In recent years the business world has seen a shift in secure data storage and management toward the cloud.

This general movement to cloud-based data is one of the reasons that Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) systems are undertaking an important security role in enterprises. More and more businesses of all sizes are protecting their cloud environment with SIEM, which can operate over many IT systems and helps detect potential threat events.

Cloud-based SIEM solutions are here to stay, but what are they?

SIEM is a relatively mature technology and has become a popular tool in IT security programs. Take a look at our handy guide to what SIEM is and why your organization should consider adding it to your security profile if you are not already using it, or reevaluating your existing solution if you find it difficult to manage.

​​In this article, we at CyberMaxx will discuss what a SIEM solution is, how SIEM works, and why it should serve as an important element in your cybersecurity operation setup.

What is SIEM?

SIEM refers to a combination of information security management and event management systems.

By aggregating data from multiple streams, SIEM security tools are able to track changes, keep note of past issues and manage data security in real-time, all under one roof.

The talent shortage in cybersecurity is a serious problem that is only going to get worse in the coming years. With an estimated 3.5 million unfilled positions by 2022, businesses need to start looking for new ways to protect themselves.

Managed SIEM is a growing technology that has been successful in part due to the lack of qualified professionals in the industry at present.

SIEM protects businesses who are being left unarmed against data attacks by providing a 360 IT Security Solution which allows companies to stay on top of their data security. With 57% of enterprises already having a central cloud system and another 24% planning one, SIEM is the way forward.

How does SIEM work?

SIEM works by collecting data and identifying blind spots on on-prem and cloud-based systems. SIEM technology flags anomalies and issues so that cybersecurity attacks can be detected quickly. SIEM software collects data from host systems, devices, and apps and structures it on one platform.

By maintaining a full history of data, SIEM systems are able to track anything that deviates from the norm and alert analysts in order for further investigation. This helps to lower the risk of a fully-fledged cybersecurity attack and increases the chance of you being able to catch it quickly.

All the while, the SIEM system is also managing events in realtime and reporting back. Whilst SIEM is heavily concerned with past data and managing that in order to establish risks, it also tracks real-time cyber threats to offer a holistic IT solution.

Use Cases of SIEM

In the early days, many SIEM implementations were mainly focused on aggregating logs from various devices on a local area network.  This created a data-rich environment and the sheer volume of data generated by all these devices created a very noisy environment. This made it difficult to glean any useful information and for many users, this was simply too much data to sift through.

It also became obvious that two things were critical to making SIEM an effective solution. Those two things were analysis engines to make some sense out of all of this data and people to backstop those analysis engines so that appropriate action and follow-up could be initiated to investigate or act on alerts of suspicious activity.

Today’s managed SIEMs bring all of these elements together in the following ways:

  1. Aggregation of Security Data – by ingesting data from local and cloud-based systems along with IoT devices, an aggregated dataset can be searched to look for signs of compromise across an entire enterprise.
  2. Monitoring of Cyber Attack Patterns – with the ability to correlate data across wider geography of systems, SIEM allows a team to develop a profile of characteristics for attackers.   These profiles or patterns can be leveraged to build in additional controls to prevent and respond to cyber threats and attacks.
  3. User Behavior Baselining – with a well-tuned SIEM, the analysis algorithms and monitoring teams have a solid profile of normal user behavior.   This makes it much easier to spot when users have been compromised as well as identify how attackers may be moving laterally within the network.  This is even more relevant now that so many organizations rely on a remote workforce.
  4. Rapid Support for Incident Response – with such a rich data set, a SIEM allows for a much more robust and timely investigation capability to support incident response teams.
  5. Compliance – most information security regulations and frameworks mandate the capture and review of log information.   For businesses in healthcare, financial services, government, and other highly regulated environments, SIEM is an enabling technology for compliance.

The Future of SIEM

As with many security-related technologies, the application of artificial intelligence (AI) is automation. With such vast quantities of data being ingested, the best-of-breed SIEM solutions will incorporate AI in the analysis of patterns of behavior that indicate a compromise.

Additionally, technologies including SIEM, Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR) are being integrated into next-gen wholistic solutions in the managed detection and response (MDR) and extended detection and response (XDR) solutions being offered by today’s leading security companies.

High-quality SIEM is foundational to delivering on the promises being offered by these new technologies. SIEM provides a significant impact on the speed with which security incidents can detect and mitigate through.

Not convince? Try our MAXX SIEM services on a free trial basis. Trust us, once an organization does, they never look back.