With Cyberattacks on the Rise, Advanced NDR is Imperative

Packet-based network detection and response solutions provide the comprehensive network visibility needed to detect threats effectively.

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Cyberthreats are nearly as pervasive as the air we breathe. No business is completely immune from the possibility of an attack. That’s why network threat detection and response (NDR) is so vital. However, security organizations often struggle to respond to today’s increasingly sophisticated threat landscape, which is made all the more challenging by the complexity of dynamic network environments. Inefficient and siloed security tools leave blind spots, which can be exploited by cyberattackers.  

According to a recent ESG white paper, 22 percent of security professionals indicated they struggle with blind spots on the network due to their inability to deploy security agents. This problem is exacerbated by the acceleration of cloud adoption and the shift to remote work, which has virtually eliminated the traditional network perimeter. And with a plethora of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and Internet of Things (IoT) devices connecting to corporate resources, this added complexity makes end-through-end network visibility all the more difficult to achieve.  

As a result, security professionals end up spending all their time trying to put out proverbial fires rather than getting ahead of the problem. The ESG white paper found that 31 percent of security experts “spend most of their time addressing high priority and emergency threats, rather than strategy or process improvements. This puts security teams in an unending cycle of inefficiency.”

Relying Strictly on Endpoint Detection Falls Short

One of the most common approaches to cybersecurity is endpoint detection. Although endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions are effective at detecting cyberattacks on the endpoints, they fall short when cloud, BYOD, and IoT are introduced to the equation. Unfortunately, many times endpoint deployment of security agents is not possible with these network-adjacent areas, not to mention that savvy attackers have learned to disable these agents early in an attack—or simply hide their tracks in registry or disk making it impossible for security pros to detect malicious activity.  

NDR Delivers Comprehensive Network Visibility

Network-based tools such as NDR offer a complementary and more effective approach. NDR relies on agent-less architecture that provides a holistic view of the broader environment. In addition to reducing deployment complexities, NDR is impossible for attackers to evade or disable.

Of course, not all NDR solutions are created equal. Because these security tools collect and store network traffic data, they can present manageability challenges. Some NetFlow or IPFIX-based NDR solutions capture basic information, such as source and destination IP address, port, and protocol flows, which don’t provide security analysts with deep enough data to reveal sophisticated attacks. Other solutions rely on unsophisticated full-packet capture, which has its own challenges, such as difficulty deploying at scale and the high cost of data storage requirements.

Fortunately, a third approach that combines baseline, transactional data with the granular data of the packets themselves offers analysts a more accurate picture. Advanced NDR, when delivered via a single, comprehensive platform, consolidates large volumes of metadata, allowing security pros to rapidly triage alerts and delve into deeper packet-based investigations as required. This approach provides organizations with a comprehensive view across the entire digital infrastructure, including hybrid and multi-public cloud. Although advanced NDR alone is not necessarily the answer, when combined with security information and event management (SIEM) and EDR, NDR can fill the gaps in highly contextual network visibility.

NETSCOUT Omnis Cyber Intelligence (OCI), which integrates with and fills the visibility gaps left by other cybersecurity tools, is one such advanced, packet-based NDR solution. OCI leverages NETSCOUT’s scalable deep packet inspection (DPI) and patented Adaptive Service Intelligence (ASI) technologies running on Omnis CyberStream network probes to convert raw packets into a robust source of layer 2–7 metadata that we call Smart Data. This Smart Data provides comprehensive network visibility and can conduct early warning for rapid detection of attacks, continuous attack surface monitoring that empowers security professionals to uncover vulnerabilities anywhere in the environment, and short-term contact tracing and longer-term historical investigation that lets security teams investigate and detect threats by analyzing previous network activity. OCI delivers the visibility needed to enable organizations to reduce the risk of cyberattacks. It fills the data gaps of contextual, packet level, network visibility that is lacking in SIEM and EDR tools, making those tools, existing cybersecurity staff, and overall cybersecurity better.

Download the ESG paper