Sniffing Out Problems: Network Security Monitoring

Network security monitoring

Today, businesses find themselves constantly defending against cunning adversaries seeking access to their valuable networks. The age-old tale of the Trojan Horse serves as a timeless reminder that the only thing an attacker needs is to breach the walls, or in a digital context, get around firewalls. 

As we face a digital siege, network security monitoring is a critical step in safeguarding your vital company assets. And, as an expert managed service provider, we know a thing or two about securing valuable digital information. 

In this blog post, we discuss what monitoring is, the benefits associated with it, and best practices for those employing network monitoring in their organizations.

Understanding Network Security Monitoring

Monitoring your network involves a comprehensive set of tools, tactics and policies geared toward overseeing network traffic and devices. Its primary goal is to swiftly identify potential vulnerabilities, suspicious activities and any signs hinting at an imminent or ongoing breach. 

At the heart of this defense mechanism are automated, intelligent systems capable of real-time collection, analysis and reporting of threat indicators to ensure business continuity.

This approach provides complete visibility into crucial security networks, monitoring every piece of information traversing through. It is an indispensable element of any modern business’s IT security ecosystem, offering early detection of security threats and pinpointing areas for improvement.

Network Security Monitoring and Network Monitoring: What’s the Difference?

Network security monitoring is focused on protecting against exploits and attacks, analyzing elements like client-server communications, encrypted traffic sessions, network payload, protocols, traffic flow and patterns. It’s something that typically an IT outsourcing company can handle.

Here’s a brief list of the things security monitoring covers:

  • Encrypted traffic sessions: Encoded data sent and received through the network.
  • Network payload: Data sent and received in network packets.
  • Traffic patterns: Normal, expected network traffic patterns and any abnormal deviations that may indicate a breach.
  • Traffic flow: Sequences of packets carrying information between multiple endpoints.
  • Network protocols: The rules that determine how data is transmitted on the network.
  • Client-server communications: Traffic that involves requests for service made by users to servers on a network.

On the other hand, traditional network monitoring primarily looks at the infrastructure and performance of the network itself, addressing issues such as bottlenecks or hardware faults.

Essential network metrics include:

  • Network configuration: Settings, policies and controls that define how the network operates.
  • Network uptime: Availability and dependability of the network; the time during which it is performing its intended function.
  • Network performance: Network bandwidth, latency, throughput, error rates and other performance-related indicators.

While the two might be separate entities dealing with different issues, they can work together surprisingly well. 

Security and Network Monitoring Together

Recognizing that both network monitoring and security monitoring share the common goal of improving network visibility is crucial. A holistic approach involves combining these two practices, ensuring optimal, secure network operations under the vigilant eye of intelligent automated systems.

Benefits of Security Monitoring

No outer defense is impregnable, as evidenced by the city of Troy. The effectiveness of any network security monitoring solution relies on transparency, enabling the detection of malicious traffic, tracking suspicious activity and responding to incidents promptly. 

Automated monitoring solutions offer key advantages such as minimizing response times, improving customer experience, enhancing efficiency and increasing cost savings. 

Need help monitoring your network? Consider looking into a managed service provider that specializes in EDR/XDR (endpoint detection and response, extended detection and response) implementation, as well as ransomware protection.

Security Monitoring Best Practices

Implementing robust network monitoring and security requires a layered approach. Conducting a complete audit to establish baseline performance, creating a secure location for monitoring data, building an incident response protocol, investigating network configuration changes, accounting for every data layer and leveraging historical and real-time data are essential practices. 

Automate security tasks to make them more efficient and reduce the likelihood of human error.

And, if you’re looking to improve your company’s cybersecurity today, we have a free Top 10 Things You Can Do to Improve Cybersecurity whitepaper.

Next Steps to Secure Your Organization

Monitoring your network is a strategic step in the face of evolving cyber threats. By adopting best practices and integrating them with network monitoring, businesses can ensure their networks operate optimally, securely and with the added layer of intelligent automated surveillance. 

When you’re fighting cyber threats, you need to build strong walls and have the right tools to sniff out problems before they escalate.

If you have any questions about network security or best cybersecurity practices, don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.