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Network Behavior Analysis and Anomaly Detection: The Basics

Network Behavior Analysis and Anomaly Detection: The Basics

Network Behavior Analysis and Anomaly Detection: The Basics

There are several techniques, methods, and tools that your enterprise can use to monitor its network. Bringing everything together to develop a comprehensive network monitoring strategy allows your company to analyze network performance from various angles. This includes network security, which interprets how security threats can affect the performance of a network. One of the layers of network security that enterprises should adopt is network behavior analysis and anomaly detection.

Network behavior refers to the activities of both your network and the users who operate on it. In order to properly gauge their network’s security, businesses need to analyze their network behavior and monitor it for any anomaly that indicates a security threat. This approach to network security not only helps mitigate security problems, but also examines current and historical behavior to paint a full picture of your network’s security.  Below, we provide the basics behind network behavior analysis and anomaly detection and how your team can leverage these techniques and tools to secure your network.

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Network behavior analysis

Your network generates a lot of data that can be analyzed for insights on network performance. You can gather insights on packets, user activities, and resource usage – all of which can affect the performance of your network. On a security standpoint, analyzing network behavior data tells your enterprise how well your network security protocols and systems are working. By constantly observing your network behavior, you can be assured that you aren’t just preventing security-related catastrophes, but you’ve also locked down your network’s overall security.

One way in which network behavior analysis is helpful is that it informs your network security tools what your typical network experience is like. This is an important step in preparing your enterprise for any security issues that do happen. If your network team and security tools don’t have an accurate picture of what normal network behavior is, it may not be able to catch when a security breach has occurred. Not all security threats produce major effects; some are built to slowly attack your network and any connected devices. Analyzing your network’s behavior and establishing a baseline for its operation helps you and your security tools detect security breeches quickly and effectively.

Network behavior anomaly detection

Network behavior anomaly detection (NBAD) tools continuously observe your network and are designed to find any malicious threat actors. Rather than relying on perimeter, endpoint, and firewall security systems (which usually can only find security threats that pass through areas of the network where they are installed), NBAD systems sweep the entire network for threat actors. When it detects network behavior that appears out of the ordinary – for example, excessive traffic usage during non-peak hours – it alerts the network team and prompts them to investigate it.

NBAD systems are generally the most useful when used in conjunction with other security tools, such as firewalls and network performance monitoring (NPM) solutions. An NBAD tool requires network behavior analysis to work properly but is a great resource for network teams to find hidden security threats that operate in the areas of your infrastructure traditional network security tools can’t reach.

Our Network Monitoring Buyer’s Guide contains profiles on the top network performance monitor vendors, as well as questions you should ask providers and yourself before buying.

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