How to Overcome Your Most Pressing Network Challenges

Today’s IT networks must change. As businesses adopt more modern, cloud-native apps and support a fast-growing remote workforce, they can no longer rely on traditional network architectures that use legacy hardware and bolted-on security. They need flexible, high-performance networks that can connect and protect applications across a multi-cloud environment.

Adopting a software-defined networking approach will be key for transforming networks. By using software as the primary means of directing and optimising network traffic and managing security, organisations can support modern applications and empower a remote workforce—all while streamlining management and cutting costs.

Though network transformation is essential, organisations do not have to launch a single all-or-nothing project. No enterprise would be willing to rip and replace a network that reaches from the data centre to the cloud and the edge. The cost to the business would be too high if anything goes wrong, and the investment in time and resources could be enormous.

Instead, organisations can start by addressing what matters most. They might be focused on delivering applications to employees and customers from multiple clouds. Perhaps they must support a suddenly larger remote workforce, providing high-performance connectivity to employees working from home. Maybe they’ve been shaken by a perimeter breach and need to implement Zero Trust security within the data centre immediately. Or they might want to accelerate provisioning of network services and gain more of a public cloud experience in the private data centre.

The VMware NSX® family of networking products helps organisations address these and other critical priorities. By drawing from modular NSX products, organisations can overcome immediate challenges while beginning to build a flexible, scalable and secure modern network that can handle evolving business requirements.

Deliver applications consistently across multiple clouds

IT groups must deliver apps consistently to employees and customers—no matter where those apps are running and how users are accessing them. Maintaining high performance is critical even as demand and usage patterns change. Employees should be productive whether they are remotely accessing a cloud-native app or using a workstation at headquarters to access an enterprise app running in the data centre. And customers should experience responsive apps even during peak usage periods.

VMware NSX Advanced Load Balancer™ is a software-based multi-cloud application delivery service that helps organisations maintain high performance. It provides fast, scalable and secure application experiences, whether applications are delivered from the cloud or from on-premises data centres.

Empower remote workers with a secure, high-performance network

The traditional branch office is a thing of the past. While physical workplaces will never disappear, the virtual office is here to stay. Organizations need to empower employees to work from anywhere—providing performance comparable to headquarters, even if employees are working from their living room couch. At the same time, organisations must enhance security so that remote workers do not put the enterprise at risk by using unsecured networks.

VMware NSX SD-WAN™ delivers reliable, high-performance access to cloud services; private, public and hybrid data centres; and software-as-a-service (SaaS)–based enterprise applications. To strengthen security at the edge, VMware also offers a comprehensive secure access service edge (SASE) solution, which integrates NSX SD-WAN with Zero Trust network access capabilities, a secure web gateway and an AI-driven intelligence, all delivered through a SaaS model. The VMware SASE Platform™ provides next-level security and peace of mind for supporting distributed workforces.

Secure the data centre from the inside out

As businesses expand their networks and run apps in new cloud environments, they must also fortify security. IT groups need ways to secure traffic for virtual, physical, containerised and cloud workloads, safeguarding against lateral movement of malware and ensuring ongoing compliance with strict regulations.

VMware NSX products help establish intrinsic, built-in security to protect apps and data wherever they reside. For example, the VMware NSX Service-defined Firewall™ is a distributed scale-out internal firewall purpose-built to protect east-west traffic across virtual, physical, containerised and cloud workloads. This solution architecture enables a fundamental shift in network security by placing a software-delivered firewall inside the data centre, close to apps, instead of using a traditional perimeter firewall at the data centre edge. IT groups can now thwart lateral movement of malware through advanced threat prevention while controlling costs and complexity.

Gain public cloud agility across all clouds, public and private

To keep up with new business imperatives, many organisations are looking to speed provisioning of networking services and security capabilities. They want the same level of agility they experience with public cloud environments, even as they bring together private clouds, public clouds and edge clouds in a single, integrated network.

VMware NSX products can accelerate delivery of consistent, multi-cloud networking and security capabilities by providing the foundation for software-defined networking. For example, VMware NSX Data Center is a complete layer 2 through layer 7 platform that reproduces the entire network model in software. IT groups can create and provision any network topology—from simple to complex—in seconds. They can consistently manage networking and security policies across data centres and cloud environments from a single console.

Start your network transformation now

As businesses adopt new apps and support new ways of working, they need to transform their networks. Deploying a software-defined network enhances agility for continued change. VMware NSX products enable businesses to create a modern network—built for the cloud, delivered as software and services. As modular offerings, NSX products allow businesses to select the best starting point now and incorporate new products within a unified framework as their network transformation continues.

By VMware

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Moxa

Today’s remote ITS networks are more critical than ever. Upgrading an existing TMS to ATMS network is no longer solely focused on connectivity. This webinar covers 4 major network challenges and how to overcome them. 1. Connecting existing legacy assets 2. Skills Gap 3. Network Complexity 4. Network Security and Management #MoxaConnects#IntelligentTransportation

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How People Analytics Can Help You Change Process, Culture, and Strategy

It seems like every business is struggling with the concept of transformation. Large incumbents are trying to keep pace with digital upstarts., and even digital native companies born as disruptors know that they need to transform. Take Uber: at only eight years old, it’s already upended the business model of taxis. Now it’s trying to move from a software platform to a robotics lab to build self-driving cars.

And while the number of initiatives that fall under the umbrella of “transformation” is so broad that it can seem meaningless, this breadth is actually one of the defining characteristic that differentiates transformation from ordinary change. A transformation is a whole portfolio of change initiatives that together form an integrated program.

And so a transformation is a system of systems, all made up of the most complex system of all — people. For this reason, organizational transformation is uniquely suited to the analysis, prediction, and experimental research approach of the people analytics field.

People analytics — defined as the use of data about human behavior, relationships and traits to make business decisions — helps to replace decision making based on anecdotal experience, hierarchy and risk avoidance with higher-quality decisions based on data analysis, prediction, and experimental research. In working with several dozen Fortune 500 companies with Microsoft’s Workplace Analytics division, we’ve observed companies using people analytics in three main ways to help understand and drive their transformation efforts.

In core functional or process transformation initiatives — which are often driven by digitization — we’ve seen examples of people analytics being used to measure activities and find embedded expertise. In one example, a people analytics team at a global CPG company was enlisted to help optimize a financial process that took place monthly in every country subsidiary around the world. The diversity of local accounting rules precluded perfect standardization, and the geographic dispersion of the teams made it hard for the transformation group to gather information the way they normally would — in conversation.

In core functional or process transformation initiatives — which are often driven by digitization — we’ve seen examples of people analytics being used to measure activities and find embedded expertise. In one example, a people analytics team at a global CPG company was enlisted to help optimize a financial process that took place monthly in every country subsidiary around the world. The diversity of local accounting rules precluded perfect standardization, and the geographic dispersion of the teams made it hard for the transformation group to gather information the way they normally would — in conversation.

So instead of starting with discovery conversations, people analytics data was used to baseline the time spent on the process in every country, and to map the networks of the people involved. They discovered that one country was 16% percent more efficient than the average of the rest of the countries: they got the same results in 71 fewer person-hours per month and with 40 fewer people involved each month.

The people analytics team was surprised — as was finance team in that country, which had no reason to benchmark themselves against other countries and had no idea that they were such a bright spot. The transformation office approached the country finance leaders with their findings and made them partners in process improvement for the rest of the subsidiaries.

It’s unlikely the CPG company would have been able to recognize and replicate these bright spots if they had undertaken transformation with a top-down approach. And, perhaps more importantly, it involved and engaged the people on the ground who had unwittingly discovered a better way of doing things.

In bottoms-up cultural transformation initiatives, the how things are done is equally or more important than what is done. Feedback loops and other methods of data-driven storytelling are our favorite way that people analytics makes culture transformation happen. Often times, facts can change the conversation from tired head-nodding to curiosity. One people analytics team in an engineering company was struggling to help develop the company’s managers, for example. Managers often perpetuated a “sink or swim” culture that didn’t fit the company’s aspirations to be an inclusive, humane workplace.

The data analysis found that teams whose managers spent at least 16 minutes of one-on-one time with each direct per week had 30% percent more engaged direct reports than the average manager, who spent just 9 minutes per week with directs. When they brought that data-driven story to the front lines, suddenly a platitude was transformed into a useful benchmark that got the attention of managers. In this way, data storytelling is a lightweight way to build trust among stakeholders and bring behavioral science to culture transformation.

Top-down strategic transformation is often made necessary by market and technology factors outside the company, but here people analytics is a critical factor for execution. A people analytics team can serve as an instrument panel of sorts to track resources, boundaries, capacity, time use, networks, skill sets, performance, and mindsets that can help pinpoint where change is possible and can measure what happens when you try it.

One people analytics team at a financial services company was trying to help the CEO manage growth while he worked to instill a new culture in which departments would be asked to run leaner and more competitive in the market – “scrappy” and “hungry” were terms that often came up. As the transformation accelerated, teams were asked to do more with less, generate more data, and make decisions faster. Amid this, department leaders began to hear anecdotes about burnout and change fatigue and questioned whether the pace was sustainable.

To address this, the people analytics team provided their CEO with a dashboard showing the number of hours that knowledge workers were active for in different teams. When an entire team is over-utilized, he knows they can’t handle more change, while under- or unevenly utilized teams might be more receptive. He can also slice the dashboard by tenure, to learn whether recent hires have been effectively onboarded before approving new hire requests to absorb extra work.

As organizations increasingly look to data to help them in their transformation efforts, it’s important to remember that this doesn’t just mean having more data or better charts. It’s about mastering the organizational muscle of using data to make better decisions; to hypothesize, experiment, measure and adapt. It’s not easy. But through careful collection and analysis of the right data, a major transformation can be a little less daunting – and hopefully a little more successful.

By: Chantrelle Nielsen & Natalie McCullough

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AIHR – Academy to Innovate HR

What is People Analytics and how is it different from HR Analytics, Workforce Analytics, or Talent Analytics? What has made it so popular all of a sudden and why should you be excited about it? What is the ROI of People Analytics? These are the questions that will be answered in this video!

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What Does Your Content Say About Your Company Culture

It’s more important than ever before to build a positive and inspiring company culture. The culture of your organization affects the talent you attract, how engaged your employees are at work, and also the customers who choose your brand over others.

Your company culture is a reflection of your core brand values and mission. And those values can be an important factor in the decision-making process when someone chooses to spend their money or do business with you.

According to a 2020 survey of consumer behavior, over 70% said it was important that companies they bought from aligned with their values.There are many factors that go into your company culture. It’s important to mold the working environment and the sort of business you do around the type of culture you want to cultivate.

But have you considered how the content you are publishing affects how your company culture is perceived?

Quick Takeaways

  • Expressing your true company culture is critical for attracting the right talent and the right customers.
  • The content you publish can be a valuable way to demonstrate your brand culture.
  • Get your brand values and mission statement set in stone to create a solid base for all your content marketing efforts.

Why Your Content Is a Reflection of Your Culture

Have a think about the brands you regularly consume content from and how the content has a unique personality that affects how you would describe the brand.

For example, take a look at this tweet from smoothie company Innocent Drinks:

Even if you’d never heard of the company before, you’d probably start forming an impression of their company culture just from seeing this small piece of content.

Some things that spring to mind include:

  • Young and fun
  • Friendly
  • Caring about the environment

A quick look at the Innocent Drinks page shows that this first impression aligns pretty closely with the brand’s stated values.

How about another example?

Social media automation tool Buffer actually dedicates a whole section of its blog to the importance of “open” culture.

You can see that Buffer values transparency, sustainability, and work-life balance from their blog articles on subjects including calculating the carbon footprint of remote work, moving to a four-day workweek, and why their transparent email policy stopped working.

Buffer is a brand that really understands the importance of content marketing and makes the effort to ensure that all content reflects its core values:

  • Default to transparency
  • Cultivate positivity
  • Show gratitude
  • Practice reflection
  • Improve consistently
  • Act beyond yourself

Does Your Content Promote Your Company Culture?

Take a look through some of your existing content online with fresh eyes. Does it really reflect your brand and values? If your content was all someone had to go on, would they have an accurate picture of what it might be like to work for your company?

Some brands naturally do a great job of creating values-focused content. The ones that do succeed not only because they have a talented team of marketers and content creators working for them, but also because they have a clear idea of the company culture they want to cultivate and promote.

So if you don’t yet have a clear handle on how to describe your company culture, or you’re waiting for it to develop organically, you must focus on building a positive culture first.

Your people are one of the cornerstones of your company culture so make sure they’re involved. Getting together to officially nail down your brand values or mission statement can be a great starting point for an official company culture to flourish.

But when it comes to brand culture, actions matter more than words. There’s no point in claiming you have an open and honest culture and care about the environment if this isn’t true.

Developing your true company culture will take some time, but it can be helped along by working with people who share your values.

Hiring the right people is essential, of course. But marketing to the right audience is equally as important. If you can create content that attracts an audience that shares your brand values, you’ll be well on the way to success.

Creating Content Around Your Culture

Once you’ve put the hard work into building a great brand culture, you can use your content to show off what a great company you are.

If you’ve come up with a list of official brand values, this can be a great way to get started with your content plan, as you can make sure any new content you create falls into one of these “buckets”.

Make sure to take advantage of content to tell the story of your brand. When working through your content strategy, it’s natural to want to make sure that each piece of content is fulfilling a specific purpose and aligning with the customer journey.

But not all content has to or should funnel a potential customer toward a sale. Your content should also work to build your brand slowly but consistently with each piece you produce.

Great authors don’t have to work to market their books. People eagerly anticipate them and buy them automatically because they know they like their style and subjects.

If you approach your marketing content in the same way romance novelists tackle their books, you’re sure to be well on the road to building a dedicated audience that is interested in what you have to say.

Activating your employees to create their own content is another fail-safe way of creating authentic, engaging content.

Nobody knows your company and its culture better than your employees. Utilizing their knowledge, expertise, and passion is often the most effective way to tell the world about your company culture.

At the very least, make sure your employees are involved in your content process, whether that’s by brainstorming ideas for content topics or sharing your content on their own social media accounts.

Ready to Tell the Story of Your Brand Culture?

If you are ready to get more traffic to your site with quality content published consistently, check out our Content Builder Service.

Set up a quick consultation, and I’ll send you a free PDF version of my books. Get started today–and generate more traffic and leads for your business.

By Michael Brenner

Marketing Insider Group

The Marketing Insider Group provides content marketing workshops and content development services. Scale your content and start showing Content Marketing ROI today. Free Consultation

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How To Help Your Clients With Website Content Strategy

For small and medium-sized organizations, content is usually the trickiest part of putting together a website. That often results in it being the one thing web designers are left waiting for when trying to finish off a project. Even if the overall design and functionality are a go, a lack of content halts progress.

Over the years, I’ve found myself asking why this is such a challenge. But after seeing it time and again, a few things have become clear.

First, clients are generally not content creators. Most don’t sit there and write on a daily basis. Therefore, they don’t necessarily know what to say. Or, even if they have some talking points, they might struggle in articulating them.

Then there is also the obstacle of time. People who are busy running their business or non-profit may simply have trouble finding a few hours to concentrate on writing. Content strategy takes a back seat to other tasks.

This presents an opportunity for web designers to come in and save the day. With a little help, we can get the processes of creating and organizing content moving in the right direction.

Focus on the Most Important Details

If you’re redesigning or completely rebuilding an existing website, some of the hard work may be done for you. You can look to that content for clues regarding what’s important.

Even if that existing content is messy, it can still be useful. Search out the key selling points and discuss them with your client. Present them as a means to achieve their goals for the project.

Each organization will have their own unique message to share. An eCommerce shop, for example, may want to talk about their attention to detail when it comes to customer service. Meanwhile, a medical practice will want to concentrate on their expert staff and specialties. This type of information can prove vital in content creation.

The goal is to help your client to narrow their focus. Having a better understanding of the task at hand can provide them with confidence. They’ll be better positioned to produce compelling content.

Provide Visual Guidance

Another way to help clients develop a successful content strategy is through visualization. We do this by providing templates or prototypes that outline the various sections of a page.

This offers an immediate form of guidance that your client can reference when writing. They’ll have a better idea as to the desired length of content, along with how to make it easy to digest. It takes a lot of guesswork out of the process.

Of course, they may not exactly stick to the standards you’ve set. But that’s not the point. It’s more about getting them to think in terms of how that content will be seen by users. Even if they’re not initially thrilled with the mockup, you can work together on finding the right balance.

Another side benefit is that this trains clients to take a more consistent approach. In practice, this means that although the content may change from page to page, the format doesn’t. Users won’t be treated to succinct descriptions on the Services page while being expected to read a meandering, 20-paragraph opus on the About Us page.

By providing visual guidance, clients can simply fill in the blanks. It’s more efficient and less stressful.

Promote Common Sense and Ease-of-Use

When it comes to organizing content, things can get out of hand in a hurry. And they often become extreme.

Some clients may insist on cramming a massive amount of information onto a single page. Others could be just the opposite, with secondary pages that contain no more than a sentence or two. Neither of these strategies is likely to be a hit with users.

Thankfully, a little education can go a long way. When discussing content organization, focus on these fundamental questions:

  • How easy is it for users to navigate?
  • Is all the content on a particular page truly relevant?
  • What is the overall point of the content, and, is it obvious to the user?
  • Should a long page be split up into multiple sub-pages?
  • Are we missing any key information?
  • What’s best for SEO?

By asking these questions, you have the opportunity to fill your clients in on the finer points of a user-first approach. The answers should lead everyone in the right direction.

Write It Yourself

There are certain clients who may never become comfortable with writing and organizing content. Or they may just be unlikely to get around to doing the work. This is not only fine, but it’s also an opportunity for web designers.

By offering to write the content yourself, you will take some pressure off your clients – not to mention make some extra money. It could be a win-win situation.

You may find clients who are very happy to delegate this responsibility and pay you for it. In addition, it allows them to act in more of an editorial role. They can review what you’ve done and then collaborate with you to make the content the best it can be.

However, your work will likely be better received if you put in that initial research. As mentioned above, have a discussion about the most important messaging points. This will ensure a smoother process and better end result.

A Proactive Approach to Content Strategy

As with other areas of web design, being proactive with content is often key to a successful project. Keep in mind that your clients are most likely looking to you for some guidance. Therefore, your expertise and leadership may be just what they need to move forward with confidence.

And, just maybe, it means you won’t have to wait around nearly as long for that content to arrive.

By: Eric Karkovack

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The Digital Project Manager

How to get website content from clients without a headache? This is an age-old question that a lot of DPMs in our community are asking. Today, Alexa and I break down the approach we use to get the right files, on time, in the right format, when we manage website projects. Related Resources: When you’re done with this video, make sure you check out these related resources: Podcast: How To Get Website Content From Clients (With James Rose From Content Snare) https://thedigitalprojectmanager.com/… Podcast: How To Project Manage A Corporate Website Build (With Rich Butkevic) https://thedigitalprojectmanager.com/… Article: Deliver Your Next Website Project On Time With These 5 Tricks https://thedigitalprojectmanager.com/… DPM Membership: https://thedigitalprojectmanager.com/ Follow us on social: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thedigitalpr… Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thedigitalpm/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/1809… Twitter: https://twitter.com/thedigitalpm

Your Enterprise Network Is Haunted — Here’s How To Banish The Darkspace

The first step to solving this problem is to understand what we mean by “darkspace” and why every organization with a digital presence should be thinking about these issues. We’ll start there, and then look at a new category of product emerging to help IT and SecOps shed light into the darkspace so they can fight the monsters hiding there.

What Is Darkspace in the Enterprise?

  1. Encryption: For IT Ops and SecOps teams, the adoption of TLS 1.3with default perfect forward secrecy can feel like putting on a blindfold when you’re walking through this house of horrors trying to save your customers from the torture of undiagnosable network latency and stealthy attackers.
  2. Lack of East-West visibility: Many teams just don’t have visibility into the real-time communications on their network. Relying solely on logs is like taking a still photo of each room of the haunted house to see if anyone’s lurking. Real-time east-west visibility is like having live video cameras in every room and corridor.
  3. Cloud and Hybrid environments: Take that haunted house and make it interdimensional. The cloud introduces new attack vectors and visibility challenges that make it exponentially harder to detect and respond to threats.

How Can Organizations Illuminate These Areas?

A new category of security products is emerging to help our IT Ops and SecOps heroes get the visibility they need to detect and respond to threats hiding in the darkspace. It’s called Network Traffic Analysis (NTA) and several major analyst firms, including Gartner, 451 Research, and EMA have written with anticipation about this important new category. The fundamental premise of NTA is that by observing and analyzing network traffic in real time, and applying analysis and machine learning, security and IT teams can gain faster, more reliable insights that are unavailable from log analytics and other existing security platforms.

As with the emergence of any new technology or market category, Network Traffic Analysis is having its capabilities refined and its boundaries defined through an organic process involving vendors, analysts, and of course users. The general consensus is that NTA products must go beyond what is available from flow-based products that only see L2-L4 traffic—but outside that, there’s still a lot of progress to be made in defining the slot that NTA will occupy in accelerating, mature security operations practices.

Five Questions to Help You Vet Security Vendors

If the network itself is a spooky haunted house, the NTA market is a house of mirrors. Vendors are hopping on the bandwagon and starting to use the term before the boundaries have been cemented, leading to a confusing mish mash of messaging in the market. Here are five questions meant to help you determine whether a self-proclaimed NTA vendor is the real deal, or if they’re chasing after a shiny object without doing the work.

Question #1: Does It Scale?

Today’s enterprise networks are bigger and more dynamic than ever, with hybrid on-premises and cloud environments, branch offices, and enormous volumes of data. Enterprise scale is necessary for successful network traffic analysis. NTA vendors should be able to conduct analysis at 100 Gbps without impacting the performance of the network. Any less and they risk leaving blind spots behind to be exploited by attackers.

Question #2: Does It Decrypt?

The increasing adoption of TLS 1.3 with perfect forward secrecy is great for security and customer privacy, but it also creates huge blind spots for security and IT ops teams. Some so-called NTA vendors will claim that they can extract enough signal from encrypted traffic to detect advanced threats. Even if so, they have no capability to conduct forensic investigation to enable a confident response. True NTA products must be able to decrypt TLS 1.3 with PFS in order to provide the level of visibility that SecOps teams need for success in detecting and investigating threats and getting the forensic detail needed to act with confidence.

Question #3: Can It Automate Investigations?

Many security platforms spew tickets at an alarming rate, each of which must be manually prioritized and investigated by a human, causing burnout and overwhelm. Automating the right parts of this process so human analysts can focus on what matters is a vital step for infosec as a whole. NTA products need to be able to automate the detection and initial investigation steps so that by the time a human analyst gets involved, they have the data they need to act with confidence. Platforms that spew false positives cost more than they’re worth in the end. Real NTA goes a long way toward solving this challenge.

Question #4: Is the AI/ML Real or Artificial?

There’s a lot of “ML-washing” going on in the industry. Companies calculate a statistic and slap the “machine learning” sticker on their product because it sounds exciting. This creates false confidence and reduces clarity about what products can confidently do. Real, predictive machine learning can rapidly provide insights that amplify a SecOps team’s ability to act with confidence. Many companies are hesitant to divulge intellectual property around their ML. This is reasonable, but if they can’t provide a strong layman’s terms explanation of how the ML provides value then they’re out of the running for credible NTA vendors.

Question #5: Does It Solve Real Problems?

The ultimate acid test for any product is whether it solves real problems. Is the vendor focused on solving actual challenges for you, or forcing you into their own workflows and ecosystem. If the NTA vendor can’t draw a clear, bright line from their product to an improvement in performance and value-add for your team, they should be out of the running.

Wrapping Up

The sophistication of cyber attackers exploiting dark space in the network will continue to grow and accelerate, increasing the need for true Network Traffic Analysis in the enterprise. That means the coverage and jockeying for position in this emerging market space will continue to heat up for the foreseeable future. Knowing what to look for, and how to get that needed information from prospective vendors, is the best way for enterprises to navigate treacherous waters in the early days of Network Traffic Analysis.

Barbara KayBarbara Kay Brand Contributor

Barbara is the Senior Director of Security Product at ExtraHop. She brings years of experience in threat intelligence, data analytics,

Source: Your Enterprise Network Is Haunted — Here’s How To Banish The Darkspace

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