Network security

Arista: Migrating Network Security to Secure Networks

Over the past few years, we’ve seen an era of borderless, multi-cloud, multi-device collaboration for hybrid working, giving rise to a new network that transcends traditional perimeters. As hybrid work models take over the new network, organizations must tackle the cascading attack surface. Reactionary, bolt-on security measures are just too tactical and expensive.

Switch to the Zero Trust Network

The perimeter of the networks changes and collapses. This paradigm shift to a perimeterless enterprise has prompted organizations to embed security into the network infrastructure as a proactive way to track and successfully manage threats from a broader attack surface. However, historically, adding multiple layers of network security has been tedious with the significant additional hardware deployments, ongoing operational costs, and necessary configuration changes to the network infrastructure. The security teams were therefore constrained to the bare minimum of visibility on the network.

Arista’s Zero Trust Network Architecture focuses on security built into the network by default rather than an afterthought. Based on the NIST 800-207 standard, the Arista approach provides situational awareness, continuous diagnostics, and Zero Trust enforcement.

Arista AVA for High Fidelity Secure Networks

Arista AVA™ (Autonomous Virtual Assist), derived from our acquisition of Awake Security, is a core component of the Zero Trust Network. AVA mimics human expertise at cloud scale through an AI-based expert system to automate complex tasks such as troubleshooting and securing cyber threats. It starts with real-time field data on the status of network devices and, if needed, raw packets. AVA uses an expert system to orchestrate a set of AI/ML techniques on this data using supervised and unsupervised NLP (Natural Language Processing). Applying AVA to the network increases network fidelity and security with Network Autonomous Detection and Response (NDR), bringing proactive security with improved efficiency and coverage.

Introducing AVA for the Cognitive Secure Campus

Traditional 1990s-era NetFlow-based solutions are limited in their depth of visibility (port, IP address, and basic protocol information) and lack the context to identify modern devices or threats. In contrast, Arista NDR analyzes the entire package, including application layer data that sets the stage for automated and manual threat hunting. Today, Arista is proud to bring the next frontier of security networks for holistic threat hunting to the cognitive campus, as shown in the figure below.

For the first time, we integrate campus switching and NDR functions based on Arista EOS. Powered by AVA, this AI-driven feature consists of two key components: the AVA sensors and the AVA core. AVA sensors support a variety of form factors ranging from standalone appliances and virtual workloads to the cloud and now, in campus Power over Ethernet (PoE) switches. These sensors organize and transfer deep packet data “just right” to the AVA Nucleus, offered as both on-premises and cloud-based SaaS models. The AVA solution provides persistent threat hunting with a simple switch software upgrade. This has minimal impact on switch performance or reliability and is transparent to day-to-day network switch operations.

It is now

Now is a good time to unify the world of networking and security for a secure cognitive experience. Security must permeate everything we do on the network today to bring a proactive and continuous approach to contextual monitoring and threat hunting. Deadly threats must be detected before they proliferate into a massive data breach. Welcome to the era of the Zero Trust Network!

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