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Home » Cyber Security News » Imperative of network traffic validation, ET CISO

Imperative of network traffic validation, ET CISO

Imperative of network traffic validation, ET CISO

<p>Shailendra Shyam Sahasrabudhe, Country Manager, India, UAE &amp; South East Asia, Cymulate Ltd.<span class="redactor-invisible-space"></span></p>
Shailendra Shyam Sahasrabudhe, Country Manager, India, UAE & South East Asia, Cymulate Ltd.

In the fast-paced world of cybersecurity, staying one step ahead of potential threats is not just about deploying security controls; it’s about validating their effectiveness. Chief Information Officers (CIO) and Chief Technology Officers (CTO) navigating this ever-evolving landscape have come to understand that safeguarding against cyber threats demands a proactive approach, particularly when it comes to network traffic validation.

When organizations invest in advanced network security controls like Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems (IDPS), the goal is to monitor traffic and block threats effectively. However, simply deploying these tools isn’t enough.
What is required is ensuring that they’re configured correctly and working as intended. So, how can we validate that our network traffic security controls are up to the task? The answer lies in realistic assessment through ad-hoc attack simulation.

Imperative of network validation

In the ever-evolving landscape of network management, one thing remains constant: the need for validation. Navigating these complexities, we have witnessed firsthand the challenges posed by manual network maintenance and the transformative power of automation. Yet, as networks grow increasingly intricate, the importance of validation cannot be overstated.

Gone are the days of manual network management, where admins grappled with high management overhead and struggled to align network configurations with business objectives. The lack of emphasis on validation often resulted in catastrophic network mishaps, highlighting the critical need for a paradigm shift.

Enter network automation and validation—a game-changer in the realm of network management. These tools have revolutionized the way networks are handled, drastically reducing the likelihood of errors and enhancing operational efficiency. However, automation alone is not enough to guarantee seamless network operations.

To truly safeguard against network-related disasters, the concept of network validation has emerged. By combining automation with validation, organizations can ensure that their network infrastructure operates smoothly and aligns with desired outcomes.

But what exactly is network validation? At its core, it is the process of verifying whether a network environment functions as intended. It encompasses everything from physical connectivity to the protocol stack, with each layer of the network architecture scrutinized according to its intended purpose.

By validating networks in automated environments, organizations can preemptively identify and rectify potential issues before they escalate into full-blown crises. From ensuring proper configuration to verifying adherence to business objectives, network validation plays a pivotal role in maintaining the integrity and performance of modern networks.

Setting the right goals

Before diving into the intricacies of network validation, it’s crucial to lay the groundwork for success. This involves defining clear objectives, measuring success criteria, and aligning them with overarching goals and strategies. By outlining key performance indicators (KPIs) and considering factors like availability, throughput, latency, security, and scalability, we set the stage for effective validation.

Traditionally, organizations have relied on replaying packet captures (PCAPs) for network traffic validation. While this approach can verify the effectiveness of control modifications, it comes with inherent risks and complexities. Unwittingly replaying compromised PCAPs can signal threat actors, while modifying PCAP files requires specialized skills beyond the reach of many security teams.

So, what are the appropriate tools and methods for network validation? Depending on the network’s size, topology, and technology, a variety of tools may be needed, including network analysers, simulators, emulators, and testers. Active or passive testing, synthetic or real traffic, lab or field testing—all these choices depend on the network’s characteristics, goals, and budget.

To effectively validate network traffic, it’s essential to secure all fronts. This means validating at various layers and domains, ensuring end-to-end, segment, device, and service level validation. By taking a multi-dimensional approach, one can ensure that the network functions correctly and consistently in diverse scenarios.
But we can’t stop there. As cyber threats evolve, companies must their validation methods. By identifying exploitable security gaps through safe and scalable simulations, they can stay ahead of potential threats. Whether it’s network segmentation validation, north-south traffic validation, or east-west traffic validation, each approach offers unique benefits in bolstering their cyber defenses.

Moreover, purpose-built simulation templates break down traditional barriers associated with exposure risks, manual effort, and limited coverage. These templates empower organizations to customize cybersecurity assessments and automate testing, ensuring comprehensive validation across the network.
As cyber threats become more sophisticated, companies must embrace innovative approaches to fortify their digital infrastructure. Network traffic validation not only enhances security posture but also ensures a proactive stance against potential threats. Investing in advanced solutions and adopting collaborative practices can help them stay resilient in the face of evolving cyber challenges.

By embracing network automation and validation practices, organizations can navigate the intricacies of modern network management with confidence. Together, let’s embark on a journey towards smoother, more resilient network infrastructure by fortifying our cyber defenses and securing the future of our digital landscape.

The author is Shailendra Shyam Sahasrabudhe, Country Manager, India, UAE and South East Asia, Cymulate Ltd.

Disclaimer: The views expressed are solely of the author and ETCIO does not necessarily subscribe to it. ETCIO shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person/organization directly or indirectly.

  • Published On Apr 18, 2024 at 04:02 PM IST

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