As communication networks — the internet in particular — continue to evolve, enterprises must adopt new and efficient technologies, such as cloud computing and virtualization, to improve their networks’ monitoring, security, and overall network visibility.
Network visibility has been the cause of many headaches over the years, especially when having to deal with increased data transfer rates as well as ever-evolving data forms. Network packet brokers (NPBs), which are appliances that help optimize visibility for an assortment of network monitoring, security, and acceleration tools, are a powerful solution to help enterprises resolve their many network visibility headaches. NPBs provide network visibility, as they are designed to monitor a given network, even down to the network’s data link layer. NPBs, combined with network monitoring and security tools, can access all traffic that is flowing in, out, and across a given network, ensuring complete and effective visibility.
There are many advantages to using NPBs, such that enterprises should see no reason not to incorporate them into their networks to improve their network security and network monitoring. However, just like other high-quality enterprise network solutions, NPBs can be quite an investment. And this type of investment can turn into a challenge when figuring out how to maximize not only network visibility and security, but also the overall return on investment (ROI).
Knowing that by 2018 two thirds of devices will be hacked, the time to improve network visibility and security is now. We have compiled a list to educate network engineers, IT managers, and other IT professionals on how to maximize network visibility, security, and ROI in Next-Gen Network Visibility Platforms.
1. Incorporate NPBs to Cultivate Network Visibility
It’s very clear that NPBs have the valuable capability to provide network visibility. But there are a couple of questions one might ask:
What are the advantages of network visibility?
How do NPB systems help improve network visibility?
Well, it’s important to note that no matter how big or small a network architecture is, it will stay secured only when the data flowing in and out of it is visible. The visibility provided by NPBs help enterprises keep their networks’ security in check. With NPB features that include traffic filtering, advanced packet filtering, load balancing, and adequate distribution of traffic, enterprises can make well-informed decisions and take actions to keep their networks safe and secure.
2. Use a Bypass instead of Serial Inline Deployment of Devices
Downtimes are inevitable, even with many efficient technologies and security devices. But they can be largely avoided if and only if enterprises make one crucial change in their architecture—avoiding serial inline deployment ofsecurity The reason for this change is that in a serial inline deployment, the traffic flows from one security device to the other and even a single point of failure would stop the traffic flow, resulting in the entire network coming to a halt.
Of course, this would cause a huge blow to the productivity, market and image of any enterprise. Therefore, instead of placing the security device inline, a bypass switch can be adopted by enterprises, in which the network equipment and security device will connect to the bypass switch. The bypass switch will intelligently redirect the traffic as needed based on the health of the security device. Niagara provides modular Network Packet Brokers that include Bypass functionality to protect failure of inline deployments.
3. Use NPBs for Effective Load Balancing
NPBs provide the capability to implement efficient load balancing on the traffic of any given network. This is done by inspecting packets within the traffic flowing through the network. After packet inspection, the packets are classified into various categories depending on their destination device, and finally, the packets are routed directly to their respective device instead of moving through a number of devices unnecessarily. This process would genuinely help any enterprise in balancing the load on their network.
4. Enhance Configurations for Improved Network Availability
Network availability is one of the core aspects of any enterprise network; the more availability there is, the better the enterprise’s reputation. Therefore, enterprises should ditch traditional configurations and use a combination of NPBs and bypass switches to improve network availability. Bypass switches ensure that the network performs normal operations smoothly at all times and that the flow of traffic is never hindered. This type of configuration enhances network monitoring and network security, and virtually eliminates downtime, even if a failure occurs in a network device.
5. Build a Long-Lasting Architecture
Enterprises know that in this era of constant communication applications, such as for social media and instant messaging, any period of downtime can have a detrimental effect on a company’s brand. To avoid this negative image, using a combined platform solution of NPBs and bypass switches can be vitally important. Both of these products are essential to Next-Gen Network Visibility platforms and together, provide unparalleled efficiency and security.
Moreover, this platform combination provides a reduced traffic load on security devices, improves the security infrastructure, and increases the lifespan of the network architecture. Incorporating both of these platforms allows an enterprise to avoid purchasing separate, expensive equipment for their network architecture in the future because Niagara’s modular NPB already combines these critical capabilities in one system, which gives enterprises the opportunity to make their current architecture a long-lasting one.