Big Data Unlocks Key to Age Old Challenges Businesses Face

big data and network security
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Production Perig

Experts have talked about the benefits of big data for years. At a recent data conference, a couple of my colleagues got into a debate on the areas where it has been most disruptive.

Some experts feel that big data will make the biggest mark with marketing. Others feel that big data is solving logistics challenges. But after taking a poll, the general consensus was that big data is making the biggest impact with security and service deliverables.

Big Data Makes its Mark With Security and Service

In today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, businesses everywhere are undergoing a form of digital transformation as they look to reduce costs and improve efficiencies. However, as they continue to embrace the benefits offered by innovative technologies such as virtualization, public cloud platforms, and the Internet of Things (IoT), so too are they expanding their potential attack surface. Every new layer of technology or device that is added to the application delivery infrastructure represents a vulnerability that can be exploited by ever more sophisticated cyber threats.

Service assurance and security in this environment are, therefore, necessities rather than simply niceties. Determining an organization’s cybersecurity posture by conducting vulnerability or penetration testing alone is no longer enough. The ever-changing complex environment has led to an urgent requirement for organizations to be able to see and analyse traffic flows to continuously monitor the effectiveness of corporate security controls and application performance in order to improve their overall corporate business posture for security assurance and service assurance. For companies to ensure the flawless delivery of digital services and cost-effective operations in the face of these evolving threats requires a level of assurance that can only be achieved through a powerful combination of cybersecurity and service assurance.

Network complexity

Digital transformation has resulted in IT infrastructure and networks becoming more complex and, as a result, they can seem to be more challenging to monitor and secure. With application and microservice workloads running across geographically distributed infrastructure, on-premises and in the cloud, for example, many organizations may have limited visibility into their performance and security, making them extremely difficult to monitor or troubleshoot. Not only can this lack of visibility impact service quality, it can also leave networks wide open for infiltration from hackers and other external threats.

With 83 percent of enterprise workloads predicted to be in the cloud by 2020, traditional perimeter security and endpoint protection technologies may no longer be enough to achieve the necessary security posture. Instead, a pervasive security model may be more appropriate, offering comprehensive insight on both security and service performance management, and assuring the performance, confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information and services within an enterprise.

Continuous end-to-end visibility will be required across the increasing amount of data travelling back and forth in traditional on-premise and multi-cloud environments, as well as over the wide area network between data centres, branch offices and SaaS environments. Such a 360-degree view of business services will enable IT teams to identify and resolve current or potential problems before users are impacted, providing them with the service assurance they need to accelerate their organization’s digital strategies and continue to seamlessly deliver vital business services.

Actionable insights

Key to generating the insight that both security and service assurance require is the analysis of smart data; well-structured, contextual data, available in real time, and based on pervasive visibility across the entire enterprise. Every action and transaction traverses the enterprise through traffic flows, otherwise known as wire data, making it the best source of information from which to glean actionable performance and security insight. By continuously analyzing this data, and compressing it into smart metadata at its source, organizations can benefit from real time insights, in the context of service and security, that will offer the assurance they require by providing them with a clear understanding of factors such as network performance, infrastructure complexities, service dependencies, and of any threats and anomalies.

A growing number of businesses are harnessing virtualization, containerization, software-defined and cloud technologies to create innovative new business models, improve efficiencies and enhance the experience of their customers. Digital transformation is an ongoing and fluid process rather than a one-off event, however, and to stay ahead of potential security and application performance issues before they occur, requires comprehensive, holistic visibility and assurance. Analyzing smart data, from both past, present and future, will enable organizations to achieve this visibility. Only by understanding and securing their applications and infrastructure will they be able to truly transform and improve their corporate business posture as they go forward.

As area vice president of strategic marketing at NETSCOUT, Michael Segal is responsible for market research, enterprise solutions marketing, analyst relations, customer advocacy, analyst relations, advertising, and social marketing.