SASE Series #8 - What is Analytics?

SASE Series #8 – What is Analytics?

Definition of Analytics

Analytics, in the context of networking, is the process of identifying trends and patterns using various types of network data. The information is used to make better decisions, such as for problem solving, threat remediation, and business planning.

Software engines are used to analyze and extract insights from data collected from various sources. These data sources include:

  • Servers (DHCP, AAA, syslog, configuration database, etc.)
  • Network devices (switches, routers, and wireless)
  • Traffic flow details (data rate, latency, wireless congestion, etc.)

Network analytics is a process that runs automatically so that the results of the analysis are more extensive than manual analysis. Network analytics is scalable to support applications, clients, users, and multiple devices. The goal is to improve the overall user experience without substantially increasing operating costs.

As technology evolves, network analytics uses more advanced technologies, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, to further improve the insights they provide.

Problems solved by network analytics

  • Monitoring network usage patterns over time so as to estimate the company’s needs regarding bandwidth, hardware, or other services
  • Automatically securing in various ways, such as automatically blocking users who repeatedly send bad requests to the network by IP; automatically detecting and quarantining viruses, malware, worms, and ransomware without the need for human intervention; and protecting password hacking attempts
  • Diagnose situations to fix problems that arise on the network, such as access congestion, poor user activity, security threats, or device failures
  • Allocate resources by accurately estimating the need for switches, routers, hubs, and bandwidth in daily operations or manufacturing facilities
  • Provide administrators with an overview of historical or real-time activity on the cloud architecture

Benefits of network analytics

Optimizing business processes

Network analytics combined with enterprise management, purchasing, and procurement can optimize business processes with greater security and efficiency in IT operations.

Enlarge accuracy in performance monitoring

Network analytics provides performance monitoring tools for administrators. The tool can find out the historical usage patterns of users so that it can be used to predict future infrastructure needs, for better data center requirements.

Improving security

Network analytics greatly improves the security of cloud resources and connected devices. It enhances real-time scanning of data packet transmissions. The automatic logging device detects spikes in data packet I/O resource activity based on IP address. This is to find out and identify intruders, malware, and infected devices.

Rapid detection of security threats

Network analytics increases the speed of security threat detection, which is an important factor in preventing the spread of hacking attacks deep into the corporate infrastructure. Administrators and security defense systems can view the status of connected devices with SNMP and Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) filtering data, then can diagnose network problems, speeding up the time required for repairs.

Tracking KPIs

Network analysis can analyze Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and present them to administrators as part of a unified network management panel to simplify the reporting and alerting process for complex cloud networks.

Network analysis is essential for managing clouds across all types of use cases, but becomes especially powerful for enabling next-generation data center applications when it can be automated with custom code for industry-specific requirements.