What is a VPN ?
A virtual private network (VPN) is a network that helps establish a connection between remote users and private networks. These connections are secured by data encryption, where data flows between the device and the network via a shielded path called a VPN tunnel.
What is VPN monitoring ?
VPN monitoring is the process of keeping an eye on critical metrics to maintain the integrity of the VPN connection and ensure it's robust. In addition, VPN monitoring ensures sensitive data gets transmitted across VPN tunnels without being exploited by intruders. Some crucial parameters to monitor include:
- VPN session count: The number of currently active sessions
- VPN tunnels count: The number of client-to-site VPN tunnels
- VPN received bytes: The number of received bytes between the endpoint pair
- VPN sent bytes: The number of sent bytes between the end-point pair
Roadblocks a company faces when skipping a VPN monitoring solution
Compromising on VPN monitoring can have many repercussions for a company, ranging from productivity loss and an adverse impact on revenue, to jeopardizing confidential data and even the loss of loyal customers due to safety breaches.
Here are two prominent issues that could surface in the absence of a VPN monitoring software:
- Security Breach and appropriation of vital information: Ineffective or no VPN monitoring could lead to unauthorized access into private networks, paving the way for data thefts.
- Overlooking traffic overloads and blocks in data traffic: Failure to address impending irregularities in the VPN tunnels can lead to suspended connections, which in turn could effect the functioning and productivity of the business.
OpManager's VPN monitoring feature to the rescue
OpManager's built-in VPN monitoring tool helps monitor VPN connections, track the health and performance of all VPN links and monitor data transmission across VPN tunnels to proactively deal with any impending roadblocks. This feature enables you to assign performance monitors, configure thresholds, monitor for violations, and set notification profiles that can broadcast alerts over varied media such as email, SMS, and Slack notifications.
Listed below are supported vendors and the VPN monitor OpManager offers when integrated with them:
- VPN tunnel IN-Bytes data:The total number of octets received by the IPsec Phase-2 tunnel
- VPN tunnel OUT-Bytes data:The total number of octets sent by the IPsec Phase 2 tunnel
- VPN tunnel status:The status of the management information base (MIB) table row
- VPN session count:The number of currently active sessions
- Active web VPN sessions:The number of currently active web VPN sessions
- SSL VPN connections (switched virtual circuits, also known as SVCs, or AnyConnect): The number of currently active SVC sessions
- VPN SSL tunnel uptime:Uptime of SSL VPN tunnels (in seconds) from the time of VPN reboot
- VPN bytes received:The number of bytes received in the tunnel since installation
- VPN bytes sent:The number of bytes sent in the tunnel since installation
- VPN tunnel traffic in:The number of incoming bytes of L2 traffic through this tunnel since it was established
- VPN tunnel traffic out:The number of outgoing bytes of L2 traffic through this tunnel since it was established
- Active VPN SSL tunnels:The current number of active SSL tunnels in the virtual domain
- VPN tunnels count:The number of live client-to-site VPN tunnels
- VPN tunnel status:Monitors the status of VPN tunnels
- VPN bandwidth:Monitors the VPN bandwidth
- VPN tunnel Rx packets:The total size of transmitted packets from the tunnel was up for each tunnel
- VPN tunnel Tx packets:The total size of received packets from the tunnel was up for each tunnel
- VPN decryption errors:Monitors the VPN decryption errors
- VPN peer tunnel state:Monitors the VPN tunnel's status
- Concurrent VPN tunnels:The number of concurrent pulse IPsec and NC users
Palo Alto Networks
- GP Gateway Utilization: Monitors the active GlobalProtect tunnels on a gateway and measures tunnel utilization. Use this metric if you use this VM-Series firewall as a VPN gateway to secure remote users.
- GP Active Tunnels: Monitors the number of active GlobalProtect sessions on a firewall deployed as a GlobalProtect gateway. Use this metric if you use this VM-Series firewall as a VPN gateway to secure remote users.
Real-time monitoring and troubleshooting alerts
After adding the necessary performance monitors to your devices, thresholds of appropriate values can be configured for the respective monitors to check if the metric is under control. Real-time monitoring stats can be obtained on the device snapshot page as shown in the screenshots below. If the thresholds are violated, OpManager generates alerts that can be leveraged for effective troubleshooting.
Data visualization and reports
OpManager offers graphical and tabular representations of data sets to help gauge and visualize data seamlessly, and derive better inferences. With OpManager, drill down into the individual metric’s graphs, or look at all the charts on the same page to gain a holistic view of the current trends.
To study trends over longer intervals, OpManager generates reports that enable you to obtain stats over a longer period of time. You can also schedule or export these reports into other formats like PDF, CSV, and XLS.
Custom dashboards for VPN widgets
Instead of moving between multiple windows to fetch crucial data, OpManager helps you monitor all business critical VPN metrics on one screen. With OpManager, you can create customized dashboards that can accommodate VPN widgets such as VPN tunnel monitoring, VPN traffic monitoring and also other widgets you feel are critical to your business, helping you draw inferences with ease. All you have to do is create a custom dashboard, select the desired performance monitors, add them to your dashboard, and you're good to go.
If you also wish to monitor your VPN connections for bandwidth utilization, get VPN usage trends and block hostile IPs from being accessed from your VPNs, Firewall analyzer's (an add-on of OpManager) VPN monitor would come in handy.
For more information on how OpManager can aid in your VPN network monitoring efforts, try out a 30-day free trial or register for a free demo.