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Dual Defenses: 9 Reasons Why Open NDR Is Essential Alongside NGFW

Securing a network against the myriad of evolving cyber threats requires more than just a robust firewall or endpoint protection platform; it demands a multifaceted approach. Corelight’s Open Network Detection and Response (NDR) Platform complements and significantly enhances the effectiveness of next-generation firewalls (NGFWs). Here are 9 reasons why adding Corelight to your cybersecurity arsenal, alongside existing NGFWs, is not just an upgrade but a strategic necessity:

  1. Depth and detail of data: NDR provides highly detailed network traffic data. While firewall logs generally include basic information like source and destination IPs, ports, and protocol types, NDR captures extensive metadata from network traffic. This metadata includes application-level protocols like HTTP, DNS, and SSL, which can offer more context and detail about network activities, such as the URL accessed in an HTTP request or the DNS names resolved.
  2. Objective, security-focused data: While firewalls focus on permitting or denying traffic based on security policies, NDR focuses more on understanding and logging all traffic for security analysis. It can detect potentially malicious activity that a firewall might not block. This is particularly important for threat hunting, where you don’t necessarily know what data should be retained, but ideally the data retained is rich yet compact enough to keep for a long time.
  3. Advanced threat detection and north-south monitoring: NDR complements NGFW’s north-south detection capability by providing additional layers of detection for north-south traffic. This extra visibility strengthens perimeter defenses and helps validate and cross-check firewall alerts, ensuring comprehensive protection against external threats. Corelight delivers a comprehensive suite of network security analytics that reveal known and unknown threats using machine learning, behavioral analysis, and signature-based approaches. In addition, Corelight integrates its high-performance signature-based alerts with Zeek network context, allowing defenders to understand suspicious activity, detect attacks that might bypass traditional firewalls, and quickly respond to incidents.
  4. Lateral movement and east-west traffic monitoring: While some advanced firewalls can monitor internal traffic, many standard firewall solutions may not have the same level of visibility or detailed logging for east-west traffic as an NDR solution. Corelight is particularly adept at monitoring internal network traffic (often referred to as east-west traffic). This type of monitoring covers communication between different devices within the same network, such as servers, workstations, and other endpoints. By monitoring east-west traffic, Corelight can help detect internal threats, lateral movement, and other potentially malicious activities within the network that might not cross the network perimeter. Unless specifically configured for internal network segmentation and monitoring, firewalls might miss these internal activities.
  5. Zero Trust and microsegmentation: With its detailed analysis, NDR can support Zero Trust and microsegmentation strategies by providing insights into traffic patterns and flows within the network. This type of visibility can be crucial for implementing and validating effective security controls. Firewalls can enforce segmentation policies but might not provide the same level of detailed data about internal segment-to-segment communications.
  6. Customization and flexibility: Corelight's Open NDR platform allows for greater customization in terms of what data is collected and how it's analyzed. With Corelight, users can write or modify Zeek scripts to tailor the system to their specific needs, which is not typically possible with standard firewall logs. Zeek has a powerful scripting language that allows users to write custom scripts to detect specific behaviors, anomalies, or to enrich the data. These scripts can be shared across organizations and through security communities, and benefit collaboration and rapid response to emerging threats like Log4Shell.
  7. Data correlation and enrichment: Corelight's Open NDR Platform can enrich network data with contextual information, making it easier to understand the bigger picture of network activities within the threat and environmental landscape. For example, Corelight can ingest and precorrelate contextual endpoint, cloud workload, vulnerability, and cyber threat intelligence data for alert prioritization and accelerated response.
  8. Data export: Corelight's data integrates easily with other security tools and platforms such as Cortex, CrowdStrike, Chronicle, Sentinel, Splunk, and Elastic for a more comprehensive security posture— a key benefit of being open. This integration sits in the ‘Goldilocks Zone’ between basic log forwarding and debug-level logging offered by many firewalls, providing data that is high value yet compact enough for cost-effective ingest and storage in a SIEM.
  9. Performance and scalability: NDR platforms are designed to operate passively, so as to avoid detection by adversaries or impact network performance; in contrast, an NGFW, when misconfigured, can cause performance and availability issues. Corelight's Open NDR Platform can be deployed in high-bandwidth on-prem and cloud environments where capturing detailed data for every packet would be challenging for traditional firewalls. For example, Corelight’s AP 5000 Series Sensor delivers network security analytics and evidence at up to 100 Gbps speeds in a single 1U appliance. In addition, Corelight supports autoscaling across the major cloud vendors for "practically infinite" data consumption.

In summary, NDR offers a profound depth of network insight, from advanced threat detection to intricate monitoring of internal traffic, which goes beyond the scope of traditional firewalls. This comprehensive approach fortifies perimeter defenses and provides crucial visibility into lateral movement and internal threats while supporting Zero Trust and microsegmentation strategies. Additionally, Corelight's Open NDR Platform offers flexibility in customization and seamless integration with other security tools.

Why Organizations Trust Corelight for NDR

Corelight’s Open NDR Platform is based on open source and proprietary technologies. We deliver NSM, IDS, and PCAP functionality in a single architecture that easily integrates with your existing toolstack, including leading EDR, XDR, and SIEM providers. It is quick to deploy, easily scalable, and highly customizable to fit your team’s unique requirements. We accelerate incident response by providing analysts with the broadest range of detection coverage including ML, behavioral, signature, and threat intel. Our generative AI workflow automation and direct access to the correlated data reduces MTTD and MTTR and improves SOC efficiency. You can read more about why customers trust our Open NDR Platform and support team to help defend their organizations on our G2 page.

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