Keith Bromley
Sr. Manager, Product Marketing at Ixia

An Easy Way to Extend the Life of Your Security and Monitoring Tools

June 24, 2016 by Keith Bromley

A common dilemma for IT is how can you get more done for less money? Budgets only go so far. However, internal customer, external customer, and executive needs always seem to go far beyond the existing budget. And budget increases are rare. In fact, research shows that many organizations plan to keep their IT spend flat for 2016. One thing that IT engineers and administrators can do is to stretch their budget. While this is often easier said than done, one area to investigate is your security and monitoring tools. What if you were able to extend the life of your existing tools a little longer by improving their efficiency? 

Smart Spending On Security

In the wake of several high profile hacks, security continues to be a huge IT budget priority. As a high expense area, spending on IT security can quickly eat into tight budgets. But there are ways to make your money go further – without compromising the safety of your business. For example, you can reduce your financial outlay on new security and monitoring tools by extending the lifespan of existing tools and by using the tools you already have more strategically. With tool costs commonly ranging from $50K to $200K per tool, this could be a significant savings. The key is efficiency.

See Clearly to Save On Costs

To use your tools more efficiently, you need a visibility architecture. This can help you:

  • See the data flowing across your network
  • Streamline the data sent to your security tools
  • Be strategic about the placement of security tools across the network

All of this can go a long way to eliminating the inefficiencies that put unnecessary strain on security tools – shortening their lifespan. And it can help you avoid buying tools that you don’t need. Implementing a visibility architecture doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as deploying a few taps and a network packet broker (NPB) to your current setup.

Practical Ways To Save

Here are some practical examples of how a visibility architecture can help you reduce your IT costs.

Load Balancing

Let’s say you decide to upgrade your network core from 10GE to 40GE. Suddenly, you need new monitoring tools that are able to handle this higher rate of data. The tools you were using before are now obsolete and must be replaced. That’s a huge upfront expense.

But an NPB could help you avoid a costly initial outlay. NPBs can be used to spread 40GE traffic across multiple 10GE tools. This is called load balancing. It means you can continue using your old tools until there’s enough budget to purchase new ones. The lifespan of your existing equipment is extended, and you’re able to stagger your IT spend.

Saving Processing Power

Security and monitoring tools are most effective when they able to focus on keeping your network safe. But too often, their processing power is spent on non-core functions such as data filtering, deduplication, SSL decryption, etc. Worse yet, you can end up wasting analysis time and effort on the wrong kind of traffic altogether.

Thankfully, NPBs can filter network traffic, ensuring your security tools receive only the specific data needed to detect threats. NPBs can also decrypt data before sending it on to the relevant monitoring tools. This frees up your security devices to focus on defending the network. With the proliferation of encrypted traffic now, this NPB capability also makes sure that older tools (which don’t have decryption capabilities built into them) can still be used, rather than sitting idle. In the end, NPBs reduce unnecessary strain on your devices, help extend their useful life, and ensure you get maximum value for the money you spend on your tools.

Seeing your network clearly is the key to cost avoidance. These suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg. Read the whitepaper 5 Ways to Maximize the Value of Security and Monitoring Tools for more IT budget-busting ideas.