Our primary use case is monitoring attacks on our cloud environment.
Our primary use case is monitoring attacks on our cloud environment.
The solution's behavior analytics, in terms of detecting cyber and insider threats, are very effective. We are getting actionable results. When I say actionable results, not every finding is going to be a threat, but every finding is worth investigation. Depending on the investigation, some of them are real threats, some are just bad hygiene, and some are a good finding but not a threat for us. So there is work we still need to do. But whatever they are pointing us to is worth investigating. And that is what I expect from the product.
The solution's behavior analytics help to prioritize advanced threats. That's exactly what I mean by "actionable threats." One of the key pain points for us, previously, was that the solution we were using was giving us a lot of low-value indicators which we couldn't even act on. With this solution we have fewer alerts but they're actionable alerts.
From there on, it is on our analyst to then decide which ones are threats. And based on that, what we have done with a few things. In some cases we have changed our security policies so that we can have more rules in place to give us stronger access control and better governance around our workstation usage policy. There were certain things we could do to improve our employee behavior and it enabled us to take those steps. Based on some of the cyber-related threats it identified, we were able to upgrade the software we were using for our endpoints so that we had the strongest possible defense. There are certain things that are real threats and certain things that are bad hygiene and in both cases it's still valuable for us to take action.
Moving from on-prem to cloud, our analyst's time and effort have been reduced by half. I had to have two people working on the product before we got Securonix. We are a small company so we had two people dedicated: One was creating use cases, maintaining the application; the other was the analyst who was investigating. When we moved to the cloud, the operations part was taken care of by Securonix. They manage the use cases, they manage the upgrades. Now I don't need to have a dedicated person to do that. And my analyst gets higher-value threats to investigate.
In summary: First, I have been able to reduce my overhead by half. And second, my analyst is a lot more efficient and the noise in my environment is reduced by at least 70 percent. I was getting seven times more alerts to look at to get to the same results. Now my analyst can go deeper, versus having to rule out seven other things which are not useful.
Also, there were a couple of instances of insider threats where we had employee accounts compromised through phishing. Someone got an email from an email address that looked like a valid email address but it was not. It had the first name and last name correct, but the company name was misspelled. The employee clicked on it and his account was compromised. That compromised account was then used to access intellectual property in our environment. Securonix was able to detect that threat. If that data had been leaked, that would have been millions of dollars in losses for us because everything we do is our intellectual property. Securonix, with its behavior analytics, was able to detect that this account was behaving differently, that it was trying to scan all our shared folders and access a lot of documents in a very short period of time. They were all source code files and the employee whose account was compromised was not even a developer. That was one of the biggest threats it detected.
The other thing it is very good at identifying is that now, with everything in the cloud, there are no firewalls involved. People can, through social engineering, find out what your email address is and then try to guess your password and access your cloud environment. We see a lot of these brute-force types of activities in the cloud, and Securonix is able to detect a lot of those threats as well. We have some automation in place where we can block or challenge the user with additional credentials. We were able to put that in place as well, as a preventative measure, to stop our cloud environment from being compromised. That's is a big area of concern for us.
In terms of operational overhead, one of the benefits is configuration. With our previous product, the issue was that we had to figure out the use case. It was "do-it-yourself." But Securonix is providing us with packaged "apps" for insider threats or cyber threats. So now I don't have to create my own content. In addition, when we were doing this on-prem, we had to have hardware, to worry about patching the hardware. Then we had to worry about patching the operating system. Then we had to worry about patching the Securonix application. All of that, maintaining compliance, was a full-time job. Now, with SaaS, we don't need to do any of that. Securonix maintains it. The third advantage is availability. With on-prem, if you have a network issue, you tend to lose the data for that period of time. With the cloud solution, we have SLAs with Securonix for 99.9 percent uptime. That means I don't have to worry about an outage in the data center or a loss of data. I can hold the vendor accountable for that. So another overhead that I don't need to worry about is disaster-recovery planning for my implementation internally. That is something that the vendor takes care of and I can just focus on monitoring the SLAs that I have with them.
When we were looking for products for our security monitoring needs, our biggest requirement was that we wanted something based on machine-learning and analytics. If you go with rules, it can raise a lot of noise. Securonix, with its UEBA capability, had the best analytics use-cases.
Our number-two criterion comes from the fact that we are a cloud-first company, so we needed a solution that would work in the cloud and work with the cloud. Working in the cloud means it would be a service, a SaaS offering. And working with the cloud means it would integrate with our cloud applications and monitor our cloud environment. Their product was the most-ready SaaS product in the industry.
The solution's cloud-monitoring functionality is the only thing we use, because we are a cloud company. Our Office is Office 365, our HR system is BambooHR. Everything we use is hosted in the cloud. So cloud monitoring is the number-one use case for us. In addition to those applications, the solution monitors Salesforce, which our sales team uses, Concur, which is our time and expense system, and it monitors our own application that we use for providing service to our customers. And finally, it monitors our AWS environment.
They have done a great job building the API-based connectors so they can automatically pull data from these applications. They have packaged use-cases that they provide us and, in certain applications, those use-cases are still a work in progress. But I feel confident that the content they have is good and they're improving on it continuously. There's a lot of development that happens on the cloud front. For example, Office365 changes every three months. Cloud applications are new so there's a lot that goes on with these applications. So vendors have to keep updating their content to align with where the cloud application is. Securonix is doing a good job of staying abreast with the latest and greatest developments on the cloud-vendor side and updating their content. A lot of their competition is very poor. We had QRadar in our environment but it couldn't even connect to Office365. From there to where we are today, it's a huge improvement.
The UX could be simpler. I know they're working on it. I would like to have one dashboard that has everything in it. We have compliance needs. We have investigation needs. And we have situations where an analyst needs to look at threats. These three things require a different view of how they look at the threats. What would be good is to have Securonix create three different views of their Security Command Center so that, depending on the persona of the person logging in, they'd get the relevant data they need and not see everything.
It is a SaaS solution. We are looking at 99.9 percent availability. If there's anything less than that, it's an issue for us. So far, they've been able to deliver that. I don't know what they do in the background, but they keep the lights on and that's what I care about.
The good thing about being in a SaaS solution is that we are agnostic to the platform. We don't see the Hadoop platform at all, but it provides benefits in terms of scalability. If we are sending 10,000 events per second and I want to scale that to 15,000 events per second next year, I know the platform can scale. That means I don't have to come up with a different deployment or start from zero again. That is definitely a benefit. I don't have to worry about the complexity, but I get the benefit of it being able to scale.
We used QRadar. We switched to Securonix because we wanted something in the cloud. There was just too much work to maintain the previous system. Second, we wanted something that was analytics-based so that it would give us actionable threats, versus noise. Number three was that we wanted something that could integrate with our cloud applications faster.
The initial setup was straightforward for us because it is SaaS. For us, it was just a matter of forwarding the logs to them. Within two days we were able to start seeing our data in their environment. Our previous deployment took us six months. That's what the cloud is. It is so much easier. It's someone else's problem to manage and maintain it.
In terms of our implementation strategy, for us the key was is to prioritize: What was the number-one thing we wanted to start sending and get visibility into? We prioritized our applications and created a multi-phased approach. We specified, in the first three weeks, the three applications that were business-critical which need to be monitored. Then we added some more, then we added some more. Overall, over the course of six months, we had all our data sources integrated, fine-tuned, and ready to go. It was important to follow a phased approach. If we had started to put everything in at once, we would have had too much noise to manage.
We deployed it with the help of Securonix. When we bought the solution we also bought Professional Services from them for four weeks. We needed that help in the first four weeks because we are not product experts, they are. At the end of four weeks, that PS turned into support. We did not need Professional Services, we just needed support when we had questions.
Professional Services were very hands-on and very committed to us. That's the best thing about them: Their customer success team cares about making you successful. I've worked with others, like IBM, in the past. You ask them something, it takes a week, sometimes two weeks, for their PS and support people to get back to you. Working with a smaller company, the good thing is that these guys are motivated, hungry, wanting to make sure they have a reference client. We had a great experience with them.
From all the benefits I have talked about, there has been a return on investment. And it was quick return on investment as well. With my previous experience, it took us six months to even get up and ready, so we weren't even talking about an ROI until then. Whereas with Securonix, in two days we started seeing our data in their environment. It was definitely a quick ROI.
A good thing about Securonix is that they don't charge by volume of data or number of devices. I don't have to think twice about what I bring into the system. That was a big pain point for me before because every time I brought something in I had to pay extra. They charge by the number of employees, which is a much more predictable number for me, versus data. Our costs are in the $100,000 range over a three-year subscription. There are no additional costs to the standard licensing fees.
Rapid7 was one we looked at because it is also cloud-based. From a SIEM perspective, it was not where we expected it to be. We also looked at Splunk but it was too expensive. Capability-wise, Securonix was far ahead of them.
If you're looking for an analytics-based system, which is what everybody should look at, and if you are thinking of something that provides a quick return on investment, then you should definitely look at Securonix, in addition to doing your due diligence with other products. Definitely have Securonix in the mix if you're looking for actionable threats, flat pricing, and a cloud-based solution.
The biggest eye-opener is how wonderful the cloud environment is. There is a whole new universe of threats that get exposed by moving to the cloud. It has all these benefits, but it also reveals a lot of risks. So there's a lot of work. Businesses will continue to adopt the cloud, and security has a lot of catch-up work to do to secure data in the cloud. But Securonix is bringing those issues to the front and we are coping with them, one thing at a time.
This is our single pane of glass for monitoring threats to our environment. It's being used companywide for monitoring purposes. It's our 24/7 eyes on glass. There are certain applications that we have not integrated yet and there are new applications that we continue to onboard. As we grow, and as we bring in more devices, we will want to integrate them into this platform. It is always a work in progress.
Our analyst who goes in and looks at the threats is the primary user of the system. There are also secondary users. For example, the compliance team looks at all the compliance reports that they need to meet the requirements we are bound by. They have their own use-cases that they look for. As the CTO, I have dashboards that I look at to monitor the overall health of our security posture. We also have investigators who look at specific investigations. If there is something that involves HR or our legal team, that becomes a case that we need to track.
From a deployment perspective, we had one person working part-time with the Securonix PS team for the first four weeks. After that, Securonix went away and that part-time resource continued to work on it. The part-time resource for deployment is a point of contact for Securonix. We need to send them data. We can tell them, "Hey, these are the data sources that we want to prioritize," in the first four weeks, for example, and this is the data we are going to send you. This person is the point of contact for them to coordinate with our internal teams to make sure the data is fed correctly and that we have scheduled the imports, etc. In terms of maintenance, there is none for us because they do it.