When starting a new business, there are countless details to consider. From company structure and branding to hardware and staffing needs, you have plenty to plan and prepare. However, it is essential to remember that your company’s operations will rely on a network. Developing this network will be a challenge in itself, but one of the critical aspects to consider is how to protect that network from security threats. Firewalls, antivirus software and password policies are an excellent place to start, but there is another comprehensive tool to consider early on when starting a business: network security monitoring.
Table of Contents
- What Is Security Monitoring?
- Why Your New Business Should Invest In Security Monitoring
- 5 Challenges of In-House Network Security Monitoring
- What Is the Difference Between Network Security Monitoring and Network Monitoring?
- Is Network Security Monitoring Worth It?
What Is Security Monitoring?
Network security monitoring, as the name suggests, is an IT service that monitors your network security. This type of system automates security monitoring across various aspects of your network, gathering and analyzing numerous kinds of security information. Some areas that security monitoring observes include:
- Network traffic
- and more
A network security monitoring system watches these areas of the network in real-time, looking for patterns and events that indicate potential security threats, vulnerabilities and suspicious behavior. If such a threat is identified, the system then sends an alert to a designated emergency response team so that they can resolve the issue as quickly as possible. This quick response time is crucial for modern companies that have to deal with a wide array of security threats.
Why Your New Business Should Invest In Security Monitoring
When starting a new business, analyzing and justifying all costs is a necessary part of the process. It’s unsurprising, then, that many new business owners question why they should invest in security monitoring when they have other network security tools like firewalls and anti-virus software. The short answer is that industry professionals agree that monitoring network security is a necessity. There are numerous reasons why monitoring network security is so essential. Some of the key features and benefits of network security monitoring include the following:
- Comprehensive monitoring: Security professionals primarily see security monitoring tools as good ways to monitor and understand network traffic both at the large and small scale. Network security monitoring allows users to see a big picture of the business’s security threats, while simultaneously drilling down to the details that identify threats that might otherwise have gone unnoticed and unaddressed. Additionally, professionals value network security monitoring tools for their proactive querying of networks to find suspicious behavior before it leads to a breach.
- Minimized risk: Monitoring security at every level and entry point helps businesses mitigate risk. With network security monitoring, companies can identify and stop malicious activity as soon as it appears, reducing the chances of data breaches and cyberattacks proceeding to completion. This capability is essential for new businesses, as cyberattacks cost an average of $200,000, and 60 percent of small businesses shut down within six months of experiencing a data breach. Both outcomes are devastating for new companies.
- Streamlined compliance: Many businesses are required to comply with regulatory entities like HIPAA, ISO 27001 and PCI DSS, among many others. Compliance is a significant concern, especially for new businesses trying to get their foot in the door of their industry. Almost all of these regulations require some form of network monitoring. Even if they don’t, network monitoring can help improve compliance reporting by providing details on security events and overall network status.
- Quick alert and response times: One of the most significant advantages named by security professionals is the ability of network monitoring software to alert security teams quickly in the event of a breach. On average, it takes half a year to detect a data breach, during which time information can be lost or stolen. Because of their automated monitoring capabilities, these systems offer 24/7 network monitoring capabilities, detecting malicious behavior, whether it occurs in the middle of the day or long after the office has closed.
As ransomware, zero-day threats and malicious internal and external attacks continue to grow, network monitoring becomes increasingly crucial for businesses across all industries. Network monitoring is especially important for new companies that are still getting their start in the industry. One event can taint a new business’ reputation or send them into bankruptcy, ending their business before it has a chance to begin.
5 Challenges of In-House Network Security Monitoring
One of the major questions asked by companies looking into network security monitoring tools is why they should invest in automated network security monitoring when they have an IT team already dedicated to the task of monitoring their network. The primary reason is that various new and growing challenges are making network monitoring increasingly difficult. These challenges make it hard for IT departments to handle monitoring without the assistance of monitoring tools. Some of the most significant challenges of in-house network security monitoring include the following:
- Increased security threats: One of the most significant changes in the IT landscape that poses a problem for IT teams is the increase in malware volume. Ransomware attacks alone are increasing by more than 350 percent annually, and cyberattacks are steadily growing in volume with each passing year.
- Expanded network infrastructure: Networks are steadily growing in size and complexity with the expansion of IoT and cloud-based software. While smaller businesses often have relatively simple structures with functions hosted in the cloud, larger firms may have a complex system of cloud-based and in-house components. Unfortunately, increasingly complex networks mean that there is an increasing number of entry points into a network.
- Communication lapses: Especially in larger corporations, communication between teams can cause serious lapses in network security. At times, the cybersecurity and network operations teams are separate, meaning that they are often not looking at the same issues or communicating breaches and vulnerabilities to the extent necessary to adequately handle the problem.
- Improper timing: Timing is another major issue when it comes to manual monitoring. With the sheer amount of incoming data, it can be nearly impossible to spot the nuances indicative of malicious behavior. As previously stated, it often takes half a year to identify breaches. The most common reasons for this are that the staff isn’t looking in the right place or doesn’t know what to look for.
- Labor requirements: On top of it all, in-house network security monitoring requires extensive labor expenditures. IT staff is already overloaded, and there are over 300,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs in the United States. While 44 percent of companies plan to increase their IT expenditures in 2020, and spending on IT security has steadily been on the rise since 2006, the number of unfilled positions is expected to jump into the millions by 2021. For this reason, existing IT staff need to focus on the most critical functions, which often leaves cybersecurity understaffed.
These challenges across people, processes and technology make it exceptionally difficult to handle network security monitoring in-house. Fortunately, there are plenty of solutions in automated and outsourced network security that are beneficial to any company.
What Is the Difference Between Network Security Monitoring and Network Monitoring?
New companies comparing software and technology may notice that there are both network security monitoring and network monitoring solutions. While similar in some regards, these two monitoring options have different purposes. Before choosing one or the other, be sure to understand the difference between the two options.
1. What Is Network Monitoring?
A network monitoring system primarily focuses on the operation of a network. These systems monitor and track activity within the network, looking for issues and problems caused by network devices and resources. Some examples of problems that network monitoring can identify include:
- Malfunctioning devices
- Overloaded resources, including servers, network connections and devices
- Network availability and downtime issues
- Slow data transfer speeds
- Network configuration errors
Network monitoring is most often performed using dedicated diagnostic tools and applications, which measure and analyze critical data about the system. If collected data falls outside of accepted ranges, the application sends an alert to an administrator immediately so that they can address the issue.
2. How Is Network Security Monitoring Different?
While network monitoring analyzes the overall traffic, structure and integrity of a network, network security monitoring looks at the activity on that network. Though the overall function and structure of a network is the basis upon which security monitoring systems are programmed, network security systems use this information as a roadmap to help them identify vulnerabilities and guard entry points. Instead of focusing on whether the network functions, network security monitoring systems focus on the user activity conducted within that network. Network security monitoring specifically looks at the following areas of a network:
- Network payload
- Client-server communications
- Traffic patterns
- Traffic flow
These complex factors are the subject of study for security monitoring tools. When an error is found in any of these areas, the network monitoring device sends an alert to administrators so they can contain the threat.
3. Similarities Between Network Monitoring and Network Security Monitoring
While network monitoring focuses on understanding, maintaining and monitoring the infrastructure of a network, network security monitoring focuses on behaviors within this network. However, these two monitoring systems are closely linked. For example, DDoS attacks directly affect network availability, while malware can alter or exploit network configurations. In the best IT systems, network monitoring and network security monitoring are both used and are often closely linked.
On top of this need for joint functionality, there are many similar benefits in implementing network monitoring and network security monitoring. These benefits are detailed below:
- Timing: In both network monitoring and network security monitoring, timing is essential. Administrators require real-time statistics and visibility to ensure that their network is functional and secure. In ideal systems, potential issues are identified as soon as they appear and before they cause more significant problems.
- 24/7 monitoring: Your network isn’t a 9-to-5 matter — it’s a 24/7 necessity. Your monitoring systems should be the same way. Instead of being limited to when your IT staff is available, network monitoring and network security monitoring systems watch your network around the clock, alerting administrators as soon as an issue arises even during non-business hours.
- Reduced IT workload: Network monitoring is a labor-intensive task for IT departments, and monitoring solutions help ease that burden significantly. Network monitoring solutions ensure that networks are configured and functioning properly, while network security monitoring more easily identifies security breaches and malicious behavior as it occurs.
In short, while it is essential to understand how these two types of software differ, both monitoring systems are integral to a complete, protected network.
Is Network Security Monitoring Worth It?
Cybersecurity should be one of the primary focuses of your new business. As such, it’s essential to consider security from every angle. While no single tool should make up your entire cybersecurity plan, you need more than a firewall and anti-virus to keep hackers and malicious entities at bay. Network security monitoring provides a deeper level of protection that no other security tool can provide, boosting your defenses by catching malicious behaviors before they can affect your system operations.
On top of the comprehensive monitoring that network security systems provide, your business can look forward to reduced risks, streamlined compliance and quick response times to breaches. These benefits can help your company avoid financial, legal, compliance and reputational penalties associated with breaches that can trip up your business before it has a chance to get rolling. In short, no matter the size of your business, network security monitoring is a worthwhile investment to implement as soon as your network is online.
Network Security From CYBERShark
Network security is an essential function for businesses of all sizes, but there are hundreds of network security monitoring solutions available, and they are far from equal in quality. To experience the benefits of network security monitoring, your business needs a high-quality security monitoring software backed by an experienced and customer-centered company. CYBERShark Powered by BlackStratus can help.
CYBERShark is a comprehensive network activity monitoring software armed with a variety of functions and capabilities to support your business. This scalable and flexible security and compliance platform can work for any business, integrating easily into new and existing workflows. Even better, it comes with pay-as-you-go pricing that is attractive for any new company. When you choose CYBERShark, you choose network monitoring designed to work with your system from day one.
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