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Unlocking the Power of SIEM: Simplify Security Investigations and Enhance Detection with Exabeam

Published
April 21, 2023

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Reading time
8 mins

Security information and event management (SIEM) has become a cornerstone of modern cybersecurity. But not all SIEMs are created equal, and finding a reliable solution can be challenging. In a recent webinar, Exabeam Director of Product Marketing Jeannie Warner and Manager of Market Intelligence Vlad Babiuk discussed how the purpose-built Exabeam SIEM solution simplifies security investigations, enhances detection, and reduces security task time. This blog post will cover the key takeaways from the webinar, including the innovative features of the Exabeam Security Operations Platform and how it can help organizations improve their security posture.

In this article:

Major attack types of 2022

Four main attack types haunted us in the year of cybersecurity horror known as 2022:

  1. Ransomware — Jeannie and Vlad discuss the prevalence and complexity of ransomware attacks in 2022.
  2. Attacks on tools — They observe an increase in attacks on password managers, VPNs, and authentication and authorization tools.
  3. Lapsus$ — The Lapsus$ hacking group leveraged disgruntled employees to gain access to company networks.
  4. Data destruction and exfiltration — NotPetya looked like ransomware, but had the goal of corporate industrial sabotage.

Enhancing security through automation and behavioral analytics

The trend is moving towards automating and consolidating security tools to provide comprehensive visibility and simplify the job of security professionals. Jeannie emphasizes the importance of collecting the right data, regardless of an organization’s budget. While larger budgets might lead to investing in numerous tools, even those with limited resources must find a way to identify true threats amidst a sea of noisy alerts and automate investigations as much as possible. “Because a computer can click through things faster than a human being can cut and paste,” Jeannie points out.

Recognizing patterns of behavior and activity is key in this process. The MITRE ATT&CK® framework is a widely used method for examining these patterns, covering not only machine-detectable events, such as those on endpoints or websites, but also human activities like dumpster diving and social engineering phone calls. This comprehensive approach helps security operations teams detect credential-based attacks — which are involved in most major cyberattacks — by identifying indicators such as lateral movement and privilege escalation.

Selecting the right security tools for effective security operations

Security operations teams need to determine which alerts warrant investigation. To achieve this, organizations invest in SIEM and user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA) solutions. Vlad notes that with numerous options available in the market, it can be challenging for security analysts to identify the tools they truly need. He recommends considering how a tool simplifies existing work processes, provides visibility into an attacker’s actions, and strikes the right balance between complexity and effectiveness. “There are so many different attacks going on,” says Vlad.”You want to offer the analyst a tool that balances it all together and covers the different components so they can actually do their job more effectively and quickly.”

Security log management aims to centralize all data in one location, offering a unified view of the environment. However, Vlad suggests that if a more extensive security perspective is needed, security log management may not be the ideal approach. An alternative, such as SIEM, may be more suitable. But, it’s important to remember that not all SIEM solutions are created equal.

“There are a lot of folks out there that are trying to do the same thing,” Vlad says. Many vendors, including QRadar, ArcSight, Devo, Splunk, Chronicle, Microsoft Sentinel, Securonix, and Cortex, offer security solutions with drawbacks like high costs and complexity. Exabeam, on the other hand, combines the strengths of available solutions while providing security analysts with ease of use. “Yes, you can still make it complex enough for your environment, but it’s easy to use,” Vlad explains. Additionally, Exabeam constantly introduces new capabilities to enhance visibility and address emerging use cases employed by threat actors. This focus on ease of use and empowering users to better understand their environment sets Exabeam apart from competitors.

Enhancing SIEM capabilities with data integration and prioritization

Exabeam integrates with third-party solutions such as CASBs and endpoint protection providers, automating the process of consolidating millions of data points into a meaningful event timeline. By presenting these data points in a timeline, the information forms a coherent narrative that uncovers behavioral anomalies. This helps security operations teams gauge the severity of threats and prioritize their efforts. Such timelines highlight anomalies, assign threat scores, and detect risks that static correlation rules cannot address at scale.

Identifying the appropriate data sources to feed into the SIEM is fundamental. This is typically achieved by determining the events that could cause the most significant business disruption or financial loss and prioritizing accordingly. For instance, an organization might be willing to pay fines for HR data breaches, but could suffer substantial financial losses if their industrial control system (ICS) were to harm an individual. In this case, they would likely prioritize protecting network access and operational technology OT systems. Similarly, a gaming website might prioritize protecting and securing microtransactions to prevent the exposure of users’ credit card information, which would discourage people from playing their games.

Jeannie strongly suggests consolidating syslog components, as they provide a standard format for capturing network activity and show what is happening with each entity (credentials, laptops, servers, towers, etc.). She emphasizes the importance of understanding the human context behind these events. “I need the mapping of what human is using them, where they come from, which organizational unit they might belong to, and then what are they doing,” she says. For example, detecting when a user starts transferring items from a corporate account to a personal one could be valuable. Jeannie concludes that each organization must determine what is best for their environment and build their security stack accordingly. “And [the output of that stack] is what you need to pump into your SIEM,” she states.

Tailoring security solutions to organizational needs and scope

The mission and scope of an organization should guide their decision-making process when selecting an appropriate security solution. Jeannie explains that organizations with a large mission but a small team might benefit from a comprehensive SIEM solution featuring built-in UEBA and security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) capabilities. In contrast, organizations with experienced internal teams may only require threat detection tools. Additionally, organizations just beginning to consolidate their logs might need a user-friendly solution with a minimal learning curve. These factors should be considered when deciding on the most suitable tools.

Integrating UEBA into SIEM systems, as Jeannie highlights, allows automated timelines to handle much of the heavy lifting. Three Exabeam products offer Smart Timelines™ — Exabeam Security Analytics, Exabeam Security Investigation, and Exabeam Fusion. These automated timelines enable a faster and more streamlined reconstruction of events during a security incident, eliminating the need to access multiple systems to determine the incident’s scope and impact. This efficiency allows insider threat teams to perform their tasks more quickly and accurately, ultimately enabling organizations to scale their teams effectively.

Conclusion

Choosing the right SIEM solution can significantly enhance an organization’s security posture. The innovative features and ease of use Exabeam offers make it an excellent choice for companies looking to improve their cybersecurity efforts.

To get more insights from Jeannie and Vlad, see a demo, and listen to the Q&A session, watch the on-demand webinar or read the transcript.

Not all SIEMs are Created Equal

Are you struggling to find a reliable SIEM solution? Exabeam offers a purpose-built solution that simplifies security investigations and helps teams detect intrusions and malicious activity. With simple search interfaces, context-enhanced parsing, and data visualization, Exabeam can cut security task time by 51%. 

Exabeam offers UEBA and SIEM capabilities in the same interface with cloud-native innovation, advanced analytics capabilities, and improved threat detection and response. Watch this on-demand webinar to learn how Exabeam provides better security outcomes than traditional SIEM solutions, such as Splunk. 

You will learn:

  • How Exabeam helps organizations combat evolving cyberthreats with Smart Timelines™ and security tactics
  • Ways in which Exabeam delivers better security outcomes with automation to reduce time spent on security tasks, ease of use without the need for specialized skills, robust behavioral models and visualization strengths, advanced analytics and threat hunting capabilities, and more
  • How Exabeam can help organizations improve their security posture and see a faster return on investment

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