Network Security and Management Challenges Blog Series – Part 4

Original Entry by : Endace

Driving Economic Efficiency in Cyber Defense

Key Research Findings

  • Available budget, freedom to choose the best solutions and platform fatigue are all impacting on the ability of system architects to design and deploy the best solutions to meet the organization’s needs.
  • 78% of system architects reported platform fatigue is a significant challenge with 29% rating the level of challenge as high.
  • More than 90% of respondents reported that the process of acquiring and deploying security, network or application performance platforms is challenging, with almost half reporting that it is either extremely or very challenging.

Most of what’s written about cybersecurity focuses on the mechanics of attacks and defense. But, as recent research shows, the economics of security is just as significant. It’s not just lack of available budget – departments always complain about that – but how they are forced to allocate their budgets.

Currently, security solutions are often hardware-based, which forces organizations into making multiple CAPEX investments – with accompanying complex, slow purchase processes.

More than three-quarters of respondents to the survey reported that “the challenge of constraints caused by CAPEX cycle (e.g. an inability to choose best possible solutions when the need arises) is significant.”Almost half reported being stuck with solutions that have “outlived their usefulness, locked into particular vendors or unable to choose best-of-breed solutions.

Speed of deployment is also a significant challenge for organizations, with more than 50% of respondents reporting that “deploying a new security, network or application performance platform takes six to twelve months or longer.” 

As outlined in the previous post, existing security solutions are expensive, inflexible, hardware-dependent and take too long to deploy or upgrade. The process of identifying a need, raising budget, testing, selecting and deploying hardware-based security and performance monitoring solutions simply takes too long. And the cost is too high.

Contrast this with cyber attackers, who don’t require costly hardware to launch their attacks. They are not hampered by having to negotiate slow, complex purchase and deployment cycles. And often they leverage their target’s own infrastructure for attacks. The truth is that the economics of cybersecurity is broken: with the balance radically favoring attackers at the expense of their victims.

Reshaping the economics of cyberdefense

Companies have a myriad of choices when it comes to possible security, network performance and application performance monitoring solutions. Typically, they deploy many different tools to meet their specific needs. 

As discussed in the previous post, the lack of a common hardware architecture for analytics tools has prevented organizations from achieving the same cost savings and agility in their network security and monitoring infrastructure that virtualization has enabled in other areas of their IT infrastructure. As a result, budgets are stretched, organizations don’t have the coverage they’d like (leading to blindspots in network visibility) and deploying and managing network security and performance monitoring tools is slow, cumbersome and expensive.

Consolidating tools onto a common hardware platform – such as our EndaceProbe – helps organizations overcome many of the economic challenges they face:

  • It lets them reduce their hardware expenditure, resulting in significant CAPEX and OPEX savings. 
  • Reduced hardware expenditure frees up budget that can be directed towards deploying more tools in more places on the network – to remove visibility blind spots – and deploying tools the company needs but couldn’t previously afford.
  • Teams gain the freedom to choose what tools they adopt without being locked into “single-stack” vendor solutions. 
  • Teams can update or replace security and performance monitoring functions by deploying software applications on the existing hardware platform without a rip-and-replace. This significantly reduces cost and enables much faster, more agile deployment.

The cost of the hardware infrastructure needed to protect and manage the networks can also be shared by SecOps, NetOps, DevOps and IT teams, further reducing OPEX and CAPEX costs and facilitating closer cooperation and collaboration between teams.

For architects, a common hardware platform becomes a network element that can be designed into the standard network blueprint – reducing complexity and ensuring visibility across the entire network. And for IT teams responsible for managing the infrastructure it avoids the platform fatigue that currently results from having to manage multiple different hardware appliances from multiple different vendors.

Because analytics functionality is abstracted from the underlying EndaceProbe hardware, that functionality can be changed or upgraded easily, enabling – as we saw in the last post – far more agile deployment and the freedom to deploy analytics tools that best meet the company’s needs rather than being locked into specific vendors’ offerings.

Equally importantly, it extends the useful life of the EndaceProbe hardware too. No longer does hardware have to be replaced in order to upgrade or change analytics functionality. And as network speeds and loads increase, older EndaceProbes can be redeployed to edge locations and replaced at the network core with newer models offering higher-speeds and greater storage density. This ensures companies get maximum return on their hardware investment.

Lastly, their modular architecture allows multiple, physical EndaceProbes to be stacked or grouped to form centrally-managed logical EndaceProbes capable of scaling to network speeds of hundreds of gigabits-per-second and storing petabytes of network history.

A Final Word

This blog series has looked at the three key challenges – Visibility, Agility and Economic Efficiency (this post) – that enterprises report they face in protecting their networks and applications from cyber threats and costly performance issues. These challenges are interrelated: it is only by addressing all three that organizations can achieve the level of confidence and certainty necessary to effectively protect their critical assets.


Endace Honored with Ten Accolades in
Security Industry Awards Sweep

Original Entry by : Endace

Last month was officially our most successful month for awards ever! Maybe it’s got something to do with it being February in a Leap Year?

Whatever the reason, we’re thrilled to report that Endace received no less than ten industry awards last week, winning three top spots at the Cyber Defense Magazine InfoSec Awards and a further seven awards at the Info Security Product Guide Global Excellence Awards.


Endace's Cary Wright (left) and Michael Morris (right) accept the award for "Best Product, Packet Capture Platform" from Cyber Defense Magazine
Endace’s Cary Wright (left) and Michael Morris (right) accept the award for “Best Product, Packet Capture Platform” from Cyber Defense Magazine

CYBER DEFENSE MAGAZINE (CDM) is the industry’s leading electronic information security magazine. Rolling out the red carpet at RSA in San Francisco this week, CDM’s panel of judges voted the EndaceProbe Analytics Platform Product Suite best in class for the following categories:

  • Most Innovative, Network Security and Management
  • Best Product, Packet Capture Platform
  • Hot Company, Security Investigation Platform

INFO SECURITY PRODUCTS GUIDE is the industry’s leading information security research and advisory guide. The awards panel, which includes 35 judges from around the world, recognized Endace in the following categories

  • Grand Trophy Winner
  • Best Security Hardware (Gold): EndaceProbe Analytics Platform Product Suite
  • Most Innovative Security Hardware of the Year (Gold): EndaceProbe Analytics Platform Product Suite and Fusion Partner Program
  • Network Security and Management (Gold): EndaceProbe Analytics Platform with EndaceVision
  • Critical Infrastructure Security (Gold): EndaceProbe Analytics Platform Product Suite
  • Best Security Solution (Silver): EndaceProbe Analytics Platform Product Suite and Fusion Partner Program
  • Network Visibility, Security & Testing (Silver): EndaceProbe Analytics Platform with EndaceVision

We’re looking forward to attending the Info Security Product Guide Awards 2020 presentation ceremony and dinner in October to celebrate the Grand Trophy win and the six other awards.


We’d like to extend a big thank you to the judging panels for both award programs. And congratulations to fellow 2020 winners including Endace Fusion Partners Cisco, Ixia (a Keysight company), Darktrace and Gigamon.


Network Security and Management
Challenges – Part 3: Agility

Original Entry by : Endace

The Need for Agile Cyberdefense – and How to Achieve it

Key Research Findings

  • 75% of organizations report significant challenges with alert fatigue and 82% report significant challenges with tool fatigue
  • 91% of respondents report significant challenges in “integrating solutions to streamline processes, increase productivity and reduce complexity”.
  • Investigations are often slow and resource-intensive, with 15% of issues taking longer than a day to investigate and involving four or more people in the process.

In part two of this series of blog posts, we looked at Visibility as one of the key challenges uncovered in the research study Challenges of Managing and Securing the Network 2019.

In this third post, we’ll be discussing another of the key challenges that organizations reported: Agility

From a cybersecurity and performance management perspective, the term “Agility” can mean two different things. In one sense it can mean the ability to investigate and respond quickly to cyber threats or performance issues. But it can also refer to the ability to rapidly deploy new or upgraded solutions in order to evolve the organization’s ability to defend against, or detect, new security threats or performance issues. 

To keep things clear let’s refer to these two different meanings for agility as “Agile Response” and “Agile Deployment.”

Enabling Agile Response

In the last post, we looked at the data sources organizations can use to improve their visibility into network activity – namely using network metadata, combined with full packet data, to provide the definitive evidence that enables analysts to quickly and conclusively investigate issues. 

In order to leverage this data, the next step is to make it readily available to the tools and teams that need access to it. Tools can access the data to more accurately detect issues, and teams get quick and easy access to the definitive evidence they need to investigate and resolve issues faster and more effectively. 

Organizations report that they are struggling with two significant issues when it comes to investigating and resolving security or performance issues. 

The first is they are drowning in the sheer volume of alerts being reported by their monitoring tools. Investigating each issue is a cumbersome and resource-intensive process, often involving multiple people. As a result there is typically a backlog of issues that never get looked at – representing an unknown level of risk to the organization.

The second issue, which is compounding the alert fatigue problem, is that the tools teams use are not well-integrated, making the investigation process slow and inefficient.  In fact, 91% of the organizations surveyed reported significant challenges in “integrating solutions to streamline processes, increase productivity and reduce complexity.” The result is analysts are forced to switch from tool to tool (also known as “swivel chair integration”) to try and piece together a “big-picture” view of what happened.

Integrating network metadata and packet data into security and performance monitoring tools is a way to overcome both these challenges:

  • It gives teams access to a shared, authoritative source of truth about network activity. Analysts can pivot from an alert, or a metadata query, directly to the related packets for conclusive verification of what took place. This simplifies and accelerates investigations, making teams dramatically more productive and eliminating alert fatigue.
  • It enables a standardized investigation process. Regardless of the tool an analyst is using, they can get directly from an alert or query to the forensic detail – the packets – in the same way every time. 
  • It enables data from multiple sources to be correlated more easily. This is typically what teams are looking to achieve through tighter tool integration. Network data provides the “glue” (IP addresses, ports, time, application information etc.) that enables data from other diverse sources (log files, SNMP alerts etc.) to be correlated more easily. 

By leveraging a common, authoritative source of packet-level evidence organizations can create a “community of interoperability” across all their security and performance monitoring tools that drives faster response and greater productivity.

By integrating this packet-level network history with their security tools, SecOps teams can pivot quickly from alerts to concrete evidence, reducing investigation times from hours or days to just minutes.

Endace’s EndaceProbe Analytics Platform does this by enabling solutions from leading security and performance analytics vendors – such as BluVector, Cisco, Darktrace, Dynatrace, Micro Focus, IBM, Ixia, Palo Alto Networks, Splunk and others – to be integrated with and/or hosted on the EndaceProbe platform. Hosted solutions can access analyze live packet data for real-time detection or analyze recorded data for back-in-time investigations. 

The EndaceProbe’s powerful API-based integration allows analysts to go from alerts in any of these tools directly to the related packet history for deep, contextual analysis with a single click. 

The Road to Agile Deployment

The research showed that many organizations report their lack of visibility is due to having “too few tools in too few places in the network.” There are two reasons for this. One is economic – and we’ll look at that in the next post. The other is that the process of selecting and deploying new security and performance monitoring solutions is very slow.

The reason deploying new solutions is so slow is that they are typically deployed as hardware-based appliances. And as we all know, the process of acquiring budget for, evaluating, selecting, purchasing and deploying hardware can take months. Moreover, appliance-based solutions are prone to obsolescence and are difficult or impossible to upgrade without complete replacement. 

All these things make for an environment that is static and slow-moving: precisely the opposite of what organizations need when seeking to be agile and evolve their infrastructure quickly to meet new needs. Teams cannot evolve systems quickly enough to meet changing needs – which is particularly problematic when it comes to security, because the threat landscape changes so rapidly. As a result, many organizations are left with security solutions that are past their use-by date but can’t be replaced until their CAPEX value has been written down.

The crux of the problem is that many analytics solutions rely on collecting and analyzing network data – which means every solution typically includes its own packet capture hardware. 

Unlike the datacenter, where server virtualization has delivered highly efficient resource utilization, agile deployment and significant cost savings, there isn’t – or rather hasn’t been until now – a common hardware platform that enables network security and performance analytics solutions to be virtualized in the same way. A standardized platform for these solutions needs to include the specialized, dedicated hardware necessary for reliable packet capture and recording at high speed.

This is why Endace designed the EndaceProbe™ Analytics Platform. Multiple EndaceProbes can be deployed across the network to provide a common hardware platform for recording full packet data while simultaneously hosting security and performance analytics tools that need to analyze packet data. 

Adopting a common hardware platform removes the hardware dependence that currently forces organizations to deploy multiple hardware appliances from multiple vendors and frees them up to deploy analytics solutions as virtualized software applications. This enables agile deployment and gives organizations the freedom to choose the security, application performance and network performance solutions that best suit their needs, independent of the underlying hardware.

In the next post, we’ll look at how a common platform can help address some of the economic challenges that organizations face in protecting their networks. 


Network Security and
Management Challenges – Part 2: Visibility

Original Entry by : Endace

Stop Flying Blind: How to ensure Network Visibility

Network Visibility Essential to Network Security

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.

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.


Introducing the Network Security and
Management Challenges Blog Series

Original Entry by : Endace

Recent research provides insight into overcoming the challenges of managing and securing the network

Network Security and Performance Management Research

A Big Thank-You

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of the companies and individuals that participated in both studies. Without your participation, it would not have been possible to produce these reports and the valuable insight they contain.

For those who didn’t get a chance to participate, please click here to register your interest in participating in our 2020 research projects.

Last year, Endace participated in two global research studies focusing on the challenges of protecting enterprise networks. The results of both provide powerful insights into the state of network security today, and what organizations can do to improve the security and reliability of their networks. In this series of blog posts, we’re going to take a deep dive into the results and their implications. 

We commissioned an independent, US-based research company, Virtual Intelligence Briefing (VIB) to conduct the research underpinning the Challenges of Managing and Securing the Network 2019 report. VIB surveyed senior executives and technical staff at more than 250 large, global enterprises to understand the challenges they face in protecting against cyberattacks threats and preventing network and application performance issues. 

Organizations from a range of industry verticals including Finance, Healthcare, Insurance and Retail participated. Annual revenues of participating companies were between $250M and $5B+, and respondents included senior executives such as CIOs and CISO, as well as technical management and technical roles. 

Our second research project was with Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) and was focused on looking at what leading organizations are doing to improve their cybersecurity and what tactical choices are making the biggest difference. This research was based on responses to a detailed survey of more than 250 large enterprises across a wide range of industries .

You can download a summary of EMA’s report here: “Unlocking High Fidelity Security 2019“.

So what did we find out? 

When it comes to securing their networks from cyberattacks, organizations find it hard to ‘see’ all the threats, making detection and resolution of security and performance issues cumbersome and often inconclusive. They lack sufficient visibility into network activity, with too few tools in too few places to be confident they can quickly and effectively respond to cyber threats and performance issues.

The need for greater agility was also a common challenge, with alert fatigue, tool fatigue and lack of integration between tools making the investigation and resolution process slow and resource-intensive. 

Organizations also face significant economic challenges in the way they are currently forced to purchase and deploy solutions. This leaves them unable to evolve quickly enough to meet the demands imposed by today’s fast-moving threat landscape and 24×7 network and application uptime requirements. 

In this series, we’ll explore each of these three challenges – Visibility, Agility and Economics – while also looking at how they are intrinsically inter-related. Understanding and addressing all of these challenges together revolutionizes network security and management, and enables organizations to realize greater efficiency while saving money.

Our next post will look at why organizations lack visibility into network activity and how they can overcome this challenge.


Watch Endace on Cisco ThreatWise TV from RSA 2019

Original Entry by : Endace

It was a privilege to attend this year’s RSA cybersecurity event in San Francisco, and one of our top highlights was certainly the opportunity to speak to Cisco’s ThreatWise TV host Jason Wright. Watch the video on Cisco’s ThreatWise TV (or below) as Jason interviews our very own Michael Morris to learn more about how Cisco and Endace integrate to accelerate and improve cyber incident investigations.

In this short 4 minute video, Michael demonstrates how Cisco Firepower and Stealthwatch can be used together to investigate intrusion events, using Cisco dashboards and EndaceVision to drill down into events by priority and classification to show where threats come from, who has been affected and whether any lateral movement occurred, as well as conversation history and traffic profiles. Michael also explains how Cisco and Endace work together to ‘find a needle in a haystack’ across petabytes of network traffic.

A big thanks to Cisco and to Jason for giving us this spotlight opportunity. If you have any questions about how Cisco and Endace integrations can accelerate and improve cyber incident investigation, visit our Cisco partner page.


Meet the Endace team at Infosecurity 2018

Original Entry by : Endace

From the 5-7th June 2018, the Endace team will be exhibiting at Infosecurity Europe at Olympia, London. Infosecurity, Europe’s largest conference programme, offers more than 400 exhibitors (and 19,500 information security professionals) the chance to showcase market-leading information security solutions.

“The UK team will be demonstrating Endace’s range of products and how they can be integrated with security tools from partners like Cisco, Splunk, Plixer and Palo Alto Networks,” says James Barrett, Senior Director EMEA. “We’re looking forward to hearing some great keynotes, as well as participating in the tech and strategy talks, while sharing our expertise with attendees and other exhibitors.”

Infosecurity brings more than 240 free conference sessions, with attendees ranging from industry veterans to promising start-ups. Alongside the conference sessions and exhibition hall, the event provides networking opportunities for attendees to share knowledge and experience.

You can read more about Endace and our products on the Endace website or on Infosecurity’s exhibitor page. To meet the Endace team and receive a demo at Infosecurity, visit stand R100 or contact us here.


Cool Runnings with Endace

Original Entry by : Endace

bobsleigh-2-1000Back in 2015 Emma Garner was looking for a fresh challenge to push her both physically and mentally. Taking inspiration from 90s comedy Cool Runnings she decided to try out for the Royal Air Force Bobsleigh Team. The RAF compete in two-person bobsleighs crewed by a driver and brakeman. Invited to attend novice training as a brakeman at Igls in Austria, she soon found herself careening down the course on her first ever week on ice.

“I remember the anticipation the first time I was nudged off the start and the exhilaration at making it down the track first time without my novice driver crashing. Some people weren’t so lucky.”

Continue reading “Cool Runnings with Endace”


Sold out Suricon demonstrates strong interest in Suricata

Original Entry by : Endace

Suricata

Having been one of the original sponsors of the OISF, we were thrilled to be involved again as a community partner sponsor at Suricon 2016.  The conference ran Nov 9-10 and with an international contingent of attendees and sponsors, Washington DC on election night was a very unique way to kick off the conference! 

It was great to reacquaint with old friends at the OSIF. Kelley Misata and the Core team did a fantastic job of organizing the conference.  There were some really interesting presentations from Core team presenters and the Suricata community. Check out the conference highlights here for links to some of the presentation slides.

suricon_booth

We had a lot of interest from attendees interested in using Endace DAG cards to improve the performance and fidelity of Suricata. For anyone wanting to find out how to use Suricata with DAG, we put together a technical brief which you can download here.

To celebrate Endace’s return as a sponsor, we offered attendees a special 2-for-1 deal on our DAG 10X2-S cards.  We think this card really hits the price/performance mark, providing a professional capture card at a very attractive price. And judging by level of the interest we saw at the conference, attendees agreed (a reminder to conference attendees, the offer closes Dec 15th, so don’t forget to return your claim form!)

Suricon 2016 was completely sold out and it’s great to see the attendance and interest growing so strongly.  Endace is looking forward to sponsoring Suricon 2017 in Prague which promises to be even bigger and better again!


Inaugural Sharkfest Europe a great success

Original Entry by : Endace

endace-sharkfest-standEurope got its own Sharkfest in October and the inaugural Wireshark Developer and User Conference was a great success with strong attendance from the user and developer community across Europe. Congratulations to Sharkfest Europe for a great launch to what is sure to be a fantastic annual event.

There was a great program of speakers over the three days. Kicking things off with the pre-conference course was Wireshark University’s Laura Chappell. Her Troubleshooting with Wireshark tutorial was well attended and included invaluable tips for working with Wireshark using workflows which make optimal use of Wireshark to quickly highlight potential issues.

Continue reading “Inaugural Sharkfest Europe a great success”