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In today’s changing technological and economic climates, cybersecurity has never been more important. How do you keep your organization’s information secure and industry compliant? A SIEM might be the answer. But what is SIEM?

And how does a managed SIEM service work?

What is SIEM?

Put simply, SIEM software collects data from the different technologies within your system, monitors and analyzes that data for deviations and possible security risks, and then takes the appropriate action against those threats.

SIEM stands for “Security Information & Event Management.” As a system, it was conceived to monitor entire IT networks and keep an eye out for anomalous activity or unusual behaviors, affecting organizations’ internal or external systems.

SIEM systems have been so effective at what they do that organizations of all types have begun implementing them to protect against advanced and persistent threats against their systems, including ransomware, SQL injection attacks, and data breaches.

Why is SIEM an Integral Part of Information Security Architecture?

The main value of SIEM software: it takes an enormous amount of complex data and provides a single pane of glass to observe potential security events or incidents through.

Having centralized log analysis allows an organization to have a single source of truth for data from across all their integrated systems. It can filter through thousands of actions and activities and determine whether they are correlated.

In other words, SIEM doesn’t just identify whether a security breach happened: it can also pinpoint how it happened, and whether it’s associated with any other potential breaches.

This type of centralized log analysis is becoming more and more crucial to organizations that take their information security seriously. In fact, the FDIC mandates centralized log analysis for banks that want to remain in compliance.

SIEM vs Log Management

On the surface, this may sound like simple log management. But there is a critical difference: context.

Manual Log Management

With manual log management, logs are recorded and collected from the disparate elements of an organization’s information system. They may be collected in a central location, they may be analyzed on their own.

The logs are then monitored and managed. But the question is… how well? And by who?

If the person, department, or program are running manual queries against a log of information, how do they determine what patterns to look for? How do they identify abnormalities to begin with? Can you ensure they won’t skip over relevant logs and actions? Once they have identified a potential abnormality, can they identify correlated incidents?

And perhaps the most important question of all: do they know what to do next?

Security Information Event Management (SIEM)

SIEM systems, by contrast, can monitor millions of logs per day. They can query against those logs automatically.

Using machine learning and pattern recognition, SIEM software can identify potential breaches and anomalous events in real time. And, more importantly, they can identify the correlations between those events and recommend follow up actions.

We like to use the analogy of the popular TV show detective, staring at their corkboard with all the evidence tacked up on it, connecting strings between independent pieces of evidence in order to give a compelling explanation of what happened.

The SIEM system is the Private Eye for your information security architecture, constantly putting together the clues to isolate events, determine the root cause, and proactively work to keep your data secure.

SIEM As A Service (SaaS)

If you want to deploy a SIEM to keep your organization’s information secure, you’ll have a few different options for how to use it.

You could purchase a SIEM and use it on premises, using your own tech support crew to keep it up, running, and effective.

You can keep your SIEM on-prem and hire an experienced company to co-manage it with you.

Or you can hire an organization to provide SaaS… SIEM as a service.

A SaaS company can make use of a SIEM that you have on the premises, or the entire system could be serviced and monitored on the cloud.

There are Pros & Cons to self-managed, On-Prem SIEM offerings and SaaS offerings.

On-Prem Costs

On-Prem systems keep your data on site. But it takes a considerable amount of investment and manual effort to stand up a SIEM. There’s the infrastructure: servers, storage, ect.

There’s the integrations, which all have to be managed manually to ensure that all systems within the SIEM are up to date.

There’s the staff required to monitor and tailor the SIEM to target the most relevant activity patterns for your organization and industry.

And there’s the time. It’s reasonable to expect it to take 6-12 months to properly set up a SIEM service On-Prem, and properly train your IT department to monitor and implement the system correctly.

SaaS Convenience

SIEM as a Service, particularly when implemented through the cloud, can get around a number of these expenses and hurdles.

Your SaaS provider will already have an expert team ready to deploy and monitor your SIEM, eliminating the need to train your own personnel. What could be a year long project can usually be onboarded in days.

Also, with a cloud-based system, it eliminates the need for physical infrastructure like storage systems and servers for your SIEM system.

Integrations with your various system components and 3rd party software can be monitored and updated more frequently by an experienced SaaS provider, so you don’t need to worry about lag time in between full system updates.

And, perhaps most importantly, a SaaS provider can be relied upon for consistent and proactive improvements to your organization’s overall security.

They should be working to build custom integrations between your existing information architecture and your new SIEM, and continually monitor and test different activities to make sure that your system’s defences are always at their best.

BitLyft Cybersecurity provides SIEM as a Service for organizations across almost any industry. We can install and manage SIEM software, (we’re proud to partner with the LogRhythm SIEM,) and optimize your entire cybersecurity system as an extension of your existing security team.

If you’re interested in learning how BitLyft can help secure your data and keep your organization safe and compliant, request a free demo of our services today. We’d be proud to show you what we can do.