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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! 



Combatting Hybrid Attacks
Oct 12, 2017
A new “hybrid” threat has surfaced in the cyber world and has recently helped hackers steal £30 million from a series of banks in post-Soviet…
The Evolution of FireMon’s Ignite Partner Program - A Q&A with Kurt Mills
Oct 11, 2017
We caught up with FireMon’s VP of Worldwide Channel Sales and Operations, Kurt Mills, on the Ignite Partner Program. It went a little something like…
GDPR: Security Management Best Practices You Need to Know
Sep 15, 2017
“Go live” for GDPR is May 25, 2018. If you haven’t started your GDPR journey yet, now is the time. The GDPR intends to protect…
High profile data breaches prove security investments are only half the battl…
Sep 11, 2017
Since the start of 2017, we’ve seen some epic data breaches leaving millions of affected consumers uncertain about the security of their personal information 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 leads platform sales for Immediate Insight, FireMon's security analytics solution.



Sep 26, 2017 GDPR: Security Management Best Practices You Need to Know
In this webinar, FireMon’s resident GDPR expert, Tim Woods, will help lay the groundwork for a plan to comply by the 2018 deadline. We’ll also cover the vital role security management plays in protecting data from the start, including these specific capabilities you need to comply with Articles 25, 32, 35 and 58.
Sep 21, 2017 Quantify the Network Attack Surface to Improve Incident Response and Threat Detection

Many threat investigations begin with responders working to understand possible threat vectors on the network that could explain malicious activity. One powerful way to improve the efficiency of our responders is to help them understand the network attack surface as configured attack paths that represent potential exploit paths.

On Sept 21st we’ll share how FireMon’s Risk Analyzer and Immediate Insight products bring together threat investigation and attack path analysis to accelerate incident response and threat detection.
Aug 22, 2017 Correlating Vulnerability Scans with Network Path Analysis to Find and Remediate the Biggest Risks to Your Network and Avoid Wasting Time on the Little Ones

Vulnerability scanning has its place but I’ve often found that it produces a mountain of data with little guidance for prioritizing updates other than a relative high/medium/low risk rating of the exploit itself and of the device’s value.

Jul 27, 2017 Bridge the Gap Between Your Risk & Network Teams to Reduce Risk
Recent cyberattacks such as Wannacry and Petya magnify the need to make risk and vulnerability management a top priority for organizations.  Combine that with a network security posture that is too open from years of access changes and little policy cleanup, organizations are more at risk now than at any time in history. 


Sep 05, 2017
SAO v. SIEM Security Suites: And the winner is...
Aug 30, 2017
Jimmy Nukebot Explodes on the Scene, Transforming NeutrinoPOS
Info Security
Aug 17, 2017
The Top Security Challenges for 2017
SC Magazine
Aug 14, 2017
Creditseva, KS Enterprises Breaches Highlight Need for Improved Cloud Security
eSecurity Planet
Jul 31, 2017
What is IT governance? A formal way to align IT & business strategy
Jul 28, 2017
How organizations can work toward GDPR compliance
Information Management
Jul 09, 2017
4 Signs Check Point Software's Best Days Are Ahead
Motley Fool
Jun 07, 2017
Qakbot malware from 2009 returns, causes Active Directory lockouts
SC Magazine UK
Jun 06, 2017
Botched security: Celebrities, other patients, affected after plastic surgery files are breached and stolen
SC Magazine
Jun 06, 2017
Election cyberattack proves people are still the biggest flaw
Jun 01, 2017
250K Photos Leaked in Cosmetic Surgery Extortion Attack
Info Security
Jun 01, 2017
OneLogin Breach Reignites Concerns over Password Managers
Dark Reading
Jun 01, 2017
OneLogin Breach Reignites Concerns over Password Managers
Dark Reading
May 29, 2017
How to manage the Complexity Gap
IT Pro Portal
May 26, 2017
Hackers upgrading malware to 64-bit code to evade detection
SC Magazine UK
May 25, 2017
83 percent of security staff waste time fixing other IT problems
May 24, 2017
Unsanctioned Computer Support Costs Companies $88K per Year
Dark Reading
May 23, 2017
WannaCry Successor Is New ‘Doomsday’ SMB Worm That Uses 7 NSA Hacking Tools
Information Security Buzz
May 23, 2017
WannaCry? Not really. A report from the 11th Eskenzi PR IT Analyst and CISO Forum
Computer Weekly
May 18, 2017
Cisco Warns Of Un-Patchable WannaCrypt Vulnerabilities
Information Security Buzz
May 16, 2017
Here comes the cloud...and it's all right
SC Magazine
May 15, 2017
10 ways cyber security will evolve in the face of growing threats
Information Age
May 12, 2017
Managing Complexity Is No. 1 Security Challenge in FireMon’s Annual State of the Firewall Report
Computing Security
May 12, 2017
Sabre Breach
Information Security Buzz
May 12, 2017
FireMon Announces Industry’s First Intelligent Cloud Security Management Solution
IT Security Guru
May 12, 2017
FireMon Releases Third Annual State of the Firewall Report
Dark Reading
May 12, 2017
WikiLeaks drops 'Grasshopper' documents, part four of its CIA Vault 7 files
  See all news from 2017

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
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
Accelerated Incident Response
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
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.
Automation Isn't One-Size-Fits-All
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.
Avoid These 'Bottom Ten' Networking Worst Practices
Overcoming the Complexity Gap
When You Can't Patch It, Protect It from the Network
Firewall Sprawl
Aberdeen Group
Quantifying the Value of Intelligent Security Management
Aberdeen Group
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.