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Security Experts: What You Need to Know About Network Security Analytics

November 04, 2017

Security Experts: What You Need to Know About Network Security Analytics


Within the span of only a few years, network security analytics has skyrocketed in prominence as a means of keeping business networks safe from cyberattacks—but not everyone is on board. Even if you’re working with security experts who have been installing patches and securing databases since the days of dial-up Internet, they might not be keyed into the place that analytics holds in today’s cybersecurity strategy. If they are working in an enterprise where there hasn’t been any serious investment in analytics, there’s a lot to learn and a lot to think about.  

Network security analytics is a necessary part of keeping business networks safe in a world where the rapid proliferation of threats drastically outpaces the ability of enterprise IT security to handle them. Being able to understand the mechanics of cybersecurity attacks and how they’re behaving on a network is critical to minimizing the damage they can cause—in individual businesses and across all industry. So if you or your clients want to be on top of cybersecurity but can’t see where analytics fits in, the following facts will help you understand how it functions, what it’s intended to do, and why it’s so important that enterprises utilize it correctly.

There Is No “Set It and Go” with Analytics

For years, perimeter security was the prime method of protecting networks, alongside routine maintenance like patching taken on by the IT department. This has put enterprises in the mindset that all it takes to secure a network is to have the IT department or a solution provider implement a piece of software and let it run. That’s simply not the case when it comes to analytics tools.

Network analytics tools are advanced-level monitoring solutions that require dedicated staff to handle them. And it can’t just be anyone familiar enough with a network—or even network security—to do the job. An analyst needs the confirmed skills to monitor and make sense of them. That’s because…

Analytics Data Are Not Easy to Read

The numerous logs of aggregate data that come out of security information and event management tools and other methods of network monitoring are not transparent to a layperson. A person working with analytics needs to have spent a few years working in the field to truly understand what the log files mean, what sort of behaviors on the network they are identifying, and what those behaviors may be indicative of. Even trained low-level security professionals do not have this knowledge when they first come through the door of an enterprise to manage this. So adequate staffing—or a managed services provider with the right skills—is a necessity for using them.

Analytics Is Not There to Keep Everything Out

It might sound funny, even to a technical professional, to say that there’s an important security solution that doesn’t focus specifically on keeping malware or hackers out. But the truth about today’s cybersecurity landscape is that for large enterprises, there is no such thing as 100 percent invulnerability.

Analytics is there to help mitigate the damage caused by threats that make it onto networks, inform the continued build-out of a network so that anything that’s vulnerable to attack is rendered impossible to damage, and help businesses determine where best to focus their resources based on the risk of a certain kind of attack.

Analytics also acts as the foundation of policies and procedures to determine how people throughout an enterprise use the network to prevent it from being compromised.

Analytics Is Important—Very Important

Though it’s a big conceptual shift from the traditional anti-virus model, network security analytics is a cybersecurity must. Enterprises nationwide are realizing that smart strategies founded in analytics are their only hope of stemming the tide of cybersecurity incidents. Implementing the right analytics tools, placing them in the hands of the right people, and listening to their feedback and guidance is the path to saving businesses from losing a lot of money and customer trust in the long run.

How have you seen network analytics used to create an effective cybersecurity strategy?