Update for 2022: What is network traffic analysis? A beginner’s guide

Trustworthy companies do everything they can to keep their customers’ information secure and their technology private. MixMode and others are continually developing new tools to equip and protect these businesses. Network traffic analysis (NTA) is one such new advancement in cybersecurity. NTA allows the analysis of network traffic (hence its name) at a granular level, packet by packet.

Network traffic analysis provides in-depth visibility into your network. It effectively monitors and interprets network traffic at a deeper, faster level, so you can react quickly and specifically to potential issues.

NTA is essential for network security teams to detect threats, attacks, and other zero-day anomalies that need to be addressed.

87% of organizations use network traffic analysis (NTA) tools for threat detection and response ESG, an IT strategy firm. In their 2020 study, 43% of organizations surveyed said NTA is a “first line of defense” in detecting and responding to threats.

The widespread adoption of NTA solutions is evident in industry market reports Also: Network Traffic Analytics Solutions Market is valued at US$2.9 Billion in 2022 and is projected to reach US$8.5 Billion by 2032. Some of the major growth drivers are driven by the the rise of system apps as well as the adoption of employee-owned apps. (BYOD), virtualizations, distributed infrastructure and cloud services. Growing concerns over security and communication vulnerabilities and the need for improved network and government spending are also helping to drive the growth of the NTA solutions market.

Gartner defines NTA as “an emerging class of security products that uses network communications as the primary source of data for detecting and investigating threats within a network.”

In this article, we’ll help you define network traffic analysis, some of the features you can find in NTA tools like MixMode, and explain why a network traffic analysis platform is needed to complement your network traffic posture. security.

A powerful lens to monitor your network

The NTA can be compared both to the microscope and to the scientist interpreting what is seen. It uses both automated and manual processes to analyze the traffic log in real time, so your professionals have the ability to react to anomalies, threats, and attacks.

Another important element of the NTA is the interpretation of the data. Machine learning is implemented to make the analysis useful and actionable, with no more fuss for your staff to sort through.

This powerful lens examines all levels of communication, giving full insight into your network traffic and learning from connections.

Network traffic analysis solutions focus on all communications, including:

  • Traditional TCP/IP style packets
  • “Virtual network traffic” traversing a virtual switch (or “vSwitch”)
  • Traffic from and within cloud workloads
  • API calls to SaaS applications or serverless computing instances.

These solutions enable unprecedented visibility into operational technology and Internet of Things (IoT) networks. Advanced NTA tools are effective even when network traffic is encrypted.

Early NTA development cycles focused on comparing an IP’s behavior with their previous actions. For example, if an IP address suddenly started communicating with a server in China, the NTA tools would present an alert. However, in our global and ever-changing economy, there may be very legitimate reasons for a company to initiate a new relationship with a Chinese customer or business. Advanced NTA tools can compare not only current behavior with past behavior, but also current behavior with that of other entities in the environment. This reduces noise and distraction.

NTA Standard Features

Built-in analytics

The ability to see so much detail is, in and of itself, not useful for network security teams. They also need tools that can assess high volumes of data and provide meaningful alerts and analytics.

Wide range of monitoring

Quality NTA is capable of processing a wide variety of inputs and types of information, including IoT traffic, protocols, devices, etc. It is system wide and thorough – you could even say it is obsessive – in its approach to network security. Cloud traffic monitoring is a newer and rapidly evolving area of ​​NTA.

Machine learning baselines

To keep up with ever-changing IT environments, NTA solutions track an entity’s own behaviors against those of its environment. They also keep track of other entities with which the system regularly interacts. These baselines, powered by machine learning, can therefore learn what does and does not constitute a threat, as the system inevitably modifies these patterns for legitimate purposes. Ultimately, this means fewer false positives to distract your team.

Network Detection and Response (NDR)

Because NTA tools are able to “know” about individual entities, they can establish complete context for detection and response workflows. This summarizes data sources that security professionals previously had to sift through, such as DHCP and DNS logs, configuration management databases, and directory services infrastructure. Instead, NTA enables rapid anomaly detection and enables an informed and rapid response.

Network security’s new best friend

The sophisticated level of hacking in today’s world is amazing and can be frustrating. The threat of infiltration inspires network security professionals to advance advancements in new technologies. NTA is one of the most useful tools for closing the space between what’s going on in your networks and what you may be aware of. NTA allows you to be more creative and vigilant than the attackers you are protecting against.

It also enables comprehensive monitoring of all forms of network traffic, as they become more complex and harder to track: cloud computing, DevOps processes, and IoT, to name a few.

Make sure your cybersecurity strategy includes NTA

Since NTA is a newer technology, it cannot be taken for granted that your network security tools implement these advancements. MixMode’s self-learning AI creates a scalable baseline of your network behavior and monitors all network traffic to provide complete visibility, in-depth analysis, and real-time threat detection. MixMode can identify and surface new threats and zero-day attacks on your network in real time by combining threat intelligence with AI-driven anomaly detection, empowering your security team to act before that damage is not caused. Schedule a demo today.

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