As businesses take more of their infrastructure and processes online and adopt new, smarter technologies, the opportunity to work more efficiently expands massively. Unfortunately, so does the chance of being hit by a cyber-attack.
In 2023, the global cost of cybercrime is expected to reach $8 trillion per year—rising to $10.5 trillion by 2025.
With stakes so high, there’s no use in closing the barn door after the horse has bolted. Fighting back against this rapidly rising tide requires a proactive approach to cyber security.
With an ever-increasing attack vector and cyber-attack methods evolving all the time, businesses need to move on from reactive, incident-driven strategies and start actively detecting threats and averting attacks before they happen.
This is where solutions like security information and event management (or SIEM) can be invaluable.
What is SIEM?
SIEM is a type of software that helps you identify, review, and respond to digital security threats.
SIEM solutions work by collecting, collating and analysing data from across your IT infrastructure and alerting you if it detects anything unusual or suspicious. This pre-emptive approach helps you spot potential threats before they have a chance to do any damage.
If anything suspicious is flagged, the SIEM tool sends real-time notifications so your security team can get ahead of the curve and deal with any threats immediately. SIEMs can also take other actions like quarantining an asset.
Modern SIEM solutions can also help prioritise potential threats and decipher which events are unusual for your specific business and users by using machine learning.
Why is SIEM important in cyber security?
There are a handful of really crucial benefits that SIEM solutions bring to the table when it comes to cyber security.
It detects threats in real-time
As remote and hybrid working becomes more popular and our working lives become more decentralised, your organisation’s digital footprint increases. More devices accessing your infrastructure from more places make it far harder to oversee the comings and goings within your environment.
SIEM tools do this far better than we can. SIEM tools filter and process quantities of data that would be impossible for humans to analyse, around the clock—freeing up time for your in-house IT professionals to focus on other essential tasks.
It unifies event data from multiple sources
Applications, networks, endpoints and cloud environments generate a lot of data. While servers, network devices, and security mechanisms like firewalls often have their own logs, this data is unaggregated: siloed across multiple locations (and often different data types) making it impossible to review proactively.
SIEM brings all this information together in one place and normalises it so it can be more easily analysed, both by the SIEM itself and by security professionals. This advanced visibility is essential when cyber-attacks can come from so many angles.
It supports data compliance goals
Making sure you’re sticking to relevant data compliance rules or regulations is a time-consuming task, but a SIEM solution makes this arduous job a little easier. Since its main job is to ingest, standardise, and organise data from multiple sources, a SIEM gives you thorough, centralised logs that are far easier to analyse and report on. No more manually fetching data or generating individual reports from disparate sources.
Why you need a SIEM expert on your team
A good SIEM solution is like having an unwavering sentinel watching over your digital realm. But who watches the watchmen?
Like any tech tool (no matter how smart), a SIEM solution needs someone at the wheel who knows what they’re doing to get the most out of it. From configuration to monitoring, optimisation to troubleshooting, SIEM solutions perform best when they’re managed by an expert.
However, a recent study by ESG found that 42% of organisations don’t have adequate skills in-house to manage security operations.
The benefits of having SIEM experts in your corner, whether as part of your permanent cyber security team or as trusted consultants, are immeasurable.
Having a SIEM expert on your team will help you make sure you’re getting the highest levels of protection and maximum value from your investment. Your SIEM expert might come in the form of a SIEM Analyst, or a SIEM Engineer, or a Security Analyst.
Here’s why you need a SIEM professional to help protect your business, and what crucial services they can perform.
There’s a lot to consider when choosing and implementing a SIEM. Can the solution handle all the rules you need to put in place? Does it have the dashboard functionality to allow you to measure your chosen KPIs? Does it support the log format you’re using? Is it scalable? Does it integrate with your SOC and the rest of your IT stack? A SIEM expert will be able to help you narrow down the lengthy list of vendors in today’s market and choose the right solution for your organisation.
Maintenance and management
But even after implementing and configuring your new SIEM solution, daily management and maintenance is needed to keep it running as it should. You’ll likely find that you need to monitor the SIEM, add or change data sources, and tweak the configurations a fair bit before you get it tuned to your needs.
A SIEM expert can offer this kind of product support and optimisation for your SIEM, working to overcome common challenges such as cost management, alert fatigue, and observability and improve your ROI. They’ll configure the system to your organisation’s needs, manage and analyse log data, and rectify any events that have missing or inaccurate data so you get a complete and precise picture of your event history.
They can help troubleshoot any issues with the system, helping your SIEM get back up and running fast so you don’t miss any potential threats, and manage upgrades. This is particularly vital for a security platform such as a SIEM to make sure it’s regularly updated and patched for maximum performance and security.
Plus, a SIEM expert can keep an eye on changing compliance requirements and data regulations, to make sure your SIEM is handling and storing data the right way.
Alert analysis and incident response
SIEM tools are built to scan data and generate an alert for anything that could be a security incident. Depending on how many sources your SIEM is ingesting data from, and how you’ve configured it, that can mean a lot of alerts. A lot. Your SIEM uses the rules you set for it to determine what’s worth alerting you about. The better the guidelines are, the more effective the SIEM will be at highlighting real potential threats. But even with the tightest configuration, you’re likely to be inundated with false positives. Because of this, many SIEM users end up viewing their solution as ‘the boy who cried wolf’. If a SIEM errs too far on the side of caution and generates masses of false alarms, it can create alert fatigue: users become overwhelmed with notifications and desensitised to the warnings of the SIEM, making real threats more difficult to identify.
Alerts should be examined by security experts who know what they’re looking for, so genuine threats can be spotted and dealt with as a priority. A SIEM professional can configure the solution’s rules to minimise false positives, and thoroughly analyse and action the alerts that come through.
The field of cyber security is constantly evolving. New methods of attack are emerging every day, and keeping your organisation secure requires up-to-date knowledge of the latest threats, methodologies, and defensive best practices.
A security expert with practical experience knows what you’re up against, making them best placed to identify what is and what isn’t an authentic threat, as well as the right action to take in the event of a security incident.
Want some help from SIEM experts?
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.
Our vendor-independent, certified experts help you develop proactive ways to uncover and address threats to your environment by drawing on their in-depth experience and wide catalogue of services. Our SIEM experts can help implement, upgrade, migrate and optimise your SIEM platform to make sure your business is fully protected.