According to SANS Organization, “Information security is the biggest challenge for network and security administrators. The security of a given network highly depends on the software used and the administrative practices followed for intrusion detection. Security has become an important aspect and an integral part of all phases of any software development. The trustworthiness of any software, either free or commercial, depends on product design and development. These include the expertise and dedication of the developers to develop a security product, quality of tools used in development, the level of testing carried out before releasing the product, and the matured practices followed throughout the development cycle.”
There is a myriad of security solutions categorized as front-end GUIs for Snort and Suricata IDS, both free and commercial, available to monitor an organization’s network for intrusions and provide a visual representation of intrusion data. If you’re using a Snort or Suricata front-end for your enterprise, here are 6 reasons why it’s worth paying for a commercial solution.
1. Enterprise-Grade Support
Support should also be a point of any concern when it comes to information security for your enterprise. If your enterprise is using a free solution in critical areas of the network then you’ll need an expert to provide support when the software doesn’t work as expected. With a free solution, you may have to rely on the help and support of the their community online forums or newsgroups. That help may arrive or not. Community support comes with no service-level guarantee and a 24×7 telephone support is not provided to get you back up and running without experiencing any downtime.
2. Input Into New Features and Future Plans
Free communities aren’t always so nimble or creative or helpful when asking for product improvements. Another benefit of paying for a commercial solution is that it could provide you a voice in the product’s roadmap especially if you have specific features that you would like for the product vendor to incorporate. This is not possible if you simply download and the run the free solution. Being able to evaluate the security of a software relies heavily on having some insight into their future plans for the software.
3. Tested and Proven Products with Predictable Product Life Cycles
It is erroneous to believe that only paid commercial products need a thorough security evaluation and testing and not free solutions. Have you really evaluated a free solution for security? It’s often worth paying for a product that is guaranteed to work and have a reliable system on fixing bugs and releasing patches. Commercial products carry out testing, tuning, bug fixes, product enhancements and troubleshooting across their software and hardware in order to make their product stable, reliable, and more technologically advanced. It requires corporate resources, systems, processes, and infrastructure in order to make it happen.
4. Additional Features and Functionality
It makes sense to pay for a commercial product that has additional features that the free solution lacks. For example, If you are looking to effectively deploy and monitor multiple sensors across the network environment or need a scalable product without any limitations on event processing, these features are usually not free.
5. Scalability – Hardware Requirements and Storage Space
Free solutions are not always free or scalable. They vary in hardware cost, bandwidth requirements, and storage space. Because full packet capture will increase storage size considerably, you would need a security solution that can automatically scale to meet the needs of its environment.
6. Low-Cost Alternatives
Your organization may be lucky enough to afford an expensive IDS or SIEM that supports Snort and Suricata IDS; however, don’t associate the hefty price tag with better performance. There are effective and proven low-cost commercial alternatives to capture Snort and Suricata packets and observe them. If you’re on a budget then you may need some low-cost commercial product alternatives.
For example, Aanval was then publicly released in 2004 and is considered the longest running Snort interface under continuous development on the market today and the industry’s leading web-based GUI for Snort, Suricata, and Syslog intrusion detection, prevention, and correlation. The Aanval console system is specifically designed to scale from small single-sensor installations to global enterprise deployments. Since Aanval’s release in 2004, Aanval has evolved to address the world’s growing network security intrusion detection needs and demands. Over time, there has been an increasing need to keep up with the complexity of security issues, introduction of new security technologies, evolving cyber threats, and the requirements to comply with mandatory regulatory mandates. Equally increasing is the drive for security managers to find a capable Snort front-end GUI that can deliver effective threat management, event correlation, and advanced data analysis reporting. Aanval SAS (Situational Awareness System), the latest version released by Tactical FLEX, Inc. is designed with a unique Situational Awareness engine that provides an in-depth event and architecture analysis of the host network, thus providing crucial network visibility and security intelligence. Aanval SAS is also equipped with a False Positive Protection event validation engine, real-time Live GeoLocation-based displays, and powerful offensive tools utilizing Nmap that help shore up defenses and strengthen overall security posture. Aanval SAS is available for download as a free Community edition for testing and evaluation at http://www.aanval.com/download.