IT auditors, penetration testers, and incident responders often ask if a system they are analyzing is managed. A managed system is one that is being looked after, updated and maintained by an IT staff of some sort. An unmanaged system is one that is on the network, but perhaps has been forgotten, isn’t authorized or has some other reason for it not to be there or updated by anyone else.
Security findings for managed systems and unmanaged systems are reported differently. For an unmanaged system, the recommendation is to make the system managed and bring it into a secured state. For security issues with managed systems, the recommendation is to alter the current management processes to make them more secure.
Unfortunately, there is no “under management” test that can easily be automated. This blog entry will describe some of the different types of data that can be gathered from logs, Nessus scanning and Passive Vulnerability Scanner sniffing that can help identify systems with and without management.