siem benefits

Benefits of SIEM: How It Drives Security Efficiency and Threat Detection

Andrew Douthwaite

June 21, 2024

There are a lot of cybersecurity solutions available on the market today. Some provide specialized services, while others take a far reaching approach to protect devices and networks from multiple angles. Cybersecurity products work best when stacked together, but choosing the most capable solutions will reduce the number of elements that you’ll ultimately need in your arsenal. 

SIEM benefits your security stack by delivering on a number of fronts. It is an incredibly capable type of cybersecurity solution that combines the capabilities of two separate products into a single, comprehensive package. Let’s take a look at what SIEM is, its benefits, and how it drives security efficiency and threat detection in the twenty-first century.

What is SIEM?

Security Information and Event Management, or SIEM, is a type of cybersecurity technology designed to simultaneously monitor and analyze network and device activity. It is based on two pieces of existing technology: Security Information Management (SIM) is a technology that collects and analyzes application and device log data, and Security Event Management (SEM), which monitors networks and devices for activity and events in real time. Combining continuous monitoring with real-time analysis provides security teams with the best chance of stopping an attack before it does any real damage.

SIEM solutions also provide security teams with better visibility into everything happening on the network, providing immediate recognition of when and where an unusual activity is detected. That early warning gives us the ability to respond rapidly and take corrective action to reduce damage, as well as to prevent future attacks. 

SIEM is a powerful cybersecurity tool that complements existing programs to provide some of the most comprehensive protection available to organizations today. But SIEM benefits don’t stop at simple monitoring and response. Once you understand how SIEM works, you’ll have a better understanding of all it has to offer.

How SIEM Works

Very simply, SIEM solutions provide their wide range of benefits through a variety of different protocols meant to identify threats, protect users and data, and rapidly respond to security incidents if they do occur. It’s a sophisticated solution that can help your organization operate in a digital world without opening yourself up to cybercriminals, and one well worth a more in-depth explanation of how SIEM benefits organizations.

SIEM software analyzes activity from multiple resources across your IT infrastructure in real-time. IT resources may include personal devices (endpoints), servers, application and device logs, and anything else stored in or connected to your network. 

As the software analyzes network information and behaviors, it creates behavioral baselines that represent what your normal network activity looks like. This provides a reference point it can use to detect abnormal behaviors and identify potential security incidents before systems are infiltrated and data is accessed. Early detection is key in preventing data loss and reputational harm from security breaches or other types of security incidents. 

As you may have guessed, there are a lot of moving parts that go into the SIEM equation, and some are more crucial than others for basic protection. If you choose to go with the most comprehensive and expensive solution, you will likely get all the functionality and SIEM benefits on the market, but you don’t necessarily need the highest cost solution.

Choosing the Right SIEM Solution

Not all Security Information and Event Management solutions are created equally. Choosing the right one means making sure it provides all the SIEM features and benefits your organization needs to protect its network effectively. 

We’ve looked at some of the SIEM benefits that set it apart from other types of cybersecurity solutions, but now we’re going to dig deeper into the core functionality you can expect out of a capable SIEM solution. Here are some things every SIEM solution must have.

Incident Monitoring and Security Alerts

One of the primary duties of a SIEM solution is the continuous monitoring of our networks and everything connected to them. Through this monitoring and real-time analysis, SIEM solutions can identify anomalies with amazing accuracy and alert security teams in a timely manner. 

Alerts can include audits of all activity surrounding security events, giving security experts the information they need to respond appropriately. The information obtained provides security teams with insight into how threats attempt to evade detection, and gives us a leg up in preparing for future threats. The ability to set up security alerts to deliver relevant data is an important part of getting the protection you need.

Event Correlation

Solid SIEM solutions are incredibly adept at identifying and understanding patterns. This pattern recognition is known as event correlation, and it allows software to recognize anything that is out of place and may present a security concern. If a certain set of criteria are met and the SIEM software sees the anomaly as a potential threat, security teams are alerted immediately so they can mount a rapid response.

Log Management

We gain a tremendous amount of visibility into networks through log management. Collecting, aggregating, and analyzing logs from network devices such as email servers, proxies, and authentication systems provide a lot of valuable information. Proper log management can allow network administrators to rapidly identify and respond to threats, develop more advanced threat detection strategies, and can even help keep organizations compliant with regulatory bodies.

Compliance Management

Industries like healthcare, finance, and energy have very specific compliance and regulatory monitoring requirements. SIEM benefits your organization by meeting all regulatory requirements and generating reports if it finds a problem. Many SIEM solutions even come standard with features designed to generate reports that are specific to your industry. It’s an easy way to keep your business compliant and provide clients with peace of mind. If you are in an industry with strict compliance requirements, this is an absolute must.

Top SIEM Benefits for Organizations

Most of us know how potentially devastating a sophisticated cyberattack can be on an individual or organization. It can compromise our sensitive data and even render devices and whole networks useless. Protecting them with a robust solution is more important now than it ever has been. Luckily, SIEM’s benefits far surpass those of some of the most popular alternatives on the market. Let’s look at some of the key benefits of SIEM and how they protect our digital safety.

Advanced Threat Identification and Response

One of the biggest benefits of SIEM lie in the real-time, advanced threat identification and incident response opportunities it provides. SIEM solutions aggregate analytics info in easy to understand language through a centralized portal, meaning security teams don’t have to dig through deep logs to understand what is going on with the network and connected devices. This informs us of everything happening on our networks and allows for rapid response to both unusual behavior and to attacks as they occur.

Artificial Intelligence

The newest generations of SIEM technology use advanced artificial intelligence (AI) to provide some of the most comprehensive threat protection on the market. AI algorithms make accurate security incident detection and response much more efficient than they were in the past. Artificial intelligence is one of the key SIEM benefits, and may reshape the way we hunt for threats in the future.

Advanced Auditing and Reporting

If you are in an industry that relies on data security above all else, you understand the need for tight controls on your data vault and everyone entering or exiting it. SIEM benefits these types of organizations by keeping them compliant through built-in advanced auditing and reporting procedures.

Unparallelled Visibility

SIEM systems provide organizations with unparalleled, real-time visibility into network activities, including connected devices, user behaviors, and application activity. This enhanced visibility allows us to see how users, applications, and devices interact with our networks, and develop behavioral baselines that we can use to identify and respond to deviations. 

Better Detection of Evolving Threats

Every time we thwart a threat, hackers are busy producing a new and ever evolving arsenal of cyber attack options. SIEM provides organizations with the ability to better detect and react to both new and unknown types of threats, reducing the chance we will get caught off guard by a novel piece of programming.

Cost Savings

Like any good software solution, investing in SIEM now can result in significant cost savings down the road. Automating manual tasks allows security teams to focus on threat hunting and preventing security events rather than data collection or other mundane tasks that could more easily be completed by a piece of software. Increasing operational efficiency in this way allows us to respond to incidents more rapidly, mitigating damage and potentially saving a ton of money in responding to an attack of diminished severity.

Making Your SIEM Solution Work for You

As capable as these systems are, we don’t always get what we want out of them without investing some time and effort to set them up correctly and familiarizing our teams with the settings and maintenance responsibilities that allow them to work their best. Before you seriously consider adding SIEM to your security stack, be sure you are ready to invest that time making sure best practices are met.

Define Your Objectives

The only way to get what you want out of any system is to know exactly what you’re looking for. Defining objectives through industry standards, protecting the most valuable IT assets, and designating where the most devastating attacks would be likely to occur is the first step in drawing up your roadmap.

Connect Your Other Security Solutions

Security solutions always work best when paired with complementary products. In order to get the best communication between services, it’s important that we tie them together. Your SIEM will act as a centralized security data management solution. Once everything is connected, your security team will have the ability to see an overview of the entire system, giving them the visibility they need to act quickly and appropriately.

Train Your Staff

To get the most out of your SIEM solution, your staff needs to know how to use it efficiently and effectively. Make sure they are well trained on the front end and provide them with the continuing education they need to adapt to any changes down the road.

Dedicate an Administrator

As important as it is for your whole security staff to know the ins and outs of the system, it’s equally important that you identify a dedicated administrator to manage the team and make sure the SIEM is maintained properly.

SIEM as a Service vs. In-House SIEM

It is possible to accomplish all this in-house with an investment in on-premises SIEM, but most organizations who do will ultimately find themselves overwhelmed if they don’t have a large, dedicated security staff to man the system. This can lead to alert fatigue due to a large number of false positives, possibly resulting in real threats going ignored. SIEM as a service solves this problem by delivering an efficient staff to your doorstep, virtually.

Outsourcing your SIEM needs also ensures you are always using the most up to date technology and the security staff to monitor it day and night. For those without endless resources, this is usually the better option.

The Takeaway

When it comes to protecting our networks and devices from sophisticated security incidents, few options are as simple and accurate as Security Information and Event Management. SIEM benefits organizations by providing centralized security data management that drives efficiency and delivers superior threat detection and response capabilities. This leads to better bottom lines and increased peace of mind. 

If you are interested in learning more about our SIEM solutions, reach out for a consultation. We’ve worked with organizations large and small, and deliver the security solutions that will meet your ever evolving organizational needs.

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