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Attacks/Breaches

Lancope Digs Into User Behavior

New user identity tracking capabilities will open up new security troubleshooting opportunities, vendor says

With today's upgrades to its StealthWatch product line, security vendor Lancope is trying to strike a balance between security management and network monitoring.

The vendor today added three significant features in the latest release of StealthWatch, version 5.5:

  • A user identity tracking feature that allows network managers and security teams to pinpoint the source of network activities to specific users
  • A router monitoring and reporting function that provides traffic reporting and network optimization functions, so clients can now perform tasks, such as network capacity planning, traffic analysis, network monitoring, and network optimization
  • New point-of-view technology that enables IT staff to perform different functions, like pinpointing the sources of a security breach or determining whether a company needs to upgrade a network connection

"StealthWatch provides eight preconfigured views of information, and customers can customize it for other functions, if they desire," says Tim McCormick, vice president of marketing at Lancope. This flexibility is needed because the dividing lines between security and network functions are blurring in many organizations and in a growing number of products.

In addition, Lancope announced its first appliance, the StealthWatch ID 1000, which costs $19,795 for coverage of up to 200 authentication servers. The device ties network traffic and host behavior to individual users. This product was developed in conjunction with A10 Networks, whose software enabled Lancope to connect its network monitoring functions to user directory systems, such as Microsoft's Active Directory.

Lancope is one of a handful of companies that have come up with second-generation security systems. First-generation products, such as firewalls, tried to secure transactions at the network perimeter by putting up roadblocks that would prohibit unauthorized user access to corporate networks. These intrusion detection-and-prevention systems (IDS/IPS) tools can be fairly effective in warding off attacks, like Trojan horses and worms, but have some limitations. Technology tends to change so rapidly that these systems usually cannot guard against attacks in real time. And IDS/IPS tools generally do not recognize security breaches that arise from internally generated messages.

Lancope's taking a different approach, dubbed Network Behavior Analysis (NBA). Its products monitor network traffic patterns and look for anomalies that point to potential security breaches. StealthWatch provides detailed overviews of network utilization and highlights anomalies from problem transactions. These products can be easier to install and offer more up-to-date reporting functions than IDS/IPS systems do. While helpful, NBAs are often viewed as complementary rather than complete security systems.

Lancope, which claims to have more than 200 enterprise customers, has done a credible job in establishing its market position. Competitors include Arbor Networks, Cisco Systems, GraniteEdge Networks, Mazu Networks, and Q1 Labs. "While Lancope has done well, the overall market has been quite small," notes Trent Henry, an industry analyst with the market research firm, Burton Group. Enterprises have been besieged with a wide variety of security options, and in many cases they do not see the value in NBA systems.

Consequently, vendors have been under pressure to increase revenues. Compounding the problem, startups ConSentry Networks and Intrusic, as well as established vendors, such as Check Point Software Technologies, Enterasys Networks, and Internet Security Systems, have been upgrading their product lines to combine IDS/IPS and NBA system functionality. "Customers desire a consolidated view of their network and security products," says Paul Proctor, research VP with Gartner

- Paul Korzeniowski, special to Dark Reading

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