How Network Teams Should Adapt to Latest Hacker Threats

 
 
By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2015-05-13
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    How Network Teams Should Adapt to Latest Hacker Threats
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.
 

Enterprise network data is valuable—hackers know it, and they want it. Large-scale security breaches are becoming almost commonplace, and network teams are increasingly accountable. Network Instruments recently published its 2015 State of the Network Study, which uncovered how IT resources are adjusting in the battle to protect the integrity of network data. One such change is the way in which security teams turn to network teams for assistance in many aspects of security, from flagging anomalies to leading investigations and taking preventative measures. In fact, out of the survey's 322 respondents, about 25 percent spent 10 to 20 hours per week working exclusively on security issues. These duties are in addition to managing network upgrades (in the past year, migrations to 40GB and 100GB have doubled), software-defined networking, cloud and big data initiatives. In this slide show, put together with eWEEK reporting and expert perspective from Brad Reinboldt, senior product manager at Network Instruments, we present professional insight in how the evolution of security threats are impacting network teams today.

 
 
 
 
 
Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz
 
 
 
 
 
 

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