Cisco Stealthwatch Review

Makes it easy to pinpoint any network anomalies or any type of suspicious behavior


What is our primary use case?

We use Cisco Stealthwatch as our primary NetFlow collector. We use it for data analysis and for any issues that arise that require NetFlow data.

How has it helped my organization?

We recently got a security team. They've been more hands-on. They are not intuitive to networks. 

Cisco Stealthwatch is good at bridging the gap between what they're capable of doing and the knowledge that they need. That generally comes from the networking side.

What is most valuable?

The search options on Cisco Stealthwatch are the most valuable. You can get very granular with it, down to the kilobits or the seconds if you want. The product supports any time frame that you need, so that is nice.

The solution affects network visibility in our company across all of our data, including our data center. All data transfers pass through our NetFlow collector. 

It's very easy to pinpoint any network anomalies or any type of suspicious behavior. NetFlow is very good at detecting those spikes and traffic.

What needs improvement?

We don't use Cisco Stealthwatch for threat detection. We use it more for information gathering. We use better options for threat detection, i.e. Palo Alto firewalls for our security. 

I would like the search page available with Cisco Stealthwatch to be more intuitive. The previous release was better than the current one for the UI. 

We moved to the latest UI a couple of months ago, maybe like six months ago. I'm not a fan. I wish the search options were easier.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

As far as stability, we've never had a problem with Cisco Stealthwatch. We've had it for probably three years. It's time for an upgrade.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We're doing scalability with Cisco Stealthwatch now. We have a 1 GB collector. We need a 10 GB collector. We're looking at upgrading. 

Cisco Stealthwatch has been good for us in the last couple of years. We had to purchase a whole new appliance for the 10 GB collector. 

As far as scalability for the one that we purchased, it was not that great.

How are customer service and technical support?

I haven't had to use their technical support services.

If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?

We're a Cisco running shop primarily. We purchased DNA Center and Stealthwatch all as part of that package. We're trying to get the whole suite of software packages. Stealthwatch is part of it.

How was the initial setup?

Our previous manager implemented our initial setup. I'm just a user. I can imagine it was difficult.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Stealthwatch has almost everything we need. There's no reason to evaluate anyone else. 

We also have a WildPackets and a LiveAction engine. We use that for remote packet captures and not NetFlow data analytics.

What other advice do I have?

The solution has not increased our threat detection rate. It has reduced our incident response times by at least 50%. It also reduced the amount of time it takes to detect and remediate threats by around 50%. We use other tools for reducing false positives.

The solution saves us time. There's a learning curve for it. Once you get the hang of it, you can get the information you need within a couple of minutes. 

As opposed to having to set up a sniper and figure out where to put everything, it greatly increases the amount of time that I can take to find what I need. 

It took me a couple of weeks to get the hang of it. I didn't use any training material, just learned on my own. I'm sure if I would have had some training, it would have been easier.

Cisco Stealthwatch is one of the tools that I tell anyone that comes to the networking group to learn first. Because you can get a lot of relevant information fairly quickly.

I give Cisco Stealthwatch an eight out of ten. Not a ten because of the UI. I'm just not a fan of it. 

Other than that, availability, uptime, and maintenance on it are all great. It does what I need it to do, but the UI is the deal breaker for me.

The biggest lesson I've learned using the solution is the importance of NetFlow. We're using NetFlow 9. I'd like to move towards NetFlow 12. 

I appreciate the historical data that NetFlow can provide in my environment. I would recommend Stealthwatch because it's invaluable to troubleshooting.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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