What is a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) System?

What is SIEM?

Security information and event management (SIEM) is a system of services, tools, and technologies that help business owners achieve complete visibility into their company’s information security. It offers a holistic view of security that goes beyond what was possible with older solutions.

Security-responsible businesses small and large run numerous programs providing security protection and reporting. These programs produce a tremendous amount of data – more data than humans are able to process. A SIEM is a system that gathers,analyzes, and presents your company’s up to date security data so that security experts and business owners can better respond to threats, or modify security policies as needed.

For companies unfamiliar with the term, and who find themselves asking “what is SIEM?”, here’s a quick rundown of the solution.

What Is a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) System?

SIEM software is one of the latest ways to manage enterprise security, combining two older technologies into one cohesive system:

  • Security event management (SEM): A threat monitoring tool that analyzes event data in real time to provide data on event correlation and incident response
  • Security information management (SIM): Collects and analyzes log data for later review

When these two technologies are coordinated, you have a combined security system that collects log data across an entire network infrastructure such as host systems, applications, domain controllers, firewalls and antivirus filters.

From there, the SIEM software categorizes incidents/events, analyzes them, and provides activity reports on what’s been found. This helps operators stay on top of potential security events such as malware activity, failed logins, or other behaviors, and offers some insights into which events may escalate into full-blown security incidents.

SIEM tools can also send security alerts based on customized rulesets, notifying users when an activity runs contrary to predetermined criteria and may indicate a security threat. With this real-time visibility, it’s far easier for a security team to stay on top of emerging network security issues than with traditional SEM/SIM tools.

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What Is a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) System?

What is the SIEM Role in Compliance?

A major benefit of SIEM solutions is the end-to-end monitoring and reporting capabilities they provide. These are obviously important to bolster security but also to support compliance by creating a thorough paper trail for auditors to work from. It’s easy to monitor unauthorized network connections, detect insecure protocols, and analyze all types of traffic flow among networks with SIEM.

Whether it’s Sarbanes-Oxley, PCI DSS, or more specialized types of compliance – such as HIPAA for healthcare organizations – SIEM log management offers the most thorough and complete way to maintain governance over industry regulations.

SIEM and Advanced Security

SIEM services can form an important foundation for security operations and incident response, especially when newer SIEM features are considered.

More advanced features of the technology can monitor network and user behaviors in more depth, with some even leveraging machine learning analyses to provide state-of-the-art threat detection with fewer errors. With research showing cybersecurity experts spend up to 25% of their time chasing false positive threats, there’s certainly room for improvement in the detection game.

These deeper statistical analyses have the potential to further streamline SIEM software and create even tighter security, though it’s important to note many of these solutions are still emerging and have yet to be market tested.

However, SIEM solutions of all types are becoming more commonplace for businesses. While most SIEM solutions are still pricey enough to restrict their usage to larger organizations, some vendors are beginning to offer SIEM through software-as-a-service (SaaS) business models.

The good news is that several SIEM tools are available for even small-to-mid-sized businesses with limited budgets, and as time goes on, we expect that these solutions will only become more accessible as the technologies powering them continue to improve.

What is the SIEM Role in Compliance?

Creating End-to-End Security in Your Enterprise

SIEM represents a new way of looking at network security, one that looks at both the security data and the source of that data to create complete visibility for all incidents. If you’re interested in exploring more advanced solutions for your own business cybersecurity, reach out to our security team at Power Consulting.

We have years of expertise performing IT assessments, cybersecurity audits and vulnerability assessments for our clients.

If you need help assessing your company’s security or compliance frameworks, contact us here!