What To Look For In Your Next SIEM Provider
Finding the right SIEM tool is tricky. Let's see what the best SIEM providers can do for you. Let's discuss the capabilities and behaviors of the best SIEM tools.
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Security information and event management (SIEM) software is a security information system that analyzes security alerts and data generated from devices on a network in real-time. It will act as a platform that efficiently collects and stores security data at a central point and then converts it into actionable intelligence. SIEM tooling has become highly relevant, especially if you have a deal with a data/security breach and you need to 'know' how and what happened in such a ‘cyber-security’ incident.
A SIEM tool can oversee this type of incident and improve the management of it by:
- Giving near real-time visibility of an organization’s security system through dashboards and other visual aids
- Allowing Events correlation, using boolean logic rules to add intelligence to raw data
- Allowing cybersecurity personnel to quickly identify an attack's route through the network
- Enabling rapid identification of all sources that were affected by a particular attack
- Providing automated mechanisms to attempt to stop attacks that are still in progress
SIEM tools are often much more than security-focused packages. Don't go into the market blinkered. Look at the capabilities, more than the branding. But what are these capabilities?
Core Components and Capabilities of a SIEM Architecture
Let's discuss some of the core components that you should expect from a great SIEM provider.
This covers the need for a SIEM tool to collect and aggregates data from network, security, servers, databases, applications, and other security systems like firewalls, anti-virus, and Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS). This will involve data consolidation from these various sources through event log management. Collecting and aggregating data from security systems and network devices
This feature is about a SIEM tool, linking events and related data into meaningful bundles which represent a real security incident, threat, vulnerability, or forensic finding. These categorized events will be contrasted against pre-set correlation rules to check if there is suspicious activity. If there is a discrepancy, the system can send an alert warning of a potential security threat.
Threat Intelligence Feeds
This feature is about a SIEM tool, combining internal data with threat intelligence feeds containing data on vulnerabilities, threat actors and attack patterns. Threat intelligence feeds are continuous streams of actionable information on existing or potential threats and bad actors. They are important because they can then correlate the data and process it to produce threat intel and management reports.
A SIEM tool will uses statistical models and machine learning to identify deeper relationships between data elements, and anomalies compared to known trends, and tie them to security concerns. Cyber Security analytics is a growing force that is helping security analysts do much more with log and event data. With new machine learning techniques, it is helping security systems such as SIEMs, identify patterns and threats with no prior definitions, rules, or attack signatures, and with much higher accuracy. With SIEMs providing context on users, devices, and events in virtually all IT systems across the organization, they can offer a mature grounding for advanced analytics techniques. Today’s SIEMs can either integrate with advanced analytics platforms like UEBA (User Entity Behavioral Analytics) or provide these capabilities as an integral part of their product.
A SIEM tool should analyze events and send out alerts to notify security or IT teams of immediate issues, either by email, other types of messaging or via security dashboards. The alerting is defined through the creation of alerting rules, which can check for correlation and aggregation across multiple devices or applications. For example, if new vulnerabilities are detected, your SIEM provider should be able to make you aware of this.
A SIEM tool needs to be able to create and present visualizations, to allow relevant staff to review anomalies, event data, see patterns, and identify activity that does not conform to standard patterns. Dashboards containing multiple visualizations or views, help identify trends, anomalies, and monitor the general health or security status of an environment. Some SIEM tools will come with pre-made dashboards while others will allow users to create and fine-tune their own.
Organizations can use SIEM tools to comply with regulations such as PCI (Payment Card Industry), GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), and SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley Act). They can automate the gathering of compliance data, producing reports that adapt to security, governance, and auditing processes for regulations or standards as identified.
A SIEM tool can store long-term historical data to enable analysis, tracking, and data for compliance requirements. Especially important in forensic investigations, which happen after the fact. Industry standards like PCI, HIPAA, and SOX require that logs be retained for between anything from one and seven years. Historic logs are not only useful for compliance and forensics. They can also be used for deep behavioral analysis with modern SIEM tooling that machine learning and behavioral profiling to intelligently identify anomalies or trends.
A SIEM tool can enable the exploration of log and event data to discover details of a security incident. This relates to the forensic analysis of log data, allowing security staff to figure out how and when a security breach occurred, as well as determine what systems and sensitive information were compromised and which users violated security protocols.
With a SIEM tool, this feature can allow security teams to run queries on SIEM data, filter and pivot the data, to proactively uncover threats or vulnerabilities. Threat hunting can provide alerts containing data and context to investigate a suspected incident, identifies anomalies and vulnerabilities in the network, uses threat intelligence to detect attacks, and checks for similar past incidents.
With a SIEM tool, this feature can provide case management, collaboration, and knowledge sharing around security incidents, allowing security teams to quickly synchronize on the essential data and respond to a threat. By enabling the real-time collection and correlation of information from multiple data sources, a SIEM tool is essentially creating actionable information for incident response. This could either mean a dashboard displaying information in real-time or sending an alert if something abnormal is detected, in either case, the incident response team could act immediately and reduce the impact or even totally prevent a security breach from happening.
Automating your SOC (Security Operation Center) with advanced SIEMs brings forward a capability of automatically responding to incidents, by orchestrating security systems in an approach known as security orchestration and response (SOAR). Built-in SOAR capabilities can collect and process security data in real-time, using correlation rules and machine learning techniques to automatically validate threats. This form of automation can reduce the average time from threat detection to resolution.
All in all...
SIEM technology addresses the key processes of cyber-security, establishing an all-in-one solution to detect advanced threats. SIEM functions include automating log monitoring, correlating data, recognizing patterns, alerting, and providing data for compliance and forensics. With cyber-attacks becoming more numerous and sophisticated, SIEM tools provide a safety net that can catch threats left undetected by other solutions.
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