Your technology and data are up there with your greatest business assets. And that means that your network is the gateway to your most valuable — and vulnerable — resources.
That's why network security, and by extension network traffic analysis (or NTA), is so important. In this post, we're going to cover everything you need to know about NTA and why it's crucial to keeping your business protected in 2022.
What is network traffic analysis (NTA)?
NTA, or network traffic analysis, is a type of cybersecurity solution that monitors the traffic (movement of data and device connections) on your business's network.
While a firewall solution protects the perimeter of your network, which is important, an NTA solution will monitor traffic which is permitted on your network. This provides a more comprehensive solution, because unfortunately some threats do still manage to slip past the controls provided by firewalls.
Without proper network security, anything that gets past your network perimeter is free to wreak havoc on your systems. Businesses need a solution that can protect their entire network, and that's just what NTA does.
The benefits of NTA
There are several benefits to network traffic analysis that you won't find in other network security solutions. Below are a few to help give you an idea of what makes NTA such a unique and important cybersecurity offering.
Monitor all of your network traffic, all of the time
First and foremost, network traffic analysis provides robust, comprehensive network security. It doesn't just monitor a segment of your network at preset times.
Instead, it continuously and automatically monitors your entire network, 24/7 365. This makes it much harder for a potential threat to go unnoticed. And it means that when a threat does take place, you'll be able to address it much faster.
Other solutions tend to focus on your endpoints or perimeter, which is still crucial, but it's not the complete picture. NTA is a much-needed solution to help fill in the gaps of your cybersecurity system.
Investigate past incidences with rich data
By recording data about network activity, network traffic analysis also provides the ability to investigate past incidences with rich data. That's thanks to its always-on nature. Since it's monitoring the entirety of your network traffic at all times, it will rarely (if ever) miss an important event.
This is immensely helpful for retrospectives. After a threat has taken place and been resolved, you can revisit it using your NTA solution and see what went wrong, what the motivations behind the threat were, and how you can strengthen against this kind of threat in the future.
This can just as easily provide clarity into an ongoing threat as well, which is even more insightful.
Integrations and automation keep your response times minimal
Another core benefit of network traffic analysis is that it provides integration and automation features. These features are essential in today's world of cybersecurity, where a threat can come from anywhere at any time.
Integrations provide even more robust network security, increasing your visibility and ability to respond to threats. And with automated monitoring and responses, you can substantially cut down your response times.
This is critical, as every minute counts when you're facing a network security threat. NTA solutions provide the urgency you need to effectively handle a cybersecurity emergency.
Detect potential attacks with a robust toolset
Lastly, network traffic analysis systems can detect potential attacks with a robust toolset. Unlike other network security measures, which tend to have a singular focus and approach, NTA is multi-faceted. It uses a variety of tools and strategies to keep your network safe.
These tools include machine learning, incident analysis, traffic analysis, and risk indicators. Combined, these features greatly reduce the chances of your business overlooking a potential threat.
And, importantly, these features also work to reduce false flagging. This can eat up resources quickly, so keeping false positives to a minimum is crucial.
Does your business need NTA?
Given the complexity of many IT infrastructures, many businesses can benefit from some kind of network traffic monitoring. NTA will provide a level of visibility that isn’t available just by using telemetry from endpoints.
You need to protect your growing pool of data
Thanks to modern tools and SaaS platforms, all businesses have an unprecedented level of access to data. This data is valuable in several ways, both to you and your customers.
It's also sensitive. And that means it needs to be protected — on behalf of your staff, customers, and, of course, your business. NTA can provide the protection you need to keep your data secured.
Catching threats early minimizes damage
As mentioned, timing is everything when it comes to stopping a network security threat. The sooner you stop it in its tracks, the less damage will be done to your network and assets.
A network traffic analysis system comes packed with features to provide this kind of support. It can catch and respond to threats rapidly, saving your precious minutes when it counts the most.
Modern cybersecurity threats require broader coverage
In the past, it was easier to nail down a network security threat. The threats were simpler, more obvious, and less potent.
Today, the opposite is true. It can be much harder to detect a threat, they can come from almost anywhere, and the damage hits fast and hard.
Businesses need broader network security coverage in order to compete with the new scale and speed of attacks. NTA is a modern solution designed to meet modern cybersecurity needs.
Give your cybersecurity team the support they need
Last but not least, network traffic analysis provides your network security team with the support they need to keep your business safe. IT teams are increasingly juggling more and more roles. To keep up, they need automated solutions to back them up.
This will ensure that your cybersecurity responses are fast, accurate, and effective.
Learn more about improving your network secure
Network traffic analysis forms just one part of a broader cybersecurity toolset. Going beyond NTA, the next evolution of network security tooling is network detection and response (NDR) which includes all the capabilities of NTA and adds the ability to use a central repository of threat intelligence to identify threats and then perform response actions to mitigate a threat once it is detected.
Both NTA and NDR can be integrated into a more holistic detection and response capability provided by an XDR solution such as Samurai XDR. For more information, check out the rest of the Samurai XDR blog.
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