As traditional network models are rapidly being replaced with flexible edge architectures better suited to meeting the needs of hybrid workplaces, having improved network visibility is key to maintaining and securing these complex systems. With increased reliance on more-distributed networks, and with services constantly joining and leaving the network, IT professionals are under constant pressure to ensure the infrastructure is both operational and secure.
The pace of digital transformation is speeding up, giving enterprises an opportunity to incorporate new layers of security. However, as network architectures evolve, threat surfaces expand, and security professionals are dependent on tools to deliver visibility down to the packet level. The real issue becomes whether these tools and the data they produce be trusted.
The Challenges of Packet-based Security
One of the biggest challenges of packet-based security is being able to achieve scale. This is particularly important when attempting to automate defenses. At the same time, the quality of the data being used must be trustworthy. This is especially crucial for applications such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, where self-learning requires that data sets be reliable. The old adage "garbage in, garbage out" truly applies here.
In order to gain the granular, packet-based visibility they need, security personnel often turn to network operations teams, who have access to trusted packet-derived layer-7 metadata upon which they rely to assure quality user experience and performance across cloud, hybrid, virtual, and legacy environments.
Security Should Be Factored in from the Start
All too often, new technologies are implemented with an eye toward rapid implementation to meet urgent business needs, leaving security considerations as an afterthought. This approach can end up limiting visibility, thus introducing security blind spots. And, it probably goes without saying, these blind spots have become an attractive target to cyberattackers.
It is for this reason that security must be factored in from the start. Ultimately, comprehensive network visibility is at the heart of both security and network assurance. As such, in today’s constantly evolving network environments, service assurance and security teams need trustworthy insights into voice, video, software-as-a-service (SaaS) application performance, and emerging communication protocols such as 5G.
It is clearly apparent that managing security must be an integral part of having an operational network. In the final analysis, network assurance and security share the same goal—having a secure and operational infrastructure. This means enterprises need to consider how to provide effective networks, while also maintaining security. Emerging technologies offer the promise of helping to mitigate security threats, but these must be scrutinized to ensure they don’t negatively impact employee productivity.
Putting security concerns front and center at the beginning of the network expansion process is key to achieving better network visibility and a more secure infrastructure.
Learn more about how NETSCOUT Omnis Cyber Intelligence overcomes the challenges of using packets for more effective cybersecurity.