What is SIEM?
“One of the most useful tools that you’ll ever encounter.” — Ronnie Wong, ITPRO.tv
SIEM is one of those rare technologies whose name says what it does: Security Information and Event Management. Though, as technology’s advanced, the “I” has been used interchangeably with “incident” and “intelligence.” But no matter how you say it, SIEM is a critical tool to have as part of your security and compliance arsenal.
Its core functionality is the aggregation, correlation, and retention of data. Thousands and even tens of thousands of lines of data can be generated in hours, minutes or even seconds. SIEM gives you the ability to analyze this data in near real time, providing in-depth insights of events as they occur across your network.
The main purpose of SIEM is to funnel down millions of events in order to discover those that are relevant or significant and require attention. It aggregates event logs from the sources on your network it’s been given access to, and correlates that data in order to garner insights into your overall security posture. This discovery and analysis technology allows you to detect suspicious behaviors, event anomalies, and the ability to identify potential weaknesses in order to optimize and strengthen your defenses.
SIEM is more than just security. It has the built-in ability to analyze and report on compliance and operational processes such as risk assessment and user behavior analytics. It’s capable of categorizing and classifying log and augmented intelligence data based upon your business goals and the amount of regulatory oversight required in your sector.
If you’re in a heavily regulated industry like finance, healthcare, or energy then you’re already aware of the compliance and governance issues you face every day. According to Tripwire, “Compliance has quickly become one of the most painful headaches for IT Administrators.” SIEM eases the monitoring, maintenance, and data retention required for compliance standards including ISO and HIPAA.
Three keys to improving SIEM performance in your environment are:
- Network bandwidth availability
- Network device time stamping capabilities
- Establishing a baseline for data normalization
Network bandwidth is essential to a properly functioning SIEM. With the possibility of millions of events being logged, your network needs to be prepared to handle the increase in traffic. Network device time stamping allows your endpoints to be synchronized in order to retain overall data integrity across logs and events.
Most important to collecting actionable data is the establishment of a baseline. You need to know what normal activity looks like in order to determine what events deviate from that norm and which require your attention. Normalization gives context to your data.
SIEM as a Service
When dealing with legal and regulatory compliance requirements, a quick way to ramp up the maturity of your processes is through the implementation of SIEM as a Service. This is a particular benefit to companies with smaller IT budgets and an infrastructure that may not be technically mature enough to implement an on-prem solution.
SIEM, inclusive of the overall capital expenditure for the tool and the necessary infrastructure, can be cost prohibitive. SIEM as a Service provides your business with upfront CapEx cost savings by utilizing outside expertise to manage and maintain the provided solution.
SIEM as a Service alleviates the burden on your IT staff of having to procure, install, learn, and maintain the hardware and software systems necessary for improving security and regulatory compliance. This “as a Service” solution lets you rest easy knowing that trained experts are monitoring your systems and security 24/7/365.
Getting SIEM Right
When implementing SIEM, it’s necessary to have a full understanding of your environment’s structure and purpose. From mapping out servers and workstations, logging antivirus and firewall analytics, to building a baseline of normal operations, your partners at CompuCom have the knowledge, education, and expertise to guide you through a successful SIEM as a Service implementation that’s customizable to your specific business needs.