Skybox Security Suite Review

Helps us make sure that all of our devices are configured as they should be

What is our primary use case?

We use it to verify firewall compliance with NIST best practices for access and that our firewalls are configured correctly. We're also getting ready to roll out their Vulnerability Management package.

We mostly use Firewall Assurance and we're getting ready to start using Vulnerability Control.

How has it helped my organization?

What we have done is found a lot of misconfigured stuff on firewalls. Our company, Verisk, is a company that buys other companies. We have 70 or so companies at last count and most of them are founder-based companies we bought. They had little to no idea of how to actually secure a firewall correctly. Using Skybox, when we bring them on we take a look at how their firewalls are configured and then make recommendations as far as what they need to do to tighten it up. That is the main function we've been using it for and that is where we have gotten the most benefit out of it.

From Firewall Assurance, the only other real benefit you get is eliminating shadowed rules and redundant rules. You can optimize a little bit based on real usage to move the rules that are used more towards the top of the access lists so that the firewall processes them a little faster. It's a small benefit but it's definitely something that, depending on your business, may be important to you.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the compliance, whether it's access compliance or the configuration compliance, to make sure that all of our devices are configured as they're supposed to be, to limit access as much possible, to follow least-access guidelines.

What needs improvement?

Reporting. A lot of the reports, out of the box, are limited to a certain number of either configuration violations or access rule violations. So when you first set up a new firewall to be monitored by Skybox, you don't get a real full report. You have to really tweak it to get everything.

In our business, our company buys a lot of other companies and a lot of them manage themselves. Unfortunately, for Firewall Assurance in particular, if you need a group of people to be able to manage their firewalls and only theirs, it's almost impossible because to add a new firewall you have to be an admin, and you can't limit what an admin sees. If I want a particular company to be able to add their firewalls, they're going to see everybody else's firewalls as well, which is much more access than they need. That is one thing I would love to see fixed.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is good. They do come out with a lot of patches and the updating process, while not a pain, is pretty frequent.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We had to separate our initial appliance into the server and a separate collector just because we have, at last count, about 120 firewalls in there. Collecting all the firewall information in all the logs daily during off hours, it started to get a little choked up. When we separated the server and the collector onto two different machines that fixed the problem.

How is customer service and technical support?

On a scale of one to 10, I would rate Skybox technical support at about eight. It's not perfect, but good. They are not always able to answer questions on first contact but the questions always get answered. The answer is not always what I want to hear, but they do get answered.

Which solutions did we use previously?

I used the AlgoSec. AlgoSec wasn't broken up into modules, it was one solution. It was good; again, not perfect, but then their prices just got ridiculous. The fact that Skybox is broken up into modules and you only have to pay for what you're actually going to use, that was the main reason for switching. The pricing was secondary. AlsoSec doesn't do everything that Skybox does, but they were charging a lot more.

How was the initial setup?

Setup is relatively straightforward. There were a couple of things that I found a little difficult. They have an Add Firewall Wizard, but if you want to create a task list or a task group that runs on a certain schedule, it's almost easier to import the firewall as a task rather than using the wizard. You almost have to do the work twice if you do use the wizard. 

The other difficulty was, it really wasn't made clear that separating the server and the collector, for a certain number of firewalls or over, was a best practice. Having to go back and redo that was a little bit of a surprise.

But overall, it's relatively easy to use. There is a little bit of learning curve to figure out how to get the right information out of the reporting. But once you do it, it works.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

As with anything else, I would love it to be less expensive, but do I think pricing is a good value? Sure.

I've had issues with licensing where, when they were expiring and I asked for the updated licenses, I would the wrong ones. I think their process needs to be straightened out a little bit - I don't know if they fixed it already, it has been awhile. It wasn't as straightforward as it could have been. When you get the licenses you just put in the license numbers so it's working. That part is easy. It's getting the correct licenses that can be a little cumbersome.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at AlgoSec, but their pricing was too high. And previously I had looked at Tufin but they just didn't have the wealth of features that either Skybox or AlgoSec have. Overall, we evaluated other stuff. It's just that Skybox made the most sense for us.

What other advice do I have?

  • Determine what your needs are.
  • Buy only the products you need, when you need them.
  • Make sure that your sales engineer goes over best practices with you so that you do it right the first time.
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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