Top 3 benefits of moving network and security analysis to the cloud

Today, cloud services are how most modern enterprises procure or deploy the applications and resources necessary for their operations. The benefits are numerous, saving greatly on capex and opex while the enterprise operates more efficiently and effectively across the organization. Realizing these benefits is even more important for enterprises that have global operations and an increasingly large remote workforce that must coordinate their activities with the use of these applications.

IT and cybersecurity departments use a number of different low-level tools when troubleshooting applications, investigating network issues, and performing incident response. Most of these tools are installed and run natively on workstations, or on the servers themselves where they are operated via shell commands or report to standard outputs. These tools include packet capture and analysis tools like Wireshark, plus intrusion detection or network monitoring tools like Suricata or Zeek.

While these tools are incredibly powerful (that’s why we use them in CloudShark), the environment in which they are used hasn’t necessarily kept up with the latest methods that enterprises work with other services and applications. This means that the people who use them are missing out on the best benefits of using cloud infrastructure in the first place, like accessibility, standardization, and ease of deployment.

Tools like these are critical to IT and cybersecurity efforts, and are much more useful when properly incorporated into an enterprise’s overall cloud infrastructure and accessed using modern web technologies and APIs. Here are some of the benefits of using cloud native analysis tools as part of your overall cloud strategy.

Putting analysis tools in the cloud gives huge efficiency gains

Deploying  network and security analysis tools to the cloud gives your organization huge efficiency gains in a number of ways:

It reduces overall operating costs. Even when dealing with open-source tools, the need to deploy, configure, and maintain them doesn’t go away. Personnel must be dedicated to performing these operations whenever and wherever they are installed and as they are used. The cost of doing so adds up quickly, and can easily outpace the cost of switching to analysis tools deployed in a cloud environment.

They are easily accessible by your entire team, while being more secure. One of the most realizable benefits of cloud computing is the ability to separate the application platform from the application user. This not only means a more readily accessible application, but centralized data, streamlined workflows, and less onerous onboarding of analysts and IT staff from a software and equipment standpoint. Moreover, cloud solutions are more easily controlled, updated, and maintained, leading to better security overall.

It lets you incorporate analysis into network orchestration and security automation. Part of the move towards cloud infrastructure is the desire to fully automate the creation and use of network resources and applications as needs arise. This is primarily done through a process called orchestration, where cloud resources are reserved and released as part of an overall workflow. This carries over into security automation as well, where cloud-based analysis tools can be fully integrated into a playbook, reporting structure, and other incident response processes.

Cloud solutions let you standardize your operational practices

Analysis solutions deployed in the cloud provide a great opportunity to solidify your Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) with regards to network troubleshooting, ticket management, and incident response. Cloud-based analysis tools benefit ops because:

They allow you to create those standard practices. When the same software is being used by everyone in the same way in a controlled environment, it lets you build consistent rules, guidelines, and processes for their use. Depending on the software, it also lets you classify access at the permissions level based on the role of the user. By eliminating the need for native software duplicated on every workstation, these standards are also easier to enforce and update.

They accelerate the learning curve for new employees. The development of standard practices through cloud-based software provides a massive opportunity for the creation of training materials and mentorship. Employees are able to use their analysis tools in the same way no matter what level of expertise they have achieved, and analysis steps, escalation procedures, and reporting mechanisms can all be more easily standardized.

They aid in information retention and eliminate silos of expertise. When your analysts and IT people are using their own installations of tools, teams will often have to replicate work that has already been done, or explicitly record and repeat analysis steps that were taken. Additionally, while it is certainly a good thing that each person finds their own way of working with data that is best for them, any good things that could be converted into best practices are lost. The standardization and access offered by cloud-based solutions encourages sharing, aids in data and knowledge retention, and eliminates silos of expertise across the entire organization.

Cloud solutions are easy to outsource

The last and perhaps most important benefit of cloud-based solutions are that they are available through a wide variety of deployment methods and managed service offerings. In addition to the servers and network infrastructure available through providers like Amazon Web Services or Digital Ocean, the network and security analysis applications themselves can be hosted and managed through a third-party provider.

This takes the burden off of your own IT, security, and data management infrastructure, frees up personnel for other tasks, and ensures that the people most familiar with the application are updating and maintaining it for you. Combined with a robust API, cloud applications can easily integrate with the rest of your tools and processes while still operated by a vendor or managed service provider.

At QA Cafe, we are meeting the  demand for applications to be hosted and managed for the customer. CloudShark Enterprise is now available completely installed, configured, and hosted by us. This gives our customers all of the benefits of CloudShark without the need to procure or maintain their own resources. Contact us to find out more!