What do monitoring services like Mcafee Secure actually provide? It's about $1000 per year and I'm trying to judge what they actually do, as their benefits and technology pages might as well be the sales pages for just about any software as a service.
I mean, is it possible that they have any information available which a decent server admin can't get for free? Or are they just pinging your server periodically to see what headers are returned, doing some XSS injection tests, etc?
I'm running Ubuntu 10.10, and if there are self monitoring services I could install and get email alerts on relevant security data / updates, that would be preferred.