The Pros and Cons of Deep Packet Inspection (DPI)

What is Deep Packet Inspection?

Deep Packet Inspection filters data packets in the network traffic. It is one of the traffic filtering methods for securing network data traffic. A traditional packet inspection method filters data packets by examining packet headers. Unlike the traditional filtering method, DPI considers packet headers and also deeply inspects code payloads and data. This elaborate and extensive examination robust the securing power of packet inspection.

Who is DPI appeal to?


DPI can be used by corporations to advance their cyber security and especially data safety. Today’s businesses are subject to several regulations that bring liabilities that aim to protect network traffic and data resources. First of all, companies want to comply with these regulations. Because they need to comply with regional and international data security regulations to exist in the modern business world. Any unconformity causes them fines and reputational loss. Although companies that have a high income can easily afford these penalties, breaches hurt their market value and reputations. On the other hand, fines can be severe for medium and small-scale businesses and even cause them to go bankrupt.

The effect of remote work

Since data security becomes a prior concern, we can naturally say that data breaches are more dangerous than ever. Moreover, remote work models compel corporations to develop their security solutions because legacy methods can not meet the new requirements of the data world. For instance, many companies now applying to bring your own device (BYOD) implementation to save up money that spending on employee devices. Although they avoid spending, they take risks. The risk is the high possibility of data breaches. Because employees can underestimate the vitality of security measures and neglect updates or security rules. Thus, they become more prone to cyber attacks, malware, spyware, and fishing attacks. It is more likely for remote workers to fall victim to a data breach than workers who work on office premises. The fact that they use the same computers both for their personal and office work. So they increase the leakage risks.

Companies adopt different security tools to avoid all these data breach risks and scale up their reliability in terms of digital security. Here, DPI shows up as a data security tool and the number of companies that adopt DPI has been increasing.


Government and governmental bodies also benefit from Deep Packet Inspection. You can observe government censorship in several countries. Some of them prohibit people from accessing specific types of websites that contain sexual content or dissenting opinions. DPI can be used by governments to enforce these limitations, censorship, and prohibitions.  It is a great tool for governments to surveillance people’s behaviors and activities. 

Working principle of DPI

DPI examines the data contained in the data packet. The important thing is that DPI can evaluate data content elaborately. It can see and examine the information, message, etc. in the packets. Furthermore, Deep Packet Inspection can trace the sources that sent data packets to the routers. So, services, applications, and networks can be identified by the DPI.

It is possible to reroute data packets by changing their IP (Internet Protocol) by using deep packet inspection and it is an additional feature of DPI. It offers a detailed examination at each checkpoint of the network. When the data pass through several checkpoints and visit network boundaries, DPI monitor, examine, and evaluate them to avoid unauthorized access.

Business authorities, IT teams, or managers can decide on forbidden content. They can prohibit some topics, gambling websites, streaming services, and social media. As DPI encounters any forbidden content in the data packets, it avoids users to access. This is how DPI provides security in corporate networks. On the other hand, permitted contents and protocols are also determined by the DPI. If managers think that specific protocols are reliable and necessary for their employees, they can arrange DPI to allow access.

Benefits of DPI

1.    DPI as a network security tool

First of all, DPI provides secure network traffic by examining packets in detail. Companies can easily analyze the hidden content of the data packets, monitor employee usage patterns, and ascertain their weak points thanks to DPI. Network security is vital for the future of any organization. They should create a reliable, secure, and less risky place for their users. Employees should be safe when they sent and receive data as pursue their daily activities.

2.    Compliance

As mentioned above, corporations are subject to security rules. DPI offers an easy compliance process to businesses. When they regulate their daily routines according to the requirements of security rules, they become compliant and boost their data security at the same time.

3.    Data security

DPI helps companies to avoid data breaches, especially in remote work models. Remote or hybrid work increases the risks of data leakages. In remote work models, employees access company resources remotely by using cloud environments and virtual gateways. Although it is practical for both employees and managers, they become more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. It is easier for cyber criminals to capture sensitive information and data of the company in cloud networks. Furthermore, conventional security tools are inadequate to meet cloud-based security needs.

Companies must list the type of data they process, store, and share. In this way, they can determine the most vulnerable data and take further precautions to avoid breaches. After the determination of the data, they can decide on access permissions to protect vulnerable data from malicious attacks. Here, deep packet inspection support companies to put data into pieces and provide different security solutions according to special requirements.

Shortcomings of DPI

1.    Increased workload

DPI takes periodic updates, and the IT team should make revisions to DPI. It means that using DPI adds an extra burden to IT’s workload. DPI is not a thing that you embrace once and benefit from it without any effort. To function well, DPI must be controlled, updated, and revisioned.

2.    Network performance

Computers have firewalls to analyze incoming and outgoing data according to established security policies prepared by business owners. Firewalls permit or block access by checking these previously made rules. It can be considered as a security wall between the company network and the public Internet.

Although it functions similarly to deep packet inspection, DPI can affect the nature of conventional firewalls by their complex structure. It means another burden on firewalls. DPI affects how firewalls function and slows down the network performance due to its complex nature. 

3.    Privacy Concerns

Since DPI can identify the source of the data packet or the holder of the data, privacy becomes a concern. It is cıntroversial in authorities that if DPI breaches the privacy of people or not. On the one hand, DPI offers data safety by safeguarding the network from malicious attacks or breaches. On the other hand, it seizes the private data of people without consent.

While concluding…

Deep Packet Inspection is a more effective and useful method when compared to conventional data inspections. Because it analyzes data packets in detail and determines the information or messages in them. Businesses have been benefitting from DPI to advance their network security and avoid data breaches. Network and data security helps them to develop their businesses and increase market value. On the other hand, DPI can slow down the network speed and concern user privacy due to some of its features. Although DPI has some shortcomings, it offers more benefits to modern businesses in terms of data security. You can consider DPI in your business to level up your security.

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