Everywhere we turn, there are cameras that help protect our families, homes, and businesses. We see them around our homes, on front porches in the form of doorbells, in the stores, restaurants, and stadiums we visit, and along the roads we travel. We somehow feel safer knowing we can see danger coming before it reaches our front steps.

But what about your network? How do you see the bad guys coming, and how can you stop them before they gain access to your network and do you harm? In much the same way we protect our homes, it all starts with visibility. Because you can’t protect your network from threats you don’t see. Security cameras won’t give you visibility into network traffic, but implementing a well-designed visibility architecture will expose gaps and weaknesses so you can prevent dangerous blind spots that leave an open door for cybercriminals.

A visibility architecture consists of physical and virtual network taps, bypass switches, network packet brokers (NPBs), and intelligent NPB software stacks that perform advanced filtering. One function of intelligent context-aware filtering is ensuring the right data is delivered to the right tool at the right time. When security tools become overloaded from processing irrelevant or duplicate data, they must work overtime which is inefficient and costly. If a DDoS attack floods your network with more traffic than it can handle, your tools are forced to really kick it into high gear while hackers eagerly stand by waiting to exploit these vulnerabilities.

Because most network traffic today is encrypted, hackers take full advantage of this. SSL/TLS encryption is a double-edged sword and somewhat of a mixed blessing in that the same encryption used to keep your data safe is something cybercriminals now use against you. Many security breaches occur when hackers are able to conceal ransomware, malware, and viruses within encrypted data packets to gain entry into your network. You need all the security benefits of the latest TLS protocols but still must be able to inspect all encrypted traffic to uncover hidden threats. Deploying NPBs that can perform SSL/TLS decryption is one way to prevent cybercriminals from hiding dangerous threats within your encrypted traffic. Letting the NPB and its intelligent application software take care of all decryption enables you to gain complete visibility across your network while offloading this process-intensive task from your security tools without impacting performance.

Networks will continue to become more complex, so it cannot be stressed enough just how critical a fully integrated network monitoring and security solution is for 24/7 visibility into ALL network traffic. Just as important is to include network test solutions in your design to take additional proactive measures for simulating breaches, attacks, and intense load testing.

Benjamin Franklin once stated, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail,” and his words still stand true today, even in this fast-paced world of constant change.

You really can beat hackers at their own game, but you must prepare today, so you’re not caught off guard by tomorrow’s next big threat.

Barb Rigel is senior product marketing manager at Keysight Technologies.

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