What is SIEM?

Security information and event management (SIEM) is a security solution that helps organizations detect, analyze, and respond to security threats before they disrupt business.

SIEM, pronounced “sim,” combines security information management (SIM) and security event management (SEM), security information and event management (SIEM) offers real-time monitoring and analysis of events as well as tracking and logging of security data for compliance or auditing purposes. SIEM technology collects event log data from a range of sources, identifies activity that deviates from the norm with real-time analysis, and takes appropriate action.

Simply put, SIEM is a security solution that helps organizations recognize potential security threats and vulnerabilities before they have a chance to disrupt business operations. It surfaces user behavior anomalies and uses artificial intelligence to automate many of the manual processes associated with threat detection and incident response and has become a staple in modern-day security operation centers (SOCs) (link to OFFSITE’s SOC page) for security and compliance management use cases.

With the advent of artificial intelligence (AI), SIEM technology has evolved to make threat detection and incident response smarter, faster and more efficient.

How does SIEM work?

At the most basic level, all SIEM solutions perform some level of data aggregation, consolidation and sorting functions in order to identify threats and adhere to data compliance requirements. While some solutions vary in capability, most offer the same core set of functionality:

Log Management

SIEM captures event data from a wide range of source across an organization’s entire network. Logs and flow data from users, applications, assets, cloud environments, and networks is collected, stored and analyzed in real-time, giving IT and security teams the ability to immediately manage their network’s event log and data in one centralized location.

Some SIEM solutions also integrate with third-party threat intelligence feeds in order to correlate their internal security data against previously recognized threat signatures and profiles. Integration with real-time threat feeds enable teams to block or detect new types of attack signatures.

Event Correlation and Analytics

Event correlation is an essential part of any SIEM solution. Utilizing advanced analytics to identify and understand intricate data patterns, event correlation provides insights to quickly locate and mitigate potential threats to business security. SIEM solutions significantly improve mean time to detect (MTTD) and mean time to respond (MTTR) for IT security teams by offloading the manual workflows associated with the in-depth analysis of security events.

Incident Monitoring and Security Alerts

Because they enable centralized management of on-premise and cloud-based infrastructure, SIEM solutions are able to identify all entities of the IT environment. This allows SIEM technology to monitor for security incidents across all connected users, devices, and applications while classifying abnormal behavior as it is detected in the network. Using customizable, predefined correlation rules, administrators can be alerted immediately and take appropriate actions to mitigate it before it materializes into more significant security issues.

Compliance Management and Reporting

SIEM solutions are a popular choice for organizations subject to different forms of regulatory compliance. Due to the automated data collection and analysis that it provides, SIEM is a valuable tool for gathering and verifying compliance data across the entire business infrastructure. SIEM solutions can generate real-time compliance reports for PCI-DSS, GDPR, HIPPA, SOX, and other compliance standards, reducing the burden of security management and detecting potential violations early so they can be addressed. Many of the SIEM solutions come with pre-built, out-of-the-box add-ons that can generate automated reports designed to meet compliance requirements.

Benefits of SIEM

SIEM is an important part of an organization’s cybersecurity ecosystem. SIEM gives security teams a central place to collect, aggregate, and analyze volumes of data across an enterprise, effectively streamlining security workflows. It also delivers operational capabilities such as compliance reporting, incident management, and dashboards that prioritize threat activity. Some of the benefits include:

Advanced Real-time Threat Recognition

SIEM active monitoring solutions across your entire infrastructure significantly reduces the lead time required to identify and react to potential network threats and vulnerabilities, helping to strengthen security posture as the organization scales.

Regulatory Compliance Auditing

SIEM solutions enable centralized compliance auditing and reporting across an entire business infrastructure. Advanced automation streamlines the collection and analysis of system logs and security events to reduce internal resource utilization while meeting strict compliance reporting standards.

AI-driven Automation

Today’s next-gen SIEM solutions integrate with powerful Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR) capabilities, saving time and resources for IT teams as they manage business security. Using deep machine learning that automatically adapts to network behavior, these solutions can handle complex threat identification and incident response protocols in significantly less time than physical teams.

Improved Organizational Efficiency

Because of the improved visibility of IT environments that it provides, SIEM can be an essential driver of improving interdepartmental efficiencies. With a single, unified view of system data and integrated SOAR, teams can communicate and collaborate efficiently when responding to perceived events and security incidents.

Detecting Advanced and Unknown Threats

Considering how quickly the cybersecurity landscape changes, organizations need to be able to rely on solutions that can detect and respond to both known and unknown security threats. Using integrated threat intelligence feeds and AI technology, SIEM solutions can successfully mitigate against modern-day security breaches such as:

Insider threats

Security vulnerabilities or attacks that originate from individuals with authorized access to company networks and digital assets. These attacks could be the result of compromised credentials.

Phishing attacks

Social engineering attacks masquerading as trusted entities, often used to steal user data, login credentials, financial information, or other sensitive business information.

SQL Injections

Malicious code executed via a compromised webpage or application designed to bypass security measures and add, modify, or delete records in an SQL database.

DDoS Attacks

A Distributed-Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack designed to bombard networks and systems with unmanageable levels of traffic, degrading the performance of websites and servers until they are unusable.

Data exfiltration

Data theft or extrusion is commonly achieved by taking advantage of common or easy-to-crack passwords on network assets, or through the use of an Advanced Persistent Threat, or APT.

Conducting Forensic Investigations

SIEM solutions are ideal for conducting digital forensic investigations once a security incident occurs. SIEM solutions allow organizations to efficiently collect and analyze log data from all of their digital assets in one place. This gives them the ability to recreate past incidents or analyze new ones to investigate suspicious activity and implement more effective security processes.

Assessing and Reporting on Compliance

Compliance auditing and reporting is both a necessary and challenging task for many organizations. SIEM solutions dramatically reduce the resource expenditures required to manage this process by providing real-time audits and on-demand reporting of regulatory compliance whenever needed.

Monitoring Users and Applications

With the rise in popularity of remote workforces, SaaS applications and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies, organizations need the level of visibility necessary to mitigate network risks from outside the traditional network perimeter. SIEM solutions track all network activity across all users, devices, and applications, significantly improving transparency across the entire infrastructure and detecting threats regardless of where digital assets and services are being accessed.

Why SIEM is Important for Your Business?

SIEM is important because it makes it easier for enterprises to manage security by filtering massive amounts of security data and prioritizing the security alerts the software generates.

SIEM software enables organizations to detect incidents that may otherwise go undetected. The software analyzes the log entries to identify signs of malicious activity. In addition, since the system gathers events from different sources across the network, it can recreate the timeline of an attack, enabling a company to determine the nature of the attack and its impact on the business.

A SIEM system can also help an organization meet compliance requirements by automatically generating reports that include all the logged security events among these sources. Without SIEM software, the company would have to gather log data and compile the reports manually.

A SIEM system also enhances incident management by enabling the company’s security team to uncover the route an attack takes across the network, identify the sources that were compromised and provide the automated tools to prevent the attacks in progress.

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