Keith Bromley
Sr. Manager, Product Marketing at Ixia

How To Implement Network Visibility

January 10, 2018 by Keith Bromley

Hopefully by now you have heard the term “network visibility”, as it has become commonplace over the last year or so. If not, network visibility is simply the ability to see what your network is doing and how it is performing. You can get a longer narrative of the definition here and free resources on network visibility are available here. While some might think that network visibility is a non-issue these days. It’s actually not. Many networks have had, and continue to have, network problems such as:  downtime, slow running applications, missing data, expensive troubleshooting activities, and security breaches.

The first half of the solution to this problem is straight forward. You should consider implementing a visibility architecture. This approach allows you to integrate your network architecture with your security architecture so that you can capture all of the data that you need. The right data is crucial to minimizing (and even preventing) downtime, repairing the network as fast as possible, meeting and exceeding your internal and external customer SLAs, and maximizing your network security.

The second half of the solution is to implement the right technology and processes to solve your problems. Basically, what can you, and what should you, implement? Let’s look at this subject in further detail.

First, you need to figure out what your specific trouble areas and blind spots are. You may already know about several of your problem areas. At the same time, you probably do not know what you do not know. So, there may be some hidden problems as well. These areas, called blind spots, are where you can’t tell (or don’t know about) that there is an issue. There are numerous sources for blind spots including:  the use of cloud networks, silo IT, rogue IT, mergers and acquisition with different networks and applications, etc. You can get more details on blind spots in this article.

Once you figure out what your problems areas are, take a look at this free resource. This resource examines 6 different categories of solutions that resolve different types of known problem areas and/or blind spots. These areas include:

  • Network security improvements
  • Cost containment capabilities
  • Enhanced troubleshooting efforts and network reliability
  • Removal of network blind spots
  • Optimization of Network Performance
  • Strengthening of regulatory compliance initiatives

In fact, the book contains 68 different examples of what you can do (i.e. use cases), broken down by those six categories. Some examples are:

  • How to expose indicators of compromise
  • How to make inline security tool deployments more reliable by using High Availability
  • How to reduce/eliminate the need for Change Board Approvals and crash carts
  • How to use application intelligence to conduct proactive troubleshooting
  • How to simplify inline SSL decryption by using an NPB with integrated decryption
  • And many others

Once you read the book, you will have a very good idea of what you should do and how to go about improving network operations. It shows you how to combine taps, bypass switches, network packet brokers, application intelligence, and security and monitoring tools to achieve your security and monitoring goals.

For more information, click here to see a list of additional resources that are available to help you.