What is SNMP?
What is SNMP?
SNMP stands for Simple Network Management Protocol and is used mainly to manage elements or devices on internet or IP networks. SNMP is a simple protocol that’s why it is widely used in monitoring elements attached to a particular network. These elements may be devices like routers, printers, racks, computer servers and workstations, and switches among others. If one of these devices needs some administrative configuration, then SNMP may be used.
The basic component involved in an SNMP type of protocol is an agent or SNMP agent. A particular network must have this component active and configured to allow interaction and communication with the network management system like SNMP. Most corporate network hardware usually comes with SNMP agents built-in. And most operating systems can also be linked with SNMP agents.
But aside from the SNMP agents, other components are also involved in this network management system. These components are the SNMP manager, the database, the devices attached to the network, and the internet network protocol. With these various components, the SNMP agent acts as the link between the elements and devices to the SNMP manager. The SNMP manager and agent communicate through a database with a relatively small set of commands. One particular message or command is initiated by the SNMP agent instead of the SNMP manager. This is the “TRAP” message and this is what sends the “alarm” to the SNMP manager regarding a particular device that needs some administrative tinkering or configuration.
SNMP involves only a few commands making it easy for many network administrators. This simplicity has led to its wide use in computer networking setups. But some also consider it as not robust and secure enough in managing large networks. Some versions do not offer data encryption leading to data or packet sniffing, dictionary attacks and spoofing type of intrusions.