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Let’s not beat around the bush – it’s the SPAN port. The use of SPAN has long been the cause of network security issues.
Moreover, the prevalent use of SPAN ports to capture data has led to the prevalence in security breaches and data loss.
Security starts and ends with network visibility. If you’re unaware of a breach because you don’t have complete data capture, you’re susceptible to great damage. In fact, the average time that passes before an organization is aware of a data breach is 170 days.
In the 1990s, companies were sold on the false marketing promise that SPAN ports were a sufficient means of capturing data. A component of a switch, the SPAN port is simply convenient and cost-effective to use.
Unsurprisingly, you’re not alone if you’re still utilizing SPAN.
For starters, it’s too easy to program a SPAN port incorrectly. If you mess up here, you risk having problems that you won’t be aware of until it’s too late. And because SPAN ports groom your data, you don’t have real-time access to critical information.
Switches and routers are also easily hacked, meaning that attackers are able to access and easily alter your SPAN port functions. In fact, savvy hackers break into networks and reprogram devices to alter your network visibility, and they remain undetected.
SPAN ports also demand production bandwidth in order to copy and resend traffic over your network. Ironically, you’re investing a great deal of money to set up your network, but the SPAN port hoards the resources needed to monitor your activity.
The coming surge of software-defined networking (SDN) is another key factor in the use of SPAN. As you move to more dynamic network control, network visibility becomes an even greater focal point.
Why? Because SDN actually hides your data plane.
Some organizations exploiting traditional networking are able to use SPAN ports to gather baseline statistical information for behavioral analysis purposes. But with SDN, a SPAN port won’t suffice even for this basic task.
There is only one way to ensure 100% network visibility and complete data capture, and that’s to leverage the network TAP. With any other device or method, you’re going to continue to expose yourself to further network security issues. Stop risking your data and ensure your visibility into your network.
Chris Bihary, CEO and Co-founder of Garland Technology, has been in the network performance industry for over 20 years. Bihary has established collaborative partnerships with technology companies to complement product performance and security through the integration of network TAP visibility.