At Cisco, our customers drive what we do in security. Stealthwatch provides customers around the clock visibility, and a system that keeps up with changes in their IT environments. In a survey that was sent to over 10,000 Stealthwatch customers, we were able to identify what sorts of security challenges are top of mind. Next, we examined how we could address these issues in the most helpful way. Stealthwatch provides users a comprehensive look into their security network. It reaches every port, host and every single individual threat that poses a security breach. Here is a breakdown of the most important takeaways from our research:

1. Lack of visibility was the top challenge that led our customers to Stealthwatch  

Lack of visibility, insider threats, and the inability to conduct in-depth network analysis were the top three challenges for our customers and lack of visibility led the group. Those reasons haven’t changed much over the 17 years Stealthwatch has been in the market! Stealthwatch provides visibility across the enterprise network, from on-premises to cloud deployment. Further, it applies behavioral modeling and machine learning to generate alerts like data hoarding and data exfiltration, both of which are key indicators of insider threats. Stealthwatch is also able to store network telemetry long-term so that a security team can easily investigate incidents that have occurred in the past. As a result, Stealthwatch helps customers face these challenges head on. 74% of Stealthwatch customers agreed that Stealthwatch is a must have component of their network security. This number means we are doing our job!

2. Customers want a solution that integrates into their network and security stack

Our customers love the synergy between Cisco technologies. In fact, 67% believe that this is the #1 reason to choose Stealthwatch. Integration with Cisco products ensures that customers maximize their investment and ensure optimal operation of their network. Comprehensive visibility, ability to analyze encrypted traffic without decryption, and scalability were some other reasons why customers chose Stealthwatch. Stealthwatch consumes various types of telemetry from the network, endpoint, cloud and data center, and uses advanced analytics infused with Cisco Talos threat intelligence to find hidden threats. The survey identified Encrypted Traffic Analytics and integration with Identity Services Engine (ISE) as Stealthwatch’s most important features. The new Visibility Assessment app, which provides visibility into the overall network health, was also highly rated. In addition to summarizing traffic and conditions on the network, this app allows generation of a PDF security status report for senior management who typically don’t use the Stealthwatch dashboard.

3. Multi cloud and hybrid cloud are becoming increasingly common, bringing new security challenges

More than 95% of Stealthwatch on-premises respondents have deployed or are planning to deploy one or more cloud platforms spanning across Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and Microsoft Azure. Our SaaS (software-as-a-service) offer, Stealthwatch Cloud, can monitor all these environments by consuming native cloud telemetry such as VPC (Virtual Private Cloud) flow logs and NSG (Network Security Group) flow logs. In addition to disruption in service, cloud-related breaches can result in huge bills due to its pay-as-you-go pricing model. Customers understand that they need to secure their cloud network. Stealthwatch Cloud allows them to use a single security tool to do so. Customers identified unauthorized access, data loss, insider threats and misconfigurations as common cloud security challenges. Stealthwatch Cloud detects all these incidents.

4. Forensic analysis to determine the source and impact of the threat is one of the key use cases

Because Stealthwatch casts such a wide net on an organization’s network, it can address a number of different use cases. Interestingly, the top one mentioned by customers was the ability to investigate sources of threats through network audit trails. Stealthwatch can store network telemetry for long periods, allowing for forensic analysis related to past and current events. The intuitive flow search capability and included contextual information related to threat detections are presented within the user interface (UI), which helps accelerate incident response.

Other ways in which Stealthwatch helps our customers is the visibility it provides across users, devices and applications connecting to the network – who are they and what they are doing. Using this visibility, Stealthwatch can detect advanced threats quickly before they turn into a high-impact breach. Customers also love the fact that they can extend their existing network investments to improve security by seamlessly integrating Stealthwatch into their environment. Additionally, many customers use Stealthwatch to simplify their segmentation strategy. With the visibility it provides, Stealthwatch can help define effective security policies and trigger events when policies are violated using custom security events. Allowing customers to check assumptions related to normal network traffic is a key segmentation benefit offered by Stealthwatch.

5. Stealthwatch discovers a broad spectrum of security threats for our customers. 

Lastly, customers provided feedback on the kind of things Stealthwatch has discovered in their environments:

  • Threats in encrypted traffic like malware/spyware (C&C) connections
  • Cryptomining activity
  • WannaCry campaigns
  • Configuration changes
  • Legacy devices that were thought to be disconnected from the network
  • Suspicious behavior
  • Security policy violations


The Stealthwatch team is committed to improving based on feedback from our customers. We thank all of our survey respondents.

You can find the detailed customer research and testimonials from this year as well as past surveys here.

To learn more about Stealthwatch, go to: https://cisco.com/go/stealthwatch or sign up for our free visibility assessment.


Bryan Doerr

Product Manager

Network Security