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Keysight Optimizes Massive Network Security Infrastructure Upgrade

Case Studies

The Urgency of Ongoing Protection of Network Data

The average cost of a data breach increased to $3.86 million dollars and the average cost of each record stolen or lost rose to $148 dollars (Ponemon Institute, 2018 Cost of a Data Breach Study: Global Overview). With a 28% chance of one or more data breaches in the next two years, enterprises are investing in gear like next-generation firewalls (NGFW). Many CSOs believe that when they implement a new security solution, they are improving their network security posture. However, expensive and complex security solutions do not guarantee a more secure network. They can also be costly both in creating unplanned outages and in disrupting the baseline functionality of the network if IT staff does not have tools and resource for accurate pre-deployment validations.


Keysight Technologies, the world’s leading electronic measurement company, makes protecting its data a priority. The IT team was looking to upgrade its firewalls but was determined to avoid the issues in production they experienced when upgrading in the past. They didn’t have to look far for a test tool that could provide empirical data about the firewalls that were on their short list. Last year, Keysight bought Ixia to round out its business with products for Layer 2-7 network, application, and security testing. Ixia’s BreakingPoint is an application and security test solution that can perform proof of concept (PoC) testing by sending real-world application traffic and security strikes to each device to see how network performance and protection is impacted.


Do Vendor Claims Correspond to Real Network and  Traffic Profiles?

Keysight’s infrastructure upgrade was a massive and costly endeavor, so the IT team was alarmed when, midway through a worldwide embedded data center firewall deployment, they ran into unexpected issues with the vendor of choice. They used BreakingPoint to figure out why the firewall wasn’t operating as promised and decided to check the performance of the second-choice firewall concurrently. This resulted in a proper bake-off where the two firewall vendors were placed side by side and tested with traffic patterns that closely simulated Keysight’s production traffic flow.


“Using BreakingPoint to hold this bake-off was exciting because it was the first time that we were able to test a firewall without putting it into production,” said Chad Lorenc, senior infrastructure security engineer at Keysight.


For three days, the IT team, aided by Ixia professional services, ran a group of tests on the two short-listed firewalls. To keep the participating firewall vendors anonymous, this case study refers to them as Brand-A and Brand-B. The goal was to find the right NGFW to achieve the highest throughput performance and simultaneous sessions while implementing required protections on the Keysight network.


“Using BreakingPoint to hold this bake-off was exciting because it was the first time that we  were able to test a firewall without putting it  into production.”



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