See every device trying to connect or already
on your network in real-time.
Portnox’s zero trust access control platform gives network administrators peace of mind with always-on endpoint awareness so you can see who and what is coming onto the network – no matter location or device type.
Profile & fingerprint IoT devices with pinpoint accuracy.
Say goodbye to shadow IoT running rampant across your network with Portnox’s one-of-a-kind cloud-native IoT fingerprinting capabilities. With down to the make, model, and manufacturer details, craft powerful IoT access and control policies to keep your network safe at all times.
Generating an asset inventory is a critical first step in any network security program.
Take note of all devices connected to the network, including IoT, servers, laptops, smartphones, and more to create a comprehensive asset inventory.
Frequently asked questions about network visibility.
Network visibility refers to the ability to monitor and analyze the traffic and activities within a computer network. It provides insight into the performance, security, and overall health of a network. Here are some of the key benefits of network visibility:
- Improved Security: Network visibility allows you to detect and respond to security threats more effectively. By monitoring network traffic, you can identify unusual or suspicious activities, such as intrusion attempts or malware infections, and take immediate action to mitigate these threats.
- Troubleshooting and Diagnostics: Network visibility helps IT teams quickly identify and resolve network issues. With the ability to monitor and analyze network traffic, you can pinpoint the source of problems, whether they are related to network congestion, hardware failures, misconfigurations, or other issues.
- Optimized Performance: By understanding how data flows through the network, you can optimize its performance. Network visibility can help you identify bottlenecks, latency issues, and other performance bottlenecks, allowing you to make informed decisions on network upgrades or adjustments.
- Capacity Planning: With network visibility, you can track network usage and capacity over time. This information is valuable for capacity planning, ensuring that your network can meet the growing demands of your organization without overprovisioning or underutilizing resources.
- Compliance and Reporting: Many organizations are subject to regulatory requirements that mandate network monitoring and data retention. Network visibility tools can help you maintain compliance by recording and reporting on network activities.
- User and Application Monitoring: Network visibility allows you to track how users and applications are consuming network resources. This information can be used to prioritize critical applications, enforce network usage policies, and allocate resources appropriately.
- Reduced Downtime: Quick detection and resolution of network issues through network visibility can lead to reduced downtime, ensuring that critical services and applications remain available to users.
- Cost Savings: By optimizing network performance, identifying inefficient resource usage, and preventing security breaches, network visibility can lead to cost savings in terms of reduced operational and maintenance expenses.
- Root Cause Analysis: When issues arise, network visibility tools can help with root cause analysis. This means you can determine the underlying reasons for network problems, allowing you to implement long-term solutions and prevent similar issues from recurring.
- Future-Proofing: Network visibility is crucial for adapting to changing technology trends and network requirements. It allows you to stay ahead of evolving needs and security threats.
- Quality of Service (QoS): Network visibility is essential for enforcing QoS policies. It ensures that critical applications receive the necessary network resources and bandwidth to deliver a consistent and reliable user experience.
- Network Traffic Analysis: You can gain insights into traffic patterns and usage trends, which can inform decisions about network architecture, scaling, and resource allocation.
In summary, network visibility is a critical component of modern network management. It provides valuable insights into the network's performance, security, and overall health, allowing organizations to proactively manage their networks, enhance security, and deliver a better user experience.
Increasing visibility is important in various contexts, such as business, technology, and personal development, for several reasons:
- Enhanced Awareness: Increased visibility provides a broader view of a situation, enabling individuals or organizations to be more aware of what is happening around them. This awareness can help in making informed decisions and taking appropriate actions.
- Better Decision-Making: With greater visibility, decision-makers have access to more information and insights. This can lead to better decision-making, as decisions are based on a more comprehensive understanding of the relevant factors and potential consequences.
- Risk Mitigation: In business and technology, understanding potential risks and threats is crucial. Increased visibility allows for the early detection of risks, vulnerabilities, and issues, enabling proactive risk mitigation and prevention.
- Efficient Problem Solving: When issues or challenges arise, having more visibility into the problem can expedite the troubleshooting and problem-solving process. It becomes easier to identify the root causes of problems and find effective solutions.
- Improved Security: In cybersecurity and network management, increased visibility is vital for detecting and preventing security threats. It helps in identifying anomalous activities, potential breaches, and vulnerabilities, leading to more robust security measures.
- Operational Efficiency: Increased visibility can lead to operational efficiencies by optimizing processes and resource allocation. It can help organizations identify areas where resources are underutilized or overused and make adjustments accordingly.
- Performance Optimization: In technology and network management, visibility is essential for optimizing performance. It allows organizations to identify bottlenecks, fine-tune configurations, and allocate resources effectively to ensure that systems and networks operate at their best.
- Continuous Improvement: Increased visibility supports a culture of continuous improvement. By monitoring and analyzing data and feedback, individuals and organizations can identify areas for improvement and make incremental changes to enhance their performance and outcomes.
- Customer Satisfaction: For businesses, understanding customer behavior and preferences is crucial. Increased visibility into customer data and interactions can lead to more tailored products, services, and customer experiences, ultimately increasing customer satisfaction.
- Competitive Advantage: Having more insight into market trends, competitor strategies, and customer needs can provide a competitive advantage. Organizations with greater visibility are better positioned to innovate and adapt to changing market dynamics.
- Compliance and Accountability: In regulated industries, increased visibility is essential for compliance with laws and regulations. It allows organizations to maintain accurate records, demonstrate transparency, and be accountable for their actions.
- Personal Growth and Development: On a personal level, increasing self-awareness and visibility into one's strengths, weaknesses, and personal growth opportunities can lead to self-improvement and a more fulfilling life.
- Long-Term Planning: Having a clear view of the present and anticipating future trends and challenges is critical for effective long-term planning and strategy development. Increased visibility supports strategic thinking and adaptability.
In summary, increasing visibility is important because it empowers individuals and organizations to make better-informed decisions, manage risks, enhance efficiency, and drive improvements in various aspects of life and business. It leads to a better understanding of the environment and opportunities for growth and success.
Network Access Control (NAC) is a network security technology that can provide better network visibility by controlling and monitoring devices that are trying to connect to a network. Here are ways in which NAC enhances network visibility:
- Device Identification: NAC solutions can identify and classify devices attempting to connect to the network. This includes identifying the type of device (e.g., desktop computer, smartphone, printer) and its operating system. This information enhances visibility into the composition of the network.
- User Authentication: NAC often requires user authentication as part of the access control process. This means that, in addition to identifying devices, NAC can also associate network activity with specific users. This is crucial for auditing and monitoring user behavior.
- Guest Access Monitoring: NAC can be used to manage guest access to the network. It provides visibility into who the guests are, how long they've been on the network, and what resources they're accessing. This helps prevent unauthorized or suspicious guest access.
- Security Posture Assessment: NAC can assess the security posture of devices trying to connect to the network. This includes checking for antivirus software, OS patches, and other security compliance criteria. This visibility helps ensure that only secure devices are allowed on the network.
- Policy Enforcement: NAC enforces network access policies, ensuring that devices comply with security and usage policies before they are granted access. This visibility into policy enforcement ensures that the network remains compliant and secure.
- Real-time Monitoring: NAC solutions continuously monitor network activities and can generate real-time alerts for suspicious or unauthorized behavior. This real-time visibility helps in rapid response to security incidents.
- Inventory Management: NAC can maintain an inventory of all devices connected to the network. This inventory includes details such as device type, IP address, MAC address, user association, and connection history. This inventory provides a comprehensive view of network assets.
- Access Control Lists (ACLs): NAC can dynamically update access control lists based on device compliance and user roles. This dynamic access control provides better visibility into the access rights of various users and devices.
- Guest and BYOD Management: NAC solutions often cater to guest users and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) scenarios. This allows organizations to have visibility into the activities of non-employee devices on their network.
- Quarantine and Remediation: NAC can quarantine non-compliant or compromised devices, preventing them from accessing the network until they are remediated. This ensures that only healthy devices have network access, enhancing overall network security and visibility.
- Integration with SIEM: NAC solutions can integrate with Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) systems to provide centralized monitoring and analysis of network security events. This integration enhances visibility into security incidents and network threats.
- Reporting and Analytics: NAC solutions often provide reporting and analytics capabilities, allowing administrators to generate reports on network usage, compliance, and security incidents. These reports provide historical visibility into network activities.
By implementing NAC, organizations can gain better visibility into their network infrastructure, improve security, and ensure that only authorized and compliant devices and users have access. This enhanced visibility is critical for managing network resources, detecting and responding to security threats, and maintaining compliance with policies and regulations.
Endpoint visibility refers to the ability to see and monitor all devices (endpoints) connected to a network. Endpoints are the devices that connect to a network, including desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, servers, IoT devices, and any other device with network connectivity. Endpoint visibility allows network administrators and security professionals to gain insights into the devices, their characteristics, and their activities within the network.
Key aspects of endpoint visibility include:
- Device Identification: Endpoint visibility involves identifying and classifying each device connected to the network. This includes determining the device type (e.g., PC, mobile device, printer), its operating system, manufacturer, and hardware specifications. This information helps create an inventory of network assets.
- User Association: In many cases, endpoint visibility also associates network activities with specific users. This means tracking which users are using which devices and what they are doing on the network. User association can be vital for security and auditing purposes.
- Security Posture Assessment: Endpoint visibility often includes assessing the security posture of devices. This involves checking for software updates, antivirus status, compliance with security policies, and any indications of compromise. Devices that do not meet security standards can be flagged for remediation.
- Connection Status and History: Visibility includes monitoring the current connection status of devices and maintaining a history of their network activities. This history allows for forensic analysis and can help in identifying patterns of unusual or malicious behavior.
- Access Control and Policy Enforcement: Endpoint visibility is often used in conjunction with network access control (NAC) to enforce access policies. Non-compliant or unauthorized devices can be denied network access or placed in a restricted network segment, enhancing security.
- Real-time Monitoring: To ensure that security incidents or anomalies are promptly detected, endpoint visibility often provides real-time monitoring capabilities. Administrators receive alerts when suspicious activities or non-compliance are detected.
- Endpoint Management: In addition to monitoring, endpoint visibility may include management capabilities. Administrators can remotely configure, update, or patch devices from a central management console.
- Inventory Management: Maintaining an up-to-date inventory of all network endpoints is a fundamental component of endpoint visibility. This inventory includes details such as IP addresses, MAC addresses, device names, and locations.
Endpoint visibility is essential for various purposes, including:
- Security: To detect and respond to security threats, unauthorized devices, and vulnerabilities.
- Compliance: To ensure that devices on the network meet regulatory and organizational security standards.
- Network Performance: To monitor and optimize network performance by identifying bottlenecks and resource usage patterns.
- Asset Management: To maintain an accurate inventory of network assets for planning and resource allocation.
- Incident Response: For investigating security incidents and understanding the scope of a breach.
- User Experience: To provide a seamless and secure user experience by understanding how devices are accessing network resources.
Endpoint visibility solutions can include network monitoring tools, endpoint management software, and security information and event management (SIEM) systems that aggregate and analyze data from various network devices and endpoints to provide a comprehensive view of the network environment.
Network visibility and network monitoring are related concepts, but they serve different purposes and involve distinct activities within the realm of network management and security. Here are the key differences between network visibility and network monitoring:
- Network Visibility: Network visibility focuses on providing a comprehensive view of the network, including the devices, traffic, and activities within it. The primary goal is to understand the network's composition, the flow of data, and the behavior of devices and users.
- Network Monitoring: Network monitoring is more specific in its purpose and typically involves the continuous surveillance of network performance and health. It aims to detect and respond to anomalies, performance issues, and security threats.
- Network Visibility: It encompasses a broader scope, including both the passive observation of network elements and active data collection. Visibility solutions collect data that can be used for various purposes, such as security, compliance, performance optimization, and network planning.
- Network Monitoring: Monitoring has a narrower focus. It primarily involves the ongoing tracking and analysis of specific network parameters, such as bandwidth usage, latency, packet loss, and the availability of network services.
- Network Visibility: Data collection for visibility is often passive and comprehensive. It includes collecting data on network traffic, device identification, user behavior, and security posture. This data is used for retrospective analysis and security incident response.
- Network Monitoring: Monitoring actively collects data in real-time or near real-time to assess the current status of the network. This data is often used for alerting and proactive management.
- Network Visibility: Use cases for network visibility include security incident detection and response, compliance monitoring, capacity planning, resource allocation, and understanding user and device behavior within the network.
- Network Monitoring: Use cases for network monitoring include performance optimization, troubleshooting, capacity planning, and the detection of performance or availability issues. It is often focused on maintaining the operational efficiency of the network.
Tools and Solutions:
- Network Visibility: Tools and solutions for network visibility may include network access control (NAC), security information and event management (SIEM) systems, and network traffic analysis tools that capture and analyze network traffic.
- Network Monitoring: Network monitoring tools are specifically designed to monitor and report on network performance and availability. These tools often include network performance monitoring (NPM) and network management systems (NMS).
- Network Visibility: Visibility activities can include both real-time and retrospective analysis. The data collected is often used for historical investigations and long-term planning.
- Network Monitoring: Monitoring activities are typically focused on real-time or near real-time data to address current network performance and security issues.
In summary, network visibility provides a holistic view of the network environment, including its devices and activities, for a variety of purposes such as security, compliance, and planning. Network monitoring, on the other hand, is more focused on real-time performance and availability issues, with the goal of maintaining the smooth operation of the network. While they are related and often work together, they serve distinct functions within network management and security.