Cisco Stealthwatch Review

Improves security through better lateral visibility, but better integration with Firepower is needed

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution primarily for the TLS audit in our on-premise environment, and to assist our customers.

How has it helped my organization?

We are a reseller, and we are able to show demos of this solution pretty quickly. It gets people really excited.

The network visibility has vastly improved for the organizations that I assist with their services. Generally, they do not have lateral visibility into their network. We come in and deploy Cisco ISE, which helps them segment, but they still can’t prove what is going on. Now, with this solution, they have the ability to not only show what a user has tried to do, but they can show where inside of the network it was stopped. From that point, they have verification and can take action.

Our customers are happy with the threat detection rate. I would estimate that it has increased by eighteen to fifty-two percent. This solution definitely improves the incident response time. We always try to help our customers understand this advantage.

It has reduced the amount of time it takes to detect and remediate threats. I’d imagine that it makes it faster for most of our customers. A lot of them spin their wheels trying to get this information out of there, but they don’t actually see the value until they realize that the right search will show the flow immediately. It gets those answers to them quickly.

It helps with the administration. When it comes to creating documentation, you can export those things and paste them onto the back of the report.

I would say that the time to value is approximately a week. It takes this long because the machine learning component has to learn your network first.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are encrypted threat analysis and the ability to run jobs on entire flows.

The reporting feature is helpful for creating documentation because you can export relevant information and paste it into the back of the report.

I’ve found that the solution's analytics and threat detection capabilities are very useful. I would like it to be able to better integrate with Firepower, but it meets the needs that it was promising from the beginning.

What needs improvement?

I would like this product to have better integration with Cisco Firepower. That is the easiest way to pair.

Eliminating Java from the SMC would improve this solution.

It would be better to let people know, upfront, that is doesn't give you nice, clear information, as seen in the demos, without Cisco ISE installed. Most of my customers are ISE-based so it doesn't matter, but I have to break the news to the ones who are not.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This solution is pretty stable for the most part. I don't like Java, so that's the thing that needs to go, but for the most part, it is a great solution.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This is a really scalable solution. We have done some pretty large deployments, and I have seen the scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

I haven't needed to contact technical support for this solution. 

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

We did not use another solution prior to this one. It was like the wild wild west. We set this up in our lab because the internal IT couldn't figure out what everybody was doing. They now have insight into who did what, which is important because we have a lot of intellectual property to protect.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward for me, so when I work with our customers the setup is straightforward for them.

It is a basic, three-tier model that includes flow sensors, flow collectors, and the SMC (Stealthwatch Management Control). These are all named appropriately, so people can understand what is being talked about when they hear it.

After the installation is complete, it takes about a week for the machine learning component to learn your network.

What about the implementation team?

We implement this solution for our customers.

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

This solution is expensive. Our fees are approximately $3,000 USD.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did not evaluate other options before choosing this one.

What other advice do I have?

If I knew somebody who was researching this solution I would ask them: "How can you prove that when you set a policy, a person can't access this system?" This solution allows you to see any way that they've jumped through the network to try and get to that point. It is a pretty solid solution for this. 

The biggest lesson that I have learned is how poorly implemented campus networks are. They’re just poor.

Many people do not understand the Encrypted Traffic Analysis, but it improves the ability to analyze the traffic so it is a valuable feature.

This is a good solution, but Java is still in the SMC, the Firepower integration is not really there, and I would really appreciate people being told about the necessity of ISE beforehand.

I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
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