How to Maximise your SIEM tool: A Strategic Approach to Balancing Cybersecurity and Cost Efficiency

by Vinaya Sheshadri

Discover how to streamline Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) in this comprehensive blog. We talk through key strategies for managing excessive log data, reducing false positives, simplifying deployment, and planning for scalability.

A Necessity in Today’s Cybersecurity Landscape

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) tools have become indispensable components of modern cybersecurity. They provide real-time analysis of security alerts and ensure compliance with regulatory standards. However, the tremendous volume of data these tools process and the complexity they carry can present significant challenges.

In this blog post, we’ll dive into five strategic approaches to streamline SIEM tools and control associated costs effectively. By implementing these strategies, organisations can optimise their SIEM systems and enhance their overall cybersecurity posture. So, let’s explore these approaches in detail.

Looking to migrate your SIEM to the cloud? Check out this guide designed to help you avoid the most common and costly pitfalls.

Managing Excessive Log Data

SIEM systems process vast amounts of log data, which can lead to substantial storage and processing costs. Here’s how you can manage log data to save money:

  • Filter out irrelevant logs: SIEM systems capture and analyse a multitude of events across your network. However, not all of these events contribute valuable insights. Develop a criteria based on event relevance, source system importance, and compliance requirements to filter out non-essential logs at the source. For example, consider employing Syslog filters or leveraging Cribl’s powerful data pipeline technology, including vendor-specific filtering techniques, to significantly reduce the volume of data your SIEM needs to process
  •  Utilise cloud storage solutions: Cloud storage solutions such as Amazon S3 can be effective for managing large volumes of log data that is not queried often, or archive data. These services provide scalable, pay-as-you-go storage models that are ideal for fluctuating log volumes. Moreover, they offer built-in capabilities like auto-archiving and lifecycle management, which can be utilised for efficient log data management.
  • Implement log data lifecycle policies: It’s crucial to define and enforce a robust log data lifecycle policy. Regularly archive or delete older logs based on your data retention policy. This practice not only reduces storage needs but also ensures that your organisation stays compliant with various data retention regulations.

Minimising False Positives

False positives can lead to wastage of precious time and resources. Here’s how you can minimise these false alarms:

  • Implement well-tuned rules and anomaly detection: Fine-tuning correlation rules to match your specific environment is crucial. For example, thresholds for certain event types can be adjusted to match the typical activity levels within your network. Similarly, you can use anomaly detection techniques, like statistical analysis or machine learning, to identify deviations from established patterns. Remember, the goal here is to capture real threats while reducing noise, thereby maintaining a balance between security and efficiency.
  • Understand your user behaviour: Study your user behaviours and system interactions to establish a baseline of “normal” activity. Configure your SIEM to align with this normal behaviour, which allows you to quickly spot deviations and potential threats while minimising false positives.
  • Use machine learning algorithms: Many modern SIEM platforms, like Splunk, Exabeam and Sentinel integrate advanced AI and machine learning capabilities to enhance threat detection and minimise false positives. Machine learning algorithms learn from your historical data, continuously improving their accuracy in predicting genuine threats and reducing the number of false alarms. These technologies not only increase efficiency but also free up your IT team to focus on more critical tasks.

Simplifying Deployment and Maintenance

The deployment and maintenance of SIEM tools can be a complex and costly affair. Here’s how you can manage this more effectively:

  • Bring in an expert: Having a skilled SIEM professional on your team is invaluable as they ensure your SIEM solution performs optimally, providing the highest levels of protection and maximum value from your investment. Whether as permanent team members or trusted consultants, with their expertise you can confidently protect your digital realm and extract the most benefit from your SIEM solution.
  • Invest in training for your IT staff: Make sure your IT team is well-equipped with the knowledge and skills to maximise the value from your SIEM tools. Consider vendor-provided training programs, online courses, and workshops that can cover various aspects like advanced features, threat detection techniques, and efficient management practices.
  • Utilise automation: Incorporate automation in various aspects of your SIEM operations, including deployment, maintenance (for on prem SIEMs), and updates. Automation can significantly reduce manual workloads, saving time and reducing the risk of human errors.

Planning for Scaling Costs

Scaling SIEM tools as your business grows can be an expensive proposition. To plan for this:

  • Opt for modular pricing structure: Consider SIEM tools that provide a modular pricing structure. These solutions allow you to invest only in the components that are critical to your current operations. As your business expands, you can incrementally add more modules, aligning your costs with your growth, thereby preventing overpayment for unutilized functionalities.
  • Adopt dynamic scaling solutions: Cloud-based SIEM services enable you to adjust your SIEM capabilities in real-time based on your business demands. This flexible approach prevents you from overpaying during off-peak periods and ensures you have adequate resources during peak times.
  • Leverage predictive analytics: Utilise the predictive analytics capabilities of your SIEM tools to anticipate future scaling needs. Accurate forecasting based on historical data can allow you to plan and allocate budget for scaling in a more systematic manner, preventing unexpected costs.

Final Insights: Building Affordable SIEM Operation

In conclusion, efficient cybersecurity is important in today’s rapidly evolving threat landscape, and SIEM platforms play a crucial role in enabling organisations to monitor and respond to potential security incidents. However, optimising the cost of running a SIEM deployment requires careful consideration of various factors. By implementing strategies for proper log management, reducing false positives, simplifying deployment, planning for scalability, and addressing personnel needs, organisations can ensure a cost-effective and efficient SIEM operation.

Optimise Your SIEM Deployment with RiverSafe

Ensure your business is prepared for evolving cyber threats. At RiverSafe, our SIEM specialists identify issues and provide recommendations for your security systems. Sign up for a free 20-minute consultation with our team by clicking here.

By Vinaya Sheshadri