Research and development has played an important role in the company’s history. The creation of Flowmon was based on the results of the European R&D project and helped the company to compete with the established players in the market. Today, it is the core reason the products of this company are still at the forefront of the field.

"If we want to stay at the very cutting edge in the industry, investment in research is an absolute must. At the moment, three new projects are joining the ongoing research activities. There is also one more interesting project in the field of industrial control systems ICS/SCADA which is being evaluated. It's the first time we will be concurrently engaged in so many research projects," said Pavel Minarik, CTO at Flowmon Networks.

With the growing size of Flowmon, research and development spending increases, as well as the research capacity that the company can allocate to new projects.

In the MACE project, Flowmon will work closely with Masaryk University on a closer integration of its tools with the public cloud environment. Another project, SmartADS, in cooperation with CESNET, will focus on applying the concept of network behaviour analysis on information from the L7 application layer and on adaptation of the new generation of artificial intelligence methods for network communication analysis and anomaly detection.

"Masaryk University has long been committed to supporting high-quality and proven partners. The projects initiated reflect the needs of all stakeholders and monitor the applicability of the results in practice, which is important in this case. We are also pleased that the joint projects with Flowmon Networks effectively shape the whole innovation and learning ecosystem, as it should be when cooperating with application partners," said RNDr. Eva Janouškovcová, Ph.D., LL.M., Director of the Technology Transfer Centre at MU.

Among the new research projects of the company for the year 2019 is also the participation in the prestigious European security project CONCORDIA. More than 40 partners from companies and universities across various disciplines participate in the CONCORDIA consortium with the goal to address the issue of cyber security at the European level. The project is supported under the Horizon 2020 Programme of the EU.

"It is mutually important that we can obtain the financial resources for involving the university sector in research projects. This will enable us to focus on much larger scale projects and at the same time to get talented individuals on-board who can then continue in their work by becoming our new colleagues. Equally, university experts can try out new challenges, which can be tested out in practice," said Minarik.

Automation and adaptive network monitoring

Currently, activities are continuing on the four research projects, some of which, such as the IRONSTONE project, have been running since 2016. In this project, Flowmon focuses primarily on industrial control systems. Transition from proprietary solutions to standardised ones in the ICS/SCADA environment encounters with new security and performance problems. The aim of the project is to deepen the level of the detail in industrial network traffic for better resolution of such issues.

Another project, ITOA, focuses on automatic root cause analysis and providing the responsible specialist with understanding of what happened and why. This level of advanced automation will be beneficial for many companies because many of them simply cannot afford adequately qualified specialists.

"Thanks to the cooperation with Flowmon, our research team NES@FIT can apply their ideas in practice and apply the research results in real products used by customers of the company," explained Ing. Petr Matousek, Ph.D., M.A from the Department of Information Systems, UIFS FIT VUT.

As part of the ongoing project DISTANCE, Flowmon develops packet analysis capabilities to provide network specialists with a tool that will automatically diagnose network traffic problems. In contrast, in the FOKUS project, Flowmon focuses on the dynamic level of detail within the monitoring of high-speed networks (100G/400G). As a result, network and security experts will be able to continually change the information detail to shorten MTTR when dealing with operational incidents. Such functionality is not offered at the market today but in the future it will be a must regarding the development of high-speed networks and increasing communication volumes.