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Network discovery

Network discovery

Network discovery definition

Network discovery is the process of identifying and finding devices, resources, or services within a computer network. Network discovery helps network admins understand the network’s layout, manage connected devices and solve issues relating to connectivity.

Network discovery also has a slightly different meaning, which is the ability of network devices and computers to find and connect to each other.

See also: network security architecture

How network discovery works

  1. A network scanning or management tool (e.g., Nmap) scans the network to find active devices, resources, or services.
  2. Each device the tool finds is identified by its unique attributes (such as IP address or hostname).
  3. Information about each device, such as its operating system or open ports, is collected and logged.
  4. The discovered devices and their relationships are mapped out to understand the network’s layout (e.g., a particular server may be connected to multiple devices within the network).
  5. The network admins see the results of the scan in a readable format, allowing them to analyze the data and use it for network management.

Network discovery and security

  • Network discovery helps find security problems in devices to prevent breaches.
  • By monitoring network changes, network discovery can help warn admins about potential security threats.
  • Network discovery also plays a role in keeping the inventory of the network up to date.
  • When security incidents happen, network discovery data can help identify affected devices and allow companies to respond quickly.

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