Going beyond the dashboard with direct access to packet capture files

PCAP files are the uncontested source of truth about what is happening in the network. 

Network management and monitoring solutions do a great job of providing high-level insights, but many do not go deep enough to truly let customers resolve issues with the data available. Access to the full PCAP is necessary.

The Limits of High-Level Dashboards

High-level dashboards offer a bird's eye view of network health, performance metrics, and alerts. When things go wrong, dashboards can tell you there's a problem, but they often can't tell you why. Just as a car dashboard can't tell you everything about what's happening under the hood, these network dashboards have their limitations:

Surface-level insights: Dashboards are great at giving you the big picture - how much traffic you're getting, basic performance stats, and so on. But they skim the surface, often missing the nuanced data that can be crucial for diagnosing and resolving complex issues.

Missing problems: While dashboards can alert you to problems, they're not foolproof. Small yet significant anomalies might slip through the cracks because they don't trigger the high-level thresholds set for alerts.

False positives: Especially with cybersecurity dashboards, alerts themselves can only take you so far. Differentiating between actual problems and legitimate traffic and triaging the severity of an alert requires going deeper.

What can packet captures give us beyond the dashboard?

Access to packet capture files offers several key benefits:

Detailed network insight: Packet captures provide granular visibility into what's transpiring in a network at the protocol level. They contain the details and contents of every packet, offering insight into the who, what, and why of network conversations.

Forensics & investigation: Packet captures allow analysts to reconstruct and examine suspicious or malicious network activities, identify patterns, and even recover lost data.

Troubleshooting: Network anomalies that cause poor user experiences, whether caused by configuration errors or external factors, can be diagnosed and resolved using PCAP analysis.

Compliance & auditing: Many industries are bound by regulations that mandate the monitoring and retention of network data. PCAPs serve as definitive proof of network activity, aiding compliance efforts.

Why solution providers should add PCAP visibility to their products

Many applications incorporate the ability to gather packet captures. Offering direct and easy access to them is a critical part of a complete solution. By incorporating PCAP analysis native to the application, solution providers can elevate their product's value beyond the dashboard. This is an opportunity to provide more than high-level insights or trends; it's about deep-dive analysis using the underlying, detailed data already available.

Reach out to us about extending a complete solution with in-application PCAP visibility.