How Network Teams Should Adapt to Latest Hacker Threats

How Network Teams Should Adapt to Latest Hacker Threats
Breaches Pushing Network Teams to New Limits
Making Sense of Security
Need for Speed
Bandwidth Use Is Skyrocketing
SDN Will Be Mainstream by 2016
Network Issues Ruffle C-Suite Feathers, Too
Expect Big Funding Shifts
Pointing the Finger
Reaching Across the Aisle
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How Network Teams Should Adapt to Latest Hacker Threats

By Chris Preimesberger

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Breaches Pushing Network Teams to New Limits

High-profile security breaches are becoming more commonplace, and because of this, 85 percent of respondents said network teams are involved in security. A substantial number of people—about 25 percent—spend more than 10 hours weekly on these issues. As an IT pro, this indicates a renewed need to understand security more holistically, since they're being pulled into new activities and are engaged in multiple facets of preventative (and reactive) measures.

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Making Sense of Security

Half of respondents indicated that the greatest security challenge is an inability to correlate security and network performance. IT pros need to take advantage of the right network tools to replay events—be they dropped connections, breaches or unexpected bandwidth spikes—and correlate them with network performance stats. This will lead to greater insight into how the problem occurred and help craft stronger protective measures moving forward.

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Need for Speed

Both 40GB and 100GB adoption have doubled over the past year, and there are no signs of this slowing. Networks are speeding up, and it's going to be more challenging to capture packets for analysis when they're blazing across the network and piling up in storage at accelerated rates. But it is crucial to have tools that can still watch the network like a security camera. Packet payloads have all the contextual resources for successful security investigations and are an underutilized resource in security investigations.

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Bandwidth Use Is Skyrocketing

We've heard it for years, but it's still true. Employees are bringing multiple devices into the workplace, and now 4K and 6K video collaboration and the use of private clouds will cause an onslaught of bandwidth demand in enterprises. Respondents agreed that their bandwidth would grow by 50 percent by 2016. As such, IT pros are going to have a lot on their plate. They're going to need to develop tools and systems for correlating relevant data with security intel to truly understand what's going on with the network and develop smart insight. That can seem as daunting as finding a four-leaf clover in a meadow.

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SDN Will Be Mainstream by 2016

Half of the respondents to the survey said they plan to deploy some form of software-defined networking before the year is over. When you abstract network components and operate in a previously hardware-based environment, new visibility issues can arise. IT pros need to understand virtual environments, how to properly run network diagnostics in them and how to map an infrastructure in them.

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Network Issues Ruffle C-Suite Feathers, Too

Nearly three-quarters of respondents noted that they struggle to pinpoint whether network problems originate from the network, the system or the application. As enterprises of all sizes run more of their business in the cloud, the network and its associated issues now start raising eyebrows beyond the walls of the IT department and into board rooms and C-suite decision-making. As such, IT pros need to be able to clearly determine and fix the root of these issues.

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Expect Big Funding Shifts

A big challenge identified was the shift in funding from network teams to security teams, presumably to cope with the onslaught of ever-increasingly high-profile security attacks. In fact, 22 percent of respondents noted this would be an issue in the coming year. No one wants to become the next Anthem, Home Depot or Sony (for the wrong reasons, of course). As such, network teams, if they're not already being forced to help with security issues, will have to figure out how to do more with less, which signals that more automation in network architecture is coming.

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Pointing the Finger

As content gets richer and unified communications systems deliver higher-quality feeds, video glitches, buffering and lag all have a greater impact on business productivity and end-user patience. As sensitivities heighten, so too does the need to identify the root of issues on the network. Is it the network itself? The application? Perhaps it's something the end user is doing on his or her own. A clear majority of respondents said needing to identify the root of IT issues and lack of visibility into user experience are the biggest concerns. Increasing sophistication in this area will be important for successful IT teams.

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Reaching Across the Aisle

As security threats continue to rise and network teams get stretched thin by battling attackers and assessing damage post-event, two things need to happen. First, other departments within IT will need to step in to fill gaps as a result of network teams fighting threats. Second, enterprises will need to automate more of their manual network processes to give network teams more freedom to shift resources.

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