Simply put, network analytics is the practice of using different types of network data to identify trends and patterns. Then, that information is used to make better decisions—troubleshooting decisions, threat remediation decisions, business planning decisions, etc. But let’s take a closer look at what network analytics entails, some use cases, and what types of organization can derive the most value from it.
What is Network Analytics?
Network analytics provides insight into what devices are on the network and how they are communicating with each other. A network analytics solution should not only be able to ingest different types of network data (e.g. NetFlow, syslogs, vendor-proprietary metadata, etc.), but also compare and correlate it with other devices’ data.
Here’s where it gets tricky:
There are many solutions that offer some degree of insight, but many operate within a data silo. The solution may only report on the traffic passing through one type of device. Or it may only report on one piece of the user experience, like wireless connectivity.
These solutions all provide useful information, but businesses need complete, end-to-end visibility. They end up having to purchase a lot of different solutions to get that full picture. This causes a problem where you have a complex ecosystem of solutions all working separately. Unfortunately, this leads to IT teams wasting a lot of time. They have to manually sift through and compare raw data. When you’re trying to troubleshoot an issue, it’s hard to figure out an actionable next step this way.
This process also requires highly specialized skill sets. If you work for a small organization, this may not be feasible.
A network analytics solution can take all this disparate data and do the legwork to correlate it all. Then it becomes possible to determine both root cause and an actionable next step very quickly.
Problems Network Analytics Can Help Solve
Every good decision starts with good information. Because network analytics involves pulling together relevant information from every part of the network, there are a ton of varied uses for it.
In fact, we’ve written a lot of blogs that cover different ways to use network analytics.
Here are some to get you started:
- How to detect SSH credential misuse with network traffic analytics
- How to Mitigate Insider Threats with Network Traffic Analytics
- Integrating Threat Intelligence with Flow Data
- Best Practices in Network Forensics
- How to Monitor Lateral Movement with NetFlow
- How to Monitor CLDAP Traffic with NetFlow
- Network Capacity Planning Fundamentals
- How to Gain Visibility into CGNAT
- Identify Screen Sharing Network Traffic
- How We Troubleshot a Network Performance Problem Within Minutes
Who Benefits the Most?
Any organization can derive value from network analytics. But the bigger and more complex the environment, the more value you get. This is because large networks that sprawl across multiple locations get exponentially harder to monitor. This is where network analytics really shines.
Today, networks are growing rapidly due to the growth of technologies like IoT, which result in a lot of extra entities on the network. This introduces the problem of scale. Some solutions get bogged down when they have to analyze really huge amounts of data. When you begin evaluating network analytics solutions, make sure they can scale well.
To get started in network analytics, check out the free edition of Scrutinizer, our network & security intelligence platform.