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What is the agentless discovery of IT assets?
Agentless asset discovery refers to using asset discovery tools that do not require agent software to monitor its status or usage. The concept of agentless monitoring is quite simple. It is a set of auto-discovery methods that removes the need to install software agents on every monitored device, which must be configured, scripted, or scripted again when a new version of an application or protocol is installed.
Repeating all these tedious processes every time a new configuration is added to the stack takes up a significant amount of time and resources from IT admins. Moreover, lately, we see that IT environments are becoming increasingly complex as the total number of devices managed by Windows admins has risen steadily.
Traditional agents can add complexity and cost to your organization. In fact, agents might not even work with your network. If you are using an agent-based discovery solution with many devices, it is essential to know that the agent might be difficult to install and maintain. It is also expensive and requires regular updates. These factors can increase costs significantly over time.
Agentless discovery of assets is a robust process for IT managers looking to monitor the assets within their networks closely. The information provided is comprehensive, allowing IT managers to get detailed audio-visuals of every asset connected and take appropriate measures to secure them if necessary.
This blog will discuss the differences between agent-based and agentless discovery, the benefits of agentless discovery, and how Virima’s IT asset discovery tool with agentless probes can help uncover all your IT assets.
Agent vs. agentless discovery
There are several differences between agent-based probes and agentless probes. In agent-based asset discovery, a software agent is installed on each device that needs to be monitored or managed. The agent sends information about the device, hardware, and software configuration to a central server or management console. It allows the administrator to have a real-time view of the device and to manage it remotely.
In contrast, agentless discovery of assets relies on technologies such as Network Discovery Protocol (SNMP), Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), and Secure Shell (SSH) to remotely query devices and gather information about them without the need to install any software agents.
Additionally, here are a few more differences between these two discovery types:
- Management overhead: Agent-based asset discovery may require more management overhead, as the software agents must be installed, configured, and maintained on each device. Agentless discovery does not have this requirement.
- Real-time visibility: Agent-based asset discovery can provide real-time visibility into the status and configuration of devices, as the agents are constantly sending information to the management console. Agentless asset discovery may not offer the same level of real-time visibility, as it relies on periodic scans to gather information about the network devices.
- Performance impact: Agent-based discovery may significantly impact the performance of the devices on which the agents are installed, as the agents are constantly running and collecting information. Agentless discovery typically has a lower performance impact, as it relies on periodic scans rather than continually running agents.
- Security: Agent-based asset discovery may pose a security risk, as attackers could exploit the agents to gain access to the device or the network. Agentless discovery is a more secure option, as it does not require the installation of software agents on the devices.
Benefits of using agentless discovery
There are several benefits of using agentless network discovery. Some of them include the following:
- No need for manual intervention: The setup time is minimal—often just a few minutes—compared to traditional methods that might take days or weeks. In addition, agentless asset discovery tools works on the network layer itself instead of relying on individual components. It provides more accurate data since it can detect devices that do not typically respond to standard queries.
- Improved flexibility: Another advantage these tools offer is a higher level of flexibility when it comes to management capabilities. Agentless discovery solutions can be configured remotely from anywhere with an internet connection, and can discover assets within any cloud or physical environment. It makes it much easier for IT professionals to track down all types of connected devices—from smartphones and tablets to servers and virtual machines—without worrying about incompatible platforms or differing configurations getting in the way of success.
- Improved security: By regularly performing agentless discovery scans, IT managers can ensure that all of their organization’s IT assets are accounted for and properly secured. It can help reduce the risk of data breaches and other security incidents.
- Cost savings: Agentless discovery allows IT managers to quickly and easily identify underutilized or unnecessary assets, which can help save on hardware, software, and maintenance costs.
- Ability to discover assets in remote locations: Agentless discovery can be performed remotely, which makes it easy to uncover assets in remote areas or those that are difficult to access physically.
- Improved asset management: By having a complete and accurate inventory of all IT assets using agentless IT asset discovery tools, IT managers can make more informed decisions about asset allocation and deployment. They can also easily track and manage their assets over time.
When to use agentless discovery?
If you have a large environment and need to understand all your assets, then you know how difficult it can be to retrieve in-depth asset data. Agentless asset discovery is an excellent solution as it provides visibility into all your assets, not just those that have agents installed or are connected to monitoring tools.
You can also automate the agentless IT asset discovery tool to run unattended, saving time and money on manual data collection processes. In addition, since there are no agent installations involved, you do not need to worry about firewall rules or other security reservations required for traditional agent-based solutions. Organizations of any size can quickly implement an effective solution without spending months configuring their networks first.
Additionally, agentless monitoring is preferable when the availability of time and personnel are limited, and there is a need to quickly collect data like basic asset inventory or performance metrics from legacy systems. It can also be beneficial when companies want to avoid privacy issues or institutional red tape.
Finally, it is excellent for geographically dispersed IT teams because there is no need to deploy and manage agents on every device. With an agentless discovery solution in place, IT departments can ensure that all assets on their network are secure and up-to-date without the extra hassle of dealing with agent-based probes.
How Virima’s agentless discovery streamlines the discovery process
Virima’s agentless asset discovery tool quickly reveals your organization’s assets. Using the latest machine intelligence technology, it will automatically uncover almost any device connected to the internet—including servers, networking gear, and even smart devices like printers or industrial sensors. Our technology is designed from the ground up to be affordable and powerful enough for all kinds of deployments.
Our agentless discovery tool is an IP-based tool that allows you to select specific subnets and ranges to scan. This tool comes with many out-of-the-box, extendable asset discovery probes, sensors, and a custom probe generator that gives you the option to create your own probes to fit your specific needs.
A list of sample Discovery probes available within Virima’s dashboard
The tool is automated, with set-and-forget scheduling that allows you to set up regular scans without manually initiating them each time. Its intelligent design ensures that it will not flood the network with “scan storms” or impact device performance, so you can be sure it will not disrupt your network operations.
Scan details show the successes, failures, and reasons for failure, so you can easily see the results of each scan and identify any issues that need to be addressed. With agentless asset discovery, you can keep your IT assets organized and up-to-date with minimal effort and without any security risks.
It provides broad coverage of devices irrespective of whether they are present in the data center, edge devices, or the cloud. Additionally, it offers comprehensive data such as model and serial number, BIOS, OS version, relationships, hostnames, and more. All this data gets automatically plugged into your CMDB—resulting in dynamic service maps that are constantly updated as changes are made in your network.
You can detect a broad set of devices using our agentless discovery probes
Ultimately, this cross-functionality makes it easier for your IT teams to identify, monitor, and track your assets’ status at any given time.
Streamline your IT asset discovery process with Virima
Agentless asset discovery is an invaluable part of ensuring the security and effectiveness of your IT infrastructure. Virima provides an agentless discovery solution that reduces manual processes and helps keep budgets under control. It also ensures more accurate data and detailed insight into your IT environment while uncovering hidden risks in real time.
Last but not least, by using Virima’s agentless discovery solution, you can get a handle on obtaining the most reliable, timely organizational information for specific business objectives. If you want to ensure you have the best tools for streamlining your IT asset discovery process, consider booking a demo with Virima today to learn more about its agentless discovery capabilities. Its cutting-edge features and intuitive interface offer an efficient way to stay one step ahead in system visibility and agility.
Book a demo with Virima to take advantage of robust features such as agentless discovery and service mapping.