What Is Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) & Why Is It Important?

What Is Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) & Why Is It Important?

Modern technologies certainly simplify the process of doing business, but they have also become the reason that the number of information flows is constantly increasing. This creates certain difficulties when it comes to cybersecurity, even for a medium-sized enterprise. Because the task of tracking network activity becomes too much for even a team of experts.

What to do in this case? In this article we will talk about such a group of software products as SIEM. We will tell you what it is, and what these systems are used for, and what advantages they have. We will also answer the questions why using SIEM as a service is beneficial for business, and what to look for before choosing the right solution.

What is SIEM?

Security Incident and Event Management (SIEM) is a system that collects, analyzes and accumulates security event data. These software products understand many formats of application logs, can quickly search for the necessary data in these logs and store them for a long time. This information is used by analysts and cybersecurity experts to detect threats in real time, respond quickly to them, investigate security events, and prepare reports for various regulatory authorities.

How does SIEM work?

Modern SIEM systems collect together data from end user devices, servers, network equipment and various security systems — authorization and authentication systems, firewalls and antiviruses, etc., using special programs — agents that analyze and export information to SIEM. Some products may also request information from cloud services and other non-standard sources.

The amount of information that SIEM collects is simply enormous. And this is one of the main features of such systems — they quickly analyze a large amount of information and accurately detect and identify security events, and notify operators of events detected in the logs. The analysis is carried out by taxonomy — the distribution of data by types and categories, and correlation — the comparison of information from different sources. The bottom line is that some security events may seem insignificant when evaluated individually, but when you put them together and look at the big picture, it can seem suspicious. This method is combined with special artificial intelligence technologies and machine learning techniques.

Cybersecurity system operators can customize SIEM by setting rules and limits that determine what type of anomaly is considered a security incident. Such flexibility of SIEM systems allows them to be deeply integrated into the enterprise infrastructure and connect it with various security tools.

Of course, the data flow that SIEM generates requires a lot of network bandwidth and adequate computing power. Therefore, before deploying SIEM in your enterprise, you need to make sure that your infrastructure will work fine with such loads.

Why do you need SIEM?

SIEM tools make it much more convenient to manage cybersecurity in an enterprise. This happens for the simple reason that the system collects a large amount of data in one place, processes it with the help of AI, and can prioritize information security events that are generated by programs and network users.

In addition, SIEM allows you to keep under control all the darkest corners of the infrastructure. Thus, there are no places where security specialists would not be able to detect incidents and threats. Also, SIEM components analyze log records from the entire infrastructure of the enterprise, and can detect malicious activity on the network. Using this information, analysts can recreate the attack timeline and determine its nature.

The AI ​​that is used in SIEM systems can also help create reports that include all the events in the information security system in the enterprise. These reports can be used to obtain various licenses, certificates and permits for the maintenance of a particular business activities.

Due to the fact that SIEM tools make up the overall picture of cybersecurity, analysts can quickly trace the routes of malicious activity on the network, as well as identify the sources of attack, and block them.

SIEM solutions primarily find their application in the field of finance, in large enterprises, as well as in companies that have many offices around the world.

Benefits of SIEM

Benefits may vary by solution and component vendor. In general, the following can be distinguished:

  1. Increasing the efficiency of the cybersecurity service. The main advantage is based on a significant reduction in the time required to identify threats. Security system operators, using analysis templates, can quickly analyze multiple data logs and react in real time to a possible cyberattack. In addition, SIEM reduces the burden on employees, which has a positive effect on their productivity and work efficiency.
  2. Accuracy in identifying threats. Due to the fact that SIEM collects a stream of data about security events from the entire enterprise infrastructure, the system can compare various information, reformat it and analyze it in a common context. Thus, the total number of false positives is reduced.
  3. Complete network overview in real-time. Modern networks generate a large amount of information, have a complex structure, and many databases, servers and devices. SIEM, by collecting security data from all points of the network, allows you to have a general idea of ​​​​what is happening in every nook and cranny of it, without giving hackers room to maneuver.
  4. Improved compliance reporting. Various regulations may impose certain requirements on enterprises that relate to digital security systems. SIEM solutions can easily deal with them directly or indirectly, since they act as the brains of the cybersecurity system: data from the logs stores information about all the actions that have taken place in the infrastructure. Thanks to this, the company can quickly generate structured reports and, if necessary, submit them to regulatory authorities.
  5. Cost efficiency. Automating huge amounts of work allows you to use resources more efficiently and redirect them to other areas of the business. At the same time, the cybersecurity of the enterprise becomes even more manageable and cost-effective.

How to choose the right SIEM product?

A good set of software solutions for managing cybersecurity incidents should provide fast information processing and visual correlations. In addition, the SIEM system must monitor all access to critical enterprise resources, and constantly check users for any unusual, suspicious behavior, as well as remote login attempts. When choosing a SIEM, you also need to consider factors such as budget and the overall level of enterprise security.

Keep in mind that the SIEM system must provide the following features:

  • сollection of information about security events in real time;
  • data analysis and categorization;
  • response to incidents, detection of internal and external threats;
  • application monitoring;
  • monitoring of data access and user activity;
  • scalability and flexibility;
  • journal management, reporting;
  • ease of deployment and support.

SIEM tools and software

Below are some of the leading SIEM vendors:

  1. Exabeam. One of the leading platforms in the industry. Exabeam delivers SOC teams industry-leading analytics, patented anomaly detection, and Smart Timelines to help teams pinpoint the actions that lead to exploits.
  2. IBM. The platform from the tech giant IBM is one of the most advanced on the market. It consists of several systems, provides maximum coverage of network events, collects data from various sources: operating systems, security devices, applications, etc. Also knows how to sort security events by priority, and highlight those that pose the greatest threat; and has many other useful features.
  3. LogRhythm. A comprehensive solution, one of the best SIEM systems. Provides compliance with many standards, for example: PCI DSS, ISO 27001, NERK CIP, GLBA, FISMA, HPAA, SOX GPG 13.
  4. Trellix (McAfee). The solution from this vendor is offered to the client in the form of physical and virtual devices, as well as software. Consists of several modules that can be used both separately and together.
  5. Rapid7. This vendor offers customers a cloud solution, the main feature of which is a deep analysis of the logs, as well as the ability to place special traps to detect unauthorized intrusion into the network.
  6. RSA. The product from this vendor is a set of modules that provide threat visibility based on data from various network sources. For this, several physical or virtual devices are used that process information and store data in real time. There are solutions for both small companies and large, distributed networks.
  7. Splunk. Splunk Enterprise Security can collect event logs, diagnostic results, user activity data and other information from all traditional network components: servers, databases, laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc. The solution has many customizable notifications that, based on the information collected, warn of existing threats and proactively report potential problems.
  8. FireEye. The product allows you to control any security incidents, and combines many proprietary tools that can be easily integrated with third-party tools.

Having studied in more detail the offers from these and other vendors, you will be able to roughly orient yourself about what the market currently offers in this segment. Each solution is unique in its own way, has its own characteristics, advantages and disadvantages.

Conclusions and final remarks

With the help of SIEM tools, you can achieve almost complete automation of the detection of threats in the network. If the system was implemented correctly, the department of employees, which is responsible for information security, moves to a qualitatively new level. Because thanks to SIEM, analysts and cybersecurity specialists already work with the incidents themselves, and not with security events, and can identify anomalies and risks in a timely manner. Also keep in mind that these systems are relatively expensive, resource-intensive, and require experienced staff to get the most out of it.

If you have any questions related to the implementation of SIEM solutions in your company’s infrastructure, our specialists will help you understand the whole variety of solutions and choose the one that will best meet your needs both in terms of functionality and price. Contact us for a consultation today to ensure decent cybersecurity for your business.