What is best? Free or paid-for Security Tools

Pay or not to pay? I wonder whether anyone really considered that latter as an option. Tools are designed to make IT professionals’ and Developers’ lives easier. A good tool can save a lot of work and time for those people responsible for developing and managing software.


Following this week’s Hot Topic debate, there was much talking about free security tools and what ones are available. Tim Rains, Director of Product Management in Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing group, developed several networking and security support tools that have become popular with IT Professionals. However, not all believe that free security tools provide the greatest benefit.

Andrew Mason, Technical Director, RandomStorm


Currently, Tim Rains is writing a very interesting series of blogs to help IT Professionals and business owners to recommend and offer his insight into what security tools are available.

Two of the most popular security related tools that he developed were Port Reporter and Port Reporter Parser.

To put it simply Port Reporter runs as a service and logs all network usage and related details such as the IP addresses the system is communicating with. The type of data is helpful when determining what users, services, applications used the network and which remote systems were involved. The Port Reporter Parser correlates and analyses the data contained in the lob file. Once the data was in this tool it enables you to look for tell-tale signs of compromise, many different ways. However these do need resourcing and managing and analyzing them is where the associated cost lies. 

Brian Honan, BH Consulting


But are organizations really aggregating and analyzing all the data, like audit logs for example, that they have access to?  Most of the customers say they simply don’t have the time or resources to do this.  But using this type of data from systems across an organization, along with data from other parts of the organization, and data from elsewhere, could be very powerful in helping to detect and respond to threats earlier and faster than ever. 

Recently all the buzz around big data, security breaches and targeted attacks have peaked many people’s interest in how they can mine the vast amounts of data they have and collaborate with other organizations in order to better protect their environments. Aggregating and analyzing vast amounts of data, looking for signs of compromise so that containment and recovery starts and ends earlier is what many professionals are interested in.

Dejan Kosutic, Kvadra Consulting


However, not everyone is out to earn money and some companies are actually putting security first. In another blog by Tim Rains, he highlights Free Security Tools that will make IT Professionals’ and Developers’ lives easier. Now that is worth a read. 

What are your methods? Let us know on twitter - @MicrosoftBizUK

Comments (1)

  1. Andrew Barratt says:

    Some of the most commonly used security tools have a free offering.  If you look at Metasploit, Nessus both can be used freely and both have a "pro" offering.  Becomes a good way to build a business case for paying for them.  The MS suite of freebies is another good example of a vendor contributing to the community because it is the right thing to do.  The generosity with free tools quite often leads to the consideration of the "Enterprise" editions when ready.  Free != rubbish,  Paid != Good.

    Assess your requirements and match them with tools that are appropriate to your budget and available skills.

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