How to Pick the Right NetFlow Solution to Enhance Network Security and Performance

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Netflow process
Netflow process

Network administrators have been going through a lot of stress lately. They have to provide faster access to data and applications, but with various security and performance issues, they are unable to do so.

Thus, businesses are facing huge losses due to network issues. An article on a popular website has revealed that the undiscovered network issues cost the businesses nearly $600K per year. Cybercrime is another issue that network monitoring teams are facing. The attacks on networks have been doubled in 2019. This scenario is the reason why business executives are putting pressure to increase network security.

NetFlow to Improve Performance of Security and Network

NetFlow has become one of the most heard names in network monitoring these days. It is a protocol that is developed by Cisco. It has grownand turned as one of the leading tools that help network administrators to take upon the challenges of both security and performance. You will be able to collect, monitor, and analyze the traffic generated by routers and switches to see the point of traffic origination, how it travels, and the amount of traffic your network is making. This protocol is now an industry standard, and even non-Cisco routers and switches can use it without any hassle.

When you use the NetFlow to monitor your network, you will get to see how it is performing, and if there are problems or issues in the network, you can point it out and resolve it pretty soon. This way, you will be able to meet the quality SLAs for both applications and services. NetFlow gives you an option to track the flow of applications as well as essential services to all of your network areas. This scenario includes the devices, link connections, servers. You will gain insights about bandwidth utilization and how the services are performing. You will be able to plan out the historical trends for capacity planning and proactively identify the security issues that users are facing.

NetFlow Solutions Attributes

The NetFlow solutions are both hardware and software related. There are software and hardware appliances that network administrators use to increase the application performance and oversee any network polarization policies. The administrators also eliminate the costly bandwidth utilization issues with the help of NetFlow.

No matter what kind of IT solutions that you are opting for – it is vital for you to remember that saving money is paramount. Network monitoring is not an exception here. Persistence Market Research has stated that the enterprises limit IT expenditure by reducing costs and expect an increase in the ROI. These two factors are restricting the growth of their network performance monitoring market.

All these things have resulted in poor network security and performance. This scenario is the reason why you have to invest in a NetFlow solution, which will enable you to strike a balance amid the costs and capabilities. There are key attributes you have to look at when you are looking for a reliable network service. You will find that checklist now, compare all the monitoring tools, and find the one which will work correctly in your network. The monitoring tool you pick should have the following functionality.

  • It notices both internal and external traffic destinations and sources.
  • It monitors the bandwidth utilization in real-time. This scenario helps in the usage spikes and avoid any dropped packages as well as delays.
  • Identifies various interfaces, users, protocols, links, and applications that usually take up all of your bandwidth over multiple devices such as LAN and WAN.
  • Maps the historical trends of protocols, users, applications and recognizes the service that uses up most of the bandwidth.
  • It also helps in applying the quality of service policies and assign sufficient bandwidth for the applications to ensure that all of them are giving optimal performance.
  • NetFlow provides network capacity planning.
  • The tool analyzes traffic patterns and usage of the network during various time periods. This scenario helps in identifying potential bottleneck issues.
  • It notifies the network administrators whenever the bandwidth threshold exceeds, and usage violations occur.
  • It also helps in proactive troubleshooting and resolves any bandwidth congestion.

Another crucial thing that you have to keep in mind with NetFlow solutions is that the type of tool that you select should provide auto-enabled services and also integrate with other flow-related tools like sFlow and JFlow. There are some other parameters that you have to look out for when it comes to security forensic capabilities.

  • Does the solution, notify network administrators and send them rogue activity alerts of DDoS?
  • Can it help in detecting the failed connections?
  • If there are any unmonitored ports with high traffic flows, is it possible to identify them?
  • Is the solution capable of identifying any unauthorized downloads?
  • Does it notify any unauthorized access to the applications, video streaming, and file-sharing?
  • If there are so many pairs of sources and destinations, is it possible for you to monitor traffic volumes?

If you are out in a marketplace for a NetFlow tool, then ensure that they have all the features as mentioned earlier. If you have a tool that can monitor both performance and security at your hand, you can relax and rely on it. Your network will be secured, and the bandwidth allocation is done effectively.

Moving Forward

There are both paid and free NetFlow options available in the market. The features of these options will inevitably vary. If you are running a small business and are on a tight budget, then you should go with a free NetFlow option. Still, if you are someone who needs high-end security monitoring, then you need to invest in a NetFlow system that offers all the required features for you. NetFlow can help you out with even Darkweb traffic, too, and you need to choose the right kind of solution. This is where Motadata NetFlow Analyzer or Network Traffic Monitor, lets you check and monitor your bandwidth / traffic pattern and determine, how network bandwidth is being utilized. Get real-time insights into bandwidth usage or the amount of network traffic caused by IP addresses, protocols, or programs.

About the Author

Amit Shingala,

CEO & Co-Founder – Motadata (Mindarray Systems Pvt. Ltd.)

Amit has over 14 years of experience & wide spectrum of knowledge in building & selling enterprise product to solve problems of new-gen IT Infrastructure.

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