What is SIEM (Security Information and Event Management)?

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) is a key component of today’s cybersecurity landscape. Driven by the escalating threat of data breaches and their severe repercussions, more organisations are using SIEM platforms to track and investigate cyberattacks. Basically, if a company gets hacked, SIEM will enable them to go through log data to find out what happened. Some organisations are even leveraging this technology to set up their security operations centres.

Benefits of SIEM

SIEM supports threat detection, security incident management and forensic investigation. It prevents potential security threats and reduces the impact of breaches, saving time and money for organisations. It improves reporting, log retention and analysis. It also helps with compliance and regulatory audits.

How does SIEM work?

SIEM collects and analyses log data from multiple systems to identify abnormal or suspicious activity that could indicate potential threats. It centralises all the security events from every device within a network in order to investigate, prevent and resolve cyberattacks.

SIEM combines Security Information Management (SIM) and Security Event Management (SEM). Security Information Management (SIM) tools gather log data into a central repository for long-term storage, analysis and reporting. They ensure a security incident can be recreated and enable diverse data sets to be analysed in methodical ways. Security Event Management (SEM) tools monitor and evaluate security events and alerts. They analyse this information with security algorithms and statistical calculations to identify threats and vulnerabilities and notify network administrators about them.

Capabilities of SIEM

Data consolidation

SIEM collects security data (historical and real-time) from different sources across an organisation’s entire IT infrastructure – including network devices, servers, systems, applications, routers, domain controllers, firewalls, antivirus software, intrusion prevention/detection systems (IPS/IDS), wireless access points and personal devices.

Event normalisation and data aggregation

SIEM normalises raw data to deliver a homogenous view for security administrators, enabling them to make sense of isolated and heterogeneous events. It then aggregates and categorises all the data and prepares it for analysis.

Data analysis and events correlation

First, the baseline conditions for normal system behaviour are defined. Then, the SIEM system takes the categorised events and applies these predefined rules and statistical correlations to them. It establishes relationships to identify anomalies or discrepancies that may indicate threats. By enabling analysis across disparate systems, it becomes possible to reconstruct events to determine the nature of an attack and whether or not it was successful.

Threat detection

SIEM detects incidents that might otherwise go unnoticed. This includes failed logins, suspicious authentications, malware activities, exploit attempts, port scans, escalation of privileges and more.

Some SIEM solutions incorporate threat intelligence feeds in addition to traditional log data. Some have security analytics that look at both network behaviour and user behaviour to gain deeper insights into whether an activity is malicious. According to Gartner, innovation is increasing in the SIEM market to enhance threat detection capabilities, with more vendors introducing machine learning, advanced statistical analysis, artificial intelligence and deep learning capabilities.  

Security incident management and reporting

SIEM improves efficiency by containing incidents quickly and reducing the extent of their damage. It rapidly identifies an attack’s route through a network and all affected sources. If it detects any malicious activity, it can terminate those interactions to proactively prevent attacks from occurring. Although it cannot directly stop an attack, it can communicate with other network security controls (like firewalls) and direct them to block it.

SIEM categorises events by the severity of the threat and creates reports, automated notifications and real-time alerts, enabling the administrators to investigate issues and prioritise responses.  

Centralised data storage and overview

SIEM stores security events from different sources in a central repository, providing a comprehensive overview of a network’s infrastructure. Visualisation and dashboarding tools provide near real-time visibility of an organisation’s security system with charts, graphs and reports. This enables analysts to access data and insights to conduct investigations and in-depth research on security breaches.

Compliance

With the ability to address all relevant security events from log data across an entire network, SIEM is often used to generate audit reports and demonstrate compliance with regulations like HIPAA, PCI, SOX, and GDPR.

Are you looking to protect your organisation from security breaches? Intrix Cyber Security provides tailored cybersecurity systems and strategies to protect your business from threats and attacks. Get in touch with a security expert today at 1300 931 727.

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