What is network telemetry?

Telemetry refers to the collection, transmission, and measurement of data. It involves the use of sensors to retrieve information from remote sources. The telemetry you collect gives you insights that you can use to effectively administer and manage your IT infrastructure.

About Telemetry

Telemetry is the process you use to gather information about your IT infrastructure. Once you collect this information, it gets sent to a remote location. At this point, you can monitor and analyze your data and generate insights from it. That way, you can track the performance of your IT infrastructure and find ways to optimize their performance.

Security Telemetry

Telemetry for security lets you track the security of your IT infrastructure in real time. You can use the information you collect to assess your IT systems' availability and performance. Cybersecurity telemetry data can be used to identify and respond to indicators of compromise (IOCs) across your infrastructure, too.

Network Telemetry

Telemetry in networking refers to information from network data sources. You can use this information to learn about your networks, how they work, and their strengths and weaknesses. The information you have can help you discover ways to manage your networks and protect against network attacks.

Endpoint Telemetry

Telemetry for endpoint security lets you monitor IT applications and systems. You can gather information that shows endpoint activity. This information gives you a glimpse into normal operating conditions across your apps and systems. Your endpoint data can help you understand malicious activities and threat patterns.

MDR Telemetry

A managed detection and response (MDR) services provider can collect security telemetry to understand threats and vulnerabilities that its customers face. An MDR provider can gather and evaluate information from across a customer's IT infrastructure. This helps an MDR provider identify the best ways to protect its customers against cyberthreats.

XDR Telemetry

Telemetry for extended detection and response (XDR) security encompasses data collected across cloud workloads, emails, endpoints, networks, servers, and other sources. You can retrieve information across multiple security layers. Next, your XDR platform can use your information to identify and hunt for threats. It can also help you analyze the root cause of a cyberattack or data breach.

Why is Telemetry Important?

Thanks to telemetry, your business can identify ways to improve its IT infrastructure. Telemetry can be used to identify cyberthreats that otherwise put your company, its employees, and its customers in danger. You can also utilize telemetry to maintain a high-performing IT infrastructure. With this infrastructure in place, you can keep your employees and customers happy, boost sales and revenues, lower your operating costs, and more.

How Telemetry Works

To use telemetry, you'll need to have sensors across components of your IT infrastructure that you want to monitor, such as:

  • Cloud workloads
  • Email systems
  • Endpoints
  • Networks
  • Servers

These sensors create logs that record a wide range of information, including:

  • Actions performed
  • Programs affected
  • Diagnostic information
  • System services being used
  • Date and time stamps

You can analyze security telemetry on your own or work with a managed security service provider (MSSP) or another third-party vendor to do so. Cybersecurity telemetry analysis is key — without it, you'll have no idea what's happening across your data. Worst of all, you risk missing out on insights that can otherwise help your business improve its IT infrastructure and guard against current and emerging cyberthreats.

What is Observability?

Like telemetry, observability can help you understand your IT infrastructure. It involves looking at external outputs to evaluate your infrastructure's performance. You can use observability and telemetry data to take an in-depth look at your infrastructure. Together, both sets of information can help you diagnose infrastructure issues. 

What's the Difference Between Telemetry and Observability?

Telemetry involves using data from your IT infrastructure. This information can help you understand your infrastructure's performance and find ways to improve it.

Comparatively, observability requires looking at your IT infrastructure. You can use your data in conjunction with observability data to understand your infrastructure. This can help you maximize your infrastructure's performance.

Benefits of Telemetry for Security

Threat Detection and Response

You can monitor logs, network traffic, and user behavior across your IT infrastructure. From here, you can identify IOCs, abnormal activities, and data breaches. This helps you speed up threat detection and response.

Intrusion Detection and Prevention

Security telemetry data can provide you with insights into suspicious activities, unauthorized access attempts, and attack patterns across your IT infrastructure. You can use your data to fine-tune your intrusion detection and prevention systems. The result: you can improve your overall security posture.

Vulnerability Management

Monitoring system logs lets you detect potential vulnerabilities, errors, and misconfigurations. You can then address such issues before cybercriminals can exploit them.

Forensic Analysis

Cybersecurity telemetry data helps you analyze security incidents. You can use your data to reconstruct event sequences, find the root cause of a cyberattack, and assess an attack's impact. Also, telemetry data can be used for post-incident investigation and analysis. On top of that, it can help you figure out the best ways to guard against future security incidents.


Security telemetry information can be used for regulatory compliance and audits. Your telemetry data show that your business adheres to industry standards. Plus, you can access audit trails for compliance.

Threat Intelligence

You can combine your telemetry information for cybersecurity with threat intelligence sources that you're already using. This can give you insights into the cyberthreat landscape. It can help you plan ahead for evolving threats and find ways to identify and mitigate them faster and more efficiently than ever before.

Cyber Insurance

Telemetry lets you provide proof that security controls and policies are in place that line up with your cyber insurance requirements. You can also use telemetry data as evidence for a cyber insurance claim. The data you use can help you show your insurer what happened during a security incident, how the incident occurred, and who may be responsible for it.

Security Telemetry Challenges

Cybersecurity Telemetry Data Not Encrypted

Telemetry data can be transmitted online without encryption. In this instance, cybercriminals can intercept and/or tamper with data in transit or at rest, resulting in a man-in-the-middle attack.

Data Leakage

Security telemetry data can include information about your business' IT infrastructure. Meanwhile, cybercriminals can access telemetry data if you don't encrypt. They can then use your data to access your IT infrastructure without you realizing it. Or, they can take control of your data and hold it for ransom.

Too Many Data Sources

Your company can have hundreds or thousands of data sources for your security telemetry. In addition to identifying which sources you want to use, you need to determine how your information will be processed and where it'll be stored. And, you need to ensure that your information is secure and accessible, regardless of the sources you use and how you process and store it.

Large Volume of Data

The sheer volume of structured and unstructured information available can be overwhelming. You need systems and processes in place to keep track of all of the information at your disposal. At the same time, you need to monitor these systems and processes to verify that your cybersecurity data is secured, processed, and stored properly 24/7.

Data Governance and Quality Issues

Checks and balances must be in place to validate the integrity and quality of your data. A complex IT infrastructure can make it difficult to manage data across your operations. Without the right data management systems, it becomes nearly impossible to use your data to generate insights that you can use to bolster your security posture.

What is Security Telemetry Monitoring?

Security telemetry monitoring involves looking at telemetry data. You can view your information as often as you'd like. By monitoring this information, you can identify patterns and trends within it. As you generate insights, you can discover ways to enhance your IT infrastructure and security posture. 

Types of Security Telemetry Monitoring

  • Endpoints
  • Firewall
  • Identity
  • Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS)
  • Network
  • SaaS
  • Risks

How is Security Telemetry Measured?

Tools are available that let you measure security telemetry. They can be used to monitor and evaluate your applications, networks, servers, and other aspects of your IT infrastructure. 

Telemetry Monitoring Tools

  • Automation: Allows you to automatically monitor your data, stay up to date on cyberattacks that can compromise your data, and respond to these attacks as needed.
  • Business intelligence (BI): Lets you mine data logs and search for patterns and trends within them; for example, you can use BI tools to analyze security incident data patterns and trends relating and find ways to protect your data against cyberthreats.
  • Dashboards: Provide charts, graphs, and other visualizations that allow you to monitor telemetry in real time.
  • Log parsing: Goes through structured or unstructured log files and translates them in a way that allows your log management system to read, index, and store their data.
  • Security analytics: Utilize threat intelligence and other sources to identify cyberthreats and cyberattacks.

Telemetry Data Types

1. Metrics

Metrics show how well an IT system is working. For instance, telemetry can show you how often IT system errors happen, the number of requests made to fix these errors, and how long it takes to respond to these requests. Each metric is measured over a period of time, and you can view it as needed.

2. Events

Events refer to data about things that affect your IT infrastructure. For instance, if your IT system causes an error, an event is recorded about the incident. These data include information about the environment when the event occurred.

3. Logs

Logs are time-stamped text records. They can be used to troubleshoot an IT system issue or understand conditions at the time of an event. For instance, if you notice an IT system is running slowly, a log can be recorded to indicate as such. You can then use this information to look for any code defects or other issues that may be causing the problem.

4. Traces

A trace is a collection of spans, which represent activities that take place within applications. Each span has timestamps for when it started and stopped. It also has attributes that describe features of the operation it represents and can contain events that occur during operation.

Traces can capture details across network boundaries. You can use them for network monitoring.

Examples of Security Telemetry Data

  • Network traffic flows
  • Network perimeter and lateral connections made
  • Suspicious network traffic behaviors
  • Changes to a cloud configuration
  • New or updated cloud instances
  • Cloud registry modifications
  • Endpoint processes
  • External links in emails
  • Attached metadata in emails
  • Email user logins

Process for Security Telemetry

  1. Create objectives. Figure out what you want to achieve with your telemetry.
  2. Establish metrics. Determine the metrics you'll need to track to achieve your objectives.
  3. Select data sources. Determine the sources you'll use to retrieve data; when you do, consider a source's relevance, availability, and quality.
  4. Choose your destination tools. Identify tools you can use to collect, process, and analyze your data.
  5. Set up data pipelines. Configure your tools in a way that lets you seamlessly collect data from multiple sources and process and store it.
  6. Test, iterate, and optimize. Make sure that your data pipelines work as expected and look for ways to continuously improve and optimize them.

How to Use Cybersecurity Telemetry

Enhance Your IT Infrastructure

Your information can provide a real-time view of your IT infrastructure. You can use your data to analyze infrastructure problems, avoid bottlenecks, and identify cyberthreats.

Monitor the Performance of Your IoT Devices

By using cybersecurity telemetry data, you can track and optimize the performance of your Internet of Things (IoT) devices. If security issues are discovered on any of your IoT devices, you can address them right away.

See How Users Interact with Your IT Applications and Systems

With the information you retrieve, you can get a good idea about how users leverage your IT apps and systems. You can also generate insights that can help you improve the user interfaces of these apps and systems. Any changes you make can improve user engagement and the user experience.

Understand the IT Assets That You're Using (and Not Using)

Thanks to security telemetry, you can identify and remove cloud servers or other IT assets that you're not using and can otherwise compromise your cybersecurity posture. This can help you save money and boost your cyber protection. In addition, you can utilize telemetry data to analyze usage trends across your IT infrastructure. This can help you figure out what assets you need to take your IT infrastructure to the next level.  

Do You Need Security Telemetry?

Cybersecurity telemetry data is becoming a must-have for businesses of all sizes and across all industries. Your security telemetry data can help you understand the cyber risks that your business faces and figure out ways to deal with them. The data can even uncover gaps in your IT infrastructure before they lead to cyberattacks and data breaches, too.

Of course, security telemetry is only as good as the data behind it. When you have state-of-the-art technologies for cybersecurity telemetry in place, you can get quality insights. You can even partner with a cybersecurity provider that helps you deploy security telemetry tools and get the most value out of them.


Related security topic: What is GDPR compliance?