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Introduction to SIEM and How SIEM Protects Your Organization

23 July, 2020

Technology

Every device in our organization produces data - from your servers down to that cheap little wifi-connected device your admin assistant has sitting on his/her desk. That data is compiled in logs, and those logs are stored on your system for security tracking and to meet compliance standards.

SIEM or Security Information and Event Management is the process of aggregating all of that log data to determine whether or not there is suspicious activity and then alerting/reporting on that activity. The analytics and reporting from a SIEM system can be displayed utilizing a GUI (Graphical User Interface). The GUI is an online “central control” that allows IT professionals to see what has happened and is happening within your system from a granular level to the view at 30,000 feet.

The graphical representations of your organization’s cybersecurity health provide you with the data needed to determine how well your IT security professionals and the proactive cybersecurity protocols you have in place are working.

In today’s world of IT protection, SIEM systems are providing the critical function of safeguarding the data and assets of organizations just like yours. The underlying principle of a SIEM system is that relevant data about your company’s security is produced in multiple locations by dozens (if not hundreds) of different hardware and software systems. Being able to look at all the normalized data generated by those endpoints within a customizable online dashboard makes it easier to spot suspicious trends and see patterns that are out of the ordinary.

A SIEM system collects data into a central repository for trend analysis and provides automated reporting for compliance and centralized reporting.

What Kind of Events Can Trigger an Alert or Report from a SIEM System?

  • Anomalies created by undefined/unusual user behavior
  • Changes to log data files
  • Changes to role-based access or access policies
  • Confidential file access
  • Config.Sys changes
  • Internal espionage (server access)
  • Login failures
  • Out of date antivirus
  • Out of date Operating Systems patches
  • Policy violations
  • Spread of unauthorized applications (malware) through the system
  • Systems errors
  • Systems outages
  • Unauthorized server access (hacks)

Why Are Forward-leaning Companies Depending on SIEM Systems? (Advantages)

  • It’s difficult and costly to view and analyze logs from hundreds of devices across multiple locations without a SIEM.
  • SIEM lets you see what has happened in your network, whose credentials were used, how, when, and for what.
  • Forensic capabilities and reporting help satisfy some of the compliance requirements in HIPAA, FINRA, ISO27001, etc.
  • Reporting can be defined to lower false positives or alerts about inconsequential activity.
  • Historical reports show IT admins what systems changes may have triggered or contributed to an incident.
  • The health of an IT system – bandwidth, data storage, computing capacity, application usage, etc. can all be viewed within the SIEM dashboard.

SIEM by the Numbers

According to a 451 Research report, 53.5% of businesses are using a SIEM system.

However, 68% aren’t utilizing their SIEM as much as they expected they would.

Why?

Part of the reason has to do with the setup.

The same study found that only about 42% of businesses using a SIEM had more than 60% of their data connected into the SIEM.

Simply put, a SIEM can only do as much and be as effective as the data to which it is given access.

The other top factors that played into the adoption of or full utilization of SIEM systems by enterprises were:

  • Lack of IT Professionals with SIEM Expertise
  • Not enough internal IT Professionals
  • SIEM Complexity and Setup

The PRONIX team helps you avoid these stumbling blocks and enables you to make full use of the cybersecurity advantages offered by a SIEM system by implementing, managing, and handling alerts for you if needed.

SIEM in the Cloud

As businesses move more of their processes into the cloud to take advantage of digital transformation capabilities, it’s important to know that SIEM systems are built to handle cloud and virtualized environments as well as in-house IT assets. In fact, the more geo-diversified your organization’s IT assets become, the more critical it is to have a SIEM system that will be your one source of truth on one pane of glass.

What are the Most Popular SIEM Systems?

  • Splunk
  • Intel (McAfee)
  • SolarWinds
  • HP
  • IBM
  • LogRhythm
  • AlienVault
  • Trustwave

What Sectors are Using SIEM Systems the Most?

  • Communications
  • Education
  • Finance
  • Government
  • Healthcare
  • Information
  • Manufacturing
  • Retail
  • Services
  • Utilities

What are the SIEM Process Steps?

  1. Pull data from all endpoints (physical and virtual)
  2. Filter data into usable categories
  3. Examine data to discover anomalies or threats
  4. Build reports, display findings, and send alerts

What is the SIEM System’s Biggest Advantage for Your Business?

The answer to this question can be summed up in one word: “TIME.”

A SIEM discovers issues and sends out alerts in real-time, allowing your cybersecurity team to find out about, remediate, and resolve the threat before it impacts your entire network.

Have more questions about the capability of a SIEM system? We’d be happy to help you sort out which system and setup would be best for your application or troubleshoot your current system.