Security Information and event management (SIEM) is a part of the cyber security field which constitutes security information management (SIM) and security event management (SEM).
SIEM generates real-time security alerts, logs security data, and reports for the purpose of compliance. The SIEM tools are used by Security Operations Center (SOC) analysts to detect and manage security incidents, and report potential threats.
SIEM helps in collection and storage of data, it investigates and mitigates threats, and helps in data reporting.
SIEM helps in real-time monitoring of events and a total analysis and tracking of them. It further logs security data for compliance and auditing purposes.
The main function of SIEM is to collect and aggregate data and consolidate into a single platform for easy identification of threats. Some other functions include:
It is significantly easier to manage data that is all under a single roof. SIEM does exactly that by collecting a wide range of data from across all cloud environments, networks, users, applications, assets etc. It enables the security team to manage the network’s log and data much more effectively from a single centralized location. Some SIEM solutions are further designed to integrate third-party intelligence inputs received and correlate them with previously recognized threat signatures and profiles. Thus, new types of attack signatures are effectively recognized and deterred from attacking the network.
Manual detection and correlation of data for an in-depth analysis takes a lot of time. In order to overcome this disadvantage, SIEM solution uses advanced analytics to study and understand the data pattern, correlate events, and provide insight into identifying and locating the potential threats. It significantly improves mean time to detect (MTTD) and mean time to respond (MTTR).
Due to centralized management of data, both on-premise and in cloud environments, SIEM is able to identify all entities of the IT environment. All users, devices, applications, and networks, are monitored effectively for security incidents such as abnormal behavior, behavior anomalies and classifying them accordingly.
A predetermined set of correlation rules enable the administrators to take appropriate and timely action to deter the attacks and prevent a malfunction before it accelerates into a major security incident.
SIEM plays an important role in helping organizations adhere to compliance standards. Due to its significant role in data collection and analysis, SIEM helps in verifying compliance data across the entire network and infrastructure. It generates real time compliance reports for HIPPA, SOX, PCI-DSS, GDPR and various other compliance standards.
This further eases the burden on security management and detects potential violations early on for generating remediation solutions. SIEM solutions also generate automatic reports that meet the compliance requirements.
Irrespective of the size of the organization, it is imperative to take proactive steps in mitigating threats and preventing their occurrence to the extent possible. Some of the benefits of SIEM include:
Improved interdepartmental efficiency- SIEM provides wide visibility of IT environments, which in turn helps in improving efficiency between various departments. This helps the teams to collaborate and handle threats much more proactively and efficiently.
Increased automation capabilities- SIEM integrates seamlessly with SOAR Security Orchestration Automation and Response) capabilities to manage businesses saving both time and resources. Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, complex threats are identified and responded to, in significantly less time as compared to physical teams.
Detects unknown threats in advance- Given the fact the security landscape alters ever so frequently, it is ideal security behavior to be able to detect and respond to both known and unknown threats. Threats such as insider threats, phishing attacks, SQL injections, DDoS attacks, data exfiltration are modern-day security breaches that affect organizations on a regular basis.
Aids in compliance and regulatory auditing- Compliance auditing and reporting happens across a centralized server due to SIEM solutions which makes it easy to collect and analyze system logs. This results in decreased use of internal resources while meeting all the required compliance reporting standards.
Recognizing real-time threats- SIEM solutions help strengthen security posture due to active monitoring solutions across the entire infrastructure. The time required to identify and respond to potential threats is considerably reduced.
Aids in forensic investigations- Digital forensic investigations are easy to conduct with the help of SIEM solutions. Since all the system logs and events are placed in a single location, it is easy to collect and analyze. Past incidents can then be recreated and new events can be checked for any suspicious activity and accordingly security measures can be implemented.
Manages reports necessary for compliance- Organizations need to adhere to strict compliance and regulatory bodies which can be a challenging task considering the mammoth amount of data involved.
Real-time audits and on-demand reporting of regulatory compliance are provided by SIEM solutions which hugely benefit the organizations by reducing their resource expenditure.
Transparency is considerably increased across all users, applications, and devices by SIEM solutions thereby enabling threat detection regardless of from where and how digital assets are accessed.
Network visibility Visibility into network flows is attained by inspecting packet captures that give insights into the IP addresses and protocols that may reveal malicious files detected across the network.
Threat intelligence SIEM solutions must include open-source intelligence to counter attack modern day vulnerabilities.
Log data management SIEM solutions play a major role in gathering data and placing them in a centralized server for ease of use. This helps in analysis, increases productivity, and efficiency.
Real-time alerting SIEM solutions can be customized according to the needs of the organization in generating alerts based on levels, sending notifications etc.
Analytics SIEM, with the help of artificial intelligence and machine learning, can help thwart more advanced and sophisticated threats.
IT compliance Organizations have to adhere to strict compliance standards which can vary depending on coverage and priorities. SIEM solutions allow for full compliance coverage and auditing requirements and even on-demand reporting if opted.
Dashboards and reporting With a large amount of data involved in organizations which can report thousands of events per day, SIEM works towards understanding and reporting incidents with no time lag.
Security and IT integrations Seamless integration of existing security investments along with SIEM solutions generates visibility across the network infrastructure.
SIEM use cases
SIEM has demonstrated a number of useful ways in which it helps in cyber security. Some of the use cases are:
Frequently asked questions
SIEM aims to make data easily accessible from a single platform. It aggregates the data collected from endpoint devices, security applications, security devices, and network infrastructure.
It then goes on categorizing them into actionable items and is thus able to isolate any deviations. The security incident response team is then able to easily investigate these alerts.
Moreover, SIEM solutions are compatible to work in any environment be it on-premises, hybrid, or cloud-based. In fact, SIEM solutions work faster and are simpler to deploy in cloud-based environments.
It is also easier to scale the solutions according to the requirements in case of an increase in data.
The main function of SIEM is to aggregate and consolidate data into a single system for easy search and report purposes.
Some of the key SIEM capabilities are:
SIEM, although a very useful tool, comes with its share of disadvantages. For one, it is very expensive and is resource intensive. Although useful in data analytics, it generates gaps while identifying anomalies. In such cases, user and entity behavior analysis (UEBA) is used.
Moreover, it lacks effective incident response mechanisms. Thus, a careful vetting process of cyber security vendors must be carried out by organizations based on their needs and requirements in order to avoid being overwhelmed by too many alerts, false positives, and other anomalies.
Depending on an organization’s functionality it should determine whether it actually requires a SIEM solution else it will only be wasting money and resources unnecessarily. Meanwhile there are many other solutions that are worth exploring such as managed security services, managed detection and response services.
Central log management is another solution towards SIEM that helps view the log data and help in troubleshooting issues and supporting other business needs. Although SIEM provides much more capable solutions.
Due to the high level of sophisticated threats that are emerging, it has become crucial to come up with solutions that are equally capable of thwarting the attacks effectively.
One such solution is the XSIAM i.e., the extended security intelligence and automation management. It uses artificial intelligence (AI) to reimagine how threats are remediated using automation. This leads to better security with almost real-time detection and response.
It further overrides the need to manually manage information and events.
Moreover, with the increase in use of endpoints, AI plays a pivotal role in improving the cognitive capabilities of the system to make appropriate decisions. While SIEM adapts to accommodate growing endpoints, AI provides solutions to the complex and evolving threat landscape.
It is imperative to invest in a SIEM solution from a provider that you can trust who understands the need for a strong security posture.