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Three key driving techniques that apply to the network

24 Jul 2020

Article by Gigamon chief executive Paul Hooper.

As we drive along the highway, we’re guaranteed to pass a variety of vehicles, from school buses to luxury cars, to minivans and large pickup trucks.

While it may be safe to assume who the passengers are in each vehicle, such as students on a school bus, families in a minivan or construction workers in a pickup truck, your assumptions could be completely wrong.

But what if the school bus is actually full of hairdressers heading to a conference, the minivan is full of bank robbers making a getaway and the pickup truck is actually grandma going to the grocery store?

The same false assumptions can happen with network packets. We can assume that we know what data is travelling within our networks – but what if we’re wrong?

Today, it’s no surprise that senior business leaders and security professionals can’t just look at the outside of a network packet and assume that it’s simply carrying an email, web application or backup data. 

So, how do they navigate the challenges that come with today’s high volume of network packet traffic?

Here are three best practice tips for leveraging network and application data and insights in order to get the visibility levels that organisations need in their digital transformation (DX) journey to run fast and stay secure.
 

Keep your eyes on the road

In a world where threat actors are masquerading and misdirecting from all angles to penetrate enterprises’ networks, we can’t assume anything. With cyberattacks taking place every 14 seconds on average, chief information officers (CIOs) and chief information security officers (CISOs) need visibility into their organisations’ networks and coinciding applications to make concrete business and security decisions.

Together with network operators (NetOps) and security operators (InfoSec), security teams must have complete visibility into the packet, through a deep packet inspection, for all information-in-motion to confirm what the packet actually contains. 

This visibility allows security teams to have a proactive and holistic look into what’s going in and out of their networks, taking network security strategy to the next level.

Having this amount of insight will help the C-suite understand the importance of network visibility and that, in today’s climate of sophisticated threat actors, businesses can’t operate safely without it.
 

10 and 2: Driving digital transformation

As more organisations look to digitally transform, complete visibility through application intelligence is the key to success. Currently, 90% of all organisations are undergoing DX, powered by new digital applications.

While modern multi-tiered DX applications bring agility and innovative capabilities to the table, the complexity behind them makes monitoring and securing applications difficult. After all, IT complexity is the number one challenge for CISOs, according to a recent survey by Forrester.

In answer to the complexity challenge, application intelligence provides senior leaders with technology that automatically combs through their data and offers only the most relevant application traffic for analysis. 

Application intelligence fills the void presented by the complexity of a successful DX initiative with the analytics and tools needed for business leaders to do their jobs quickly and accurately — bettering both their businesses and customers.
 

Check those blind spots

As organisations undergo DX transformations, threat actors are simultaneously looking for enterprises’ weak spots. 

Cyber-attacks aren’t going anywhere — in fact, the proliferation of cyber-attacks is only growing — making it more critical than ever for senior business leaders to ensure that visibility into all data-in-motion is a fundamental design principle of their infrastructure.

Application intelligence provides NetOps and InfoSec teams with the necessary framework for complete network visibility of the digital enterprise, with automatic insights into thousands of applications running on the network. Armed with this ability, NetOps and InfoSec teams can eliminate any existing blind spots.

Application intelligence also provides IT professionals with the ability to drill down into each individual application and its components to identify potential bottlenecks and security vulnerabilities. 

By eliminating data silos and sharing application knowledge across the enterprise, CIOs and CISOs can optimise their enterprises’ performance, combat potential issues and deliver the best possible customer experience.

Much like passing a bus on the highway and getting a good look at its passengers, a clear line of sight into network traffic provides organisations with the ability to address any potential challenge that could arise. Business leaders can’t assume they know the contents of the packets of information in their networks, just like we can’t assume the bus is full of school children.

Only with the proper security tools in place can enterprises attain faster threat detection and remediation to ensure organisations run fast and stay secure in today’s age of DX.