81% of organizations lack visibility into network traffic

According to a new research report by Enterprise Management Associates, insufficient network monitoring coverage is a pervasive and growing problem among enterprises, combining network, tool and people challenges. Of those surveyed, only 19 percent of organizations currently believe they have adequate monitoring coverage, a problem exacerbated by increasing data center complexity and the migration to 10Gigabit Ethernet environments.

Each year, enterprises spend hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars on network monitoring tools such as intrusion detection systems, application monitors, VoIP analyzers, data recorders, and protocol analyzers, among others.

With all of these investments, data center and security professionals find themselves with a growing arsenal of tools, few of which are deployed optimally. As a result, enterprises are forced to make tradeoffs between network coverage, tool connectivity, and staff availability to monitor more of the network.

The study reflects the opinions of network operations and security professionals who say the shortage of network access ports, lack of available monitoring tools, and understaffed data centers – where personnel are required to “wear many hats” – all contribute to a state of increased operational risk within IT environments.

Key findings of the research study include:

Lack of network visibility

  • 43% of respondents reported a shortage of and inability to share SPAN ports and TAPs for monitoring tools
  • 66% of companies indicated a lack of sufficient monitoring tools and tool budgets.

Poor tool utilization

  • 72% of companies said their monitoring tools are deployed sub-optimally (47% are under-utilized and 25% drop packets because of over-subscription)
  • 65% of respondents face significant monitoring challenges when migrating to 10Gigabit Ethernet, including the inability to monitor 10G traffic with existing 1G tools.

Staff availability and skill gaps

  • 24% of companies reported a lack of support staff for monitoring
  • 80% of respondents find it difficult to manage tool optimization using filters due to reasons such as the frequency of updates required, lack of command line interface (CLI) skills, and overall staff skill shortages
  • 62% reported a trend toward generalist roles on network and security teams, reducing the availability of technical specialists like network architects.

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