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Security Information and Event Management (or SIEM) is a subset of the computer security field, where applications and services join forces with security event management and security information management. When united, these disciplines provide significantly improved real-time statistical data and threat analysis of alerts generated by the related applications. The 2021 Internet Security Threat Report from Sophos denotes that are not only the number of attacks on the rise but also the diverse nature of methodologies and vectors of incursions used. This necessitates the fact that adding a SIEM is especially warranted at this time.

What is SIEM software?

SIEM software provides security professionals a holistic view of a system's activities within a defined IT environment. It has evolved to encompass enhanced log management, combined with advanced event analysis, in conjunction with real-time event data intelligence. This provides an expanded threat surveillance network and incident response system that collects, analyzes, and reliably reports all these interactions. 

How does SIEM work?

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SIEM software functions by assembling log and event data that is generated by multiple devices and applications. It then brings this data together into a centralized platform. This platform then compiles this data and sorts it into easy-to-classify categories. When the SIEM platform identifies a threat, it generates an alert and assigns a threat level based on predetermined rulesets. Using a system like this reduces false-positives and improves investigative efficiencies. Typically, two main objectives are considered when implementing this type of software. 

  1. The first is to provide accurate reporting on security-related incidents and events. 
  2. The second is to alert the preferred personnel to further analyze that activity for potential security issues.

SIEM Capabilities

The capabilities of SIEM software combine and integrate a comprehensive protection plan. This means that bringing these analytics under one roof ensures security teams are more efficient and effective. SIEM software provides a window into the methods attackers utilize by studying the threat rules a malicious user breaks to compromise a system. These procedures normally coincide with well-known techniques and indicators that allow teams to organize and prioritize their reaction to numerous threat intelligence feeds. 

Benefits of SIEM

These as just a few of the benefits of utilizing a security information and event management system. Granted, this is not a complete list, but it does cover the main influential factors contributing to its success. 

  • Increased Security Team Efficiency - SIEM allows teams to respond to actual threats while limiting or eliminating false positives.
  • Reduced Breach Impact - Should a breach occur, a SIEM platform can limit the overall impact of that interaction by quickly focusing on the issue, provide an active response, and later evaluating to take preventative measures against future issues.
  • Expanded Threat Prevention - Well-rounded rulesets actively monitor, log, and respond to intrusions.
  • Cost Reduction - With the decrease in false-positive rate, staff can focus on actual issues, decrease response times, and improve reaction speed. Not to mention the cost saving gained by preventing loss of revenue due to sabotage, piracy, or penetration by malicious individuals.
  • Enhanced Reporting - Coalescing information from multiple data points into a central processing hub increases a security infrastructure's overall efficiency.
  • Optimum Log Analysis and Retention - Because the SIEM infrastructure collects, collates, and unifies incoming data into classifiable patterns, threats can be noted quickly and logged for immediate action by security teams.
  • Improved IT Compliance - With the advent of the above improvements, firms can utilize that data to provide improved security records, showing threat mitigation and privacy enhancements are in place to assist with multiple compliance concerns.

Drawbacks of SIEM

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  • Some open-source SIEM solutions may not provide all the capabilities of a full-fledged solution. Absent components could be adequate log management, GUI visualization tools, software automation, or even a lack of third-party integration. 
  • Certain SIEM software products are unable to accommodate cloud environments. This could be an obstacle in many cases.
  • Decreased functionality or capabilities could seriously hinder your security team’s efforts to implement a SIEM solution.

Typical Features of SIEM

Normally, a SIEM system consists of three basic features:

  1. Log Management and Storage - This is where the bulk of where received information is classified and stored for later evaluation and reference.
  2. Event Management Security - This phase defines the type and scope of the event
  3. Information management security - This feature provides the real-time analytics of the security alerts that are generated by the server applications and other network hardware.

Uses of SIEM

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The four most common uses of SIEM software is as follows.

  • General Security
  • External Threat Detection
  • Compliance (HIPAA, PCI, GDPR)
  • Insider Access Abuse

Open Source SIEM Platforms and Software

Conclusion

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Security Information and Event Management is a necessary component of today’s corporate security infrastructure. Because of most companies' ongoing internal and external threats, the shortage of security staffing and the lack of a complete security platform precipitates the need for a comprehensive system. A SIEM platform alleviates most, if not all, of these issues. It allows clients to handle the influx of threats better, provides the appropriate response to that data, and offers a better methodology for most information security matters.

About the Author: David Singer

I am a g33k, Linux blogger, developer, student, and former Tech Writer for Liquidweb.com. My passion for all things tech drives my hunt for all the coolz. I often need a vacation after I get back from vacation....

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