What is SIEM and why is it useful?

Small to medium-sized businesses, organizations, and municipalities have a problem.

You see, they seem to think that they are too small to be a deliberate target of cyber attacks. Or that their size somehow makes them immune to the type of incidents they see in the news. And so they don’t bother investing in the technology that can protect their systems, and the data of their employees, constituents, and customers.

They don’t think they need tools like Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) software, or the type of security service that knows how to implement it. But they are leaving themselves open to threats of a breach, malware, or other security incidents.

SIEM can actually be an integral part of any security solution, whether you have 10 employees relying upon your online systems, or 1,000. What it essentially does is work as a security system, so that your business is safe from any cyber attacks. When there appears to be a threat in your system, the SIEM will warn you, after analyzing a variety of factors.

What does SIEM actually do?

Basically, SIEM collects data about the online activity and behavior in your business system and consistently analyzes it.

You may think that your IT department could spot an issue from miles off, but with thousands and thousands of events happening across your tech environment on any given day, it’s impossible for a human being to effectively monitor them all.

SIEM software is designed to do just that. It can catch out that abnormal behavior, and as a result, a SIEM will alert your team in time to stop a cyber attack before it can have long term effects. This is why it’s so important to make sure that you pick out the right SIEM products and managed SIEM services for your business.

A SIEM acts like the main hub for your system’s logs. It will store all of the information and events about your environment and allow you to see all of the past logs as well, to weigh against your current usage and context.

In short, it functions as the main alarm system of your digital business.

But how does it work?

SIEM works by gathering up event logs from all of your office devices and tech services, and it arranges the data from the logs into the right context.

For example, it will take a note of failed login attempts, and any threats that look like malware. It keeps these logs all in one place and creates a standard fingerprint that reflects your system’s activity. This fingerprint is then used and ultimately compared to the ideal patterns of activity for your business.

If the SIEM finds that you have any suspicious activity, or maybe a threat to your security, then it sends you, or your professional security partners, an alert. This can help to point you in the right direction when it comes to managing potential threats. And, as previously mentioned, your SIEM will get there and use tech to diagnose your problems before you ever really know that you have them.

Let’s go through a simple example:

If you’re trying to log onto a system, you may have forgotten your password. In fact, there are some of us out there who will try our potential password combinations at least 10 times before we finally cave in and reset it via email.

A SIEM wouldn’t pick up on this behavior, as most people forget their passwords every so often. It fits within the normal activity fingerprint of your environment. However, if a password is entered in 75 times, followed by immediate success, then that would flag a potential brute force system entry, and an alert would go through.

Why is a SIEM useful?

SIEM is useful for a variety of reasons, and even if you’ve only got a small business, it could be integral to your online security. The main benefits of SIEM are:

  • Visibility: because you can see any potential threats in your system, you can stop them before anything too bad happens. If you don’t have this access into the behavior of those who use your systems, then you have no idea what’s happening behind all of the normal IT checks.
  • Flexibility: if you want to have a look at something, in particular, you can run specific tests so that you can see the sections that you’re interested in. There are also many different types of SIEM products and services out there, so you can find something that works for your business. Some are more suited to bigger businesses, whilst others are better for smaller companies, and they come with a variety of different price tags, too.
  • Offers peace of mind: without a SIEM, you never really know when a cyber attack is right around the corner. However, when you find a SIEM that really works for your business, you’ll be able to spot issues before they occur, and you’ll know that nothing is slipping past you, which is good news for all of your security systems.
  • Keeps your important business systems safe: let’s be honest, one of the main benefits of SIEM is that it keeps your business safe from malicious criminal hackers. You know from experience just how much your business relies upon the successful functioning of your tech. If any problems arise, and you didn’t stop them, then you’ll be recovering from the repercussions for some weeks, which can be very detrimental to the running of your business.
  • Could be more cost efficient: if you have a SIEM product doing the job for you, and a managed service to effectively calibrate and monitor it, then there is less of a requirement for you to hire a lot of in-house IT staff to focus on the security role. While SIEM-as-a-service can be an investment, you may weigh up the prices and find that it is a more cost-efficient option for your business.

SIEM software is a great way to protect your tech environment, and it offers high levels of visibility, flexibility, and peace of mind when it comes to your organization’s security.

If you’re a SMB level organization and you’re interested in a cost-effective SIEM solution to help keep your technology secure, we’d love to hear from you. Bitlyft works with organizations of all sizes. Let’s have a short conversation about partnering with your IT landscape. We’d love to show you how we can help.


Related: Does your company need SIEM software?

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