Key Features to Look for in File Integrity Monitoring Software


An organization's  IT infrastructure monitoring needs to provide alerts for unplanned downtime and network intrusion,  as well as secure the systems and data. To accomplish this, File Integrity Monitoring (FIM) can be implemented.  Whether looking to add a FIM to secure your enterprise, or looking to switch FIM software, there are key features your FIM software should have. 

1.Easy Installation and Configuration

When evaluating vendors that offer a type of file integrity monitoring or compliance software, an area of concern is the level of difficulty for installation. Working with a software that is simply too difficult to install, configure, and even use negates the goal of helping IT personnel in security and compliance.

Having a FIM solution that offers convenience and simplicity, ultimately saves a business money which in turn increases ROI. When your software is able to operate independently from a single security dashboard, you are also wasting less time and able to focus on what truly matters for your company.

If the task of learning a new file integrity monitoring solution still feels daunting to employees, see if the vendor offers training on how to utilize the new software. In the end it will be worth it for everyone to understand how file integrity monitoring works for the business and that your employees, the people you trust, understand the primary functions and capabilities.

 

However as we previously discussed in 7 FIM Best Practices, features of FIM solutions and can vary drastically.  Though this list is not all inclusive, the following features are valuable to look for when researching FIM.

  1. Real-time notifications
  2. Multi-platform support
  3. Centralized control
  4. Master-agent configuration mode
  5. Differentiation between positive, neutral, and negative changes
  6. Advanced automation
  7. Advanced and Flexible Reporting

2. Prevention of Changes to Critical files

Your organization will rely on this system to guard servers, workstations, network devices, databases, and make sure policies are aligned both internally and externally. For optimal security, your FIM software needs to track and document all changes made to servers, devices, routers, or in other words—complete infrastructure and change monitoring.

According to Identity Theft Resource Center, 2016 had a record of 1,093 data breaches in U.S. companies, a 40% increase from 2015. Changes in critical files can lead to breaches. By keeping records of critical files, a company is able to determine the who, what, and when something has changed.  A tool that can monitor such changes is known as file integrity monitoring (FIM).

FIM not only detects changes in critical files but also monitors related items such as   installed software and local users and groups. It also protects against changes to VMware ESX and ESXi host configurations.

3. Cloud Integration 

Traditional FIM software has evolved as cybersecurity threats have increased. It is now pertinent that your FIM tool is one that can be integrated into the Cloud. With a file integrity monitoring tool that has the capacity to integrate into the Cloud, it has the ability to protect your system from zero-day vulnerabilities, when hackers are able to affect not just your programs and data, but your enterprise.

Cloud security is a valuable asset to have within an organization to maintain a secure state. It protects you from malicious threats that may have slipped by your firewall and even your intrusion detection software. 

4. Open-Source (OS) and Freemium Issues

Though some organizations may attempt  to use an open source (OS) FIM software, there are specific software features to keep in mind. Limited operating system coverage, difficulty with use, poor logging, and upgrade issues are just a few of the reasons organizations may struggle with an open source FIM tool. Additionally, there is often a lack of enterprise management functions.

Open-source FIM may not be wrong for your organization, but to further decide, we recommend more in-depth coverage of this topic, with Is Open Source File Integrity Monitoring Too Risky?

 

File Integrity Monitoring = Robust Information Security

With the right FIM solution, you’re able to detect active intruders by tracking and even reversing changes automatically. Looking to implement a FIM solution? Request a free 30-day trial of CimTrak to see how a next-gen FIM tool can strengthen your security today.

Get compliant & start detecting unexpected changes in realtime with your free trial of CimTrak.

Jacqueline von Ogden

Since 1999, Jacqueline has written for corporate communications, MarCom agencies, higher education, and worked within the pharmacy, steel and retail industries. Since joining the tech industry, she has found her "home".