SIEM – security information and event management
Security Incident and Event Manager (SIEM) is a set of network security tools, often packaged as a complete security solution, used by IT professionals and system administrators to manage multiple security applications and devices, and to respond automatically to resolve security incidents.
How SIEM Solutions Work
SIEM solutions ingest log data from different network hardware and software systems and analyze that data to correlate events and find anomalies or patterns of behavior that may indicate a security breach. They typically employ either a rules-based or statistical correlation approach to find and established relationships between events and provide alterts when threats are observed. Today’s SIEM tools include ingestion and interpretation of logs, threat intelligence feeds, analytics, profiling, security alerts, data presentation and compliance.
SEM and SIM
Related activities and subsets of SIEM include SEM (security event management) and SIM (security information management). In general, SEM is concerned with real-time monitoring of logs and correlation of events, while SIM involves data retention and the later analysis and reporting on log data and security records. [Source: eSecurityPlanet]
Benefits of SIEM Platforms
SIEM products have numerous benefits and advantages to the organization. These are the 4 areas that most companies benefit from using SIEM products.
1. Enhanced Security & Data Aggregation Capabilities
Typically as organizations scale past a certain size, they tend to lose visibility into parts of their networks which leaves them vulnerable to hacks and attacks. SIEM solutions aggregate data from all sources across the organization to bring to light any potential vulnerabilities and gives control and visibility back to the organization.
2. Increased Compliance with Current Regulations
Keeping up with the regulatory environment in your industry can be a complex and ever changing challenge. Many government mandates require sensitive data to be stored and logged in a particular manner (ie. HIPPA) and SIEM solutions facilitate this type of sensitive information being organized and stored in a compliant way. SIEM products can also monitor and regulate third party access to company data to prevent large scale data breaches or hacks.
3. Real-Time Notices and Monitoring of Policy Violations & Threats
Not only can SIEM products prevent data breaches and keep your enterprise secure, it also can provide instant alerts when potential threats or breached occur. This prevents the dreaded situation of learning that sensitive data has been compromised and been open to hackers for years.
SIEM products can handle a tremendous amount of data that can be used to create a baseline of what is normal for the company s operations that can be used to quickly identify abnormalities and potential problems. Without access and aggregation of the vast number of data sources, threats and breaches into obscure parts of the business can go unnoticed.
4. Forensic Analysis of Large Scale Security Breaches
In the unfortunate event that large scale data breaches do occur, SIEM products are able to provide forensic insight and information into the root cause of the attack and what data or information was potentially compromised. This type of information becomes invaluable in the damage control phase of a breach to accurately assess the damage and mitigate further reputation and commercial loss.
Machine Learning, Deep Learning, & Artificial Intelligence in Modern SIEM Products
In the past, most SIEM products have operated mainly on a set of if, then rules to flag abnormalities and threats. Today, as advances in research into artificial intelligence and machine learning continue to progress, many SIEM providers are incorporating this technology directly into their products allowing for ever increasing accuracy in threat detection and response. As these technologies become more and more accurate and ubiquitous, expect to see more AI based SIEM products come to market and eventually become the norm.
Features to Consider When Evaluating SIEM Products
While each company has different needs, priorities, and considerations to take into account when choosing a SIEM product, the following are standard features to consider when making your SIEM selection.
1. Integrations With Existing Systems
SIEM products are only as powerful as the data sources they have access to so choosing a SIEM that integrates effectively with existing company systems is vital to the success of an implementation. It will also reduce the integration costs and make the initiative much more popular within the organization. This is generally a major point of consideration when deciding on a SIEM vendor to work with.
2. Artificial Intelligence
As mentioned in the previous section, many companies are shifting from a binary rules based system of detecting threats to a more automated approach leveraging AI, machine and deep learning. While true AI is definitely an asset and differentiator in a SEIM product, many companies may market their AI capabilities before ever truly utilizing the technology in their product offerings.
3. Threat Intelligence
The understanding of common vulnerabilities and threats along with the ability to spot and prevent them is a core function of SIEM products. This makes a product s capabilities in this area of upmost importance when choosing a provider. Their level of competence in this area can be shown through a list of other clients that work with as well as a detailed feature breakdown.
4. Compliance Reporting Capabilities
The importance of compliance reporting in a SIEM product differs depending on the industry your company operates in. Verticals like healthcare, insurance, and finance have the most strict compliance requirements that make advanced SIEM products necessary to meet.
The ability of SIEM products to report on past attacks and determine the root cause can prevent future vulnerabilities as well as show the full extent of a breach. This feature can be the deciding factor between a small breach that is quickly caught and quarantined and a large scale unmitigated hack that makes national news.