Modern businesses have built IT infrastructure to conduct their regular activities. On one hand, IT infrastructure allows organizations to become more streamlined and productive, but on the other hand, there is a persistent challenge that all businesses must face: cybersecurity threats and incidents. Slapping up some firewalls and subscribing to an antivirus software are old-fashioned methods to effectively secure the enterprise, that is why businesses apply more dynamic method of managing the security of their IT infrastructure: Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) software.

SIEM is a software solution that aggregates and analyses activity from many different resources across your entire IT infrastructure. By combining SIM (security information management) and SEM (security event management), the tool aims to aggregate log data across users, machines, and servers for real-time event log monitoring and correlations to find security threats and mitigate risks in real-time. Whether to protect health IT infrastructure or financial information, or prevent threats and data breaches, SIEM has become increasingly crucial.

What are the features and functions of a SIEM?

SIEM tools are an important part of the data security ecosystem. They aggregate data from multiple systems and analyse that data to catch abnormal behaviour or potential cyberattacks. SIEM collect ssecurity data from network devices, servers, domain controllers, and more.  At its core, SIEM is a data aggregator, search, and reporting system. SIEM gathers immense amounts of data from the entire networked environment, consolidates and makes that data human accessible.

Gartner identifies three critical capabilities for SIEM – threat detection, investigation and time to respond, but there are other features and functionality such as basic security monitoring, advanced threat detection, forensics & incident response, log collection, normalization, notifications and alerts, security incident detection and threat response workflow.

SIEM Benefits that enhance the IT Security

Dismissing the SIEM importance could lead to long-term cybersecurity problems. The benefits of SIEM are numerous, but in the article will be listed some of the most popular ones which enterprises enjoy and utilize to ensure a secure network and efficient business processes.

1. Compliance

Every business, in every industry, requires the fulfilment of at least some regulatory mandates. Enterprise which does not follow the compliance requirements could suffer problems such as loss of consumer consequences, loss of sales, and the legal costs of resolving lawsuits.  

SIEM solutions often provide out-of-the-box report templates for most compliance mandates such as HIPAA.  Through its compliance capabilities, SIEM helps enterprises patch their IT environments and helps to regulate third-party access. Both could represent security holes and compliance failures if not properly secured. Furthermore, your SIEM solutions can use the data it collects to help fill those templates, saving your security team time and resources.

2. Threat Detection and Security Alerting

When talking about cybersecurity, one of the key benefits of SIEM is its threat detection and security alerting capabilities.

First, SIEM often connects your enterprise and IT security team to multiple threat intelligence feeds. They keep your enterprise up-to-date with the latest information on cyber attack evolution and the most pressing threats facing businesses similar to yours. Thanks to this knowledge, you can accurately secure your enterprise against the most likely digital threats.

Then, after your SIEM solution aggregates and normalizes the data, it can analyse it for potential threats through security event correlation. When your solution detects a correlated security event, it immediately sends your IT security team an alert prompting an investigation. This allows your team to concentrate their efforts on specific potential problem areas and to recognise whether your enterprise suffered a breach. After that, they can run your incident response plan and remediate the threat as quickly as possible, reducing the damage you suffer.

3. Improved Efficiency

SIEM tools can significantly improve your efficiency when it comes to understanding and handling events in your IT environment. With SIEM tools, you can view the security log data from the many different hosts in your system from a single interface.  SIEM tools also include automated mechanisms that use data correlation and analysis to stop attacks as soon as they are detected. These capabilities enable SIEM tools to stop attacks while they’re still in progress and to contain hosts that have already been compromised, thus reducing the impact of a security breach.  By responding quickly to perceived events, SIEM tools can help you reduce the financial impact of a breach – as well as the amount of damage that occurs in the first place.

4. Data aggregation and visibility

Visibility into your entire IT environment is one of the greatest benefits of SIEM. This visibility goes hand in hand with the way that logs are normalized and correlated in a SIEM tool. No matter the size of a business, there is a variety of different components in the IT environment, each of which is generating, formatting, and sending huge amounts of data. Not only are these components producing tons of data, they are likely each doing so in different ways. Trying to make sense of all that data manually is a nearly impossible task, and one that would necessitate devoting a huge amount of time and energy to a job that can easily be automated.

This is the reason why the SIEM capabilities that relate to data aggregation and normalization are so beneficial. The SIEM tools not only collect and store the data from the security tools in your IT environment in a centralized location, but they also turn them into a uniform format so you can easily compare the data.

5. Case Ticketing and Management

Identifying security incidents is not helpful if that is not followed by investigation, tracking, resolution and root-cause analysis. SIEM facilitates incident ticketing and management which makes it easier to not only drive problem resolution, but also to maintain a case record so that recurring problems are identified for deeper and more conclusive troubleshooting.

6. Change Intelligence

In most cases security events are a result of a major change such as an upgrade made to an existing system or the replacement of a business application with a new one. For that reason SIEM provides granular change intelligence that detects both planned and unplanned changes to network, server and application configuration. This ensures that both operational and security outages can be tackled proactively.

All the organizations, regardless of their size, need to undertake cybersecurity measures to ensure the safety of their digital assets. In times when cyber-attacks are becoming more advanced, the companies should constantly strengthen the organization’s cybersecurity posture. Companies should also realize that any attack on their IT infrastructure can cost them not only data loss but public trust and reputation, as well. To avoid this situation, cybersecurity has become a vital part of any organization. When combining Security Information Management and Security Event Management capabilities in a single solution, SIEM helps security analysts to achieve threat detection, response, security incident reporting, and compliance ability. All these capabilities make SIEM an essential part of a modern cybersecurity strategy.