In the complex realm of network security, the interplay between blocking and monitoring traffic is a critical decision. This blog delves into the concept of policy violations, exploring what they are, why they hold significance, and how NETSCOUT’s Omnis Cyber Intelligence (OCI) stands out as a powerful solution in this domain.
What Are Cybersecurity Policy Violations?
Simply put in cybersecurity, policy is a set of rules that a business implements to protect its organizations and assets. These policies define what is allowed or not allowed. Cybersecurity policy violations, akin to firewall rules, empower administrators to define groups of systems and create rules (i.e., policies) to trigger alerts when network traffic aligns with predefined criteria. This provides a granular approach to monitoring, securing, and discovering activities within a network. One of the main differences between policy violations and firewall rules is blocking versus nonblocking. Traditional firewalls use rules to block matching traffic, while policy violations generate alerts without blocking the traffic.
Why Are Policy Violations Important?
- Fine-grained control. Policy violations empower organizations with fine-grained control over network activities. This capability enables the customization of rules based on specific requirements, be it for security, discovery, or monitoring purposes.
- Nonblocking alert generation. Diverging from the conventional approach of traditional firewalls, policy violations provide a nonblocking alert generation mechanism. Alerts are generated without impeding the traffic flow, facilitating thorough testing before full deployment. This allows for the identification of traffic patterns without the immediate need for blocking.
- Streamlined deployment. The strategic deployment of network sensors for policy monitoring simplifies the overall process. Unlike traditional firewalls, where precise deployment locations are critical, policy violations offer a more flexible and streamlined approach to monitoring network activities.
- Validation of firewall policies. Policy violations serve as a valuable tool to validate the correctness of firewall policies, ensuring that they align with organizational security requirements and effectively control network traffic.
The Hidden Risks of Neglecting Policy Violations in Network Security
While the benefits of leveraging policy violations are evident, understanding the potential consequences of neglecting this crucial aspect of network security is equally important. Here’s a closer look at what organizations might face when they fail to implement policy violations.
- Limited visibility and control. Without policy violations, organizations may struggle to achieve the level of visibility and control needed to monitor, secure, and discover activities within their network. This lack of fine-grained control can result in blind spots, leaving the network susceptible to undetected threats.
- Reactive rather than proactive security. Traditional firewall rules often operate in a reactive manner, blocking traffic after a threat has been identified. In contrast, policy violations can enable a proactive security strategy by generating nonblocking alerts. Neglecting this proactive approach may lead to delayed responses and increased vulnerability to emerging threats.
- Inefficient resource utilization. In the absence of policy violations, organizations may find themselves relying on traditional firewalls with a blocking-centric approach. This can lead to inefficient resource utilization as firewalls block traffic indiscriminately, potentially disrupting regular operations and hindering legitimate activities.
- Slower incident response and resolution. Policy violations play a pivotal role in expediting incident response. Without them, security teams may face delays in identifying and addressing security incidents. The lack of a nonblocking alert generation mechanism could impede swift decision-making during critical moments.
- Compliance and governance risks. Many industries and regulatory frameworks require organizations to adhere to specific security and privacy standards. Neglecting to implement policy violations may result in noncompliance, exposing organizations to regulatory risks, legal consequences, and reputational damage.
- Ineffective threat hunting. Policy violations contribute significantly to the effectiveness of threat hunting initiatives. Without them, the ability to swiftly create and test rules for potential threats diminishes, hampering the organization’s overall threat detection capabilities.
How NETSCOUT Helps
The cornerstone of a resilient network detection and response solution lies in the advanced capabilities of policy violations. NETSCOUT's OCI platform, featuring highly scalable packet-level network visibility and multidimensional threat detection, which includes a robust policy violation feature, positions organizations to defend against both known and emerging threats. The integration of these capabilities with real-time analysis at the source of packet capture distinguishes OCI, providing unmatched threat detection while reducing false positives and elevating overall network security. In a complex threat landscape, NETSCOUT’s Visibility Without Borders, centered around pervasive packet-level network visibility, stands as a robust assurance for comprehensive protection.
Learn more about Omnis Cyber Intelligence.
Learn more about OCI’s Policy Violation capabilities and use cases.