Reputable companies go to great lengths to ensure the security of their customers’ information and the privacy of their technology. MixMode and others are constantly developing new tools to equip and protect these businesses. Network Traffic Analysis (NTA) is one of the new advances in cybersecurity. NTA allows you to analyze network traffic (hence the name) at the level of individual packets.
Network traffic analysis provides deep visibility into your network. It effectively monitors and interprets network traffic at a deeper and faster level, so you can quickly and specifically respond to potential problems.
NTA is essential for network security teams to detect zero-day threats, attacks, and other anomalies that need to be addressed.
According to ESG, an IT strategy firm, 87% of organizations use network traffic analysis (NTA) tools to detect and respond to threats. In their 2020 survey, 43 percent of organizations surveyed said NTA is the “first line of defense” for detecting and responding to threats.
The widespread adoption of NTA solutions can also be seen from industry market reports: the market for network traffic analysis solutions is estimated at $2.9 billion in 2022 and is likely to reach $8.5 billion by 2032. Some of the biggest growth drivers are related to the growth of system applications along with the adoption of bring-your-own-workers (BYOD), virtualization, distributed infrastructure and cloud services. Growing concerns about security and communication breaches, as well as the need for network expansion and government spending, are also fueling the growth of the NTA solution market.
Gartner defines NTA as “a new category of security products that use network communications as the primary data source for network threat detection and investigation.”
In this post, we’ll help define network traffic analysis, some of the features you can find in NTA tools like MixMode, and explain why a network traffic analysis platform is essential for your security.
Table of Contents
Powerful lens to monitor your network
NTA can be compared both with a microscope and with a scientist interpreting what he sees. It uses both automated and manual processes to analyze the traffic log in real time, so your teams have the ability to respond to anomalies, threats, and attacks.
Another important element of NTA is data interpretation. Machine learning is designed to make analysis useful and actionable, not a hassle for your workforce.
This powerful lens looks at all levels of connectivity, providing a comprehensive view of network traffic and learning from connections.
Network traffic analysis solutions focus on all communications, including:
- Traditional TCP/IP style packets
- “Virtual network traffic” passing through a virtual switch (or “vSwitch”)
- Traffic from and within cloud workloads
- API calls to SaaS applications or serverless compute instances.
These solutions provide unprecedented visibility into operational technologies and Internet of Things (IoT) networks. Advanced NTA tools are effective even when network traffic is encrypted.
The first steps in the development of the NTA focused on comparing the behavior of IP with its previous actions. For example, if an IP address suddenly starts communicating with a server in China, the NTA tools will issue a warning. However, in our global and ever-evolving economy, there may be legitimate reasons for a company to establish a new relationship with a Chinese client or company. Advanced NTA tools can compare not only current behavior with the past, but also current behavior with the behavior of other objects in the environment. This reduces noise and distractions.
Standard NTA Features
The ability to simply see so much detail is not useful to network security teams in and of itself. They also need tools that can evaluate large amounts of data and provide meaningful alerts and analysis.
Wide range of monitoring
Quality The NTA can handle a wide variety of inputs and information types, including IoT traffic, protocols, devices, and more. It is system-wide and meticulous—one might even say intrusive—in its approach to network security. Cloud traffic monitoring is a new and rapidly growing area of NTA.
Machine learning baselines
To keep pace with the ever-changing IT environment, NTA solutions track behavior that is unique to an entity compared to behavior in its environment. They also keep track of other objects that the system regularly interacts with. In this way, these base layers based on machine learning can learn what is a threat and what is not, as the system inevitably changes these patterns for legitimate purposes. Ultimately, this means fewer false positives to distract your team.
Network discovery and response (NDR)
Because the NTA tools can “get acquainted” with individual objects, they can establish a complete context for detection and response workflows. It synthesizes data sources that previously had to be sifted through by security professionals, such as DHCP and DNS logs, configuration management databases, and directory service infrastructure. Instead, NTA allows you to quickly detect anomalies and provides an informed and timely response.
The new best friend of network security
The sophisticated level of hacking in today’s world is amazing and can be frustrating. The threat of intrusion drives network security professionals to move forward with new technologies. NTA is one of the most useful tools for bridging the gap between what’s happening on your network and what you might know. NTA allows you to be more creative and vigilant than the attackers you are protecting from.
It also makes it possible to fully monitor all forms of network traffic as they become more complex and difficult to monitor: cloud computing, DevOps processes, and the Internet of Things, to name but a few.
Make sure your cybersecurity strategy includes an NTA
Since NTA is a newer technology, it cannot be taken for granted that your network security tools will implement these enhancements. MixMode’s self-learning artificial intelligence creates an evolving baseline of your network’s behavior and monitors all network traffic for full visibility, deep analysis, and real-time threat detection. MixMode can identify and detect new threats and zero-day attacks on your network in real time, combining threat intelligence with AI-based anomaly detection, allowing your security team to take action before damage is done. Schedule a demo today.
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