CrowdStrike Falcon Review

Protects employees wherever they are and offers visibility into what machines need patching, but the deployment process needs improvement

What is our primary use case?

We have several use cases including threat management, EDR, AV, and a SOC with 24x7 monitoring.

How has it helped my organization?

The fact that CrowdStrike is a cloud-native solution is very important. We don't have to deal with any upgrades on the appliances or console. The only thing we have to deal with is the upgrade of the agents. The SaaS model works very well for smaller companies like us.

The flexibility and always-on protection that is provided by a cloud-based solution are important to us. The cloud is everywhere. So, with the agent on the laptop, wherever the user may go, including home, office, or traveling, it's protected 24x7, all the time. That's what we require and this is what we got.

We haven't had cases where we have quarantined any material stuff yet, because we are relatively small and we don't see a lot of malware in our environment. In this regard, it has been relatively quiet.

In terms of its ability to prevent breaches, if you look at the cyber kill chain, the sooner you detect malicious activity, the better you are in responding as opposed to waiting for a data breach. I think CrowdStrike is capable of identifying malicious activity throughout the whole cyber kill chain. Step one is establishing when they have a foothold in the environment, and then detect whether they are moving laterally. The sooner they are discovered, the better we are at stopping data breaches.

CrowdStrike has definitely reduced our risk of data breaches. It reduces the risk of ransomware and it gives us comfort that someone is watching our back.

We had some end-of-life workstations that were running Windows 7 and for some reason, related to PCI compliance, CrowdStrike rejected them. This helped us in terms of maintaining our PCI compliance.

What is most valuable?

The OverWatch is the most valuable feature to me. It's a 24x7 monitoring service, and when they see anything suspicious in my environment, they will investigate. Essentially, they're an extension of my team and I like that. We're a small company and we only have a base of approximately 260 employees. As such, we cannot afford to hire skilled security people. So this makes sense for a smaller company like us.

There is a helpful feature to look into the vulnerability of the endpoint, which allows us to see which PCs have been patched and which ones have not. That helps my team to focus on those PCs that require their attention.

What needs improvement?

The deployment process is an area that needs to be improved. For some reason, CrowdStrike does not provide any help in terms of how to deploy the agent in a more efficient manner. They just don't provide the support there, which leaves their customers to figure out how to push agents out, either through GPO or through BigFix or through SCCM, and there was no support on that side. Not being able to complete the deployment in an efficient manner is one of the huge weaknesses.

It would be good if they had a feature to remove agents. We're in a transaction processing environment and if CrowdStrike is affecting a transaction processing server, we need to uninstall that agent pretty fast. Right now, the uninstall has to be done manually, which is not great. If we have a dashboard capability to uninstall agents, I think that would be great.

The dashboard seems a little bit too clunky in the sense that it's spread out in so many ways that if you don't log in on a daily basis, you're going to forget where things are. They can do a better job in organizing the dashboard.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using CrowdStrike Falcon for approximately five months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I haven't had any issues for five months since we've installed it, which is good to know. No users have complained about any CPU spikes or false positives, which we like.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

If you have a way to deploy agents in a rapid manner, I think the scalability is there. As we buy and acquire companies, we have to roll out agents to those places. Right now, it's still very manually intensive and it slows down the process a lot. So, I think the scalability can be improved with a rapid deployment feature.

Our strategy right now is just to install CrowdStrike for PCs and laptops. Once we get comfortable with the technology, we can start testing the servers. It's just that we haven't finished the deployment to PCs and workstations yet.

We have approximately 260 endpoints and we're probably about 20% complete in terms of deployment.

How are customer service and technical support?

We've raised support tickets such as the request for rapid deployment capabilities. However, we only received responses to the effect that they do not support anything like it. In that regard, the support has not been great.

That said, we don't use the support site a lot because we haven't had any issues with CrowdStrike. So, I can't say much about that.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Prior to CrowdStrike, we used Carbon Black Threat Hunter.

There is a huge difference between the two products. CrowdStrike is quiet. I think that Carbon Black Threat Hunter just locks everything that has to do with the endpoint. You generate a lot of noise, but it means nothing. Whereas CrowdStrike is more about real threats and we haven't seen much from it.

On the other hand, with Carbon Black Threat Hunter, we were able to deploy pretty fast and we could uninstall agents pretty quickly from the dashboard.

I had originally heard about CrowdStrike Falcon from my peers. A lot of CSOs that I have roundtable discussions with speak highly about it.

How was the initial setup?

The sensor deployment is a manual process right now, where we have to log into every workstation, every server, and install it manually. It's very time-consuming.

It's an ongoing process across our organization.

What about the implementation team?

One of our security engineers is in charge of deployment. However, we don't have someone on it full time. He works on this when he has time available, so we probably only have one-third of a person working on it.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We completed a PoC using the trial version, and it was pretty easy to do. It took us less than an hour to deploy. It was just a matter of downloading a trial agent and setting it up.

Having the trial version was important because the easier the PoC is, the better the chances are of us buying the tool.

At approximately 40% more, Falcon is probably too expensive compared to Cisco AMP and Cylance, although that is because of the OverWatch feature. If you took out the OverWatch feature then they should be about the same. There are no costs in addition to the standard licensing fee.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated other products including Cisco AMP and Cylance. Neither of these products has the Overwatch feature that CrowdStrike has. The reason why we chose CrowdStrike was that we need to have 24x7 monitoring of our endpoints. That's the main difference.

In terms of ease of use, CrowdStrike is not so great. Cisco AMP has a better, cleaner dashboard and they're more mature in the way that you navigate. It's as though they have spent time getting customers to click on features and then figured out which is the quickest way to get to what you want, whereas CrowdStrike is not there in that sense.

Cylance is even better in terms of ease of use. They dumb it down to only a small number of menus and dashboards. There are probably only five dashboards that I look at on Cylance, whereas with CrowdStrike, I have to look at many.

What other advice do I have?

My advice for anybody who is considering CrowdStrike is definitely to start with a PoC, and then definitely to subscribe to OverWatch. I think that OverWatch is the main benefit to it.

The biggest lesson that I have learned from CrowdStrike is about the different threats that are out there. They have a nice dashboard with information about threats, and you can read it and learn from it.

I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
**Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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Learn what your peers think about CrowdStrike Falcon. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: September 2021.
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