Securing your network with the right packet broker solutions

Global enterprises struggle daily to prevent security breaches. Even the largest entities such as Facebook, Twitter, and Target have all been victims. Not only does a breach cause huge financial losses, but it can damage a company’s brand permanently. Therefore, choosing the right security solution for your network should be a top priority. However, choosing the right security solution is not a one size fits all solution. Different enterprises have different needs, but to create a secure network, there must be an evaluation of the current network environment in order to determine the right set of monitoring tools that are needed.

So, what can organizations do to help security professionals? For starters, companies can invest in the right packet broker solutions to provide security teams with the right tools. To enable efficient business processes, these solutions must provide complete network visibility to identify network blind spots that are vulnerable to cyberattacks. It’s difficult to stop threats when one doesn’t see them coming, so having an advanced packet broker solution that can provide NetOps and SecOps with accurate data to detect breaches faster is imperative. Although this may seem like an unsurmountable feat, it is possible with research, evaluation, and ongoing testing.

Securing your network with real-time monitoring:

Real-time monitoring allows network operators and security operators to detect anomalous behavior and take immediate corrective measures to safeguard their networks. But what does real-time monitoring mean? Let’s take online shopping as an example. When we shop on Amazon, we expect to know immediately when an item is out of stock, so we can shop for alternatives. The same applies to managing your network. When NetOps and SecOps are monitoring their networks 24/7, they expect real-time data on network performance so that if any unusual activity is happening, they can address it immediately. However, in network monitoring, seconds can feel like hours to security teams therefore, nanosecond accuracy is the preferred choice and one that yields optimal results.

Building the right network architecture:

Imagine you are in the process of building your dream home. A well-built house starts with a solid foundation. We know that a proper foundation does more than just anchor the house, it protects against moisture, resists against extreme temperatures and prevents the house from moving against natural causes. The same analogy can apply to having the right network architecture. Adding more monitoring tools to an architecture that isn’t optimized for security is not an effective solution. Network blind spots can still exist, therefore, it’s essential to have a well-designed architecture that can access the right data at the right time and send this data to the right monitoring tools for complete analysis.

So what role does a network packet broker play with respect to a network architecture? Think of network packet brokers (NPBs) as middlemen. Some can perform a few functions like filtering or deduplication and others can perform many such as load balancing, data aggregation and time stamping to name a few. The more functions a NPB can provide, the more complete your network visibility will be which results in a more secure network.

Ensuring operational efficiency

As core network speeds move from 10G to 40G and now 100G, all the necessary components of your monitoring architecture need to be able to operate at full line rate. This includes the network packet brokers (NPBs) and the monitoring tools. What most people are unaware of is that some monitoring products offered by various vendors don’t operate efficiently at full line rate. The result could be dropped packets, buffering, oversubscription and worst of all security vulnerabilities. Various research reports state that nearly 45% of users admitted to turning off their security features to optimize performance because their security and monitoring tools were not able to handle the line rate. Therefore, it’s strongly recommended that you conduct vendor research carefully to ensure that their solutions can deliver what they promise.

To remain competitive without sacrificing the security of our network, it’s in our best interest to evaluate the current state of our network and invest in a packet broker that will provide us with optimal solutions.