A key responsibility for system administrators is to keep unauthorized people out, and it's not an easy job. The security landscape changes rapidly, and hackers start to use new tactics even before their current methods fail. News stories of data theft from multi-million dollar companies are becoming more frequent.
While legal aid organizations are not high-profile targets, their system administrators still need to keep their guards up. Legal aid organizations collect a lot of valuable information, including social security numbers, evidence and arguments for court cases, and names, phone numbers, and addresses of domestic violence survivors, who are likely trying to avoid being found. And as we all know, legal aid programs don't have a whole lot of extra money to spend on fancy security systems.
Fortunately, there is a free option: SNORT. SNORT is an open-source network intrusion prevention and detection system. System administrators give SNORT a set of rules to follow, and SNORT analyzes your network traffic based on those rules. It alerts you to probes, attacks, and other things that aren't quite right. A special Free Friday bonus: Emerging Threats, which is funded by the National Science Foundation and the Army Research Office, has a set of SNORT rules available for free.
Granted, the total cost of ownership of this software is not free. There is a significant learning curve; however, there are additional free resources to help system administrators learn how to use the tool and a large user community, including Snort User Groups, that system administrators can turn to with questions. - K