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What is SIEM?

Security information and event management (SIEM) is a security solution that helps organizations detect threats before they disrupt business.

SIEM Defined

Security information and event management, SIEM for short, is a solution that helps organizations detect, analyze, and respond to security threats before they harm business operations.

SIEM, pronounced “sim,” combines both security information management (SIM) and security event management (SEM) into one security management system. SIEM technology collects event log data from a range of sources, identifies activity that deviates from the norm with real-time analysis, and takes appropriate action.

In short, SIEM gives organizations visibility into activity within their network so they can respond swiftly to potential cyberattacks and meet compliance requirements.

In the past decade, SIEM technology has evolved to make threat detection and incident response smarter and faster with artificial intelligence.

How do SIEM tools work?

How do SIEM tools work?

SIEM tools collect, aggregate, and analyze volumes of data from an organization’s applications, devices, servers, and users in real-time so security teams can detect and block attacks. SIEM tools use predetermined rules to help security teams define threats and generate alerts.

SIEM capabilities and use cases

SIEM systems vary in their capabilities but generally offer these core functions:

  • Log management: SIEM systems gather vast amounts of data in one place, organize it, and then determine if it shows signs of a threat, attack, or breach.
  • Event correlation: The data is then sorted to identify relationships and patterns to quickly detect and respond to potential threats.
  • Incident monitoring and response: SIEM technology monitors security incidents across an organization’s network and provides alerts and audits of all activity related to an incident.

SIEM systems can mitigate cyber risk with a range of use cases such as detecting suspicious user activity, monitoring user behavior, limiting access attempts and generating compliance reports.

Benefit of using a SIEM

SIEM tools offer many benefits that can help strengthen an organization’s overall security posture, including:

  • A central view of potential threats
  • Real-time threat identification and response
  • Advanced threat intelligence
  • Regulatory compliance auditing and reporting
  • Greater transparency monitoring users, applications, and devices

How to implement a SIEM solution

Organizations of all sizes use SIEM solutions to mitigate cybersecurity risks and meet regulatory compliance standards. The best practices for implementing a SIEM system include:

  • Define the requirements for SIEM deployment
  • Do a test run
  • Gather sufficient data
  • Have an incident response plan
  • Keep improving your SIEM

The role of SIEM for businesses

SIEM is an important part of an organization’s cybersecurity ecosystem. SIEM gives security teams a central place to collect, aggregate, and analyze volumes of data across an enterprise, effectively streamlining security workflows. It also delivers operational capabilities such as compliance reporting, incident management, and dashboards that prioritize threat activity.

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Frequently asked questions

  • A SIEM solution is security software that gives organizations a bird’s-eye-view of activity across their entire network so they can respond to threats faster—before business is disrupted.

    SIEM software, tools and services detect and block security threats with real-time analysis. They collect data from a range of sources, identify activity that deviates from the norm, and take appropriate action.

  • Security information management (SIM) is the process of collecting, storing, and monitoring event and activity log data for analysis. It is considered a broader, more long-term process.

    Security event management (SEM) is the process of real-time monitoring and analysis of security events and alerts to address threats, identify patterns and respond to incidents. In contrast to SIM, it looks closely at specific events that may be a red flag.

    SIEMs combine these two approaches into one solution.

  • SIEMs have adapted to keep pace with ever-evolving cyber threats. When they first emerged more than 15 years ago, SIEM tools were used to help organizations comply with various regulations, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS). Today, effective SIEM solutions are cloud-based and leverage artificial intelligence to accelerate threat detection, investigations, and response.

  • SIEM and SOAR technologies both play significant roles in cybersecurity.

    Simply put, SIEM helps organizations make sense of the data collected from applications, devices, networks, and servers by identifying, categorizing, and analyzing incidents and events.

    SOAR stands for Security Orchestration, Automation and Response and describes software that addresses threat and vulnerability management, security incident response, and security operations (SecOps) automation.

    SOAR helps security teams prioritize threats and alerts created by SIEM by automating incident response workflows. It also helps find and resolve critical threats faster with extensive cross-domain automation. SOAR surfaces real threats from massive amounts of data and resolves incidents faster.

  • Extended detection and response, or XDR for short, is an emerging approach to cybersecurity to improve threat detection and response with deep context into specific resources.

    XDR platforms help:

    • Investigate attacks with understanding into specific resources, across platforms and clouds—unified across endpoints, users, applications, IoT, and cloud workloads.

    Protect resources and harden posture to guard against threats like ransomware and phishing. Respond to threats faster using auto-remediation. SIEM solutions provide a comprehensive SecOps command-and-control experience across the entire enterprise.

    SIEM platforms help:

    • Manage security operations from your bird's-eye-view of the estate.
    • Collect and analyze data from your entire organization to detect, investigate, and respond to incidents that cross silos.
    • Enhance SecOps efficiency with customizable detections, analytics, and built-in automation

    A strategy that includes both broad visibility across the entire digital estate and depth of knowledge into specific threats, combining SIEM and XDR solutions, helps SecOps teams overcome their daily challenges.

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