Nessus Agents is designed to enable enterprises and government agencies to achieve and maintain compliance with security policies by discovering and assessing transient network assets and detecting vulnerabilities even when devices are not connected to the network.
“By overcoming the barriers that credentialed accessand intermittent availability of portable devices creates for security scanning, Nessus Agents help you find vulnerabilities on your network that you didn’t know existed,” said Ron Gula, CEO of Tenable Network Security.
The new Nessus Manager meanwhile provides centralized management of distributed scanners and collaboration features for the entire enterprise.
Nessus Agents are lightweight, self-contained vulnerability assessment tools that are able to run remotely on any Windows device — including laptops, mobile devices, virtual systems and desktops and servers. After downloading instructions, the agent performs a low-impact scan on schedule whether the host device is connected to the network or not. The agent collects vulnerability and configuration information and sends the results to a central Nessus server the next time the device is connected to the network for a more complete view of asset configuration and compliance.
“In today’s BYOD and work-from-home business environment, assets tend to come and go from the network and may not be connected during scheduled assessments,” said Renaud Deraison, chief product officer, Tenable Network Security. “Nessus Agents can scan portable devices and provide offline scanning for assets and vulnerable client-side software that may be unavailable during scheduled scan windows.”
One of the key features of Nessus Agents lies in its ability to blend local and remote auditing in a single product, and eliminate the need for credentialed searches — no more opening the password vault to provision device-specific scans.
“You can install agents on all desktops, servers, and portable devices without the headache of remotely managing privileged scan credentials,” Gula said. “This means you can schedule your vulnerability assessment over multiple days while protecting credentials and closing security gaps. Customers gain visibility into blind spots that were previously unavailable for vulnerability and configuration assessments.”
Agent-based assessment is supported on Windows platforms with additional operating systems on the way. Nessus Agents are available now in Nessus Manager and are expected to roll out in other Tenable products, including SecurityCenter Continuous View, later this year.
The newest addition to the Nessus product line, Nessus Manager, is designed with the enterprise in mind and provides full service scanner management, including collaboration, centralized administration and improved scheduling for multiple scanners. With Nessus Manager, vulnerability assessments can be scheduled over a number of days to ensure that all assets are discovered and assessed for comprehensive network visibility. Assessments can also be repeated multiple times and results can be shared with administrators across the organization.
Nessus Manager provides four user levels for managed access to resources based on user/group permissions. Role-based access enables sharing of scanners, schedules, policies, and results with system administrators and co-workers who are responsible for patching and remediating their systems.
Gula told Homeland Security Today that in many organizations the servers holding email, databases and customer information get the majority of the security monitoring and auditing, while mobile laptops, which are transient on the networks and not consistently operated, are difficult to audit for security weaknesses.
“Because of this," Gula said, "the best practice is to install an anti-virus agent on these mobile resources and run them with up to date threat signatures, but not patch them with up to date security fixes. This creates a thin line of defense which is easily bypassed by many attackers. The Nessus Agent gives organizations real time visibility into their biggest risks from their mobile laptop users.”
“The Nessus Agent also helps our large federal government customers who are required to perform auditing of 100 percent of their computing devices,” Gula said. “The Nessus Agent simplifies the coordination between the teams running IT and performing the audits. Without an agent, the time and method of performing an audit needs to be coordinated. With an agent, the data from the audit is available in near real time without any need for impacting IT operations. The Nessus Agent is also part of Tenable’s comprehensive continuous monitoring strategy where many different types of assessment technologies, such as log analysis, network traffic analysis and vulnerability scanning, are combined to give our customers a real time view of their entire security posture.”
Tenable said current Nessus customers can update their deployments from the Tenable Support Portal, and that at renewal time, existing Nessus Enterprise customers can upgrade to Nessus Manager at no additional charge. New customers can request an evaluation of Nessus Manager.