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The wise Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” And, when it comes to protecting your business, advanced intelligence beats artificial any day of the week. That’s what makes a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) system a critical part of your security strategy.
SIEM (pronounced “SIM”) technology isn’t new, it’s just become much more sophisticated. It now combines security information management (SIM) and security event management (SEM) functions into one security management system. So, what exactly does a SIEM do?
A SIEM collects incident and event data from a wide range of sources and analyzes it in real time. Why? The more an organization knows about past and potential threats, the faster they can detect attacks and breaches, and the quicker they can respond to minimize damage. Early detection is half the battle. A SIEM also helps organizations satisfy compliance requirements. According to the 2016 CSO Vendor Scorecard research on SIEM, 76% of organizations stated SIEM technology as critical/very important when facing threats and attacks.
You’re Simply Outnumbered
Potential and actual attacks leave a trail of informative data across your infrastructure—from and applications to network and security devices. The problem isn’t that there’s a lack of data out available to analyze known and unknown threats. It’s that there’s way too much for humans to turn into actionable intel.
Gartner helps put this into perspective. They categorize small SIEM deployments as having up to 300 event sources with a data store of up to 800 GB. Mid-sized deployments have up to 800 event sources with up to 8 TB of storage. Very large deployments have thousands of event sources with a back store of more than 50 TB. That’s a lot of data to sift through.
A SIEM System Brings Threat Intel Front and Center
A SIEM system analyzes event data from a wide range of sources, the more the better. Sources may include everything from systems, applications and network devices to security appliances, firewalls and antivirus filters. It can even look at network and user behavior to gain intelligence around what constitutes malicious activity. The ability to see all security-related data from a single point of view makes it easier to spot irregular patterns that warrant forensic analysis.
After categorizing incidents and events, the SIEM analyzes them with two goals in mind—to report on possible malicious activities and send an alert if a potential security issue is identified. Filtering the data and prioritizing alerts is extremely valuable to Cybersecurity Operations Center (CSOC) analysts, informing their efforts to investigate further or stop attacks already in progress.
It Takes a Village of Data and Experts
SIEM technologies are resource intensive and required specially trained experts to manage them—something most organizations have a tough time hiring and maintaining. Not only are these experts hard to find, they’re expensive. And, people aren’t the only stumbling block to implementing a SIEM system. The lifeblood of an effective SIEM depends on good data and lots of it. The right experts know what to look for and how to establish priorities to ensure organizations focus on the most pressing problems rather than reacting to every little blip.
From Reactive to Real-time
No IT Director wants to wind up with egg on his face and that’s exactly what happens when you have no clue about why you’ve been hacked. That’s why SIEMs are increasingly being used to, not only analyze attacks that’ve already happened, but to detect threats in real time and respond. Machine learning is enabling this trend.
Making SIEMs Affordable for SMBs
Given the hefty price tag of implementing a SIEM system, which can set a company back $100,000-plus, and the difficulty of finding, training and managing skilled security experts, they’ve been out of reach for most SMBs. But new options now make it an affordable possibility.
CWCS now offers cWatch Web, an exciting fully managed all-in-one security solution that includes a SIEM as well as many other must-have features that protect against today’s sophisticated attacks aimed at companies of all sizes. It leaves the tough decisions, such as data sources, prioritization and more up to certified experts—all for an affordable monthly fee. Learn more about cWatch Web and how it keeps you safe and on budget.