With end-to-end visibility, teams can expose network security threats that will otherwise hide inside encrypted traffic, giving organisations a clearer picture of what is really going on across their networks.
One of the biggest problems with network security is that it’s not a fair fight. As organisations increase the numbers of devices, endpoints and applications they use, they must close off thousands of potential vulnerabilities that hackers can target. By contrast, hackers only need to find a single chink in the organisation’s armour to gain access to its networks and data — which put the goal of addressing network security threats key to any SME’s strategy in this digital age.
As this problem becomes skewed in favour of attackers, it’s important for organisations to swing the balance back in their favour. Perhaps, the most important success factor is unobstructed network visibility. This lets IT teams identify problems quickly across their infrastructure, and move swiftly to resolve them.
Acting quickly to quarantine breaches will prevent hackers from exploiting a data breach. Swift action helps companies avoid malware infecting other machines, prevents unauthorised applications encrypting data in ransomware attacks, and stops access to customer data that hackers can sell on the black-market.
While swift action is crucial, some new and emerging technologies create blind spots for network security professionals. In a survey, Ixia asked: “Which technologies create the biggest network blind spots?” The top responses were encrypted traffic (50%) and Internet of Things (33%).
While encryption protects data, it also protects would-be attackers by hiding malicious packets. Over the past five years, the amount of encrypted network traffic has increased dramatically. In fact, this traffic is already estimated to account for 25% to 30% of all web traffic.
Similarly, as the Internet of Things adds more endpoints to networks, this increases the complexity and size of the network to secure. This complexity obscures network visibility, preventing IT teams from seeing what’s happening on their networks.
To overcome these blind spots, end-to-end network visibility is an increasingly important solution.
With end-to-end network visibility, a business is able to build a baseline of what normal traffic looks like on its networks. Any changes to normal patterns will trigger a warning for the security team to investigate.
For example, when an application accesses a resource or database that it wouldn’t normally access, or when a PC sends data packets to an untrusted external server, this could indicate a malware or bot infection. Enabling IT security teams to quickly identify compromised machines and quarantine them for disinfection is a powerful tool to thwart these attacks.
To acquire this level of visibility, IT teams can use advanced network tools that monitor and filter network data. These solutions can also decrypt encrypted traffic, without putting too much strain on firewalls. With end-to-end visibility, teams can expose threats that will otherwise hide inside encrypted traffic, giving organisations a clearer picture of what is really going on across their networks.
This lets organisations rebalance the odds in the fight against network security threats. When it comes to security, the ability to clearly see deviations from normal network traffic patterns drives understanding of where threats may be lurking. And the sooner you can see those threats, the faster you can protect your networks against them.
Marie Hattar, Chief Marketing Officer, Ixia