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WildPackets: Network Forensics Key to Faster Networking

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

WildPackets, provider of network, application, and VoIP performance monitoring, analysis, and troubleshooting solutions, recently published their 2014 survey "Trends in Network Forensics," a look at adoption, uses and importance of network forensics in the enterprise. The whitepaper is a result of more than 250 network engineers and IT professionals surveyed in February of 2014 to obtain a better picture of where network forensics solutions sit in the enterprise, at both a level of importance and how they are used.  WildPackets' 2013 survey "The State of Faster Networks" identified 85 percent of network engineers and IT directors placed priority on network forensics for 10G and higher networks.  Among the 2014 findings, this seems to continue to be true. Other standout takeaways include:   

  • Organizations are adopting faster technology and networks.
  • More organizations see the need for real-time network troubleshooting.
  • Organizations are using network forensics tools in multiple and unique ways.

The 2014 survey, with respondents from organizations of varying sizes and industries included a 50 percent sampling of network engineers and 28 percent at the director level or above. WildPackets documented the number of organizations with network forensics solutions and how they are using these solutions. Of the 250 respondents, the organizations they represent range from healthcare to education, with the largest sampling hailing from the technology industry. Other industries represented included transportation, utilities/energy, legal, media, insurance, gaming and nonprofit organizations. Interestingly, just 40 percent surveyed currently have a network forensics solution implemented, despite 51 percent of the organizations sampled having 10G+ network infrastructures.

Among the statistics gathered in the report, key numbers for revealing questions asked include: 

  • 74 percent of respondents increased the volume of their network data over the past year.
  • 72 percent increased network utilization over the past year.
  • 40 percent have a network forensics solution in place.
  • 40 percent of respondents said that the biggest benefit of network forensics is improved overall network performance, while 30 percent listed reduced time to resolution and 21 percent listed increased ROI as the biggest benefit.

Modern enterprises rely heavily on their networks. According to WildPackets, there is decreased visibility by IT organizations into network traffic travelling at speeds of 10G or greater. Older network analysis tools can't keep up with current, faster networks, dropping packets or reporting erroneous results. Additionally, many organizations adopting network forensics don’t compare with those who have faster networks and would most benefit from its use.

Identifying security threats is a key reason to implement a network forensics solution, and not surprisingly, WildPackets found that 38 percent of respondents use network forensics for that very reason. However, they also found respondents using network forensics solutions for other reasons, such as improved overall network performance, reduced time to resolution while troubleshooting and reduced operating costs.

"While security incident investigations are typically what people think of when they hear network forensics, the survey findings show that organizations are using these solutions for a variety of uses," says Jay Botelho, Director of Product Management, WildPackets. “With recent increase in security breaches, we expect the continued adoption of network forensics within the security operations center organizations to pinpoint breaches and infiltrations across the network. With increased 40G and 100G network deployments over the next 12 months, network forensics will be a critical tool to gain visibility and troubleshoot these high performing networks."

To read the complete 2014 "Trends in Network Forensics" survey results, visit www.wildpackets.com/resources/whitepapers.

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