Evaluating the Need for Network Forensics

In recent years, business networks have changed in three important ways. They’re faster than ever. They connect to more devices, in part because so many workers are carrying multiple mobile devices. And a growing share of network traffic consists of rich media such as VoIP and video that is highly sensitive to network delays.

In addition to being faster, more connected, and voice- and video-centric, networks have also become more difficult to troubleshoot and secure. In part, this is because today’s networks, which run at 10G or faster, simply transport too much data for traditional network monitoring and troubleshooting tools to collect and analyze reliably. To get by, analysis tools end up relying on sampled traffic and high-level statistics. Unfortunately, samples and statistics lack the details and hard evidence that IT engineers need for quickly troubleshooting problems and characterizing security attacks.

Enterprises need dramatically improved network visibility in order to:

  • Monitor and troubleshoot networks, especially 10G, 40G, and 100G networks that outpace traditional monitoring tools
  • Minimize costly network degradations and downtime
  • Find proof of elusive security attacks so they can be understood and stopped.

To get that visibility, enterprises should invest in network forensics. Network forensics is the recording, storage, and analysis of network traffic. A network forensics solution records network traffic, stores it in a searchable repository, and provides IT engineers with filters for mining stored data to discover and analyze network anomalies. Using network forensics, IT engineers can discover both the cause of an anomaly and its effects on IT services and IT assets such as servers and databases. Think of network forensics as the ‘network time machine’ that enables you to replay, re-examine, or closely analyze traffic so you can identify the cause of performance problems and uncover the source of security attacks.

So, are you transitioning to, or do you already have, network segments that are 10G or faster? Do you want to minimize costly network degradation and downtime? Have you suffered from network breaches, where you lacked the ability to find proof, as well as the root cause of the attack, leaving you wondering if it is fully remediated? If so, you need network forensics.

For more in-depth coverage of this topic, including white papers and an eBook that cover specific use cases and best practices, visit: http://www.wildpackets.com/use_cases/network_forensics.

Leave a Reply