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SIEM: Introduction to SIEM and 4 Top SIEM Tools

SIEM

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) technology has become a fundamental part of identifying and guarding against cyber attacks. It is one of the essential technologies powering the modern security operations center (SOC).

SIEM is an umbrella term that includes multiple technologies, including log management, security log aggregation, event management, event correlation, behavioral analytics, and security automation.

SIEM captures data from a large number of integrated systems on a company’s network and identifies potential threats. It can correlate data from network, servers, devices, and firewalls, displaying it in a central management console, to allow analysis and response to threats.

Why Is SIEM Important?

Even though a SIEM system may not be completely foolproof, it remains one of the leading indicators for an organization that has a mature security strategy. Cyber-attacks are often hard to detect by individual monitoring tools. Threats are identified more effectively using log files. SIEM’s advanced log management capabilities make it a central hub for network visibility.

When threats are detected, SIEM sends alerts and notifications to other systems, including on-call notification systems. In addition, modern SIEM systems can make use of automated responses, behavior analytics, and security orchestration for integrated security tools.

Traditionally, SIEM systems were expensive and difficult to deploy and manage. However, a new generation of cloud-based SIEM solutions are suitable even for smaller organizations without in-depth security expertise.

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Essential SIEM Capabilities

Here are a few common core features across SIEM systems.

Log Data Management

Log data needs to be collected from different sources, each with their method of categorizing and recording data. A SIEM system needs to be able to normalize data efficiently. This data is then compared to data recorded earlier. 

The SIEM system is then able to identify patterns of unwanted behavior and raise alerts for timely action. Analysts can also look through the data in a bid to identify criteria for future alerts. 

Compliance Reporting

In most cases, a SIEM system comes with a built-in reporting system that can help in ensuring your organization is compliant with the different requirements.

Your choice of SIEM will be guided by the different requirements of standards your organization needs to comply with.

Threat Intelligence

SIEM systems can enrich data from the network environment with threat intelligence feeds, to help security teams understand the threat actors behind an incident, how severe an incident is, and what is the most effective way to respond to it.

Fine Tuning Alert Conditions

An efficient SIEM solution can set complex rules for security alerts. Updating and refining alerts are the primary way to keep an organization’s SIEM system alert to new threats.

It is equally important that your SIEM system can effectively filter and prioritize security alerts to ensure that your security team is not flooded with warnings and avoid alert fatigue. If your alerts are not fine-tuned, your team will end up having to sift through huge volumes of log data, and might miss high priority alerts.

Dashboard

A critical element of a SIEM solution is its dashboard or management console. The console should have effective visualization of threats, provide easy access to alerts, and make it possible for experienced operators to drill down and explore data to investigate threats in more detail.

XDR

SIEM systems are converging with a new type of security platform known as extended detection and response (XDR). Both SIEM and XDR systems can correlate data from a large variety of sources, identify security incidents, facilitate rapid human response, and also respond to threats automatically. Modern SIEM solutions enable XDR when they offer one interface that allows analysts to detect, investigate, and respond to threats across silos in the IT environment.

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Top 4 SIEM Tools 

Here are some of the leading Security Information and Event Management solutions on the market today.

Splunk Enterprise Security

The Splunk SIEM is a popular choice among SIEM users. It is based on Splunk’s highly scalable, battle tested log analysis platform. Machine and Network data is monitored in real-time. The Notable Events Framework calls out alerts that can be reviewed and refined by users.

The Splunk UI is very simple making it easy to respond to threats. During an incident review, users are presented with an overview and then click through to detailed annotations of past events. Splunk’s Asset Investigator is great at flagging threats and their impact on the organization. 

IBM QRadar   

QRadar is IBM’s answer to Security Information and Event Management and offers a host of log management, data collection, analytics and intrusion detection features that assist in keeping your organization’s network infrastructure alert to possible threats. It also has robust analytics capabilities.

QRadar’s risk modeling analytics can simulate possible attacks and can be utilized to monitor many virtual and physical environments on an organization’s network.

Exabeam

Exabeam provides a cloud-based Security Information and Event Management solution backed by a highly scalable data lake. This Enterprise Threat and Risk Management (ETRM) platform provides advanced behavioral analytics and automated incident response based on security orchestration and automation (SOAR) technology.

Exabeam also has built-in identity tracking and threat detection to identify unauthorized users on the network. 

LogRhythm Security Intelligence Platform

A pioneer of the Security Information and Event Management market, LogRhythm provides log correlation, behavioral analysis, and AI. The platform is compatible with many log types and devices. Settings can be easily modified using the Deployment Management interface.

The UI does need a bit of getting used to during the initial stages. However, the system provides solid documentation and support.

Summary

Irrespective of the Security Information and Event Management system you choose to deploy for your organization, the key is to adopt the solution gradually. It is best to incorporate your SIEM solution into your IT infrastructure piece-by-piece and add alerting tools to elevate those critical notifications. 

Gradual incorporating SIEM allows you to understand the needs of your IT infrastructure and fine-tune the process accordingly. A clear understanding of your organization’s goals when it comes to adopting SIEM is imperative for successful adoption.

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