Home Insights & Advice What are the advantages of using an SIEM?

What are the advantages of using an SIEM?

by John Saunders
18th Jan 22 3:38 pm

It is well understood in the cybersecurity industry that systems and devices need to be protected and secured more than ever before because of the complexity of the tech and internet environment. As digital convergence and digital transformation take hold more and more each day, so does the demand for better and more comprehensive security measures. Even organisations that are not necessarily tech-savvy understand the plethora of risks and dangers for information security today as cybercrime rages on while people are not educated enough about security. Trillions of dollars have been lost due to both direct cybercrime attacks and simple human mistakes. This demand for sophisticated security correlates directly with the amount of risk there is when it comes to sensitive assets that are stored on computer systems and devices. There is also a rising demand for systems that can quickly organise enormous amounts of data to relieve pressure from employers and employees. For these reasons, all-in-one solutions like SIEMs have become all the rage.

As a result, today there is a multi-billion dollar industry called cybersecurity (cybersec) which is a sub-level of the information security (infosec) umbrella that exists to keep sensitive assets safe and ensure the stability and integrity of computer systems. For these reasons, you may often hear that a managed security solution offers great benefits. An SIEM is one approach to security which several organisations and institutions benefit from today. 

What is an SIEM

SIEM is a concept that has arisen from the combination of SIM (Security Information Management) and SEM (Security Event Management.) It is now a big industry on its own and, according to statistics, over 20% of companies in a survey employed an SIEM. The managed security solutions market itself has now surpassed $200 billion.

An SIEM is a part of the security solutions market. It is a multi-pronged, scalable cybersecurity solution consisting of several different products aiming to help customers deal with and manage security threats, and the demand for SIEMs will only rise. It is well understood that the best possible defence is total protection, and that means security from the start of any technical process that involves data. For organisations, this means recognising, detecting, and effectively finding ways of dealing with vulnerabilities and security threats long before they can do damage to e.g. corruption or theft of sensitive data, cybercriminal hacking, espionage, human error, etc. SIEMs, essentially, are services offered by third parties (external companies that specialise in security) that offer services such as real-time monitoring, analysis, and detection on networks such as business networks. 

What are the advantages of incorporating an SIEM?

Any comprehensive security risk assessment plan will include contracting with an MSSP (Managed Security Service Provider) company to manage SIEM processes. Apart from outright security, an SIEM approach has a lot more positive effects for the customer. Yes, making the SIEM switch may cost some resources such as time and money, but in the end, it far outweighs any security solution that an organisation could come up with on its own e.g. the advantage of DevOps support. This goes especially for larger organisations that need a comprehensive security plan, but also for smaller organisations that deal with sensitive and corporate data. An SIEM approach also offers an entity such as an organisation benefits like complying with the latest frameworks and standards, as well as the benefit of logging and tracking all security data which, again, benefits the audit process. 

In the past, primitive forms of the early SIEM were simple log management tools, while today the use of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning have trickled down in the security industry to bring SIEMs to another level. Due to the ever-increasing risk of sophisticated security threats, and the sheer number of these threats, consequently the frequency of attacks, a high-efficiency real-time system is necessary to keep threats at bay. Other features like event analytics and event correlation, together with powerful incident monitoring greatly benefit the security aspect as well. 

The ability to detect advanced and evolving threats quickly, as well as insider threats, is also another great benefit. All of this ties in with an automated collaborative security model and the compliance and reporting capabilities in a solid SIEM solution. As far as the other benefits are concerned, a great SIEM system also increases efficiency in an organisation by categorising digital assets and providing smart access to them, as well as benefiting the employer when it comes to employee access and privilege filtering. 

The world of information security can be confusing because it is filled with acronyms. For example, like SIEMs there are MSSPs, MDRs, EDRs, and SOC-as-a-Service (and more.) In essence, these are all security solution services that differ from each other where the purpose/organisation they are suited for is different. They are similar in that all security solutions that are managed at some level include log management and threat detection/threat mitigation and reporting capabilities. Depending on if an entity has an IT staff or not, needs to comply with specific frameworks (such as the financial PCI-DSS or medical HIPAA standard), what level of protection is required at what scope and scale will determine which security solution should be applied. The costs and implementation difficulty of each service can also differ so it is up to the entity/customer to assess their needs and decide what would best suit them. 

It is difficult to come up with an overall winner as far as information security cybersecurity solutions are concerned, but if one were to have to choose one, it would probably be an SIEM solution managed by an MSSP or an MDR. This way, hiring an external party to implement a customised SIEM solution will greatly reduce costs incurred from training requirements and costs and finding professionals to do the job, as well as DIY costs. An MSSP or MDR can also take care of risk management plans and a host of other important pillars so that the customer can focus on work and his organisation instead.

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