With nearly 15 million data records exposed worldwide due to data breaches in the third quarter of 2022—a 37% rise from the previous year—cyberattacks have become a serious cause of concern for companies. Hackers are constantly looking for new ways to exploit a company’s IT infrastructure, including IT systems, hardware, and applications. This calls for an effective solution like Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) to keep cybersecurity professionals updated with potential threats. So let’s dive into what is SIEM in cybersecurity, why it is crucial for your organization, and how it works.
What is SIEM in Cybersecurity?
SIEM is a cybersecurity software that helps security professionals monitor IT infrastructure and check for anomalies in real time. This is done by centralizing security information from multiple endpoints, servers, applications, and other sources. It alerts the cybersecurity team of an organization in case of an abnormal event. The SIEM platform also maintains detailed data logs of all events (anomalous, adverse, or routine). This helps organizations detect, analyze, and respond to security threats before they harm business operations.
Importance of SIEM in Cybersecurity
SIEM makes it easier for enterprises to manage security by filtering massive amounts of security data and prioritizing security alerts that the software generates. It helps security teams respond quickly and efficiently to potential cyberattacks and helps organizations meet IT compliance requirements.
Furthermore, SIEM solutions significantly improve certain metrics for IT security teams by offloading the manual workflows associated with in-depth analysis of security events. These metrics include the Mean Time to Detect (MTTD) and the Mean Time to Respond (MTTR). MTTD measures how long a problem exists in an IT system before people become aware of it. MTTR, on the other hand, is the average time it takes a system to recover from a failure after the first alert.
How Does SIEM Work
When the SIEM system identifies suspicious user requests or intrusion attempts in the network environment, it logs the event information in its live dashboard to generate a security alert for an organization’s cybersecurity team. The other steps involved in its functioning are as follows:
1. Collecting Data
The SIEM system collects data from multiple network security information sources. These include server systems, operating systems, firewall gateways, virus protection software, and intrusion prevention mechanisms.
2. Correlating Data
Event correlation is an essential part of SIEM. Utilizing advanced analytics to identify and understand intricate data patterns, event correlation provides insights to quickly locate and mitigate potential threats to business security.
3. Triggering Notifications
SIEM has customizable, predefined correlation rules that immediately alert administrators who then take appropriate action to mitigate any risks in an organization’s IT network before it becomes a more complex security issue.
Why Should Your Business Use SIEM
Gone are the days when cybersecurity analysts used to manually sift through millions of fragmented and siloed data for apps and security points. With the adoption of the SIEM platform, they can accelerate the process of detection and respond quickly to cyberattacks, making their investigations more efficient and accurate. Businesses can clearly understand their security network, improve their risk profile, and protect data from potential threats.
Here are some more benefits of SIEM that make it easier for businesses to maintain the highest cybersecurity standards:
1. Meet Compliance Regulations or Insurance Requirements
SIEM applications are useful for compliance as they automate the process of collecting compliance data and generating reports that measure various compliance standards. These reports include all the logged security events from these sources.
2. Detect Incidents You May Not Have Known About
SIEM solutions allow businesses to detect threats that may otherwise go undetected.
For example, SIEM analyzes log entries to identify signs of malicious activities. It gathers events from multiple sources across a network and recreates the timeline of an attack. This feature enables businesses to determine the nature of an attack.
3. Improve Your Security Posture
SIEM can identify potential vulnerabilities and weaknesses in an organization’s network by continuously monitoring and analyzing security data. This can include outdated software, weak passwords, and other security gaps. This visibility into all network activity helps identify potential vulnerabilities and risks. You can thus take steps to remedy them before they’re exploited.
4. Respond More Effectively to Security Incidents
SIEM makes it easier and faster for cybersecurity teams to identify and react to potential threats by centralizing their data. It enhances cybersecurity management by uncovering an attack’s route, identifying compromised sources, and providing automation to stop attacks in progress.
SIEM Best Practices
Be sure you carefully consider the following points to get the most out of SIEM:
Customize the Software’s Rules According to Your Needs
SIEM software usually has pre-configured correlation rules. An organization’s cybersecurity department can customize these rules based on its requirements.
Keep an Eye on Compliance Requirements
SIEM is excellent for improved compliance, so make use of this software and regularly examine it to ensure it is aligned with your organization’s compliance requirements.
Test Your SIEM
Testing is a stage that should not be skipped while implementing SIEM software because it’s crucial to assess how it works and delivers outcomes.
Implement an Incident Response Plan
If a cybersecurity incident happens, prepare your staff to know exactly what to do following a SIEM alert.
What to Look for When Choosing a SIEM Tool?
Understanding what is SIEM in cybersecurity would be incomplete without knowing which criteria you need to take into account when choosing a SIEM tool for your business. Here’s what you should look out for in your chosen tool:
- The ability to integrate third-party threat intelligence feeds for more accurate threat detection
- Rapid investigations and visual correlations
- Ability to monitor the access to your critical resources and check for unusual user behavior or remote login attempts
- Solutions should either be locally installed or cloud-based
But most importantly, before making any decision, consider your organization’s needs and objectives when evaluating the products available in the market.
The List of SIEM Tools
Let’s take a closer look at the different SIEM tools that you can select for your business, depending on your requirements:
This is a free SIEM solution that can integrate with all major operating systems—macOS, Linux, BSD, and Solaris. This solution helps you monitor multiple networks from a single point and allows you to join a Slack channel where you can collaborate with other users.
IBM QRadar can collect log events and network flow data from cloud-based applications. It can be deployed as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering on the IBM cloud, where deployment and maintenance are outsourced. A complex architecture matches its capabilities, so this could be a strong option for enterprises with extensive log management needs. This IBM product is smart and reliable.
One of the most popular open-source SIEM tools, OSSIM offers event collection, normalization, and correlation utilities. Its short-term logging and monitoring capabilities, long-term threat assessment, and built-in automated responses are particularly useful for any IT security team.
Sagan is a multithread, high-performance log analysis engine. It offers all the basic SIEM functionalities with a multithreaded architecture that allows it to use all CPUs for log processes in real time. Sagan also supports different output formats for reporting and analysis, log normalization, script execution on event detection, GeoIP detection/alerting, and time-sensitive alerting.
Improve Your Knowledge of Cybersecurity Solutions with Emeritus
When it comes to your business’s cybersecurity, it’s essential to be clued in on what’s happening in your network and systems at any time. That is exactly what implementing SIEM software will help you achieve. For a deeper understanding of cybersecurity solutions, enroll in any of Emeritus’ online cybersecurity courses. Learn from the top universities and experts to enhance your knowledge and skills to build a lucrative, future-forward career in this information age.
By Aditi Sharma
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