AlienVault Unified Security Management (USM) Appliance
Starts at £4450 for small organisations.
Strengths: Solid correlation of events, first-rate forensics and loads of features at a very attractive price.
Weaknesses: None that we found
Verdict: Not much to say here besides that this product is SC Lab Approved and that is our highest award. This is one of the best UTMs we’ve tested and over long periods of use it has delivered very well. We make it SC Lab Approved for another year.
We have been using the AlienVault tool in the SC Labs for over a year. It is already an SC Lab Approved product and we will be looking back at it our One Year Later segment in a future issue. As a UTM, this is one of the top tools we've come across. We use it to monitor some of the more exotic tests that we do. Setup is very straightforward and we had it online in about a half-hour, completely configured and taking data.
This is a very good example of a UTM that starts with a very good broad picture and lets you drill down as far you want. But this is really something more than a UTM. The functionality it provides is asset discovery, vulnerability assessment, intrusion detection, behavioural monitoring and SIEM log management. There is integrated threat intelligence and it takes and provides feeds from and to the community through the Open Threat Exchange (OTX). We have found the OTX extremely valuable on a variety of levels. Because it provides indicators of compromise, it gives valuable input to the appliance on a continuous basis.
There also are some excellent SIEM functions as well, including log consolidation for syslogs, Windows event logs, CEF, MySQL, MS SQL, and NetFlows. It comes complete with host and network intrusion detects - which can be agent-based or agentless. For threat correlation, AlienVault uses 3,500 built-in "correlation directives," each of which consists of one or more correlation rules. These are constantly being updated through the Threat Intelligence Subscription.
There is an excellent incident management system and, although we don't use it in the SC Labs, it includes a first-rate ticketing and workflow management system. What we do use in the SC Labs - and one of the tool's most compelling features - is its forensics capability. In addition to providing excellent analytical resources, everything - logs, including unfiltered raw logs, for example - are encrypted and forensically preserved.
Reporting is extensive, including hundreds of predefined and customisable reports out of the box, and there are specific formats for regulatory compliance reports, such as PCI, DSS, GLBA and HIPAA. You can accept the many out-of-the-box reports as-is, you can modify them or you can create your own. There are over 2600 basic modules provided and a single layout, which you can edit. Of course, there are the requisite alarm functions with alarm customisation being extensive, to the point of assigning specific alarms to individual engineers or other interested people.
There is a virtual appliance version that can run VMware or Hyper-V. There also is a software version that can be deployed on server.
We are especially impressed with AlienVault support. As we were getting ready to review the product, we found that we needed to upgrade our device. We followed the instructions in the excellent documentation and next morning the sliding "busy" bar still was sliding happily back and forth. That didn't make us quite so happy though, so we called support expecting a long drawn-support call. We were escalated immediately to a higher-level support engineer who logged into our appliance through a screen-sharing session and in well under an hour we were up and running, with upgrade completed, problem identified and escalated to engineering team.