Given the trends of massive growth in bandwidth, deployment of large enterprise data centers, and significant adoption of cloud-based applications, enterprise networks have become more challenging to secure and manage. Organizations now have a reliance on the network for critical business functions, including remote access to data center and cloud-based applications. This increased reliance on the network has opened new avenues for cyberattacks.
Hackers and cybercriminals are exploiting this increased network reliance to threaten most (if not all) organizations with operational disruption and data loss. The exponential growth in the network footprint, the shift in traffic patterns within the data center and the sophistication of cyberattacks are breaking traditional network security designs – making it impossible to secure the network perimeter. Worse, many security breaches are hard to detect, making remediation problematic. Security products (e.g. firewalls) are increasingly burdened with too many connections and too much traffic, resulting in significant impacts on performance. Visibility into who is accessing the network and the ability to identify anomalous traffic is essential to detecting cyberattacks and addressing security problems.
If, Not When? Think Again
The resulting growth in the frequency of malicious attacks has shifted the security landscape. The requirement must be to design IT security to defend systems when you are attacked, not if you will be attacked. The ramifications of successful attacks and the related adverse commercial impact have never been greater, so this shift in thinking is critical. The emphasis of security is now geared toward detection, containment, and fast remediation.
As a transit point for all information exchange, the network is the critical point for identifying cyberattacks. Network monitoring systems are key to detecting anomalies and variances compared to normal traffic flows. As networks grow, the amount of traffic can quickly exceed the capabilities of security devices and related management tools. High performance, intelligent network monitoring systems capture packets (the building blocks of information), apply pattern matching, and can then send relevant traffic or metadata to the appropriate security appliances. Thus, monitoring can help match (limited) security performance with rapidly growing network performance. The visibility provided by network monitoring enables rapid decision-making in real time in response to threats, before they have time to affect the entire infrastructure.
How Network Monitoring Tools Can Benefit Your Organization
Using real-time network traffic is the best way to gain visibility into your IT infrastructure. To meet the monitoring and security needs of a modern network, a modern Network Packet Broker (NPB) is required.
Monitoring throughout the network is critical to enable network visibility and dynamically mitigate security threats. Network monitoring tools must filter and aggregate huge traffic flows, isolate bad traffic on-demand to improve security, and ensure compliance. The specific benefits of enhanced network-wide visibility include:
- Rapid detection and resolution of application and network security breaches
- Improved network performance and reduced latency
- Ability to dynamically isolate bad traffic
- Improved tool utilization and performance
The introduction of low-cost white box switches combined with SDN software have significantly improved performance, management, and lowered the cost of pervasive network monitoring. IT organizations can benefit from advances in network monitoring performance and capacity to improve application performance, end-user satisfaction, and to identify security challenges.