It’s been a while since networks and systems protection were easy. Each day, IT security becomes more and more complex than simply applying patches; adopting the latest updates and blindly trusting in network segmentation. So, it takes going further, and network monitoring complements this task.
Given that our information systems are always under the silent threat of cybercriminals – their business is virtually breaking into ours -; usually it’s just a matter of time for them to identify new security breaches, or inventing new ways to achieve their purpose: Accessing to our sensitive data. In this effort, plenty malwares aimed at attacking the endpoints have raised.
Many companies find out that someone has breached their security systems once the horse has bolted, and run into a rescue message on their screens. The worst thing is that cyber criminals know how to hide and erase their prints once they have accessed a network.
For this reason, we must think and devise a complete plan that encompasses: 1) Hardware Security; 2) Software Security and 3) Network Security. Likewise, such plan must also contemplate and combine active and passive techniques in network monitoring; and reactive and complementary actions to make it perfect.
While it is true that network segmentation adds an additional layer of protection; preventive security still demands another task: Knowing how and when the attack took place to prevent further breakthroughs.
First of all, you need an additional action to detect any incursion in your networks: Continuous network monitoring. Through it, you will detect any irregular behavior in your network traffic.
Let’s suppose that a cybercriminal managed his way through your network by simulating a genuine and authorized user. However, at some point, shows an atypical behavior in the network. This is the move that network monitoring systems profits to detect differences in the regular behavior of all users.
Then, it is evident that the effectiveness of network monitoring systems base upon knowing the patterns behavior routines of each user of our networks. Only like this we will be able to detect any malicious activity.
Therefore, IT and Network Managers should be clear about certain concepts to apply a correct monitoring of the network. In any case, the difference between network monitoring and network management is simple: With network monitoring; we obtain a basic vision of the the current state of the network and the user’s interactions with it. With network management we obtain a comprehensive vision, and you can take actions to solve network problems.
Basic network monitoring
As you know already, network is one of the most important elements when providing services. Then, maintaining the network integrity demands applying network monitoring and for doing so, we must know the basic parameters that allow us to understand the hosted messages.
Following, communication teams generate messages addressed to the central server where they are stored for later review. They allocate alarms and other information of the equipment’s status.
Then, from this information, you can configure an alarm indicating for example; failed attempts to connect to the web after a number of attempts in the space of one minute. Like this, you will be informed when an abnormal situation that prevents the correct performance of your network; and subsequently taking corrective actions in time.
Also, the bandwidth measures the amount of data that can be sent through a network connection in a certain time. This measurement is expressed in bits per second (Bps); Kilobits per second (Kbps); Megabits per second and up to gigabits (Gbps) and terabits per second (Tbps).
From these measurements; we determine the network’s speed. Like this, you will know if there is an abnormal activity taking place in your networks that occupies your bandwidth in a percentage superior to 90%. Congestion and slow connections are a good indicator.
To achieve network monitoring from its behavior, we use specialized software that has the capacity to measure the bandwidth; and to know where the biggest bottlenecks occur. Of course, this tool will help us capture information; measure bandwidth and throw alarms.
Advanced network monitoring
Now, if you want all the advantages of advanced network monitoring; ideally, you should acquire robust software that allows you to move towards advanced network management. This is what you should look for in such software:
- Alerts. Messages must handle multi-device protocols.
- Integrations with external servers. The software must be capable of also monitoring mail servers, or CRM applications.
- Usability and data display in the control panel. The idea is knowing in real time the networks’ status and granting access privileges.
- Flexibility. The software must adapt itself to other environments and technologies to integrate them in the supervision.
- API Access from external systems. To take advantage of the monitoring benefits.
- Integrations with Databases. The software must comprehend the database’s language for proper management.
- Multi-device. Use any device to manage network monitoring.
- Scalability. It must be able to adapt to any change, especially when the network grows.
- Support. Try to have as many data acquisition protocols as possible. Software must be able to capture messages from NetFlow, sFlow, jFlow or any network protocol.
Network monitoring and protection
We repeat: It is important to protect our networks further than the standard security practices (updates, patches, antivirus and network segmentation); this means, we parallelly must actively and passively monitor our networks.
We all are already prevented: Cybercriminals are always looking for new security breaches; that’s why they create more sophisticated ways to bypass the barriers that protect your network to have full access to information within your network, and getting away with it.
Applying constant network monitoring that throws prevention alarms in case of unusual behavior helps to early detect any attack; and to better shield our sensitive data.
Remember that network service interruptions translate into considerable economic losses. You have the right means at hand to prevent them from leading your customers to look for other service options. Contact us here and move faster than threats.