverage or paying too much for the support you have.  Are you over insured or under covered? How do you know?


Device vulnerabilities

Security is a never-ending cat-and-mouse game. When the bad guys find a vulnerability to exploit, you need to address it, and fast. If you don’t know about the vulnerabilities on your network, you can’t do anything about them.  Do you know what vulnerabilities are lurking in your network?


Device end-of-Life

Devices that have reached obsolescence are a particular problem because they are no longer supported. This means no technical support, no alerts or notifications, no engineering defect or security fixes. Once a device goes EoL, it’s a ticking time bomb. In this case it’s no longer a matter of if, but when they can be replaced with the least amount of disruption. Do you have the foresight, budget, plans and other preparations needed to make a smooth transition? 


Network evolution

Chances are the network you manage now is not the same network you built five years ago. Devices you installed and configured even a year ago may not have the capability to handle the new services your organization now demands.  Which devices can support the change?  Which devices require an upgrade?  Which devices are just too old?  What new devices should replace obsolete devices?  When the boss comes asking, will you have the answers?


The problem

The problem here is two-fold. First, we need to know about potential problems with our devices. Second, we need to know who these problems affect. Vendors publish notices on things like warranty-covered defects, security alerts, and obsolescence, so it’s important that you have a convenient way to receive and review such notices. This can be difficult because you have to have an understanding of your devices, whether they are in use, their number, which version they are, and how they are configured. Due to the tediousness, many network engineers and admins reluctantly admit that it’s a difficult situation to manage.


The solution

Luckily, there is a solution. SolarWinds and Cisco® have worked together to offer a network health check. This health check can tell you quickly and easily whether you have unsupported, defective, vulnerable, or obsolete devices in your network. This health check utilizes SolarWinds® Network Configuration Manager and Cisco SmartAdvisor reports.


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SolarWinds NCM knows a lot about your network, including which devices are in use, their model numbers, hardware and software revisions, and how they’re configured. A free connector we developed delivers this information to Cisco, where your network data is expertly analyzed and returned to you in the form of six insightful SmartAdvisor reports. Using your Cisco CCOID and SmartNet subscription, you can access these reports conveniently and as often as you like. By conducting this network health check regularly, you can receive important information about problems that exist on your network before they have a chance to negatively impact end-users.


To learn more about this powerful network health check, visit www.solarwinds.com/smartadvisor-bundle.aspx. If you already use SolarWinds NCM, you can download the free connector by visiting the SolarWinds Customer Portal.