SIEM solutions provide a consolidated view of security events, making them an essential component of cybersecurity. This article is relevant for anyone who does not fully understand how SIEM solutions work and why they are such a crucial component of cybersecurity. We will discuss the main advantages of using SIEM as well as some of the top SIEM vendors and why their products are unique.
In this post:
What is SIEM and how does it work?
Security information and event management (SIEM) is a threat detection system that centralizes security alerts coming from various sources and creates compliance reports.
SIEM solutions use data aggregation and data normalization to provide an integrated view of all security events in a single platform. Users can detect threats in real time and security analysts no longer need to waste time searching for all the notifications generated by different threat hunting and monitoring components.
In addition to SIEM, security personnel can define regular and abnormal activity using rules. Machine learning and AI can be used to continuously update user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA) behavioral models to reduce false positives . The data collected by the SIEM system is analyzed relative to the defined rules and identified behavioral patterns. Any time abnormal activity is detected, security personnel are alerted.
SIEM solutions help provide customized cybersecurity protection based on predetermined rules, security event correlations and machine learning. They also store past log data, making it easy to search for historical information and generate compliance reporting.
The benefits of adopting a SIEM strategy
Cybersecurity is constantly evolving as criminals find new ways to breach security perimeters.
A strong line of defense is more important than ever, and understanding the benefits of SIEM solutions will help you determine what you need to protect your organization.
- Threat detection—SIEMs provide accurate threat detection with the aid of rules and behavior analytics. They also aggregate threat feeds, backlists and geolocations.
- Threat intelligence and security alerting—many SIEMs connect your security system to a threat intelligence feed. This ensures your business is up to date on the latest cyber threats. SIEMs also aggregate and normalize your security data, cross-checking various sources, assessing your system activity, and alerting you anytime they identify a suspicious event.
- Compliance assessment and reporting—compliance is one of the biggest hurdles for any business, and it is only getting more complex. Regulations such as FFIEC, HIPAA and PCI, define how and what data needs to be stored. Failing to meet regulatory requirements can have catastrophic results for a business. SIEMs provide compliance reporting and can help you identify your business’ effectiveness in meeting regulatory requirements.
- Real-time notifications—where security is concerned, time is of the essence and SIEMs will notify you of any security breaches in real time. This allows your business to respond immediately to a potential threat.
- Data aggregation—centralizing information from many sources and providing a clear picture of all your network activities is the most important feature of SIEM. Without this, it would be easy to lose track of dark corners in your network, especially as your business grows. This lack of visibility is easily exploited by cybercriminals, leaving your network vulnerable to undetected infiltration.
- Data normalization—your security system is comprised of vast amounts of data from different sources. To identify correlations in security events, all of this data needs to be formatted consistently. SIEM normalizes all your security data, making it easier to analyze and draw meaningful conclusions from it.
Top SIEM Solutions
SIEM has become a basic component of cybersecurity. However, not all SIEM solutions are created equal. When deciding on which SIEM to adopt, it is important to keep in mind that SIEM is not an isolated solution but should be part of a larger security strategy. Some of the top SIEM solutions are listed below.
Splunk has a very popular SIEM solution. What sets it apart from other vendors is its ability to handle both security as well as application and network monitoring use cases. This makes it popular with both security personnel as well as operations users. Like most top SIEM solutions, Splunk’s SIEM provides information in real time, and the user interface is relatively user-friendly.
However, this solution does not provide flat-rate pricing for log management. Pricing is based on the volume of data, meaning your costs can quickly spiral out of control as your business grows. Moreover, Splunk does not provide automated lateral movement detection. To detect lateral movement, many queries need to be run, resulting in a large number of false positives.
LogRhythm is a pioneer of SIEM and earned itself a solid reputation. LogRythm’s solution also incorporates many analytical tools, as well as incorporating AI, and log correlation. While integrating with LogRhythm is relatively hassle-free, there is a steeper learning curve as it is not as user-friendly as some other solutions.
Moreover, LogRhythm’s solution does not support automated detection of all lateral movement. Therefore, analysts are required to manually combine different timelines to detect account switching. This is problematic because attackers often use lateral movement in your network to search for valuable information or assets.
Exabeam provides a comprehensive SIEM solution that is both effective and cost-friendly.
Exabeam’s new generation SIEM solution uses a behavior-based approach to threat detection, aggregating all relevant events and weeding out legitimate events, and using machine learning to monitor threats in real time. By tracking all normal behavior, you can easily weed out false positives. This improves detection rates and ensures that all alerts are considered, even those coming from systems that generate too many alerts.
In addition, the Exabeam SIEM solution provided is natively integrated with its security orchestration and automation (SOAR) solution. While traditional SIEM solutions notify users of potential threats, SOAR-integrated SIEMs have an automated incident response capability. Any threat will be dealt with automatically (or in a semi-automated fashion if preferred) in real time, reducing your business’s exposure to risk.
Automated lateral movement detection is also a key component of Exabeam’s SIEM solution. However, not all lateral movement is a cause for concern—it is important to differentiate between innocent and malicious movement.
To maintain the security of your system, you must have access to all of your past log data. Exabeam’s SIEM solution includes unlimited logging for a flat fee, providing a centralized platform to search for all of your current and historical security data.
Unlimited logging using a flat pricing model also makes it possible to provide SIEM protection to additional infrastructures, such as your cloud-based services, at no additional cost. Behavioral analysis also extends to cloud activity, enabling Exabeam’s SIEM to differentiate malicious activity on your cloud applications as well without having to pay more.
As cyber attacks become more common and more high profile, it is more important than ever to understand the cyber security tools that are available. When it comes to security reporting, there is a conflict between the volume of data and practicality. While you do not want to miss a single security event, managing all the alerts from all the systems in your infrastructure in your security infrastructure is simply impossible.
This is where SIEM comes in. By centralizing all of the notifications in a single platform, you will be notified of any event that needs your attention without wasting time monitoring many different systems. To further improve your security profile, you can integrate SIEM with solutions like SOAR and UEBA to automate threat detection, reduce false positives and respond to threats.