Check Point CloudGuard Posture Management Review

The IAM role gives us complete control over the cloud environment

What is our primary use case?

  1. Visibility for cloud workloads, including server, serverless and Kubernetes.
  2. Security configuration review along with automatic remediation.
  3. Posture management and compliance for a complete cloud environment.
  4. Centralize visibility for a complete cloud environment of the workload hosted on multiple cloud platforms (AWS and Azure).
  5. Baseline for security policy as per the workload based on services, such as S3, EC2, etc.
  6. Visibility of an API call within the environment.
  7. IAM management providing access to the cloud network in a controlled manner.
  8. Alerts and notifications for any security breach/changes in the cloud environment.
  9. Flow visibility of traffic to and from the cloud environment.
  10. Real-time alerting for any security incidents.

They provide support for Azure, Amazon, GCP, and Alibaba. However, we just have AWS and Azure.

How has it helped my organization?

  1. Provides complete visibility of the workload hosted on different cloud platforms (AWS and Azure) along with multiple tenants. 
  2. Helps in enhancing security for cloud environments by providing reports, both in terms of security and compliance. 
  3. Provides complete visibility of traffic flowing to/from the cloud platform.
  4. Provides best practice policy that helps to strengthen the security of the workload.
  5. Assets inventory and API calls can happen from the cloud.
  6. Provides control in terms of accessing the cloud workload. As a policy is created, this will block direct access to the cloud environment in case the same is not define or approved in Dome9.

Security visibility with Dome9 is excellent. Normally, without this type of solution, especially if you have some workloads hosted on Azure, they give you minimal tools to be able to analyze the loss. There are different consoles that need to be checked for analyzing any incident. In the case of Dome9, it gives you the loss provided in a report on a centralized console. It gives you complete visibility, including the IP to IP Flow, which is happening from the workloads to the Internet or the Internet to the workloads. Even in case of getting a threat intelligence from Check Point, which we have the integration, if some workflows are communicating any suspicious IPs, then the reports are available on the flow logs. On top of that, it also provides a report where you will be able to find out from which location or country you are getting the traffic to your workloads. Therefore, if you want to block certain geo-locations from communicating with your network, then you can also do that using Dome9.

The workload, which was taking a day's time, now can be turned out within hours. We are able to analyze the logs in real-time. Previously, if we enabled some services, then the email needed to be sent to the security team who would do the scanning, might submit the reports, and post some action to be taken by the developers. Using this solution, we are getting the reports in real-time. The remediation can also be applied automatically. The developer can take the necessary action immediately. It provides us what action needs to be taken.

Unless we did some scanning, we used to not know that there were security flaws within particular services. However, by using Dome9, as it has complete visibility, we are getting those details much faster.

The firewall normally has been managed by security team. Admins can bypass through firewall to create any policy. They can go outside and downloading/uploading anything from their workloads. This solution provides that control as well.

What is most valuable?

  1. The IAM role gives us complete control over the cloud environment. In case someone tries to bypass and create a user or policy locally, which is not allowed or defined in Dome9, changes will be rolled back and a notification will be sent to the concerned team.
  2. It's always ON and available on a mobile device using the app.
  3. There is complete visibility of the traffic flow with threat intelligence provided from Check Point. It even provides communication detail on any suspicious IPs.
  4. Provides detailed information if some workload tries to directly access and bypass any firewall policy.
  5. Provides a granular level of reports along with issues based on compliance standards, which are defined depending upon organizational requirements.
  6. Task delegation as a particular incident can be assigned to a particular individual. The same can also be done manually or automatically.
  7. Customizes queries for detecting any incident.

The solution is pretty straightforward to use, as it is only a SaaS model. You just need to enable the accounts for which Dome9 needs to do validation, and that's it.

Compliance checking capabilities: When you enroll your account, we have multiple accounts. Once you enter that on Dome9, it does a complete scan of your account based on these flow logs. It checks: "What are the security flaws?" So, the compliance depends on the company and what they are using as a benchmark. Normally, for India, we use the CIS as a benchmark, then whatever flow logs are available, those are provided in the reports. Then, we check those compliance reports against the CIS benchmark, and accordingly, take actions. We can then know what are the deviation on the cloud platform and on the account, with respect to the CIS.

There are some use cases where you will not have reports readily available or not get the dashboard for particular outputs. You can create a query on the console for those, e.g., if a particular EXE file started on a workload, we can find out if that is running anywhere in the cloud. While it does not provide details on the process level, it will provide us with which sensor is communicating to which IP addresses as well as if there are any deviations from that pattern.

It has remediation capabilities, and there are two options available:

  1. You can do automatic remediation, where you need to define the policy for which unit that you are doing remediation. 
  2. It can be assigned to a particular team or group of people for its particular vulnerabilities of security flaws. That ticket can then be raised to service quotas be remediated manually.

What needs improvement?

  1. Policy validation should be available before it is deployed in a production environment using a cloud template.
  2. Automatic remediation requires read/write access. When providing read/write access to third-party applications, this can add risk. It should have some options of triggering API calls to the cloud platform, which in turn, can make the required changes.
  3. A number of security rules need to be added in order to identify more issues. 
  4. The reporting should have more options. The reports should be more granular.
  5. It should support all container platforms for visibility of a complete infrastructure single console, such as, PCF.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Until now, we have not faced any issues in term of downtime or outages. It seems to be quite stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is not an issue. There are a number of workload licenses that need to be procured, then it is straightforward.

There are between eight to 10 security admins and auditors who have access to Dome9.

Our complete cloud workload is managed through Dome9.

How are customer service and technical support?

The support is excellent. They regularly review our cloud infrastructure and provide suggestions to help us have a better security posture.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Initially, we were using tools provided by the service provider, such as, ScoutSuite, AWS Config Rules, AWS Trusted Advisor, or Amazon GuardDuty for monitoring, and similar tools for Azure as well. Then, we needed to go through a different console to identify any incidents.

Initially, we used submit a report, but there was no remediation nor information provided how to remediate workload issues. In our current scenarios, we are able to get the complete visibility. The complete visibility of the solution has been a key to the increase in our productivity.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. The only thing that was required from our side was a cloud template, which was provided by Dome9. We need to executed that template in our cloud environment for AWS and Azure. It automatically creates a read-only ID on the AWS platform for Dome9 to connect with. There is some configuration which needs to be done on Dome9 as well as AWS, but the deployment takes around 15 to 30 minutes.

What about the implementation team?

Check Point's team was available, but we implemented it in-house with our support team.

We don't require staff for deployment and maintenance of this solution.

What was our ROI?

As it is a security product, the ROI will not have that much importance because it is enhancing your security and/or providing more security to your infrastructure. If there are any security incidents, then Dome9 is able to protect us.

Initially, once the solution was deployed into production, then the scanning used to happen and we used to see the environment's visibility. In the current situation, as everyone is moving to the DevOps environment and using the CI/CD pipelines, it helps us to analyze vulnerabilities way before they get installed in production and the web. It gives us more security in the production environment.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The licensing and costs are straightforward, as they have a baseline of 100 workloads (number of instances) within one license with no additional nor hidden charges. If you want to have 200 workloads under Dome9, then you need to take out two licenses for that. Also, it does not have any impact on cloud billing, as data is shared using the API call. This is well within the limit of free API calls provided by the cloud provider.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Prisma Cloud by Palo Alto Networks and Trend Micro Cloud One Conformity.

Normally, the policies are accessible only on the browsers, e.g., if you compile them from Prisma Cloud, they're available as a part of a browser. However, for management users, especially for CIOs and CTOs, it becomes difficult for them to type URLs, then login. In the case of Dome9, they provide an app. With that app, you can directly login with single sign-on. It is much easier to access using the app compared to the browser option.

Most things are the same for all three providers. The major difference between Dome9 and Prisma is the IAM roles. The maturity of IAM roles available in Dome9 are much better than the other two solutions. Currently, our focus is mostly on what is happening and who is making the changes in the environment. Another thing is the visibility that Dome9 provides through its intel is better than the other two solutions.

The other two solutions have system capabilities better than Check Point.

I would recommend Prisma as well as Dome9 because they both have the visibility. In our case, the IAM was a critical piece of our requirements.

What other advice do I have?

The cloud and on-prem environments are completely two different networks.

They should offer the cloud in India. Soon, there will be GDPR and India will have its own data protection laws. This might create some issues in the case of the data residing outside India. Because we are collecting metadata from the internal networks for the cloud environment, this is the reason that I suggest that they should have some plans to have the cloud in India. However, neither Prisma nor Trend Micro have cloud in India.

I would rate this solution as an eight out of 10.

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

**Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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