LogRhythm NextGen SIEM Review

PCI compliance pieces help produce reports for our external auditor, and support is best I've encountered

How has it helped my organization?

Absolutely. It has helped us gain visibility into events that we didn't have before at all. We have a lot of remote locations. We manage national parks and point-of-sale devices on ships, at the top of mountains and little cabins, gas stations in the middle of Death Valley; we have a lot of difficulty around trying to keep an eye on things, and LogRhythm lets us have agents running almost anywhere we want.

It also has provided us ways to do compensating controls for systems that we couldn't otherwise secure, because of different product upgrade paths and costs. LogRhythm helps us on the compensating control side as well.

I think we're right around 1000 to 1500 (peak) logs per second, which is not a lot, but we've tuned it heavily in the last few months. We've added compression and we've turned off verbose logging, and just try to get the important things. We've been working with LogRhythm to tune what we collect, to make it is more useful or applicable. I wouldn't say that we're one of the higher end users or higher logs-per-second users, but we have 15,000 employees in peak season. We have six ships and we manage most of the national parks, so there's a lot of locations around the world. I don't have a number on buildings or assets though, but maybe 4,000 endpoints total, if you include routing and switching servers, desktop PCs.

Up until recently, I would speak with LogRhythm and they would ask me, "What do you want to do?" I'd say, "I don't know. What can you do?" "We can do anything. What do you want to do?" It's hard for us to know what we want. We just know that we want to be secure. We know we need to collect logs, we know we need to do basic things. But recently, LogRhythm came out with a package to help us tune our system for PCI compliance, like industry best practices. We don't know what all those are, so we're working with them to turn on all the bells and whistles that will make us more targeted in our strategy and collecting information, so that we're not just looking for things at random, or it's dealing with a crisis.

When we have a crisis we know what we're not getting, but we don't know how to predict that, we're fairly new into the maturity phases, so I think that they've compiled a lot of that for us, and I'm very happy that we're able to work with them now to get that hammered out.

What is most valuable?

The PCI compliance pieces that help us produce reports for our external auditor, and their support.

I constantly sing the praises of their support group. It's a complicated, vast product with a lot of breadth and depth. Things go wrong. But when I have a problem their support group will get a hold of me within minutes to hours, at the most. If it takes a group of people to solve the problem they pull a group of people together. They will create remote sessions. I don't have any other vendors with the same level of support that LogRhythm does.

What needs improvement?

Global management for registry integrity monitoring. Right now you have to apply what they call RIM policies, Registry Integrity Monitoring policies, one agent at a time. If you have thousands of endpoint agents, you have to touch each one of those one at a time. That is a pain in the rear, so I would really like to see some type of group or global management for RIM policies, like they have already for FIM, the File Integrity Monitoring. You can grab hundreds of agents at one time, and apply them across the board. I don't know why you can't do that with the registry piece.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It'll scale forever, and especially in the VM and cloud environment; so the time and money, those are the only two things. But it fit's our needs, where we are.

Like I said, we're not a really high volume user at this time, but that could change. We're owned by Philip Anschutz, he's always incorporating companies that he thinks will make us bigger, better, and more marketable; so that could change overnight.

But right now, where we're at, it meets our needs, I'm happy that it can scale anywhere that we need to go. There's no limitations there, as far as I know, and there are lots of options, with hardware, clusters, distributed environments, cloud-based environments, VM-based environments, combinations of all those things, so there's no problem with scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

They're a 10 - out of five stars! I have great success with them, very pleased. Love working with them, they're funny. They're also right here in Colorado, so when we need somebody on site it's not difficult. But it's rare that we can't solve problems with GoToMeeting or WebEx.

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

We used AlienVault, and before that Splunk, but neither one of them worked, and even their pro-services people couldn't get the products to really perform well in our environment. I understand the LogRhythm sales engineer who came out the first time to demo or do a proof of concept, was doing things in minutes that the other folks were trying to do in weeks, and my boss said, "That's what we want. I want that."

We need stability, ease of use, ease of investigation, so we had looked at a number of products in the past. Again, that was mostly before I came on board, but I understand the challenges with them included having to write a lot of custom parsing, and you either had to have Linux gurus on staff, coding gurus on staff, to make those products sing. LogRhythm has all that built in, and you just need to let them know what you want to turn on. They have all the features and policies and alerts that you could ever hope for, so you just have to know what you want to do.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

The only other SIEM tool company that was even close to LogRhythm was QRadar, IBM's SIEM solution, in performance and cost and features. Actually, not cost. I think they're very expensive, and that company makes a lot of people nervous. LogRhythm is, like I said, local, and stable, growing, aggressive, helpful. IBM is a big monolithic company, which I have a lot of respect for and they've come a long way, but they're constantly splitting off and selling pieces, and you never really know where that product's going to be in a few years. LogRhythm hasn't had that problem.

What other advice do I have?

It's effective, it's like a Ferrari. You have to have a lot of mechanics, and you have to fine tune it, and when it's running well it runs very well, but there are a lot of things that can go wrong too. I'm pretty much a one-man shop, and it's difficult for me, but that goes back to having good support and good communication with them. It's a struggle, but the product is strong and we just need to continue growing with it, in our understanding, in our use of it, so we'll get where we want to go. But it's a partnership, so we appreciate that.

I already mentioned some of the most important criteria when selecting a vendor, but the main ones for us were

  • local presence: so we have a door to kick down when we need help
  • support: LogRhythm has very strong support features
  • scalability and cost: LogRhythm had a higher initial cost, but it had almost everything built in that we needed, there were no additional or hidden costs later, so it was much easier for us to plan ahead.

Also, our company likes to spend capital dollars, so the hardware option was more attractive to us. I like the VM and cloud, and I'd like to move in that direction, but having the multitude of options that they have was a big plus for us.

It's very important for us to have a unified end-to-end platform because we have so many different locations and we have such a small team. Having 50 different products and 50 different interfaces doesn't help anyone, even if they're good products. Having one single product that can do a lot of things is very important.

It's a 10 our of 10 for sure. Even 11. I love it.

Don't just look at cost because, as I said, LogRhythm was a little bit higher in the beginning, but look at the features that they have and the support, everything, especially in this field. It's a complicated business, so everybody's going to have problems. Can they fix those problems, and will they work with you to grow? Look at the big picture. Long term.

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