10 Ways Cloud-Based SIEMs Enhance Your Investment Value

by Jamiu Akande

SIEM solutions have come a long way in the past few years. These essential security tools are now smarter than ever, incorporating AI and machine learning, UEBA capabilities, and automated response and orchestration features. They’ve also become more user-friendly, adding intuitive dashboards and visualisations designed to enable security professionals to get to the bottom of any issues quickly.  

All this evolution is helping organisations detect and respond to security incidents faster and more effectively in today’s increasingly complex threat landscape. And it’s being powered by the cloud.  

Next-generation SIEM solutions that are based in the cloud offer a huge range of advantages that their on-premise predecessors struggle to match. Due to legacy SIEM solutions’ reliance on predetermined and outdated rules, today’s sophisticated emerging threats can go undetected. 

The future of SIEM solutions clearly lies in the cloud, with Gartner predicting that 90% of SIEM solutions will offer cloud-exclusive capabilities by the end of 2023.  

But these incredible strides in functionality aren’t the only benefits on offer from cloud-based and cloud-native SIEM products. There’s also a significant potential for cost savings. 

The jobs of cybersecurity professionals are becoming more complicated every day, and the quantity and quality of resources needed to protect their digital assets are growing. But with external economic factors forcing many organisations to tighten their purse strings, cybersecurity spending is under increasing scrutiny.  

Balancing thorough and effective cybersecurity with finite resources is a challenging task. But there are steps that cybersecurity teams can take to get more bang for their buck.  

While the costs associated with both cloud-based and on-premises SIEM can vary depending on factors like data volume, user numbers, and pricing models, overall, cloud-based SIEM platforms offer significant opportunities to reduce costs.  

Here’s how migrating to a cloud-based SIEM solution can help cut costs and empower organisations to get maximum value from their cybersecurity stack.  

  1. Hardware and infrastructure

As is the case with running any kind of software on-premises, legacy SIEM relies on significant amounts of infrastructure and hardware to operate.  

SIEMs are particularly resource-intensive, eating up a lot of functional and storage memory. Businesses need to invest in devices, servers, storage, networking equipment, and other hardware components that can support the operational demands of the SIEM—all of which require hefty upfront spending to acquire and install.  

By migrating to a cloud-based SIEM, you eliminate this initial outlay, as all infrastructure and hardware requirements are taken care of at the vendor’s end.  

 Ready to migrate your SIEM to the cloud? Our whitepaper is packed with valuable insights and expert guidance to make your cloud-based SIEM migration a resounding success. Download the whitepaper 

 2. Ongoing maintenance 

When running SIEM on-premises, maintaining and upgrading the associated infrastructure and hardware is entirely down to the business itself, and this can prove costly.  

Not only is there the general upkeep and optimisation of any infrastructure to consider, but there’s also the running costs involved with operating systems on-premises. Power, cooling, and the physical security of in-house servers all cost money. And then there’s the time cost that comes with making sure your SIEM is always running the latest version and any relevant patches are applied in good time.  

With a cloud-based SIEM, the provider deals with all infrastructure maintenance, software updates, and security patches, reducing the burden on your IT team and the costs associated with ongoing operation and maintenance.  

Plus, you get the peace of mind that your solution is always up-to-date, and that the risk of an expensive and damaging cyber incident occurring is much lower.  

3. Staffing 

Everything we’ve mentioned so far—operating hardware, maintaining infrastructure, and keeping software fully patched—requires time as well as financial investment.  

Managing an on-premises SIEM is a complex job, and requires a dedicated IT team to spend time tuning up hardware, troubleshooting issues, and applying security updates. This time costs money that could be better spent on more value-driven work, like investigating and responding to potential threats.  

By migrating to a cloud-based SIEM, businesses get access to the expertise of the vendor’s team. Having these product experts in your corner to deal with upkeep, help solve problems, and share optimisation tips can drastically reduce the need for your IT teams to spend time on your SIEM, and the potentially steep costs attached to their time.  

4. Scalability  

The innate flexibility of cloud resources, and their common pay-as-you-go pricing models, make them more cost-effective when it comes to scaling resources. 

When the resources that a SIEM consumes are based in the cloud, they can be scaled up or down depending on demand. If you need to increase the volume of data your SIEM ingests, or the number of users, it can take time (and additional hardware) to add such capacity to an on-premises solution.  

Likewise, if you want to remove a data stream or scale down the amount of any particular resource available to your SIEM, this has to be done manually. And in the meantime, that unneeded resource may go to waste, racking up unnecessary spending.  

Cloud-based SIEM solutions allow you to easily scale your resources up or down on demand based on your current needs. Not only does this cut down on waste, but it also enables you to add additional resources quickly when they’re needed, strengthening your security posture and reducing the risk of a costly cyber breach.  

5. Predictable pricing models 

On-premises SIEM software often requires licences to be purchased upfront, and depending on how many users you have, this expense can really add up.  

As with most SaaS solutions, cloud-based SIEM products typically use a subscription pricing model, reducing upfront licencing costs. With these models, businesses pay for the services and resources they use, making pricing more flexible and more predictable, as you’ll be able to track what you’re consuming as you go.  

6. Improved operational efficiency 

Next-generation, cloud-powered SIEM solutions are packed with advanced capabilities that can help cybersecurity teams streamline processes and work more efficiently. 

Features like automation cut down on the effort required from your team to keep the system ticking over, and improve overall operational efficiency without generating extra costs.  

The centralised nature of a cloud-based SIEM can improve efficiency too. This unified view of operations and centralised management capability helps teams streamline security processes and reduce duplicate efforts.  

The advanced analytical capabilities and threat intelligence that come with cloud-based SIEMs also boost efficiency. Smarter, next-gen SIEMs are far more effective at detecting and properly identifying threats, which minimises the time your team has to spend on manual analysis and false positives. Instead, your team can focus its efforts on genuine security events and responding to incidents faster.  

Over time, automation and other advanced functionality will significantly reduce the running costs of a SIEM solution by allocating resources more effectively and reducing manual workloads. 

7. Disaster recovery costs 

Modern, cloud-based SIEM products often come with disaster recovery capabilities built in, meaning businesses don’t have to fork out for additional infrastructure.  

Splunk Enterprise Security, for example, offers high availability and disaster recovery options through features like indexer clustering. This capability enables redundant indexing and search capabilities across multiple nodes and ensures that data remains available, even if one node fails. Splunk also supports data replication to remote sites or cloud storage, providing additional redundancy and enabling disaster recovery. 

Not only do such off-the-shelf features eliminate the need to pay for separate disaster recovery solutions, but they also reduce the potential costs involved in disaster recovery. Downtime, legal fees, intellectual property loss, revenue loss and increased insurance premiums are just a few of the ways ineffective disaster recovery responses can cause costs to pile up after a security incident.  

8. Training and certifications 

As we’ve mentioned, much of the responsibility for a SIEM and its ongoing performance falls to the in-house team when SIEM is run on-premises. Cybersecurity teams must know how to manage, operate, and maintain the product to keep it working properly and delivering adequate protection.  

These skills are critical for the success of your SIEM, and making sure your IT staff have the right knowledge often means investing in extensive training and vendor-approved certifications.  

It’s always a good idea to train up your team on any kind of SIEM, and there are likely to be more training resources and self-guided learning options available for a modern SIEM. Plus, with the SaaS model, you’ll typically receive higher levels of support from the vendor, so any issues won’t be left for your team to solve using their expertise alone.  

9. Integration  

SIEM tools are designed to ingest and analyse huge amounts of data from across your entire digital environment. Any SIEM needs to be tightly integrated with other detection and security tools to be effective and deliver complete visibility into potential security events. 

But with an on-premises SIEM, integrating the solution with other systems and applications can be more complex. Often, coordinating an on-premises SIEM with external sources of data requires bespoke development to customise the solution to meet requirements.  

As any IT professional working in today’s skill-scarce market can confirm, these kinds of professional services can be costly to acquire. A heavily customised SIEM can also be difficult to scale, eliciting further costs in the future when needs change.  

10. Data storage  

Due to data regulations and privacy laws, much of the colossal quantities of data ingested by SIEM solutions have to be kept for compliance reasons. These logs must be stored securely for as long as dictated by the relevant statutes.  

Storing such large quantities of data on-premises can be expensive. Servers must be powered, cooled, and secured, and additional servers need to be purchased if extra storage is required.  

With cloud-based SIEM, data storage tends to be cheaper, as more affordable storage options are available depending on access needs. Older logs, for example, can be compressed and stored at ‘cold’ storage levels, where they can be hosted for long periods of time at a minimal cost. 

In addition, cloud data storage is often more secure, which reduces the need to invest in backups and disaster recovery solutions. Cloud storage features like  

Upgrade to next-gen cloud SIEM with RiverSafe 

Cyber attacks are constantly evolving. To protect your organisation from innovative threats, you need innovative security solutions. 

But yesterday’s Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) tools simply aren’t equipped to keep up with the rising rate and complexity of today’s attacks. Legacy SIEM’s reliance on predetermined and outdated rules means modern-day threats go undetected. 

As experienced cyber security experts, we can help you implement or upgrade to a next-generation SIEM tool that uses machine learning and threat intelligence to detect suspicious activity 

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By Jamiu Akande