Network analytics can be a rich fount of intelligence about infrastructure performance, efficiency, security and operations. Given enterprise reliance on connectivity for everything from internal communications and customer service to production, crunching network traffic captured from NetFlow, vendor proprietary data and other sources can yield insights into important patterns and trends.
As a result, networks analytics use cases illuminate a variety of examples where organizations were able to troubleshoot configuration issues and improve network efficiency. IT professionals can also apply network analytics to cut operational costs and identify potential security threats.
Deriving the maximum benefit from network analytics, however, requires IT professionals to cull data from disparate sources across the infrastructure and then correlate that information to get an end-to-end view of patterns. This process requires merging data from different systems. And, while this is sometimes complicated, it can yield some important benefits, including the following.
Performance optimization and capacity planning. When done effectively, network analytics reveals crucial information about hidden bottlenecks and other network design issues that can choke traffic and impede productivity. Illustrating one of the benefits of network analytics use cases, companies find that applying that data to gauge ongoing performance optimization may return even greater dividends.
IT organizations can use historical pattern information to anticipate future capacity requirements and potential performance issues. By tapping into this data, IT organizations can rebalance network loads, expand capacity and make configuration changes to better adjust to communication requirements.
Credential misuse. Network analytics can also shed light on security issues, applying NetFlow data in conjunction with other data sources to accelerate the discovery of anomalous patterns indicative of a threat. Credential misuse, which is often difficult to detect through manual human analysis, can be spotted much more quickly when comparing abnormal behavior against a normal baseline.
Network analytics can flag an unusual action or series of actions, such as multiple login tries from different devices or an attempt to connect to a network resource from a different device than normal.
If a breach has occurred, IT professionals can use network analytics to expedite the discovery of what assets the rogue user was granted access to and what data may have been compromised. Expedited breach identification can help prevent future losses and mitigate the impact of the theft.
Cloud security. IT organizations can also use flow logs from third-party cloud environments to get more insight into activity in their on-demand environments, a good example of network analytics use cases. Network analytics from the cloud can help organizations track performance and make more accurate capacity planning decisions for commissioning and decommissioning of cloud resources based on dynamic usage requirements. Cloud network analytics can also shed light on potential security threats or possible vulnerabilities.
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