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The Great Debate: Why You Should Choose Purpose-Built Over Off-the-Shelf Hardware

The Great Debate: Why You Should Choose Purpose-Built Over Off-the-Shelf Hardware

Oct 05 2015

Last month, the Datacom Systems team traveled to Las Vegas for the annual SANS Network Security Conference and Exhibition. During our brief time on the show floor, we had the chance to speak with professionals across many different industries, with conversations ranging from reverse-engineered malware to healthcare security risks.

While all attendees would agree that capturing every packet, every time is critical, the age-old debate remains: should you use off-the-shelf or purpose-built hardware? Both have distinct advantages, but which is ultimately the right match for your organization?

Off-the-Shelf Hardware. Even across unrelated industries, network monitoring technologies and best practices can be very similar. Off-the-shelf hardware from large manufacturers often means higher volume of products at the ready, short lead times, and commodity prices.

The challenge of purchasing off-the-shelf network monitoring tools is just that – they are uniform equipment, not customized to your industry’s or organization’s needs. Installing a device that does not run consistently with your network’s wire speed can leave your network exposed, and your organization vulnerable to security breach.

And despite having more assets at their disposal such as large-scale R&D teams and higher volumes of products on hand, research is often dedicated to exploring how existing products can suit new markets, rather than improving performance within specific industries. In these cases, the one-size-fits-all approach isn’t always the best match for your organization.

Purpose-Built Hardware. Network monitoring devices purpose built for specific industries can offer organizations a more customized approach to network security. For fast-paced environments like high-frequency trading and VoIP analysis, monitoring devices running at the network’s true wire speed can improve security risk detection. Smaller manufacturers of purpose-built hardware are often industry-focused, utilizing their R&D teams to explore new product solutions for a limited number of markets. This means that new products are developed based on industry expertise, rather than universal application.

Purpose-built hardware comes with its own set of challenges, of course. With typically smaller product offerings than off-the-shelf device manufacturers, purpose-built device manufacturers often need to customize existing products to fit customers’ needs. At Datacom Systems, we see this as an opportunity, rather than a challenge. As one of the few remaining independent manufacturers of network packet brokers and taps, we work closely with our customers to build custom solutions that fit their exact needs, both for their organizations and unique industries.

Contact our Sales Team to learn more about the collection of products highlighted at SANS 2015.