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 – this makes it easier for businesses to identify anomalous or malicious behavior.
There are two main types of SIEM: cloud SIEM solutions, and on-prem SIEM solutions. While the deployment of these tools differs, they work in much the same way. 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. The solution will then centralize and normalize that data to make it more accessible. A SIEM tool can analyze 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 to 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 on-prem and cloud 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 SIEM Solutions?
SIEM stands for “security information and event management”. These solutions enable you to collate and manage security information and events. They aggregate and analyze security and event data, making it easier for IT teams to identify anomalous behaviour that could indicate that their network has been breached.
The best SIEM solutions don’t just offer logs of event data, they also carry out comprehensive analysis of the data, alert IT teams to unusual behavior, and provide them with detailed context of any security incidents that will help them identify the root cause of the incident. This data makes it much easier to carry out accurate remediation procedures. While SIEM tools themselves don’t usually offer incident response functionality, they often offer integrations with third-party tools (such as SOAR solutions) to help the IT and security team orchestrate remediation actions efficiently, based on data they’ve received from their SIEM tool.
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 you should look for in a SIEM solution, depending on your use case. These include:
- Visualization of threat intelligence and event data, to enable you to understand your attack surface more easily
- Incident triaging, to help you prioritize which incidents require attention most urgently
- Advanced machine learning-based analytics that identifies abnormal behavior across your environment
- Unlimited, quick log collection
- Data normalization, to make it easier for you to understand and compare data from different sources
- Threat response workflow automation, which enables you to automate menial tasks and focus 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:
- 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. 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.
- 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. 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.
- 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 are much easier to scale because they’re usually delivered on a subscription-based license and enable you to add or remove features as needed, with immediate effect.
- 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.
- 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.
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 constantly overwhelmed with false positives.
To overcome this, you should look for a SIEM that gives you contextual information on each incident, enables you to configure custom log and alert rules to help reduce false positives, and assigns risk scores to each incident or offers triaging to help you prioritize your responses.