Network Security Monitoring: Basic tools and concepts

Continuous security monitoring plays a key role in the ongoing management and maintenance of your information systems.  A proper network security program can help to maintain your systems security and your knowledge of what’s running on your network. It can also serve to prevent bottlenecks and performance issues from becoming an issue before it’s too late.

The challenge in for IT security administrators managing network analyzers, and security executives overseeing them, is to understand the choke points, the quality of service requirements and the backup operations that are in place. If these areas of network security monitoring are not well understood the possibility increases for minor infrastructure issues to create cascading service interruptions to a facility, or worse an entire organization. Vendors of traffic analyzers are building for these technical complexities and creating network security monitoring tools that mitigate risks and improve security posture.

Management of monitoring networks for security incidents, and resulting communications with security operations, are critical to quickly uncovering the root cause of the interruptions. This enables traffic analysis performed by Security Operations Centers (SOC) to prepare a proper incident response. Without effective network analyzers and integrated incident management processes between network infrastructure and security owners and operators, a lot of wasted resources can be spent trying to recover.

Evolving advancements in network analyzer technology, new perimeter firewalls and intrusion detection and filtering deployments are all indispensable protections against changing attack methods used to break into systems and steal data.  The greatest challenges faced by security and IT administrators is trying to integrate new network security monitoring tools effectively.

Whether you have one firewall or 100, implementing traffic analyzers and measuring the security status of your infrastructure and your organization’s ability to perform network security responses and rapidly mitigate emerging threats needs to be continuously monitored and measured.

If you do not measure it, you do not manage it, and therefore you cannot secure it. Without an accurate tool for network security monitoring for your network, there is no way to identify real world security threats and understand the true security posture of your network. So, how do you do it?

Creating a plan that documents your traffic analytics and security analytics strategy is a minimum baseline for mapping your network. Each network component needs to be identified: servers, desktops, notebooks, tablets, routers, wireless access points, networked printers, and other connected devices. This baseline provides the foundation for performing network security monitoring and managing and measuring your vulnerability management program.

Your network security monitoring baseline will continuously change as new security components are added like firewalls, and consequently monitor the security of servers, applications, and devices as they are deployed. That’s why it’s vital to have the ability check a network analyzer from anywhere and obtain an update of the status of your network map as often as needed.

An essential tool is a network analyzer to create a baseline map, and classify the business value of your IT components like desktops, servers, and applications. Then a network security monitoring be used in identifying risks to grouped low-risk systems, such as segmented test systems, to medium-priority systems like the notebooks used by your sales team, to the most critical systems that govern regulated information or are vital to business operations and cash flow.

All of these combined efforts are therefore part of a continuous network security monitoring strategy, that deploys network analyzers and traffic analyzers, and improves security posture.

Managed Security Services for SMBs and the Masses at Large

There are a lot of options available to the SMB enterprise in managing IT systems, and in particular managed security. The emergence of powerful integrated appliances such as Unified Threat Management firewalls enables organizations to keep pace with the ever growing threat landscape.

However, IT staffs that are managing extensive computing resources already are often overcome by the inherent complexity of managing security as part of their daily tasks. An attacker or other malicious entity needs only exploit a single vulnerability, while IT staff must watch and mitigate ALL risks and not over look a single one. Hence, do-it-yourself (DIY) model of managed security is the riskiest since around-the-clock vigilance isn’t possible. For example, every alert generated by a firewall log analyzer that goes unnoticed or unresolved can heighten the risk of a breach or data loss.

Even by adhering to best practices and sound management, in-house managed security operations teams can only address a portion of the actual threats faced by the enterprise. IT management organizations need information about what is happening at the perimeter at all times, and has access to that on-demand and the ability to consume the data and act on it.

Few organizations can find that caliber of expertise that rivals a managed security service provider. Fewer still can afford to staff their bench with full-time talent, where as a managed security service provider will be staffed entirely with this talent.

Some examples of benefits of managed security services include ways to better protect your organization; a good managed security service provider will:

● Only focus on security, they’re only job is protecting your network and not other IT services.

● Gain intelligence from managing security of your network and a broad array of other clients; thus providing visibility through experience and accumulated insights.

● Monitor your network 7 x 24 x 365 and provide management advice and managed security operations services that mitigate risks at all hours.