What Is IPAM in Networking and Cybersecurity?
Defining IPAM Components. Benefits of Using IPAM Solutions.
Managing thousands of IP-connected devices can become a great challenge for many organizations. But imagine trying to keep track of which IP Address is assigned to each device, which DHCP lease is up, or when the IP has changed?
Fortunately, there is a solution to managing IP addressing tracking issues just like the ones mentioned above. It’s called IPAM, or IP Address Management. But how do we define IPAM in cybersecurity?
IPAM (Internet Protocol Address Management), is a procedure for organizing, tracking, and adjusting the information related to the IP addressing space. It helps network admins by keeping the list of IP addresses updated.
Defining IPAM Components
To achieve effective IP address management, organizations need a proper strategy and reliable tools. Nevertheless, before drafting the strategy, network administrators need to pay attention to three IPAM components.
#1. IP Address Inventory Management
The IPAM inventory involves planning, collecting, allocating, and managing the organization’s IP addresses. In addition, it maintains real-time updates and the IPs status within a network, so your organization’s fixed IP space is used appropriately.
#2. Domain Name Service (DNS) Management
This is one of the most important factors as it provides users with fast and efficient availability of Internet content. Essentially, the DNS, which supports the Internet presence of your company, is a centralized network run by different organizations worldwide. In short, it comprises the operators of root and top-level domain servers, recursive name services, authoritative name services offered by managed DNS operators, and domain registrars that handle domain names.
#3. Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) Management
DHCP is a network management protocol used to assign static and dynamic IP addresses to authorized IoT devices. DHCP servers automate the process of assigning IP addresses and help with the automation and optimization of IP space in the network. To maintain the availability and security of IP addresses, they need to be properly configured, employed, and monitored.
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Benefits of Using IPAM Solutions
What do microservices, databases, applications, and technological advances have in common? Simple – they all need IP addresses. And with great demand come great management challenges. For devices to successfully establish communication and coordination, it’s important to maintain these IP addresses.
Enters IPAM. Organizations of all types use IP Address Management due to the following advantages it offers to network administrators.
1. It Creates a Centralized Repository for Accurate Records
With IPAM, organizations can build an inventory of the networks, subnets, and IP addresses both private and public. Furthermore, administrators will be able to maintain accurate and current records of IP assignments and available addresses. IPAM can provide information about details like:
- Free/assigned IP address space
- IP addresses’ status
- IP addresses’ hostnames
- IP addresses’ hardware
- Size of subnets and current users
2. It Simplifies Administration Tasks
IPAM automates and simplifies several IP space management administration tasks such as DHCP settings configuration and DNS records writing. What’s more, it improves visibility over IP resources cross-platforms, real-time updates, DNS-DHCP configurations automation, built-in reports, and data collection effectiveness.
3. It Provides Reduced Complexity
To reduce IP address management complexity, IPAM employs a single centralized repository that consists of IP address space information from RIR (Regional Internet Registry). This way, network administrators can manage both public and private IP address plans and discover networks to gather information on several connected hosts.
4. It Enhances Reliability
Misconfigurations, overlapping subnets, and IP address conflicts with growing networks can have a negative impact on the organization’s entire network and increase the workload of network admins. With IPAM, these risks are avoided as it provides faster troubleshooting, shows a domain name’s exact location in the hierarchy of a DNS server by enforcing Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) and reduces network service downtime.
5. It Provides High-End Security for Network and Connected Devices
Detecting potential threats, security breaches, or misuse of devices within the network of an organization is a top priority for administrators. Having access to IPAM data is highly important as it provides them with crucial information about used IP addresses, what IP address is assigned to which device, the specific time of assignment, and the user of the assigned device. It’s crucial to identify the origin of these issues and immediately eliminate them to maintain data integrity.
6. It Fulfills Compliance Requirements and Audit Trails
Besides a centralized repository of IP addresses, IPAM helps the organization in providing indispensable information for preserving regulatory compliance. For instance, it can deliver network IP address logs and other related information.
7. It Maintains Network Health
IP address conflicts and duplicity are real challenges for the majority of organizations. While IPAM fulfills meets security and compliance needs, it also provides an overview of the IP address’s status and what’s happening in the organization’s network, as well as a report on the network’s health with several aspects of IP addresses—whether they’re static, dynamic, or reserved.
Wrapping It Up
By deploying IPAM at the core of their network, organizations can take control of their IP address and namespace and achieve more trustworthy service delivery and greater efficiencies and cost savings in network operations. To put it simply, IPAM brings organization to what would otherwise be IP chaos.