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Get to know us better! Gain valuable insights into how we think by visiting our blog, or take a look at the industry events we're frequenting on our events page. You can also geek out with us by attending one of our security management webinars, or dive head first into the products and solutions we provide in our Resource Library. There's lots to keep you busy! 



State of Network Security: Intent-Based Network Security
Jul 17, 2018
The rise of microservices will continue to exponentially increase the number of virtual endpoints that need to be secured. But once the intent behind a…
Intent-Based Network Security Automation and Orchestration
May 14, 2018
In this post, we're going to cover automation and orchestration. We actually just started analyzing the results from our State of the Firewall 2018 research;…
Intent-Based Network Security - How to Turn Intent into Enforcement
May 03, 2018
In our last blog, we talked about what exactly intent-based network security (IBNS) is – and the first step to getting started, i.e. mapping. Here, we're…
How to take the first step toward intent-based network security
Apr 26, 2018
Intent-based network security helps with several areas of top concern for enterprise security leaders - software-defined networking, new application deployment, moving applications across platforms and…

Threat Hunting? Ditch the SIEM

Threat hunting remains an undeveloped competency for far too many organizations. When surveyed, security professionals confess an overall lack of competency to detect and respond to advanced attacks that slip through their defenses.

In my experience, many organizations still rely on alerts from a SIEM (among other prevention systems). Most security teams will painstakingly build models for indicators of compromise, receive alerts from their SIEM, and “do the best they can” to eliminate the intrusion. What are the results?

  • Dwell times continue to remain above 200 days
  • Number of incidents detected remains flat (it should be going up)
  • Time to respond has increased
  • Security analysts have been transformed into alert analysts
What follows is my best attempt to awaken a profession. Awaken a profession to the reality that off-model threats should be our greatest concern. If you want to hunt, you must dispense with conforming everything to the SIEM – it just doesn’t work.

The problem with SIEM deployments is that they do not reach the promise we were sold. Most organizations spend millions of dollars, thousands of man-hours, and small fortunes on professional services only to attain no meaningful advances in hunting. 

Why is that? Let’s take a look at the features of SIEM that have left most organizations just as feeble as before.

  1. IT/Security moves fast, SIEM moves slow.
    The original goal was to send every bit of data to the SIEM. But getting that data into the SIEM is no easy task. Each network has myriad types of information it can send to a SIEM, but the SIEM must compress that information into its established structure. Anyone who has spent an afternoon working with data understands that data is less cooperative than a starved mongoose. All networks have data coming from operating systems, devices, firewalls, and machines that do not conform to the SIEM requirements.

    Parsing becomes the daily work of hunters, response teams, and data scientists. This translation task keeps us from doing the actual work of mining data and hunting threats. It is no wonder that we continue to see dwell times over 200 days. We parse data while attackers compromise our networks. This is madness.

  2. SIEMs are dumb.
    There are two inherent limits to a SIEM, 1) The data compression necessarily leaves out pieces of data that don’t conform to the SIEM’s structure and 2) Closed query is the only way to ask the SIEM questions.

    Literally, we open and close parenthetical statements in a query language. So, now that we’ve spent our day parsing so our data can go into the SIEM, we then restrict our searches to things the SIEM understands. Asking a SIEM to show you something is very difficult – especially in a hunting context where you want to cast a broad net. Imagine casting a fishing line into a spot on the water and getting nothing. Would you conclude there are no fish in the ocean? That’s what we do with SIEM queries. Of course, you can apply rules, “show me each time a user connects to a known bad site,” but do you realize what has to go into the SIEM to make that possible? Hours of data compression, trial and error to build the right query, and you have to know the variables to begin with – which is not hunting. If the SIEM hasn’t established the variables you are asking, it can’t show the results. It simply does not know.

    Correlating all the disparate data across multiple platforms (DLP, IDS, AV, Firewalls, Netflow, etc.) does not come easy to a SIEM. A SIEM doesn’t speak those languages, a SIEM knows its own language. Drawing meaningful, previously undetected patterns is beyond the reach of a SIEM.  

  3. SIEMs don’t scale with the threat horizon.
    Related to the previous two concerns, SIEMs don’t scale at the same speed as the adversary (internal or external). By the time the data is collected, parsed, normalized, modeled, and queried, the game has changed. Hunters rely on their human reasoning faculties to detect the nuances and subtleties the SIEM is designed to avoid – SIEMs try to model the known; hunters seek the unknown, off-model threats.

    Hunters have become butlers to the SIEM, responding to its demands with little freedom to care about what’s actually happening. None of the SIEM vendors have found a way to analyze in real-time to keep up with the evolving tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) of adversaries. Discovering new TTPs and seeking places with advanced TTPs are occurring is the hallmark of hunting – SIEMs cannot keep pace.

  4. SIEMs don’t report what matters.
    Ask anyone in the threat hunting discipline, “Does you SIEM give you the information required to make confident decisions?” At this point, you should know the answer. Take endpoints as an example, SIEMs don’t receive information from the endpoint in a meaningful way or scale with the volume of logs from those endpoints. Secondly, SIEMs do not make good use of identity information, where 60% of breaches occur. If you’re primary hunting vehicle is the SIEM, you are hunting without a compass or a map. 

  5. SIEMs cost too much.
    Though this is widely known, the ancillary costs of SIEM are stupefying. First, we have capital outlays in the millions, followed by man-hours to ingest data, then we have the overage bills that looks eerily similar to mobile carriers from 10 years ago. You cannot hunt effectively when you are tormented by the costs associated with putting new content into the SIEM. Plus, once you do put new data into the SIEM, you are will not extract the outputs you seek (see above).  It’s the definition of waste.
SIEM vendors have not provided the market with an analytics capability, and given their fundamental design, we will not see threat hunting flourish using SIEM. In Part 2, I’ll make the case that for good threat hunting, the best way forward is working with Big Data principles, open-ended search, parsing-free data ingest, and methods for taking the fight to the adversary.
Josh Mayfield serves as FireMon's Director of Product Marketing.



May 10, 2018 Final Countdown: 4 Principles You Need Before GDPR Hits

In this webinar, we’ll show you the principles needed for GDPR success:

  1. Risk-based data protection
  2. Measuring security effectiveness
  3. Monitoring data protection
  4. Orchestrating persistent compliance
Apr 25, 2018 Monitoring & Performance
In the "real world" most companies are struggling with overwhelming infrastructure complexity, numerous management silos, and a multitude of incompatible management tools. Get the tools to help you identify problems and prevent downtime.
Apr 12, 2018 How to Stop Writing Firewall Rules and Start Controlling Network Security Based on Your Actual Intent
Join FireMon and Ultimate Windows Security for this free webinar, where we will examine intent-based security and how to apply it to firewall policy and management.
Mar 21, 2018 How to Scale Network Security for the Modern Age
Traditional security models are all about the current state – but in the current state of cyber-security, by the time new rules are written, they’re obsolete. Resources have changed, topologies have shifted, traffic has evolved, and applications grew new arms and legs.


Resource Library

Audit Compliance


Policy Change

Solution Briefs

Policy Change

White Papers

Visibility Monitoring Management

Analyst Reports

Policy Change

Case Studies

Security Manager
Overview of FireMon’s Flagship Firewall Management Solution
Policy Planner
Overview of FireMon’s Change Automation Solution
Policy Optimizer
Overview of FireMon’s Rule Recertification Automation Solution
Risk Analyzer
Overview of FireMon’s Attack Simulation and Risk Measurement Solution
Immediate Insight
Overview of FireMon’s Immediate Insight Solution
FireMon Appliances

Your environment is unique. No matter how many devices you have or where they are located, we have an FM appliance and a deployment option to meet your needs.

Moving to the Cloud
Central security control for expanding cloud intrastructures.
Risk Mitigation
Eliminate disruptions while removing security risks.
Reduce Security Costs
Continuous security that doesn't break the bank.
Intent-based Network Security
Continuous security starts with intent.
FireMon and Elasticsearch: Warp speed security
Continuous Security for Industrial Enterprises
Command security for PCN and SCADA networks
Internet of Things
Taming the ever-expanding IoT attack surface.
Zero Trust
Continuous Security for Zero Trust Networks
Migrations Made Easy
Speed up adoption of NGFW with FireMon.
Intelligent Security Management
Delivering next-generation security management that boosts productivity and accelerates the agility of business
Intelligent Policy Automation
Intelligent Policy Automation: Orchestrating Change Management with Speed and Security.
Hybrid Cloud Management
Visibility into and control over Cloud Services, including AWS and OpenStack Platforms
Accelerating Incident Response. Immediate Insight in action - Orchestration, automation and analytics for data assembly and discovery
Immediate Insight in action - Orchestration, automation and analytics for data assembly and discovery
Change Simulation & Risk Scoring
Proactively reduce risk based upon network exposure and host accessibility
Check Point Solution Brief
FireMon solutions and Check Point
Cisco Solution Brief

FireMon’s Intelligent Security Management platform enables users with Cisco Systems switches, routers and firewalls (Pix, ASA, FirePower) to work smarter, applying intelligence to the entire security program

Fortinet Solution Brief
FireMon solutions for Fortinet
Juniper Solution Brief
FireMon solutions for Juniper
NSX Solution Brief
FireMon solutions for NSX
Palo Alto Solution Brief
FireMon Solutions for Palo Alto
A Primer On Intent-Based Network Security
Intent-based network security (IBNS) decouples intent from implementation. In this model, intent becomes the bedrock of policies and controls, and implementation serves as the device-specific enforcement of the declared security goal.
Hybrid Cloud Security: Minding the Gap
Visibility is often a first step toward cloud security
Gain Control of the Cloud

Cloud technology gives enterprises faster application deployment, instant storage, workload versatility and pricing models that decrease initial capital investment. It is no wonder enterprises are making the move to the cloud.

The Four Factors Necessary For Zero Trust

FireMon helps organizations move towards Zero Trust by providing:

  • Visibility into the network
  • Analysis of network traffic flow and possible breach points
  • Security Intent to determine what’s permissible
  • Orchestration to consistently automate what needs to be done
5 Reasons to Implement Security Policy Orchestration and Automation

Reduce your attack surface with a Security Policy Orchestration and Automation solution like FireMon.

Managing Migration Mayhem
Migrations can strike fear into the heart of even the most seasoned security professional. Follow this roadmap for a smooth, successful migration.
Four Ways to Reduce Your Attack Surface

Larger attack surface means more opportunities for cybercriminals to do harm. Learn how FireMon can help you remove exposures before they become exploited.

Why GDPR is Nothing to Fear
A practical (and sometimes philosophical) guide to complying with the General Data Protection Regulation.
Four Key Factors for a Successful Migration

Migrations run the risk of cost overrun, delays and disruption of network service - often due to a lack of personnel and process to efficiently and effectively manage. To ensure a successful migration, consider these four key factors: 1) identifying and removing technical mistakes, 2) removing unused access, 3) refining and organizing what remains and 4) continuous, real-time monitoring.

Top 5 Requirements for Your NSPM Solution
Network Security Policy Management (NSPM) continues to be a difficult practice for organizations the world over. In the last 20 years, network security policies (e.g. firewall rules) have grown by more than 3,500%. Yes, you read that number correctly. Why is that?
Achieving Gartner's Recommendations for Secure Policy Configuration Assessment
Gartner research has uncovered a number of security policy challenges for enterprises. Among these challenges are the typical assessments necessary to fortify policy for compliance and improved security posture.
The Top 4 Myths of Policy Compliance & How to Avoid Non-Compliance
Welcome to the world of overflowing regulations and compliance standards, of evolving infrastructure and the ever-present breach. It's a world where 72% of security and compliance personnel say their jobs are more difficult today than just two years ago.
Planning Considerations for Compliance with GDPR
The GDPR deadline is approaching quickly. If you haven’t started your GDPR journey yet, now is the time.
2017 State of the Firewall
Networking continues to evolve, yet the firewall remains critical to securing today’s enterprises. FireMon is proud to present its 3rd Annual State of the Firewall Report
Firewall Cleanup Recommendations
The implications of firewall policy complexity, why it remains a problem today and how to resolve it.
Risk Solved: Automated, Real-Time Risk Analysis & Remediation
Risk analysis with real-time change configuration is key to managing security risks in your IT infrastructure.
Real-Time Data Triage
Our Immediate Insight platform from FireMon can help organizations overcome the limitations and gaps inherent to the current analytic market.
Bridging the SIEM Alert Triage Gap
Immediate Insight enables security teams to improve event triage and incident response, extending the value of your existing full-featured SIEM.
How Intelligent Policy Automation Can Increase the Speed & Security of Change Management Workflows
Intelligent Policy Automation
Intelligent Security Management

Helping Enterprise Security Teams Improve Resource Efficiency & Reduce Overall Risk Exposure

The Top 5 Myths of Data Breaches
Five of the biggest myths that exist about data breaches, and explain how and why they occur.
Firewall Sprawl: Top Four Security Gaps Exposed

Firewall technology has come a long way since its initial, most rudimentary forms. Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW) are the latest development, and organizations are accelerating adoption to the new technology. But NGFWs aren’t a fix-all solution.

2016 State of the Firewall
2nd Annual State of the Firewall Report based on survey of 600 IT security practitioners.
Using Security Policy And Automation (SPOA) Tools To Reduce The Attack Surface
Attack surfaces have expanded greatly in the past several years, in part because of the amount of new applications coming online via Internet of Things and increasingly connected technology. Organizations have an admittedly tough time keeping up with all the new touchpoints and the rapid expansion of the attack surface. Complete defense is nearly impossible, and many companies struggle with visibility issues, mismatched or misaligned firewall policies, and an inability to comprehensively test the security configurations they do have
The Zero Trust eXtended Ecosystem


Forrester’s Zero Trust Model of information security helps teams develop robust prevention, detection and incident response capabilities to protect their company's vital digital business ecosystem. This report will help security pros understand the technologies best suited to empowering and extending their Zero Trust initiatives and will detail how Forrester sees this model and framework growing and evolving.

Overcoming the Complexity Gap
Firewall Sprawl
Aberdeen Group
Quantifying the Value of Intelligent Security Management
Aberdeen Group
Network Security Analytics Brings Data-Driven Security Into the 21st Century
Automate Zero Trust Policy and Enforcement
The Return on Security of FireMon’s Security Manager
Large Healthcare Provider
The customer sought a data analysis tool to correlate application data with network and security data to spot service-impacting anomalies. They did not have an accurate picture of interoperability between applications and the underlying infrastructure.
Major Airline
Following a merger with another airline, this customer was left managing a large number of firewalls and routers from different security vendors using a home-grown application.
National Insurance Provider
This national insurance provider had three problems to tackle regarding their firewall policies. First, the number of rules under management was overwhelming staff and processes. They needed to increase visibility and effectiveness of their firewall change request/workflow ticketing process. And they also need help maintaining compliance PCI DSS requirements.
Managed Service Provider
Each time this Global MSP engaged a new customer, they had to onboard the firewalls – sometimes hundreds per engagement – into their network. Part of the onboarding process required assessing the policies against internal best practices – a manual, line-by-line process that took an average of 16 hours/firewall and was extremely error-prone.