Security information and event management (SIEM) solutions enable organizations to improve their threat detection and incident response processes. They do this by aggregating and analyzing event data, which makes it easier for businesses to identify anomalous or malicious behavior.
A SIEM tool collects event data from a company’s systems, applications, infrastructure and endpoints, as well as contextual information such as regular user behaviors and existing threat intelligence, then centralize and normalize that data to make it more accessible. The SIEM tool then analyzes this data in real-time to identify unusual behaviors that could indicate the presence of a security threat.
The strongest SIEM solutions have robust reporting features, which provide security teams with detailed forensics of security incidents that they can use to inform and improve their incident response processes. They also offer analytics-based alerting, which notifies security teams of potential threats so that they can respond more quickly and efficiently, reducing the remediation time and—consequently—the damage the threat is able to cause.
As well as detecting security risks and enabling security teams to make data-driven decisions when it comes to incident response, SIEM tools can be used demonstrate compliance with data protection regulations such as GDPR, PCI-DSS, HIPAA and SOX. They can also be used to keep track of data usage to help organizations manage their growth.
In this article, we’ll explore the top SIEM solutions designed to help your business identify and efficiently remediate cybersecurity threats. These solutions offer a range of capabilities, including data collection and analysis, threat detection, incident investigation, and alerting. We’ll give you some background information on the provider and the key features of each solution, as well as the type of customer that they are most suitable for.
What are the key features of a SIEM solution?
All modern SIEM solutions should enable security teams to detect and investigate threats, as well as automate incident response processes. But there are other features that your organization may want to look for when choosing a SIEM solution, depending on your use case. These include:
• Visualization of threat intelligence and event data, to enable security teams and non-technical users to understand their attack surface more easily
• Incident triaging, to help security teams prioritize which incidents require their attention most urgently
• Advanced machine learning-based analytics that utilizes user and event data to identify abnormal behaviors across your environment
• Unlimited, quick log collection
• Data normalization, to make it easier for security teams to understand and compare data coming in from different sources
• Threat response workflow automation, which enables security teams to automate more menial tasks so that they can focus their resources on remediation
Should I invest in a cloud SIEM solution or an on-prem SIEM solution?
Many SIEM providers offer both on-premises and cloud deployment options, and it can be difficult to know which one to go with. There are a few areas to consider when making this decision:
1. Deployment: It can be more difficult to deploy an on-premises solution, as it’s likely to take more time to integrate with your existing architecture. And if not properly configured, the SIEM may not be able to draw threat data from all of your sources, making it less likely to detect threats. A cloud SIEM solution is quicker and easier to deploy, and the provider will often help you manage the deployment and ongoing maintenance of the platform.
2. Control: On-premises SIEM solutions enable organizations to have full control over their own data. Cloud SIEM solutions, however, involve your company’s data being stored on the provider’s servers; this may be in their own cloud, or in a public cloud such as AWS or Azure. Some organizations are required by compliance regulations to keep a record of any data they store in the cloud, which can be time-consuming and may mean that an on-prem deployment is the better option.
3. Scalability: On-premises solutions are often cheaper to deploy initially, but it can be difficult to upgrade them if your business grows or starts processing more data than you originally budgeted for. Cloud solutions, on the other hand, are much easier to scale in line with your business requirements, because they’re usually delivered on a subscription-based license and enable you to add or remove features as needed, with immediate effect.
4. Accessibility: Cloud SIEM solutions are much easier for remote and hybrid teams to access than on-premises ones, as security teams can sign in to and manage the SIEM securely from anywhere, at any time.
5. Updates: Organizations that invest in an on-premises SIEM solution are responsible for updating that solution themselves. Administering these updates can often be time-consuming and require you to pause log collection, resulting in down-time. Those that invest in cloud SIEM solutions needn’t worry about this, as updates are usually managed by the provider.
Generally, if your business isn’t restricted by compliance and privacy requirements that require you to have certain controls over your data, we recommend that you invest in a cloud SIEM solution. But, ultimately, you need to evaluate which of the above points are most important to your organization, and make your decision based on those factors.
And the answer may not be black and white: traditional SIEM solutions are increasingly adding features, such as advanced machine learning-based analytics, which leverage cloud infrastructure, so you should also consider whether an on-prem or cloud solution will offer the feature set your organization needs.
What are some of the challenges of using a SIEM?
The main challenge when it comes to using a SIEM solution is navigating false alerts and reducing alert fatigue—the action of becoming desensitized to alerts because you’re overwhelmed with false positives constantly.
To overcome this, you should look for a SIEM that combines event data with contextual threat intelligence to give you more information on the background of each incident, and enables you to configure custom log rules and alert rules to help reduce false positives. You should also look for a solution that assigns a risk score to each incident or offers triaging to help you prioritize which ones need responding to first.