In light of the recent SolarWinds hack, many businesses are wondering which network monitoring tools are safe to use. Hackers are becoming more sophisticated in their attacks, and cybersecurity threats have increased significantly in the last year.
Your network security is of the utmost importance, so your monitoring software should be equipped with the right features to make sure you stay protected. Below are five SolarWinds alternatives to consider in your search for the right tool.
About the SolarWinds hack
In March 2020, alleged Russian hackers infiltrated the SolarWinds Orion software and added a small amount of malicious code. The virus quickly spread to thousands of global computer networks that were using the software.
Hackers gained access to emails and other sensitive information from major institutions, including the U.S. Department of Defense, the European Parliament, Microsoft, Google, and many others. Evidence of the hack wasn’t discovered until November 2020, when cybersecurity firm FireEye discovered that it had been compromised because of a SolarWinds vulnerability.
The other 33,000 impacted customers are still reeling from the fallout of the attack, and trust in SolarWinds as an IT provider has wavered. Many are left wondering: what network monitoring products can replace SolarWinds?
Aside from the recent breach, the SolarWinds Orion platform has weaknesses in a few different areas. It has a very expensive one-time licensing cost rather than a pay-as-you-go pricing model like its competitors. The features—though very advanced—are narrow in scope and lack the breadth that other vendors offer.
Ultimately, alternative network monitoring tools will be able to address these issues while also providing some peace of mind that your data won’t be caught in the crosshairs of an international hacking attempt.
ManageEngine’s network monitoring tool, OpManager, offers flexible per-device pricing that makes it easy to scale gradually once you’ve outgrown the basic features of the Free Edition. It supports a wide range of operating systems and hypervisor integrations, which means it’s ideal for managing virtual infrastructure and more likely to suit your organization’s long term needs.
OpManager also offers powerful autodiscovery features straight out of the box so you can start monitoring in minutes. A downside to consider, however, is that some advanced tools like firewall monitoring, IP address management, and network traffic/bandwidth analysis are only available as add-ons.
Datadog is a full stack monitoring platform that can be customized to meet your unique needs. It boasts more than 400 built-in integrations with prominent cloud vendors, applications, and web services so you can monitor everything from one lightweight interface.
Datadog’s pricing structure is based on an extensive menu of monitoring channels, so it’s not solely focused on network monitoring. However, lean operations may find this tailored, streamlined approach more effective. Some customers have also noted that the configuration process, interface navigation, and lack of documentation can make the onboarding experience a bit overwhelming for newcomers.
Paessler PRTG Network Monitor
One of the biggest benefits Paessler’s PRTG solution offers is that it’s an all-in-one solution. You won’t run into a situation where you need a particular feature, only to find you have to upgrade your plan or add a separate module to have that particular functionality. PRTG also has an extremely user-friendly interface, with drag-and-drop dashboards and highly detailed network maps.
PRTG has a sensor-based licensing structure, which can get expensive quickly for large networks with a lot of metrics to track. It also doesn’t offer a cloud-based deployment model, which can be an automatic dealbreaker for some organizations. PRTG is definitely designed for expert users with advanced needs, so alternative solutions might be easier to use for smaller businesses with more basic needs.
A unique draw of LogicMonitor compared to other vendors is that it’s offered as a fully automated, cloud-based, hybrid Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution. It includes monitoring for apps, servers, websites, storage devices, and more from one central platform that lives in the cloud. This simplicity plus the clean, intuitive user interface makes LogicMonitor a versatile and accessible tool for a wide range of use cases.
One of the biggest detractors of LogicMonitor, however, is that it doesn’t provide any straightforward pricing information. To start a free trial or receive a pricing estimate, you’ll need to reach out to their sales team, which can be a nuisance if you’re just exploring your options. Additionally, because the interface is totally cloud-based, you’ll need an internet connection to do anything with the platform. This requirement could prove especially challenging during power outages or other natural disasters.
Progress WhatsUp Gold
Progress’s network monitoring solution, WhatsUp Gold, has one of the most sophisticated, use-friendly interfaces on the market. It has easily customizable dashboards and reporting tools, and integrates with pretty much every other system you manage via its REST API. WhatsUp Gold also has strong network mapping capabilities that automatically create a birds’ eye view of all of the devices on your network.
Similar to LogicMonitor, Progress doesn’t publish any specific pricing details for WhatsUp Gold outside of a general comparison of the features included in each of its editions. Furthermore, the selection of add-ons, plugins, bundles, and separate monitoring editions make it difficult to clearly discern which solution or combination of features is most suitable without contacting their sales team. Additionally, WhatsUp Gold is only available as an on-premises deployment for Windows machines, which could be an inconvenience for some organizations.
How to find the right network monitoring solution
SolarWinds is a big name in the infrastructure monitoring market, but recent events have shed light on its vulnerabilities. Alternative solutions are more versatile and scalable without the dark cloud of a recent data breach hanging overhead. Contact these vendors to learn more about their products, and consider test driving them for yourself to narrow down your search.