Securonix Security Analytics Review

Open platform allows us to modify policies and tune policies as needed

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is privileged-account monitoring. We wanted the ability to monitor what privileged accounts do, what time of day they typically log in, what machines they log in from, what type of configuration changes they make, etc.

We're using the SNYPR Cloud UEBA.

How has it helped my organization?

The areas where behavior analytics helps in terms of advanced threats are around some of the rarity-based policies. An example would be if someone is logging in to a machine for the first time, someone who has never logged in to that machine before. Another would be a rare time of day when somebody is logging in. Policies such as rare suspicious-process also help. We have a list of processes that we typically don't expect many users to run, so if somebody's running one of them in the environment for the first time, it helps us understand that something potentially malicious or at least suspicious is taking place.

We had a recent internal penetration test to try to simulate attacker activity, and Securonix really stood out regarding some of its detection capabilities versus our traditional SIEM, with a lot of the policies that we have for rare-process running on a machine. The enumeration-type activities, where it's looking for an increase in the number of, say, accounts that are accessed, or the number of machines or file share that are accessed, was something that stood out significantly for us.

An example where the solution detected a threat that would otherwise have gone unnoticed recently was a Word document that launched PowerShell and tried downloading a malicious file. We have a policy which is looking for a rare process launched from a child process, and that detected a specific type of malware.

Also, given that the solution is offered as a cloud platform, it probably reduced the potential need for additional headcount. Had we gone with an on-premise solution - because it would have a lot of the administrative tasks of maintaining the hardware and doing updates, and some operational costs - we probably would have required an additional headcount. By going with the cloud, it didn't require us to add to our headcount, and yet we were able to add this new technology.

The solution has also enabled our team to focus on threats rather than on engineering of the platform. We're a very hands-on organization. We've done some of the engineering, whether it be to create new policies specific to our environment or specific to a threat that we're looking for. So it has helped us to focus on threats, but we also do a decent amount of engineering.

Securonix has decreased the time required to investigate alerts or threats. A lot of the information is right there for us, so it's easy to search and try to help with an investigation. In terms of how much time it has saved us, it's really a case-by-case scenario. It would be difficult to pinpoint an exact time on it.

As for the solution surfacing high-risk events that require immediate action, Securonix correlates different policy-violations together into what it calls threat models. There have been a few examples of threat models that have been triggered which gave us a high degree of confidence that there's a threat that we want to investigate right away. Using the threat models has really helped prioritize events of interest for us.

What is most valuable?

  • The feature that is most valuable is the fact that it's an open platform, so it allows us to modify policies and tune policies as needed. 
  • There's also a feature called Data Insights which allows us to create different dashboards on specific things of interest for us. 
  • Finally, there is Spotter. Spotter allows us to search and investigate different events of interest for us.

In terms of behavior analytics, we're using cyber more than insider threats. With UEBA being a relatively new space when we looked at it close to two years ago, we were concerned about how well it worked and whether they were truly behavioral-based rules or if that was just marketing terminology for the "latest greatest system." But it exceeds what our initial expectations were for being able to detect different cyber threats. We're doing a lot around the network firewall and endpoint detection for rare process connections, rare network connections, etc.

What needs improvement?

Securonix implements risk scores based on different policies that are triggered. We've seen some challenges with the risk scores and how they trigger. These are things that Securonix has recognized and they've been working with us to help improve things.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using Securonix for a year-and-a-half now, as a production customer. We started a pilot back in July of 2017, so if you consider the pilot time, it's about two years in total.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Initially, within the first six to eight months, we had some issues with stability. In the last year we've really had no stability issues. There's been no downtime. Any time there are updates, we're always notified when they will take place, with adequate notice. After the updates, there's very minimal downtime as a result.

The earlier instability was growing pains. At the time, we were one of the largest customers going to their cloud solution. It was just a matter of some of the growing pains as they were trying to scale to handle the quantity of logs that we were sending to it.

They've also added additional features and enhancements, and we haven't had any issues with it or any downtime as a result of that.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We haven't had any issues with scalability. We've been able to send more log sources to it and we haven't had any issues with them being able to handle the volume.

We have close to 6,000 employees. We have about 9,000 servers and workstations in total, and we're sending about 5,000 events per second.

We have plans to increase our use of Securonix. Right now we use a different vendor for SIEM, LogRhythm, and we use Securonix for UEBA. We're looking at potential options to consolidate to one platform.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their technical support has been pretty helpful. We have a lot of direct contacts with some of the higher-level support, people who help with the integration. A lot of times, when we have issues, we may email them directly and they're able to work on a resolution relatively quickly. 

That being said, we do have a technical account manager and that person does a really good job of prioritizing resources to make sure that, if we do have any issues, they get addressed in a timely fashion.

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

We piloted Exabeam but we didn't go forward with them.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was a little complex, but going into it we knew it's a complex solution. We didn't expect that it would be out-of-the-box. Our expectation was that it was going to take a little bit of time to get it set up and integrated and then to learn different profiles on users. It was somewhat complex, but it wasn't anything that we weren't expecting.

Our case is a unique situation where we aren't using Securonix as our SIEM so we had to send logs from our SIEM over to Securonix. There was some tweaking of the parsing that we had to do; how they were able to normalize the log and stuff like that. That took a little while to get up and running.

Overall, our deployment took about two to three months.

In terms of an implementation strategy, we had Professional Services from Securonix help with the implementation. They did a lot of the heavy lifting for us.

What about the implementation team?

Our experience with Securonix Professional Services was very good. They were able to do the integration. It didn't really require a heavy amount of effort from us to work with them. It was just time-consuming. They were updating the parses to support our environment for several weeks.

What was our ROI?

We have definitely seen ROI using Securonix.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We piloted Exabeam but we didn't go forward with them. We looked a little bit at LogRhythm's UEBA capability as well. At the time they were in the beta stages, so we didn't feel comfortable going with them. 

One of the things that we really liked about Securonix was that it is very open-platform, where we have the ability to tune and tweak and create new policies as needed. With Exabeam, everything required us to go through their Professional Services to make some of those changes. The real benefit that we liked with Securonix over Exabeam was the reporting capabilities. Exabeam pretty much removed almost all their reporting and threat-hunting capabilities. I think there was some bug that was taking place. The other thing that Securonix does that I really like is that they give you the raw log message so you can see all the details. Exabeam was only providing parts of the log message, parts they thought were relevant for an investigation, but they didn't provide everything.

LogRhythm versus Securonix is not one-to-one. We're using LogRhythm for our SIEM, long-term retention, being able to look at things over a 90-day period of time. We're using Securonix more just for the UEBA capabilities. Based on how we're using them today it would be difficult to say the pros and cons of either one. We've had some challenges with LogRhythm support and some of their feature enhancements. Some of the things they've rolled out don't necessarily work as expected or we've experienced a lot of bugs with their product. We haven't had the same issues with Securonix.

What other advice do I have?

From a positive standpoint, with Securonix, or with any UEBA vendor, but specifically Securonix as that's the one that we're using, it definitely overcomes a lot of the challenges with trying to understand what's normal and what's not normal in an environment. With the traditional SIEM rules, it's very difficult to tune some of the policies to understand what is normal for your environment. That's really helped us quite a bit. Another thing that might be helpful regarding understanding the platform is that it takes a little bit of time to come up with the behavior profiles. It might take 30 days, depending on what you're trying to look at, before you start seeing some alerts trigger, because you're looking at things over a longer period of time.

The biggest lesson I've learned using Securonix is that with behavioral analytics, and any UEBA vendor, it does reduce some of the alerts but it also has the potential to create additional volume or additional alerts, which could be good or bad. So just understand that there definitely is the potential to get a lot more security alerts as a result of using the product.

The way we try to work around the increase is through the ability to tune some of the policies to remove some of the few things that produce known noise. The biggest thing is just tuning things out, where applicable. Another is by leveraging their threat models. Correlating several different policies together, which are part of a threat model, might provide a little bit more context. As an example, if two of these three policies fire within a certain period of time, it might be a little more interesting than just, say, this one stand-alone policy triggering by itself.

The behavior analytics probably doesn't help us to prioritize advanced threats. It's just the nature of UEBA, I don't think it's necessarily a reflection of Securonix. But one of the challenges with being able to detect a lot of rare activity or anomalous activity is that you tend to find there's a lot more rare stuff happening in your environment than you would expect. It helps us, but sometimes it has the potential to create a little bit more noise as well.

With SNYPR, they have what's called SNYPREye which monitors the cloud solutions of SNYPR to detect if there is any type of operational issue.

We have five people on our team who use Securonix. They're security threat analysts. They all have the same feelings that I do: That it's very helpful with security monitoring, and that it also provides threat-hunting and investigations on users.

We have shared roles, so I wouldn't say we have dedicated focus on just Securonix. We're a small team that does a little bit of everything. At a minimum, if we didn't have that shared focus, maintenance of Securonix would take one full-time resource.

**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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