A robust yet lightweight SIEM in a single package
Updated March 30, 2018

A robust yet lightweight SIEM in a single package

Jose Quintero | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review

Overall Satisfaction with AlienVault OSSIM

AlienVault OSSIM is our lightweight, open-souce option for SIEM and vulnerability assessment in our company and recommended for deployment in our clients. OSSIM, besides being open-sourced (hence, free of charge, although also free of support), is very flexible being mounted over a special Linux distro (Debian-based) and easily installable either on physical or virtual servers. Despite being a lighter version of the full-fledged AlienVault All-In-One solution, it's very much capable of handling daily maintenance and inspection IT tasks such as IDS (Intrusion Detection System), both network-based and hardware-based, SIEM correlation, Asset Discovery, and also includes the very useful AlienVault OTX (Open Threat Exchange) platform, allowing you and your organization to keep up to date in terms of threats and malicious devices worldwide that can affect your operations via open collaborative information.
  • Asset discovery. Once installed in a centric, network-accessible server, OSSIM can poll all your endpoints with common protocols (SSH, SNMP, WMI) to detect and discover site-wide assets to monitor. You only need to group them by your own criteria once added to the product.
  • SIEM Event Correlation. You can define quite complex correlation rules to detect possible suspicious or malicious actions or attempts in your network, in order to categorize them as real threats or as false positives, thus streamlining your risk assessment and management.
  • Ease of installation. The entire AlienVault OSSIM is self-contained in an ISO file, which can be burned into a DVD or just mounted in your server of choice (physical or virtual) for deployment. The installation process is automated and quote verbosed, with options for static IP, email messaging and others.
  • Ease of access. Being AlienVault OSSIM a self-contained appliance, it can be accessed via web by any device that supports a web browser, being that desktops, workstation, mobile devices, etc. The OSSIM dashboard and other features are automatically rearranged to adapt to the particular device being in use.
  • OSSIM, being an open source solution, lacks log management (a treat that the full USM has). Perhaps a feature to include a lightweight version inside the SIEM Correlation engine can be appreciated.
  • The appliance also lacks support for Cloud-based servers and apps. This feature is also present in USM, so it's unlikely this will appear in OSSIM, but I'd suggest also a reduced version of it included in this appliance.
  • More integration with third-party solutions such as BMC Remedy and ServiceNow, although this can be emulated through email alerts, as most ITSM solutions have the ability of converting incoming email messages into tickets.
  • The ROI of OSSIM itself is, obviously, immediate, being that it's a free, open-source product. However, you must take into account other inherent investments to cover up for the lack of official support, such as certified agents or consultants that take care of the management and maintenance of the product once in production.
  • On the other hand, the potential loss of information and interruption of operativity due to malware and other threats is really unmeasurable. The implicit savings in OSSIM as a SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) are really the major positive impact on your organization's revenue.
  • Finally, and from a reseller's point of view, reselling OSSIM has the big plus of being a professional services-only asset, given that the appliance itself is free of charge. The only thing to consider is the initial investment in team members with the required capacitation and knowledge to address such professional services to potential customers.
AlienVault OSSIM has the upper ante in initial deployment price, being that it's open source. Also, with perhaps the exception of SolarWinds, it has a lower optimal requirements for onsite deployment, hence your OPEX won't be hit very hard by investing in new hardware to suit the appliance. The correlation engine is somewhat more robust that their counterparts in LogRhythm and SolarWinds, and the IDS (both NIDS and HIDS) are more reliable as well in terms of results. Finally, although Tenable SecurityCenter is more robust in dashboards, alerts and reports, it comes short in front of OSSIM in terms of real-time IDS and SIEM correlation.
The most obvious scenario in which OSSIM is well suited is in a single office/home office (SOHO) or small business, in which budget is reduced but asset discovery and vulnerability management are greatly needed and appreciated. OSSIM is lightweight and free, so the real challenge to face is to hire or assign an administrator to manage and operate it, instead of any investment on an expensive appliance. Also, as resellers, promoting usage of OSSIM to customers charging for professional services for installation, administration, and maintenance (remember that OSSIM doesn't have official support from AlienVault) is a great asset for the organization.

AlienVault OSSIM Feature Ratings

Centralized event and log data collection
Event and log normalization/management
Deployment flexibility
Integration with Identity and Access Management Tools
Custom dashboards and workspaces
Host and network-based intrusion detection

Using AlienVault OSSIM

Like to use
Relatively simple
Easy to use
Well integrated
Quick to learn
Feel confident using
  • HIDS and NIDS agents
  • Reporting
  • Alarms
  • SIEM Log Correlation
AlienVault OSSIM is far easy to use and manage - provided you know what you're doing. As any SIEM application, there is some background knowledge required in order to take advantage of the product's functionalities, such as the log correlation and analysis. Other than that, the application is quite usable and robust.