Cisco Stealthwatch Review

Allowed us to effectively monitor network traffic and analyze anomalies

What is our primary use case?

Five engineers and I were testing this solution. We were looking for an NDR solution. We're cyber threat hunters, so we're looking to provide cyber hunting services for our clients. We're in the market for a network detection response solution so that we can monitor network traffic and analyze anomalies or anything that may be on the network that looks like normal traffic. We were using Stealthwatch to get a feel for it and to see whether or not it was going to be something that we would use in the future.

What is most valuable?

From what I understand, you can encrypt and unencrypt traffic moving in transit. This is one of the features that we liked about it. 

What needs improvement?

We didn't want to encrypt all the traffic, but there are certain things that we needed to pull out. Eventually, we determined that Stealthwatch wouldn't provide the machine learning model that we required.

ExtraHop and Vectra both leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning. With Cisco, it looks like you have to do some provisioning. When it's pulling out, it doesn't automatically detect certain things that you're looking for. It didn't automatically pull certain communications out of the traffic so and we had to do some manual configurations to pull this stuff out. Overall, that's really the only thing. We didn't see anything else wrong with it other than that. It seemed like a pretty good product.

In the next release, I would like to see more artificial intelligence as far as pulling out certain packets in the traffic because it's an NDR that monitors your traffic, and because there's so much traffic in general. For us, when we serve hedge funds, most of them have a lot of stuff going on their network. Transactions, talking to clients, customers, all the rest of this stuff over the wire. They've got data feeds from several sources as well — Bloomberg, Reuters. Monitoring all of that coming in and out of their network is a lot of work. I would like to have seen more artificial intelligence to detect more anomalous behavior in the network.

A UBA feature that profiles user behaviors would also be a nice addition. They have an app, but that's not a UBA feature. It just monitors all the endpoints, etc.

For how long have I used the solution?

I used Cisco Stealthwatch for a 30-day trial.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We didn't notice any bugs or glitches. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

As it's in the cloud, I would imagine that it scales easily. Still, we didn't use it long enough to worry about scaling it. 

How are customer service and technical support?

We only needed to contact technical support once. They were very helpful. They walked us through everything. 

How was the initial setup?

It was fairly easy to set up. It took us about 20 minutes to set it up. All we had to do was click a bunch of buttons and look through the documentation. The documentation is pretty straightforward. Overall, it took about 20 minutes.

What other advice do I have?

Overall, It seemed like a good product. Cisco's behind the name — I would recommend it. Cisco's got a suite of security and network products. I think it's pretty durable. It works for non-technical people, too. You'll have to do some fine-tuning and you probably should have experienced staff looking after it, but it's a pretty good product in my opinion.

We're looking at other products that are more automated like Darktrace, ExtraHop, and Vectra. Any solution that cuts down the time it takes to analyze and sift through the logs, etc. I'm pretty sure that Cisco does it, but there's some fine-tuning that you'll need to do to make it fully automated to where you can cut down the time required to inspect logs and things of that nature. 

Overall, on a scale from one to ten, I would give this solution a rating of eight. 

Cisco is a huge company. I would imagine that they would probably try to lead the way as far as network detection systems or network detection response systems or solutions are concerned. I just thought that maybe they would have had more automated functionality because it saves time. It saves time for the analysts who have to look through all of the logs and try to correlate all of that stuff and see what's anomalous behavior, etc. 

Clearly, there are things on the network, certain conversations you could pull out of the network, but we didn't see that. We didn't see a lot of that. We thought that that would have been included in the solution. I guess we just expected more from Cisco. 

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