LogRhythm NextGen SIEM Review

We bought it simply because it is awesome, it is fast and less expensive than Splunk


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What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case for bringing on a SIEM in general was the need to correlate our data across dozens of different solutions that were spitting out logs. We got to a level of complexity where it became mandatory.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution has been almost like a transformative change in how we detect and then respond to incidence. Quite honestly before, we didn't know what was going on and we couldn't detect anything other than  a random virus that sent an email from our AV solution. For us, it really took off when I was a little onboard the Office 365 logs and then we were able to start monitoring locations of login and we actually detected multiple accounts that were logging in from countries that had no business being there.

That led to some investigatory work and actually led to some password resets. It was really positive and we continued to detect that type of activity and enhanced the rules, changing here and there. That was a big one for us because we had never even looked at the Office 365 audits because we didn't have a way to do it. LogRhythm brought that in and within a day or two, we're like, "These three accounts are popped and we need to get these guys off the network now." It was amazing.

We're currently processing about 3,500 messages per second. We have experienced a massive decrease in our mean-time to detect. It's actually hard to improve on nothing. It's hard to get worse than no detection, so we went from being able to like, "Oh, a virus happened," to, "This user went to a weird website. We got that from your DNS logs and then 10 minutes later, their antivirus fired on something." And now we know that we can go over there and triage that system quickly as opposed to maybe not getting the virus log for a day. The other thing is detecting when we think breaches are happening, which is something we just didn't have the capability to do before we brought in LogRhythm.

When it comes to our security maturity, I was the first person at my company to do security, and the company had been around for 30 years. I bet that started from scratch, and I started where we were bleeding which was our endpoint detection for malware and ransomware. And then be added on more layers. We added on like IPS and we added on a lot of perimeter type stuff.

While LogRhythm was probably the last component that I have onboarded in like first two-year time frame, it's now the center of the program. Everything feeds into it and that's where I go for just about everything. There's a few solutions that I still have to go out to those solutions to look at stuff but even like from a purchasing perspective, even my IT operations team, my IT applications team, my company asks vendors two questions right out of the gate. Do you have a cloud offering, and do you natively support LogRhythm? And those two are heavy, heavy hitters when it comes to whether or not we're going to put you in the running to buy your software.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features in LogRhythm, honestly for me, the single most valuable feature is the web console. That is actually the primary reason we chose LogRhythm over some of these other solutions because I was able to leverage web console usage across multiple layers of IT, and I didn't have to sit back and teach everybody complex SQL queries. Just that point-and-click interface, it's nice and bouncy and it's beautiful to look at has really driven the adoption of the use of the software. Secondarily, I think another really great feature is the community. And the content that that provides has enhanced our adoption over the years.

We don't use the full-spectrum analytics capabilities of the SIEM mainly because I'm a lone wolf in running it. It's just a matter of timing and focus. We do a lot of analytics around user behavior although we're not a cloud AI customer yet. We're doing a lot of what they call the AI engine to do user behavioral modeling and we're starting to onboard some network behavior modeling analytics as well.

What needs improvement?

It honestly comes back to me for log sources. The time to get support to onboard a log source runs about 18 months, and that's just too long. Like I said, I'm a lone wolf running the system. I don't have a lot of free time to write ReGex and build out my own policies, and I tend to write bad ones that are very inefficient. It is tough when I get a critical source or when a part of the business went out and just bought something, never consulted IT, and now we have to audit it and it doesn't support LogRhythm or it doesn't even like have a function that gets us the logs. We have a cloud solution where we can't even get the logs out of it. It's crazy bad. But when we do get those logs in, it would be really helpful if we could get a supported log source policy from LogRhythm in a shorter amount of time

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have had a lot of trouble with stability, perfect timing. We onboarded way too many log sources on the get-go and overran our appliance's capabilities. And I've spent probably the last 12 months working to stabilize the damage that I caused the system when I did that. It's been a rough year for stability. Even just before I came to this conference, I think I got it finally stabilized. I'm cautiously optimistic that I can take a deep breath and start focusing more on the logs instead of the appliance itself.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We've scaled the solution twice. I haven't done a whole lot of like large-scale build-outs. We're still a single appliance. What we did scale was we scaled the memory and we scaled our NPS license and then I added in some external storage. And all of those things went great. We're to a point now where they're recommending that we buy what they call a data indexer separately. My leadership is more interested in moving it to the cloud than buying more hardware, so I'm working to get a POC started up to get it up into Azure and see if we can scale horizontally in Azure as opposed to buying more hardware. I might have a lot more to say about scalability next year.

How is customer service and technical support?

Tech support LogRhythm is one of my favorites. Of all the solutions I deal with, those guys and girls are insanely good at their jobs. And so when we bought the solution, my leadership did not buy professional services to help me deploy it. I did it blind, basically, with the user guide. And I think in the first year, the number was about 75 tickets that I opened in the first year. And they still answer me when I call them, so that's great. And they're very willing to stick with you as long as you need.

The only challenge I do have with their tech support is the time shift because their tech support is all based here and I'm on the East Coast. They want to meet it like 5:00 p.m. Denver time, it's like, "Oh, no. I'm at 7 o'clock, dude. I'm done for the day." One little annoyance but it's well worth it in the end to get the support that we get.

The support for log sources is fantastic. It is challenging because you're always going to come up stuff that you need that is not recognized, and writing my own policies has been very challenging. As far as log sources, the last time I checked on Friday, I think we were at 2,900 log sources. It's a lot for this little appliance.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

When we went shopping for a SIEM, I had come from a Splunk shop. I was very familiar with Splunk the interface. I like the software, so Splunk was number one on my list. And who was number two? SolarWinds had a SIEM solution that we had played with a little bit at my company, so they were also in the running. And then actually one of my partners talked to me about LogRhythm because I'd never even heard with LogRhythm before and so we did a demo.

And ultimately, it was two big factors. From a Splunk perspective, cost. Cost to build it out and then cost of licensing, it's just unattainable for us. And number two, LogRhythm's WebUI and the speed with which you can run searches in it was hands down my primary reason for going with LogRhythm.

What other advice do I have?

I'm going to give them an eight. It's a fantastic solution and I totally support what they're doing and I like where it's going. But there is room for improvement, and there are some pain points and honestly I've had a rough year. That kind of influences it too. It's been a lot of time on the phone with support this year.

I will tell them what I wished I have known the day I started onboarding logs, and that is when you're looking for a SIEM, put all the features and everything to the side. Go talk to your business people and find out what's important to them because that's how you're going to know what to bring on initially. And once you know those things that are critical and the things you have to do, then you can evaluate the different solutions to see who has the native support because we didn't do that.

We bought it simply because it was awesome and fast and less expensive than Splunk. And then I onboarded 1,500 log sources in a week and brought the system to its knees. And I'm even now today still cleaning up and removing log sources that just bring no value. It's just noise.

Take the time and plan that out before you even go talk to vendors. Figure out what logs are out there, which ones are meaningful to you and the business and then find the solution that fits best with that.

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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