Every second counts when it comes to data theft. So when a breach or an attack occurs, network security teams need to determine what’s happened as quickly as possible. The more time spent in root cause analysis, the more time an attacker has to burrow deeper into or across the network. The greater the overall loss from the attack is likely to be too. That may be financial, customer impact, or brand reputation.

It’s no surprise that the key to a fast breach or attack response lies in the data. But sampled data can’t provide the granularity and accuracy teams need to perform a full forensic investigation. It can’t be used to fully determine what happened before, during, and after a security breach. Instead, teams investigating a breach need access to full-fidelity flow data. Here’s why.

Why you need access to full-fidelity data

Flow-based metadata that’s generated from sampled data can leave huge gaps in data collection. This leads to blind spots that make it difficult to detect certain security attacks. For example, command and control, and lateral movement. After an attack, you need complete digital evidence to understand what happened, how long it was happening for, and what other systems were affected. Sampled flow means you can never be sure. Did you fail to find any indicators of compromise (IOCs) because they weren’t there? Or was that because that data was sampled away?

As you may know, NetFlow is a protocol originally designed to collect IP network traffic as it enters or exits an interface. NetFlow statefully tracks flows (or sessions) and aggregates packets associated with each flow into flow records. These records are then exported. NetFlow records can be generated based on capturing every packet (full-fidelity, or 1:1 mode), or based on packet sampling.

Now isn’t the time to economize

Sampling in our industry is typically employed to reduce the volume of flow records exported from each network device. But while this practice may allow you to deploy cheaper, lower spec’d telemetry solutions, it also cuts corners on providing the complete view that’s needed for fully effective forensics.

With cyberattacks on the rise, now really isn’t the time to economize when it comes to security. And because you can’t secure what you can’t see, sampling makes it much more difficult to find the intruders hiding in the gaps.

However, when you invest in full-fidelity forensic capture technology, you have all the critical information in front of you immediately.

A better way forward

Alluvio by Riverbed, available from Teneo, delivers full forensic analytics and critical insights for cyber threat hunting, incident response and network forensics. It captures and stores full-fidelity packet and flow data from every device – in cloud, virtual or on-prem environments. This lets you isolate threats by actively hunting, tracking and disabling the most dangerous intruders in your network.

By monitoring network flow traffic in real-time, you can immediately detect unusual behavior and deviations from ‘normal’ patterns that indicate unwanted behavior on the network, so you can act fast.

Faster incident response means you can detect and resolve performance issues and security threats up to 90% quicker. This helps minimize damage, speed recovery time, and reduce costs.

Cyber-attacks are on the rise, so isn’t it time you switched from data sampling to full-fidelity flow?

Reassess your monitoring and visibility needs and learn best practices for adopting a full-fidelity data approach as part of your Unified Observability strategy with a Unified Observability Consultation from Teneo.