Monitoring your network is absolutely essential as it can help to thwart attacks and address problems before they translate to financial loss for your organization.
However, it is almost impossible to monitor all the devices in your network, especially if you have to manage a large network spread across a wide geographical area.
To overcome this drawback, you can monitor the edge devices such as Cisco Routers, Firewalls and Switches, as this can help you to identify most attacks. In fact, banks with many ATMs use this option to protect their networks from intrusions and monitor Cisco Traffic and Firewall logs constantly to ensure the highest level of security.
Here is our list of the best Cisco monitoring tools:
- SolarWinds Network Insights for Cisco – FREE TRIAL A network monitor and a configuration manager that both have integrations for monitoring Cisco ASA products. The Network Performance Monitor is able to monitor the full Cisco product range of switches and routers. Runs on Windows Server. Access the 30-day free trial.
- Site24x7 Infrastructure – FREE TRIAL A monitoring system that watches networks, servers, and applications and includes special processes for monitoring Cisco devices. This is a cloud-based service. Get the 30-day free trial.
- ManageEngine OpManager – FREE TRIAL This network monitoring system provides SNMP-based monitoring for switches, routers, and other network devices, including those produced by Cisco systems. Available for Windows Server, Linux, AWS, and Azure. Start 30-day free trial.
- Paessler PRTG – FREE TRIAL A bundle of system monitors that includes specialized sensors to track the performance of Cisco ASA and UCS devices. This software installs on Windows Server. Get a 30-day free trial.
- Cisco Network Assistant A free monitoring tool provided by Cisco Systems to supervise the performance of its products. This software can be installed on Windows and macOS.
- Datadog Network Monitoring A combination of two services that will monitor the health of Cisco network devices and monitor their activities in passing through network traffic. This is a cloud-based system.
- WhatsUp Gold Network Traffic Analysis A traffic monitoring add-on to the main WhatsUp Gold network device monitoring system. Installs on Windows Server.
- Tenable Nessus Professional A vulnerability scanner that protects the configurations of network devices to keep them hardened to attack. Available for Windows, Linux, Mac OS, and Free BSD.
Many companies manufacture routers and switches for large networks, but one of the most popular manufacturer is Cisco.
This is why in this article, we’ll Review the tools and software needed for monitoring Cisco products, including but not limited to Routers, Cisco ASA, Firewalls and Layer 3 Switches.
Related Post: Best Router Monitoring Software
Here’s the Best Cisco Monitoring Tools and Software:
There are many products that monitor Cisco devices and we’ll look into some of the best ones.
SolarWinds, one of the leaders in the area of network monitoring, offers a product for monitoring the health of Cisco ASA devices. In general, Cisco ASA devices deliver enterprise-class firewall capabilities, intrusion detection systems and integrated VPN and Unified Communications capabilities.
SolarWinds Network Insight comes with the following features:
- Continuously monitors the devices to ensure that services dependent on the firewall are always available.
- Gives a snapshot of the health and performance of all firewalls at any time.
- Improves operational efficiency as manual troubleshooting is not required.
- Reduces network outages and improves performance.
- A performance analysis dashboard gives rich insights into the health of Cisco ASA devices.
Price: SolarWinds Network Insight for Cisco ASA Monitoring tool comes as a part of two products – Network Performance Monitor and Network Configuration Manager. The Network Performance Monitor tool is priced at $2,955 while the Network Configuration Manager is priced at $2,895.
Official Download: A fully functional trial for 30 days is available for both the products.
Site24x7 Infrastructure is a cloud-based system monitoring service for networks, servers, and applications. Although the tool is resident in the Cloud, an agent needs to be installed on the monitored system to gather performance statistics. The agent is able to communicate with Cisco network devices, such as switches, routers, and firewalls through the SNMP system and Cisco’s NetFlow protocol.
Some of the features of Site24x7 Infrastructure are:
- Automatic device discovery.
- A constantly updated network inventory
- An automatically compiled network topology map.
- Hosted system with processing, storage, and software maintenance included.
- Customizable screens in the Web-based dashboard.
- Device health monitoring through SNMP.
- Processing of SNMP Trap messages into alerts.
- Performance threshold alerts.
- Problem notifications sent by SMS, email, voice call, or instant messaging post.
- Traffic analysis with Cisco NetFlow.
- Traffic shaping Quality of Service capabilities.
- Capacity planning tools.
- Traffic analysis utilities.
Price: Site24x7 Infrastructure is a subscription service that costs $9 per month when paid for annually. You can get it on a 30-day free trial.
Official Download: More Information and access to the free trial: https://www.site24x7.com/network/cisco-monitoring.html
ManageEngine OpManager is able to monitor the performance of network devices and endpoints. It is able to track live performance issues with any network device that implements SNMP. All Cisco Systems devices have an SNMP agent loaded onto them.
Important features of ManageEngine OpManager include:
- Initial device discovery that creates a network inventory and topology map
- Repeated re-testing of the network to identify changes
- The monitor fulfills the role of SNMP Manager, periodically requesting SNMP Agent reports (MIBs)
- OpManager compiles arriving SNMP responses into live network device performance data
- The console displays statistics from SNMP responses in tabulated and graphical formats
- The ManageEngine system receives SNMP Traps from SNMP device agents on Cisco devices
- OpManager processes SNMP Traps into warnings and alerts, according to the severity code on the message
- OpManager can be set up to forward alerts to specific technicians by email or SMS
- Alerts can be set to trigger actions, such as running a script or raising a ticket
- Cisco device features that can be monitored include CPU and memory utilization
- The monitor includes performance testing tools, such as Ping and TraceRoute
- The system can be used to test internet links between sites
- The monitor will also track the performance of servers
- OpManager also monitors virtualizations
- The OpManager package is available in a basic Free edition
- OpManager is available for download onto Windows Server and Linux
- OpManager can be activated as a server on an account at AWS or Azure
Price: Apart from the Free version, there are three paid editions:
- Standard: From $245 to watch 10 devices
- Professional: From $345 for 10 devices
- Enterprise: From $11,545 to cover 250 devices
Official Download: You can get a 30-day free trial of OpManager at: https://www.manageengine.com/network-monitoring/download.html
PRTG is another popular product for monitoring the network and the Cisco devices that are a part of it.
Here’s a look into some of its important features.
- Comes with special sensors designed specifically to monitor Cisco devices. Sensors are basic monitoring elements that measure one aspect in a device. For example, it could be the traffic of a switch port, bandwidth usage or CPU load on a server. In general, you need about five to ten sensors per device and one sensor for every switch port.
- Hundreds of sensors are available for monitoring the different aspects of a device.
- Integrates technologies such as SNMP and Netflow, so it could monitor a wide range of devices from different manufacturers.
- Increases the overall security of the network as it monitors the edge devices with high levels of accuracy.
- Provides access to all Cisco sensors in PRTG’s freeware version.
- Easy to setup and use.
- Works well with many mobile devices.
- No additional cost for Cisco sensors.
- Easy VoIP benchmarking to avoid delays in calculations.
- Customizable parameters help you to use these sensors to meet your needs.
- A bird’s eye view of the traffic for all Cisco devices with Adaptive Security Appliance, so you can get a quick idea of the health and performance of your Cisco devices.
- Helps to know which users are online or offline in IPSec-secured VPN connections.
- Multiple sensors can be created quickly for VPN connections, so you don’t have to spend time creating a separate sensor for each connection.
- Sends notifications automatically in the event of an error or if any self-defined threshold limit is exceeded.
- Comes with built-in automation, so no time is wasted in manually checking every device.
- Helps to spot problems quickly in Cisco devices.
Some of the Cisco-related sensors available in PRTG are listed below.
- SNMP Cisco ADSL Sensor
- SNMP Cisco ASA VPN Traffic Sensor
- SNMP Cisco ADSL Sensor
- SNMP Cisco ASA VPN Connections Sensor
- SNMP Cisco ASA VPN Users Sensor
- SNMP Cisco CBQoS Sensor
- SNMP Cisco System health Sensor
- SNMP Cisco UCS Blade Sensor
- SNMP Cisco UCS Chassis Sensor
- SNMP Cisco UCS Sensor
- SNMP Cisco UCS System Health Sensor
- SNMP Cisco UCS Physical Disk Sensor
- Cisco IP SLA Sensor
Price: A freeware is available for small networks that need 100 sensors or less. The pricing for others is:
- $1,600 for 500 sensors
- $2,850 for 1000 sensors
- $5,950 for 2500 sensors
- $10,500 for 5000 sensors
- $14,500 for unlimited sensors on one core installation.
- $60,000 for unlimited sensors on five core installations.
Official Download: A fully functional software is available for a trial period of 30 days or Up to 100 SENSORS!
4. Cisco Network Assistant
Cisco Network Assistant is a comprehensive tool that simplifies the management of networks with up to 80 devices.
Some of its features include:
- Intuitive GUI and a task menu makes it easy to get the information you want.
- It is optimized to work across most Cisco switches, routers, controllers and access points.
- You can view important information related to your products such as Warranty and Contract information, End of life notifications and more. This information is made available due to a direct link with another tool called Cisco Active Adviser.
- Comes with a topology map that displays different devices on the network.
- Automatic network discovery
- Single-click telnet or a single access to the device manager.
- Periodic inventory reports that give a detailed look into the health of different devices.
- Notifies event thresholds and network errors.
- Comes with drag and drop software upgrades
- Offers a front panel view of devices and clusters
- Works on Windows 2000 Professional (SP3+, SP4, SP1+), Windows 2003 Server, Windows XP professional, Windows Vista Ultimate and Macintosh OS Xt.
- Simplifies many network activities and saves time.
Price: It is free to use. You only need a valid email address to login and download.
Official Download: You can download Cisco Network Assistant from:
5. Datadog Network Monitoring
Datadog Network Monitoring is a cloud-based service that is part of a wider system monitoring platform. The service can be enhanced by activating any of 500 integrations and one of these is a Cisco Meraki add-on.
Some of the features include:
- Network traffic analysis through switch queries
- Device health checks with SNMP
- Customizable data screens
- Live data visualizations
- Topology mapping to see device connections
- Live traffic flow volumes depicted on the network map
- Includes drill-down detail views
- A log collection function
- Status alerts
- Accessed through any standard Web browser
Price: The Network Performance Monitor tracks traffic flows and costs $5 per month per host. The Network Device Monitor checks on device statuses with SNMP and costs $7 per device per month.
Official Download: For more information and to access a 14-day free trial, see: https://www.datadoghq.com/dg/monitor/network/gen/
6. WhatsUp Gold Network Traffic Analysis
Progress WhatsUp Gold Network Traffic Analysis is a monitoring plug-in that improves visibility into the performance of Cisco devices. This is the first tool to provide native support for Cisco’s Netflow-Lite protocol, so there is no need for third-party aggregator tools when you use WhatsUp Gold Flow Monitor.
Here are some of its salient features.
- Collects flow records using different protocols such as Cisco NetFlow, Netflow Lite, Juniper J-Flow, S-Flow and IPFIX.
- Gives detailed data on network traffic and bandwidth usage.
- Highlights the utilization of LAN, WAN and Internet networks.
- Monitors the bandwidth consumption of different users, devices and protocols, so you can identify bandwidth problems or high levels of usage.
- Generates application reports using Cisco’s NBAR classification.
- Supports CBQoS reports for class-based policies.
- Controls ISP costs, as you can better manage capacity planning.
- Optimizes the performance of devices, and boosts the overall performance of the network as well.
- Provides a unified view of your IT infrastructure
Price: Get a quote here.
Official Download: Start a free trial.
Nessus, the monitoring tool from a company called Tenable, is widely used to identify vulnerabilities and malware that attackers use to penetrate into your network.
It comes with many helpful features, such as:
- Easy to use, as you can scan the entire network with just a few clicks.
- Has a high detection rate, so most vulnerabilities can be identified before they become major problems.
- Offers unlimited scans against unlimited IPs.
- Fast and accurate, so you can quickly identify the vulnerabilities that need to be fixed.
- Provides plug-ins to detect latest threats and vulnerabilities.
- Allows a license to be transferred between computers.
- Comes with a customized reporting tool
- Built-in policies and templates provide a quick return on investment.
- Maximizes productivity with extensive asset detection and configuration audits.
Price: The annual subscription cost is $2,190
Official Download: A free trial version is available at https://www.tenable.com/how-to-buy#nessus
To conclude, Cisco Monitoring Software & Tools are essential to monitor the health and performance of a wide array of Cisco-related products in your infrastructure. Many of these monitoring tools and software are powerful and come with built-in sensors to automatically monitor every aspect of different Cisco devices, so your workload is greatly reduced.
We Suggest you grab a Free Download (or Trial) of any of the tools from above and get started immediately to take full Advantage of the Features they offer and have a detailed and meticulous look into your Hardware devices that are protecting, routing and inter-connecting your Networks.