Stop Flying Blind: How to ensure Network Visibility
Key Research Findings
- 89% of organizations lack sufficient visibility into network activity certain about what is happening.
- 88% of organizations are concerned about their ability to resolve security and performance problems quickly and accurately.
As outlined in the first post in this series, lack of visibility into network activity was one of the key challenges reported by organizations surveyed by VIB for the Challenges of Managing and Securing the Network 2019 research study. This wasn’t a huge surprise: we know all too well that a fundamental prerequisite for successfully protecting networks and applications is sufficient visibility into network activity.
Sufficient visibility means being able to accurately monitor end-to-end activity across the entire network, and recording reliable evidence of this activity that allows SecOps, NetOps and DevOps teams to react quickly and confidently to any detected threats or performance issues.
Context is Key
It might be tempting to suggest that lack of network visibility results from not collecting enough data. Actually, the problem is not possessing enough of the right data to provide the context that enables a coherent big-picture view of activity – and insufficient detail to enable accurate event reconstruction. This leaves organizations questioning their ability to adequately protect their networks.
Without context, data is just noise. Data tends to be siloed by department. What is visible to NetOps may not be visible to SecOps, and vice versa. It is often siloed inside specific tools too, forcing analysts to correlate data from multiple sources to investigate issues because they lack an independent and authoritative source of truth about network activity.
Typically, organizations rely on data sources such as log files, and network metadata, which lack the detailed data necessary for definitive event reconstruction. For instance, while network metadata might show that a host on the network communicated with a suspect external host, it won’t give you the full details about what was transferred. For that, you need full packet data.
In addition, network metadata and packet data are the only data sources that are immune to potential compromise. Log files and other data sources can be tampered with by cyber attackers to hide evidence of their presence and activity; or may simply not record the vital clues necessary to investigate a threat or issue.
Combining Network Metadata with Full Packet Data for 100% Visibility
The best possible solution to improving visibility is a combination of full packet data and rich network metadata. Metadata gives the big picture view of network activity and provides an index that allows teams to quickly locate relevant full packet data. Full packet data contains the “payload” that lets teams reconstruct, with certainty, what took place.
Collecting both types of data gives NetOps, DevOps and SecOps teams the information they need to quickly investigate threats or performance problems coupled with the ability to see precisely what happened so they know how to respond with confidence.
Download Your Free Copies of
- ViB Research Report: Challenges of Managing and Securing the Network 2019
- EMA Research Report: Unlocking High Fidelity Security 2019
- EMA Whitepaper: Combine Metadata with Packets for High-Fidelity SecOps and NetOps
This combination provides the context needed to deliver both a holistic picture of network activity and the detailed granular data required to give certainty. It also provides an independent, authoritative source of network truth that makes it easy to correlate data from multiple sources – such as log files – and validate their accuracy.
With the right evidence at hand, teams can respond more quickly and accurately when events occur.
In the next post in this series, we’ll look at how to make this evidence easily accessible to the teams and tools that need it – and how this can help organizations be more agile in responding to security threats and performance issues.