Security is one of the top threats facing all companies today. According to Forbes, cybercriminals are successful 93% of the time in penetrating companies’ networks. As a result, corporate cyberattacks in 2021 increased to 925 a week per company, which is 50% more than in 2020. These statistics prove that security is a central component of every business operation today. To counter these threats, you can use a combination of strategies, one of them being Security Information and Event Management (SIEM). In a nutshell, SIEM tools collect data and analyze patterns, so you can identify security threats.
Read on as I explain what SIEM is, what it encompasses, and how you can leverage its capabilities to benefit your firm. First, let’s understand what SIEM is.
What Is SIEM?
SIEM is a software solution that aggregates data from different sources in your IT infrastructure. This platform also stores and analyzes this data to detect and identify threats, measure the performance of security strategies, and more. All this information can give you an idea about your company’s security vulnerabilities. More importantly, SIEM allows you to investigate alerts before they get out of control.
How does SIEM manage all this? What are its components? Let’s discover 3 components in the following section.
3 SIEM Core Components
The security management solution’s components vary based on the vendor and the cost. Some platforms even offer customized SIEM solutions based on your requirements. That said, here are the 3 core components.
Logging is one of SIEM’s core components. It captures data across events in your infrastructure. It also aggregates the data flow from your applications, devices, and networks in real-time.
Above everything, SIEM can also store this information in a central location for easy access.
2. Analyzing and Correlation
Every SIEM solution has analytics and correlation capabilities. It takes the data from its centralized logs and analyzes it for patterns. Most of the time, it also compares data with existing patterns to identify known threats and vulnerabilities. Some SIEM solutions also look for behavior that deviates from established thresholds.
Using this information, the solution sends you custom alerts. It also puts the errors within their context for faster troubleshooting and improved automation.
Reporting is another important SIEM component. It creates easy to understand reports to concisely present the collected analyses. Many standard and custom reporting templates are also a part of this tool, which allows you to produce different reports, catering to different audiences.
Another important aspect of reporting is auditing and compliance. These reports show any deviations from the established compliance requirements. This allows you to fix deviations right away. These measures help your company comply with most industry standards, such as HIPAA, SOX, etc.
Together, these 3 components can help you identify and remedy many security threats. That said, not all firms adopt SIEM tools despite their benefits. Even those that do can’t leverage their full potential. In the following section, I’ll discuss some factors that prevent companies from using SIEM.
Why Can’t Companies Leverage SIEM?
According to a survey by 451Research, a leading Information Security research company, SIEM is a $2 billion industry. Yet, only 21.9% of companies get value from it. Clearly, then, companies aren’t reaching this solution’s full potential. Some prominent reasons include lack of expertise and platform complexity, among others.
Lack of Expertise
It’s difficult to find enough people well-versed in SIEM tools and technologies to meet the needs of all companies. Consequently, it’s becoming hard to hire experts in this field. As a result, companies can’t leverage these SIEM tools as much as they need to.
The second biggest problem is the complexity of the SIEM platform or solution. In many ways, it’s closely related to the lack of expertise. In addition, the use of legacy systems, like mainframes, and the inability to integrate SIEM with existing custom solutions adds to the complexity. The database also has many query limitations, and the market lacks tools to analyze SIEM’s threat intelligence within the infrastructure. That’s why this tool is difficult to use.
Besides the above-mentioned factors, other aspects can also make it difficult to leverage SIEM’s capabilities. Take a look at these 3 examples:
- Rigid corporate culture: Employees may refuse to use new approaches and platforms like SIEM tools.
- Poor technical support: Vendors may not always provide the best support, causing companies to steer clear of new solutions.
- Inadequate budgets: Companies may not have the required funds to set up and maintain SIEM tools. They also may not have the appropriate time and resources to train employees and change their strategy.
Now that you know the problems, what can you do to make the most of SIEM tools for your firm?
Leveraging SIEM for Your Company
SIEM is a powerful tool that can provide security, in-depth analytics, and compliance for your firm. That’s why it’s worth the effort to overcome the implementation challenges. To do so, I’ve compiled a list of 5 best practices. These will help you unlock SIEM’s full potential.
1. Understand the Deployment
As a first step, understand the implementation of SIEM in your organization. Define the solution’s benefits for your business and create appropriate use-cases. This can include your compliance requirements and the correlation rules for data analysis.
You should also understand the features of your chosen solution, so you can better leverage its capabilities.
2. Classify Your Digital Assets
Before deploying a solution, classify your digital assets. That’ll give you better control over your IT infrastructure. More importantly, this helps you understand the analysis better and troubleshoot issues.
3. Document and Practice Incident Response
Document your correlation rules, digital assets, and all other information related to your IT infrastructure. That’ll help you better understand workflows among teams and processes. In turn, the responsible teams can also respond quickly to any security alerts.
4. Use Automation
Automate your processes as much as possible using Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), the Internet of Things (IoT), and more. That’ll help you to pipe the SIEM tools’ output to other parts of your infrastructure for further processing.
5. Fine-Tune Configurations
Stay on top of your business changes and ensure your SIEM processes reflect these changes as well. It’s also a good practice to evaluate SIEM configurations periodically, so they match your business needs.
All these best practices will help you make the most of your SIEM solution. More than anything, you’ll get complete visibility into what’s happening with your infrastructure. That’ll also enable you to respond quickly to security threats and alerts.
The Bottom Line
SIEM tools are a powerful means to safeguard your data and assets. SIEM also comes with other benefits, such as compliance, improved organizational efficiency, the ability to leverage advanced technologies like AI, and more.
However, most organizations today can’t make the most of these SIEM tools because of limitations, such as inadequate expertise, complex integrations, etc.
To overcome these impediments, benefit from the 5 best practices I recommended in this article. For example, you should always customize the deployment and classify your assets. You should also document everything in your SIEM tools and use automation. Lastly, you should fine-tune your configuration.
Do you have more questions about SIEM? Check out the FAQ and Resources sections below!
What is the use of an SIEM?
A Security Information and Event Management platform provides complete visibility into an organization’s IT infrastructure and security. It provides intelligent alerts to boost the overall security of your organization. More importantly, it helps you to respond quickly to security alerts.
How do SIEM tools work?
SIEM tools gather data from different parts of your infrastructure and store them in centralized logs. Next, the tools analyze and correlate the information in these logs to help identify deviations and vulnerabilities. An SIEM solution also helps with reporting and compliance.
Are SIEM and SOC the same?
No, SIEM and Security Operations Center (SOC) aren’t the same. An SIEM is a platform that collects information and correlates it to identify security lapses and vulnerabilities. On the other hand, SOC encompasses people, tools, and processes to plug the vulnerabilities SIEM identifies.
Are SIEM and SOAR synonymous?
No, they aren’t. While SIEM is responsible for identifying threats, a Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR) tool automates the incident response for the identified threats. In this sense, both tools complement each other.
Is it mandatory to have an SIEM tool in my organization?
No, it’s not mandatory, but it’s helpful to have one. This tool helps to identify vulnerabilities by analyzing patterns among tons of data. Since it also provides the context, troubleshooting vulnerabilities becomes easy. Lastly, it helps your company comply with many industry standards.
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