SIEM is a key player in an organization’s cybersecurity system. SIEM provides your security team with a central point where you can collect, cluster, and analyze massive data blocks through an enterprise to streamline the security workflow. It also creates room for compliance reports, incidence management, and a display panel for threat incidents.
Equipping your organization with SIEM tools provides you with a real-time scan through the information security systems. The tool also creates an event log with a collection of data from multiple sources, correlates between the events across all security panels, and also provides a customizable automatic security notification system.
If you have been considering SIEM, here is a good place to start. In this post, you will learn SIEM’s operation model, its use cases, and how it can help reinforce security in your organization.
What is SIEM?
Security information and event management, known as SIEM, is a sector of the computer security realm where software products and services are combined to detect, analyze and react to security threats before they harm your business. You can pronounce SIEM as ‘sim.‘
Having been around for the last two decades, you are sure to expect its growth and development. SIEM was initially designed to help organizations with compliance and industry-bound regulations’ and has evolved to combine two fields. One is security event management (SEM), and the other is security information management (SIM) into one management system under the security domain.
SIEM technology collects and analyses data logs from multiple sources, identifies the deviation from the norm on a real-time axis, and takes appropriate action in response to its findings. This technology gives an overview of your organization’s network status and thus keeps you posted on potential cyber-attacks. On this occasion, you’ll always respond quickly to the matter.
How SIEM tools work
SIEM tools gather, aggregate, and analyze data logs from your organization’s security systems – applications, servers, devices, and users – in real-time to aid security teams in detecting and blocking potential attacks. The tools use predetermined techniques to establish threats and create alerts. The process involves several components, as explained below.
Log management – SIEM collects event-driven data through your entire network. The logs and data flow from users, applications, assets, and cloud environments are recorded, stored, and analyzed to give your information technology (IT) and security teams insights on how to manage the network automatically. While you work on the network from a central location, you can integrate third-party threat intelligence feeds to correlate internal security data against previously acknowledged threat signatures. This scope of multitasking is a good practice if you want to detect new signature attacks without delay.
Event correlation and analytics – Event correlation is an essential building block for SIEM tools. Advanced analytics helps you identify and understand complex data patterns, which are then parsed through correlation to quickly locate and attenuate potential threats. SIEM solutions aim to reduce the mean time to respond, referred to as (MTTR) and the mean time to detect (MTTD) for your security team by discarding the manual workflow associated with in-depth security analysis.
Incident monitoring and security alerts – SIEM solutions track all entities in your IT environment through centralized premises management and cloud-based infrastructure. This architecture allows you to monitor security incidents across all connections from users, devices, and applications while categorizing abnormal behavior simultaneously. As the administrator, you can customize the predefined correlational rules to get immediate alerts. Instant notifications will prove helpful when you want to arrest threats quickly.
Compliance management and event reporting – All organizations are subject to regulatory compliance. SIEM solutions are popular to many and help automate your data collection and analysis process. You can gather and verify data compliance across your entire business infrastructure. This functionality helps you generate real-time compliance reports reducing your security management burden while still detecting flaws and the potential violations to be addressed.
SIEM Features and Use Cases
SIEM solutions vary in capabilities but have the following cardinal features:
Log Data Management – SIEM technology collects many data in a central place, organizes it, and evaluates whether it exhibits signs of threats, attacks, or breaches.
Event Correlation – The stored data is sorted using algorithms to identify patterns and relations and eventually detect and respond to threats.
Incident monitoring and response – SIEM solutions check for security incidents through the organization’s networks and provide alerts after audits of all activity associated with an incident.
Here are several SIEM use cases as presented at the hacking conference by Chris Kubecka, a computer security researcher:
Detecting viruses – Viruses consist of polymorphic code and could attack your computer system. The code re-replicates itself, inserting its code into your programs’. Viruses can be arrested using special software. While are many antivirus software in the market, SIEM is the best option.
Forensics – You can use SIEM tools to perform a legal analysis on data logs collected from various sources. In this case, SIEM helps you to understand past security incidences and gear up for future ones.
Curating compliance reports – While regulatory compliances vary from one organization to another, your organization might be in a heavily regulated industry. SIEM solutions are convenient if your organization prioritizes audits and on-demand reports over other features.
Network visibility – The SIEM analytics engine will always get you additional insights into assets when used to packet captures between network flows. You can monitor all internet protocol (IP) addresses to reveal malware or data privacy, especially personal identification information passing through the network.
Dashboard reporting – Today’s organizations process a lot of data. Your organization could execute thousands of network events daily. In that case, it may be easy to use SIEM tools to understand and report incidents in customizable views without time lag.
How to implement SIEM
Here are the best implementation practices for you to follow while implementing SIEM solutions.
To begin, understand the scope of your implementation. Define how your business benefits from this deployment and set up appropriate use cases.
Design and deploy predefined data correlation rules for all systems and networks, including the cloud infrastructure.
Organize your business compliance requirements and configure your SIEM solution to audit and report on particular standards in real time to deeply understand the risk you are posing.
Categorize all your digital assets in your organization’s IT infrastructure. This operation model helps manage collected log data, detect access abuse, and monitor network activity.
Establish Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies, IT layouts, and limits for monitoring when integrating SIEM solutions.
Regularly update your SIEM configurations to reduce false positives in security alerts.
Where possible, automate through artificial intelligence (AI), security orchestration automation, and response (SOAR) capabilities.
Document and expose your security team to all incident response plans to ensure they are set for quick responses in security incidents that need intervention.
Assess the possibilities of investing in Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) to oversee your SIEM solutions deployment. Based on your business requirements, MSSPs are geared to handle the complexity of your SIEM implementation and maintain its functionality.
SIM vs. SIEM
With similarities yet so distinct, these two acronyms often need clarification if you are unfamiliar with security ecosystems. Security information management (SIM) uses its technology to collect information from logs which may vary in their datatypes.
On the other hand, security information and event management (SIEM) is a union of security information management and security event management (SEM). SEM implies the process of pinpointing, gathering, monitoring, and reporting security events using s software
The key difference here is that you can view SIM as a way to gather data. At the same time, SIEM is a much more inclusive process that goes beyond data collection, building on the security aspect to help companies monitor incoming threats and try as they might.
The role of SIEM in business
SIEM plays a principal role in an organization’s security protocol. It offers a central place to seamlessly collect, aggregate, and analyze your enterprise’s data, streamlining the security workflow. SIEM also automates several operations in your business, including compliance reporting, managing incidents, and availing dashboards that designate threat activity.
You can use SIEM to have an improved view of your enterprise networks and carry out more specific tasks like forensic investigations making your network management easier.
How to choose the right SIEM tool
Today’s organizations rely on complex technology systems to run thousands of devices that handle floods of data. In this case, your organization could turn to SIEM for security reasons. Unfortunately, SIEM tools are different. So, how do you choose the best tool for your company?
To select the right SIEM tool, you should evaluate several factors, including your organization’s budget, security posture, technical support availability, and customer service quality. The best suite for your company should cover your top priorities, as each company has unique reasons for using a tool.
You should look for SIEM tools with inclusive capabilities. These functionalities must include compliance reporting, incident reports and arguments, database management, server access monitoring, internal and external threat identifiers, real-time monitoring, correlation, user activity monitoring, application logs, and the flexibility for integrating with other systems.
Every vendor has their licensing model. The most used models are either licensing based on the number of events captured per day and the associated log file size or based on the number of monitoring devices. Learning about each tool’s license model would be best to evaluate the product’s total cost of ownership (TOC).
Having ruled out some tools using the above criteria, you can check the tools’ scalability. Your selection needs to be able to upgrade your configuration or subscriptions with increased demand. The best tools need to scale with the expansion in the activity count and SIEM’s server disk space used.
The final attribute to watch out for is event and log searches. Large and medium-sized companies have enormous aggregated alerts and event logs. Your tool needs to have the ability to search across large volumes of information.
It is always advisable to learn about the tools before settling down with one.
Top SIEM Sample tools
As the technology world grows, the changing landscape in security calls for a reliable solution for threats. Let’s take you through two of the best SIEM tools available.
#1. Exabeam SIEM
Exabeam is a leading provider of SIEM through special techniques for threat detection, investigation, and response (TDIR). Their innovation enables IT analysts to collect data, study behavior analytics to detect breaches, and provide an immediate response to incidents. The Exabeam SIEM solutions are pocket friendly and still exhibit high productivity.
If you are looking for an inclusive view of security incidences, consider using Exabeam. You will leverage the scale and power of cloud technologies backed by leading analytics and automation. This tool will help you discover anomalies missed by other means while paying close attention to speedy, precise, and repeatable responses.
#2. Graylog Security
Empowered by its mission, Graylog aims to revolutionize log management and make SIEM faster, cheaper, and more productive. Having established themselves as experts in log management, they have secured over 50,000 installations worldwide.
With Graylog, you can perform other operations like discovering data through integrated searches, data expansion, and deep learning to find accurate answers, visualize threats as they hack into your system, and provide solutions.
To crown it all, you can view vulnerabilities through dashboards by visualizing location metrics, build intuitive reports from specific data, and comply with security policies following periodic reviews.
The future of SIEM
SIEM tools are backed by a vision to create an autonomous security platform for the future. This technology drives significantly improved security based on real-time detections and responses. SIEM tools are proving productive by letting security teams oversee intelligence and automation instead of security info and events.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is foreshadowing a future for SIEM by providing effective ways to improve systems’ decision-making abilities. Your systems can constantly adapt and grow as endpoints increase if they have some intellect. As the internet of things and cloud technology expand, they significantly increase the amount of data your SIEM tool must consume, which can be optimized with AI.
AI has paved the way for SIEM by offering potential solutions that support more data types and a complex understanding of the threat terrain as it evolves. In the future of SIEM, trends will include:
Improved orchestration – Besides security, SIEM tools will offer your company an automated workflow. As your organization grows, there calls for a need for additional capabilities. For instance, with AI, all departments in your organization shall receive similar protection standards. There are also ongoing efforts by SIEM vendors to increase their tools’ speed.
Seamless collaboration with managed detection and response (MDR) tools- Currently, the number of hacks and unauthorized access is multiplying, so getting your company a solution to oversee and analyze security events is vital. A company’s IT team can deploy an in-house SIEM tool, while managed service providers can implement MDR tools.
Advanced cloud monitoring and management – For cloud-using organizations, SIEM vendors are looking to improve cloud management and monitoring processes to meet your security needs.
If you want to stop today’s cybersecurity threats, use a new radical approach. SIEM tools are an efficient way to help secure your organization’s network. Whether your company is big or small, this technology is the solution to handling security breaches and threats by detecting and alleviating them quickly. You also get to benefit from reduced time in situation awareness.
In this article, you have learned the SIEM’s operation model, features, use cases, and best practices for implementation. You have further gathered techniques for selecting the best tool for your company. If you want to integrate this technology into your organization, you are already equipped with the knowledge to move forward.
While making the selection can be difficult, you have acquired a simple strategy to help you get the best product in the market. The cybersecurity field is growing, with threats raising the alarm in many institutions. If you want to secure your business, using SIEM tools guarantees a smooth network experience.
You can now head to the list of the best SIEM tools to help secure your organization from cyber-attacks.
John Walter is an Electrical and Electronics Engineer with deep passion for software development, and blockchain technology. He loves to learn new technologies and educate the online community about them. He is also a classical organist.