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Ask an Engineer: What Is SIEM?

Posted by Lindy Trout on Sep 14, 2020 3:47:59 PM

Security Information & Event Management, or SIEM (pronounced "sim," with a silent "e"), is gaining a reputation outside of the cybersecurity community. Advertisements on YouTube and Hulu tout the product’s incomparable security and real-time effectiveness, but they struggle to convey what a SIEM really does. Technical security lingo tends to make non-technical people tune out, and trying to simplify the concept diminishes its value.

It’s a little challenging to wrap your head around a product that you can’t hold in your hands. SIEM could be a software, an appliance, or a managed service. At ProCircular, we offer a managed SIEM service. That means we have eyes on your network, we personally deliver monthly reports, and we alert you immediately of any critical threats in your network.

I’ve read through glowing feedback from our SIEM clients and even sat-in on SIEM meetings, but after 12 months of working across the hall from our SIEM offices, I still don’t know how it works! I asked our manager of defensive cyber operations, Josh Resch, and our Defensive Security Engineer Intern, Jose Cardenas, to help break it down:

What is SIEM?

Security information and event management (SIEM) is a tool, or set of tools that allows for log aggregation, system monitoring, easier threat hunting, and incident response. A SIEM enables centralized data analysis and reporting on an organization’s security events to allow for real-time incident response, as well as insight for compliance reporting.

How does a SIEM watch your network?     

It uses Log aggregation to collect logs from various computing systems, analyze them, extract structured data, and fix them together in a format that is effortlessly searchable and explorable. Through log aggregation, system monitoring becomes an easier task because we can take raw system logs from multiple sources, distinguish their structure or schema, and convert them into a consistent, standardized data source.

Why is a SIEM program important?

The importance of a SIEM is to protect companies’ sensitive data and to establish proof that they are doing so. New attack vectors and vulnerabilities are discovered every day. AV solutions, IDS/IPS, and firewalls all scan for malicious activity at several spots within the IT infrastructure, from the perimeter to endpoints. However, many of these solutions are not equipped to detect severe attacks, such as zero-day attacks. We can use SIEM software to quickly correlate event log data from various sources and discover security threats. A security professional can use this data to identify an attack, as well as all sources that were affected by the attack. SIEM solution is essential in providing truly actionable intelligence that you need to quickly comprehend your threat standings and prioritize response.

In Short

Although SIEM is an intangible product, it’s not all that complicated. SIEM software creates searchable logs of everything going on in your network. It can also notify you of any anomalous activity or potential incidents. You can choose to run your program internally or contract a managed SIEM. If you have any SIEM or security-related questions, let us know on our contact page, or call 844-95-SECUR!

Topics: Cybersecurity, Information Security, Data Security, SIEM

ProCircular is a Full-Service Information Security Firm

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