Blog :: Security Operations

The importance of encrypted traffic analytics to your network security posture

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Data security is a critical aspect of any organization’s IT infrastructure. With the explosion of cyber threats, it has become ever-important to ensure that your network is protected. While there are many ways to protect your network, having information related to encrypted network traffic is one of the most effective ways to achieve this goal. Let’s explore a few reasons why encrypted network traffic analytics are essential for a good network security posture.

Detecting and preventing advanced threats

One of the primary benefits, if obvious, of encrypted traffic analytics is the ability to detect and prevent advanced threats. Cybercriminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their attack methods, and traditional security measures may not be enough to stop them. Encrypted traffic is particularly challenging to monitor and analyze, as it is designed to keep the data being sent across the network from being intercepted or understandable. However, encrypted traffic can be analyzed to show the traffic passing through the network, even when encrypted, to identify anomalies and suspicious behavior that may indicate a security threat.

With this data, security teams can gain visibility into the encrypted traffic and detect and prevent attacks such as malware infections, ransomware attacks, and data exfiltration attempts. By detecting and stopping these advanced threats before they can do damage, organizations can avoid costly data breaches and reputational damage.

Meeting compliance requirements

Many organizations are subject to regulatory compliance requirements that require them to monitor and analyze network traffic. One of the most recognizable examples, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), requires organizations that handle credit card data to monitor their network traffic to detect and prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information.

Encrypted traffic analytics can help organizations meet these compliance requirements by providing the visibility of encrypted traffic passing through the network needed during regulatory audits. This can help organizations demonstrate compliance with requirements and avoid penalties for non-compliance.

Improving incident response times

In the event of a security breach, it is critical to understand what’s happening in the shortest time possible. The longer it takes to detect and respond to a breach, the more damage can be done. Encrypted traffic analytics can improve incident response times by providing security teams with real-time visibility into the network traffic passing through the network.

Security teams can quickly identify the source and scope of a security breach, allowing them to take immediate action to contain the breach and mitigate the damage. This can help organizations minimize the impact of a security breach and reduce the time and cost required to recover from the incident.

What kind of information can you get from encrypted traffic with deep network observability?

While encrypted traffic can be difficult to understand without expensive TLS decryption technologies in place across your network, it isn’t impossible to understand fundamental information associated with encrypted traffic. 

Details that sit in unencrypted parts of the packet can provide insight into this traffic. For example, the TLS certificate’s common name is often visible in flow data when the TLS connection is initially established. This means that while the actual site details (i.e., the URL) are encrypted, a correlation can be made between the certificate information passed unencrypted across the network. When you tie this information with other data, such as anomalous DNS queries or an unreasonable number of NXDOMAIN responses, you can quickly see how different hosts have been communicating with potentially malicious systems across the entire network. 

Encrypted traffic analytics is essential for any organization looking to improve its network security posture. With the ability to detect and prevent advanced threats, meet compliance requirements, and improve incident response times, having this visibility is a valuable investment for any organization. By leveraging this technology, organizations can protect their data and their reputation and ensure that their network remains secure.

To get this visibility on your network, sign up for a demo today.