What is SIEM (Security Information and Event Management)?


February 1, 2019

Make sure security threats don’t get past you

The modern landscape of the online world is increasingly vast. What began as a local network, struggling to even pipe the word “login,” has now germinated across the entire globe, with roots etched into the very fabric of its consumer’s most sensitive information. This entity now maintains a foothold on not only the lives of drastically high percentages of its users, but also the industries that possess their sensitive information. As always, it is constantly under attack because of its sheer vastness. Any enterprise within this broad network — without the proper security protocols — is inevitably vulnerable to breaches in its architecture. The traditional firewall box that we know today hardly stands a chance against the cyber threats of tomorrow. This is where Security Information and Event Management systems, commonly referred to as SIEMs, come in.

How Does it Work?

SIEM systems integrate two fundamental components of cybersecurity, Security Information Management (SIM) and Security Event Management (SEM). Security Information Management systems, SIMs, monitor a network and contain a central event log which records various types of network information. This incoming data encompasses a wide scope of network information, but primarily pushes out reports documenting figures such as logon sessions to a network, failed password attempts, account lockouts, and other data that concerns the domain of cyber-defense.

Security Event Management systems, or SEMs, on the other hand, are tools which pull log information from SIMs and employ algorithms and computations to analyze the data in search of any potential security threats. Modern industry enterprises use an amalgamation of these two tools – hence, SIEMs. Security Information and Event Management systems unify the features of SIMs and SEMs in order to provide accurate security assessments conscientiously and with higher rates of proficiency. When SIEM solutions are properly enabled, a security engineer has a comprehensive, real-time, approach to security that is highly adaptable to today’s threats.

In real time, these management systems aggregate network data and intelligently detect any prospective security threats. Using a rules-based system or a correlation engine, SIEMs employ predictive analysis tools to build and score queries of security threats. Ideally, it sends alerts pinpointing these threats while taking preventive action to reduce false positives. This process, known as the data management process, is an engineered operation using high levels of data analysis methodologies that aims to deliver precise automated response.

Rob Stroud, a leading analyst and influencer in the field points out that as general technical reach expands, the potential for SIEMs does, as well. “With AI and machine learning we can do inference and pattern-based monitoring and alerting, but the real opportunity is the predictive restoration,” he states. Stroud suggests the future of these security systems is to have the capacity to provide solutions for security threats without human assistance.

SIEM and Government Regulations

As the latest in cybersecurity SIEMs are becoming an essential part of industry infrastructure due to their critical role in safeguarding data universally and intelligently. In fact, SIEMs are required by numerous industries with compliance standards. The Payment Card Industry (PCI), The General Data Protection industry (GDPR), and the Health Insurance industry (HIPAA) all maintain that companies comply with SIEM based cybersecurity regulations. These enterprises accumulate immense amounts of data and thus security is paramount. Compared to traditional firewalls, SIEMs easily intercept and address insider threats and breaches within hosts. Encryption, exfiltration, and anomalous privilege detection are all within the scope of SIEMs, along with countless other features. Through high-end threat hunting, SIEMs provide the upmost security in all cases of cyber defense. Without it, an enterprise is exposed and unguarded.

SIEM Solutions for SMBs

In the past this type of technology has been cost prohibitive for small to midsize businesses. But as the technology improves, these larger providers are able to provide cost-effective solutions on a smaller scale. Some have implemented it better than others. For example, Splunk Enterprise Security is well rated and widely used, but its licensing costs do not make it accessible to small businesses. LogRhythm doesn’t scale well, but is great for small to midsize organizations that already have some security threat intelligence and analysis in place. And AlienVault is truly targeted at the small business with a low-cost entry point and robust features for the businesses who are coming from an unmonitored firewall.

As an IT provider Integris has been approached by all of these companies, requesting the use of their services. Integris has fully evaluated and vetted their services, current user feedback, the pitfalls of their technologies, platform and application integrations, pricing, implementation, and accessibility for our clients.

Tyler Daniels is a Senior Marketing Specialist with Integris.

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