Security information and event management (SIEM) is an approach to security management that seeks to provide a holistic view of an organization’s information technology (IT) security.
The underlying principle of a SIEM system is that relevant data about an enterprise’s security is produced in multiple locations and being able to look at all the data from a single point of view makes it easier to spot trends and see patterns that are out of the ordinary.
At the most basic level, a SIEM system can be rules-based or employ a statistical correlation engine to establish relationships between event log entries. In some systems, pre-processing may happen at edge collectors, with only certain events being passed through to a centralized management node. In this way, the volume of information being communicated and stored can be reduced.
SIEM systems collect logs and other security-related documentation for analysis. Most SIEM systems work by deploying multiple collection agents in a hierarchical manner to gather security-related events from end-user devices, servers, network equipment — and even specialized security equipment like firewalls, antivirus or intrusion prevention systems.
In order to provide the most complete security view, SIEMs generally require data from different types of devices and platforms such as switches, firewalls, routers, servers (Windows, Unix, Linux, etc.) and applications (databases, CRMs, SAP, Exchange, etc.). To allow the system to identify anomalous events, it’s important that the SIEM administrator first creates a profile of the system under normal event conditions.
SIEM systems are typically expensive to deploy and complex to operate and manage. While Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance has traditionally driven SIEM adoption in large enterprises, concerns over advanced persistent threats (APTs) have led smaller organizations to look at the benefits a SIEM managed security service provider (MSSP) can offer.
Do you need a SIEM solution?
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