Published: 06/06/2022

Agentless vs agent-based monitoring: everything you need to know

Online security is critical for the success of your business. Increasingly advanced bots seek out and exploit the tiniest security flaws to compromise your site — so it’s important to have the right protection in place.

Many businesses use agent-based monitoring to identify and block threats to your critical servers. But with the advent of agentless monitoring, agent-based solutions are already redundant. Find out everything you need to know about agentless vs agent-based monitoring below.

What is agent-based monitoring and how does it work?

The current market is dominated by agent-based monitoring. This technology involves deploying an agent (usually JavaScript or a mobile software development kit) to each system in your network. This agent allows you to monitor the system for bots and other malicious activity.

Agent-based monitoring is widely used, but only for want of a better option. Installing, testing, and upgrading is a laborious process that can take entire teams to manage — we’ve seen teams of 40+ people managing agent deployment alone. Plus, this method collects and relays data relatively slowly, so by the time you know an attack is happening, it could be too late to prevent serious damage.

What is agentless monitoring and how does it work?

Agentless monitoring is an increasingly popular alternative to traditional agent-based monitoring. This method uses existing networks already integrated within your servers and storage devices, such as operating systems and simple network management protocol (SNMP), to create seamless data pathways that allow you to observe monitored devices in real-time.

Why use agentless bot management instead of agent-based?

Agentless bot management is a significant upgrade to any agent-based solution. In fact, we protect some of the world’s largest websites with our agentless bot management software.

Netacea’s approach to identifying and blocking bots differs from traditional detection methods, thanks to our unique Intent Analytics™ engine. Using machine learning, our platform discovers bot behavior patterns in an agentless manner, blocking threats early to give your site immediate protection.

Our platform is proven to identify up to six times as many threats as agent-based products. Setup is almost instant, and because we don’t use agents, our product scales with your business.

Agentless vs agent-based monitoring: a comparison

See the key differences between agent and agentless monitoring at a glance.

Agentless monitoringAgent-based monitoring
Monitoring speedInstant — monitoring is in real-timeDelayed — data collection and analysis takes time
Implementation timeImmediateDepends on number of agents that need to be installed
Bot detection12 million bot login attempts blocked by Netacea’s agentless solution — proven to detect up to six times more threats thanks to machine learning approach2 million bot login attempts blocked by leading agent-based solution
SecurityServer-side defense removes risks associated with client-side protectionJavaScript agents pose a security risk; you also inherently share details of your protective measures with the attacker
Performance impactNo additional resources used, so no impact on site performanceRepeated server pings by agents can cause site slowdown; malfunctioning agents also damage site performance

Agentless monitoring FAQs

Learn more about agentless monitoring in these frequently asked questions.

Which businesses should invest in agentless monitoring solutions?

Businesses in the retail, telecommunications, banking, travel, and gaming industries are often targeted by attackers. Sites in these industries often store information that’s extremely valuable to hackers and cybercriminals, such as user login credentials, payment details, and personal data. Agentless solutions are key to reducing online threats in these industries.

That said, any website with a login function is vulnerable to account takeover. If you’re worried about the security of your website, talk to an expert to see if Netacea’s bot management system could work for you.

Can you use agentless monitoring for APIs?

Yes. As APIs become more prevalent, they’ll become a bigger target for attackers. There are currently a lot of limitations to agent-based security for APIs. Agentless monitoring is key to developing and maintaining secure APIs.

What kind of data is available with agentless monitoring?

Agentless monitoring gives you in-depth data in real-time, including:

  • Number of mitigated requests
  • Number of trusted requests
  • Bot traffic types
  • Country of origin of requests
  • Specific information about each attack, including attack type

This is just a small sample of the metrics available in our bot management reports. See more in this two-minute demo video.

How do I choose an agentless monitoring solution?

Finding the right agentless monitoring platform may seem complex for vendor agnostic businesses. But there are a few simple ways to ensure you’re getting the right solution for your website, app, or API:

Learn how our agentless monitoring software works

Our agentless monitoring platform is trusted by companies like Sony and ClearScore to keep their sites secure. Find out more about how our bot management software works here.

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