Fragmented visibility a weak link in network security

Emad Fahmy, Systems Engineering Manager, Middle East, NETSCOUT explains that without a complete network visibility, it creates a weak link in the enterprise network and securing the networks become highly unachievable 

Enterprise networks have never been as complex, especially in today’s age of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, cloud applications, remote collaboration, mobile employees, and network security technologies. While there is no doubt that these sophisticated networks are critical to the success of businesses, it is also undeniable that they can create a slew of issues for already overburdened IT and security teams.

One of the most pressing concerns is the need for complete network visibility. IT and security teams need to be able to view any service, cloud, network, and workload and encompasses hybrid networks, multi-cloud environments, all traffic (north-south and east-west), multivendor solutions across physical, virtual, and hybrid networks, and multigenerational networks across all domains of mobile technology, including 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G, and Wi-Fi.

Without complete network visibility, IT and security teams cannot allocate resources, optimize performance, and secure the network in a timely manner. Considering that the average total cost of a data breach in KSA and UAE combined is $5.31 million, a 7.1% increase since 2017, according to IBM, network security is likely the most crucial of these functions.

Cyber criminials are constantly innovating and improving their tactics to gain access to the valuable data that enterprises hold. During the last six months of 2021, adversaries launched more than 9.7 million distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, employing everything from ransomware to DDoS-for-hire platforms on the dark web, where anyone wishing to launch an attack of any size and cost can easily do so. To properly grasp the importance of network visibility, it is important to consider the challenges fragmented visibility poses to networks.

Optimising applications
Applications are critical components of enterprise networks, facilitating collaboration and coordination of work and systems across the enterprise. Poor application performance often leads to dissatisfied users and customers, loss of revenue and diminished brand reputation. Similarly, robust, steady network performance is a fundamental requirement for organizations, despite the fact that networks are becoming increasingly complicated and traffic on such networks is expanding rapidly every day. As a result, capacity and bandwidth availability are essential business concerns that necessitate comprehensive visibility throughout the entire enterprise network, including edge and data centers, the cloud, and software as a service (SaaS) environments. When enterprise IT and security teams have full network visibility, they can give employees, vendors, partners, and customers a high-quality user experience from anywhere, on any device, and any infrastructure.

Speeding up mitigation
Cybercriminals are stealthy and patient, and they frequently operate in networks unobserved for months or even years. The average time to detect and contain a data breach, according to IBM, is 277 days. Breaches that take more than 200 days to identify and contain cost $4.9 million on average, whereas breaches that take less than 200 days to contain cost $3.7 million. In other words, failure to reduce dwell time to less than 200 days costs enterprises about $1.2 million per breach. When IT and security teams lack complete network visibility, it is far more difficult to detect and remove adversaries, allowing them more time to access critical data and inject harmful malware. As is evident by today’s cyberthreat landscape, every network enterprise network can and will be breached – it’s no longer a matter of if, but when it will happen. Without complete network visibility, companies raise their mean time to detect (MTTD), mean time to respond (MTTR), and mean time to remediate (MTTR) threats. When IT and security teams lack the network visibility required to reduce MTTD and MTTR, they are unable to effectively do their jobs.

Streamlining processes
Historically, network operations (NetOps) teams have been responsible for network orchestration and network troubleshooting on enterprise networks, whereas security operations (SecOps) teams have focused on network traffic monitoring, incident response, and maintaining the overall security infrastructure of the corporate network. In practice, though, both teams share responsibilities and objectives. Both are accountable for vital components of the organization and are tasked with navigating environments that are continually changing, frequently under constrained conditions. Through the sharing of resources, the alignment of these teams streamlines procedures for both network and security operations teams, making network infrastructure design, incident response, and threat monitoring more efficient and effective. As organizations become more reliant on software-defined networks and cloud architecture, network visibility becomes increasingly critical for successful enterprise collaboration to ensure superior network performance and improved user experience.

Only by insisting on complete network visibility can organizations ensure that their network is stable and functional, regardless of the challenges they face now or will face in the future.