What is SIEM and why is it important?

What is SIEM?

SIEM, which stands for security information and event management, is both a security concept and a service that uses that concept. It’s based on the core idea of gathering together security information from multiple sources to get a more insightful and useful overview.

What does SIEM Protect Against?

The problem SIEM tries to solve is that businesses use multiple methods to detect security risks and attacks. For example, they may have a firewall, malware detection, and even physical cybersecurity devices.

While each of these tools may detect and block attacks, it’s not always easy to see the big picture. For example, an attempted attack using a particular method might be seen as unusual activity by several security tools, but not be classed as significant enough by any to trigger an alert. The seriousness of the risk might only become clear when seen as a pattern.

How does SIEM Work?

The concept of SIEM is straightforward enough and is something humans could theoretically do: gather multiple data sources and combine them to gain more useful actionable insights. SIEM as a technology means automating this approach by taking advantage of the speed and capacity of computers, allowing real-time analysis of all the relevant data.

This usually involves a central dashboard where IT staff can not only see the data in real time, but also set policies. These will usually involve designating how the system would look if everything was operating normally, along with the signs that something was amiss. The best SIEM systems can automatically update these policies, either from external security reports or from their own “experience”.

Why it is Important?

Based on these policies, SIEM systems will take the various security data sources, filter the information into a common format, analyze log files, and trigger an alert where necessary based on the set policies. One key goal is to reduce the number of unnecessary or false alerts making it more practical to take genuine alerts seriously and respond urgently.

SIEM isn’t just about security alerts: it can also help with regulatory compliance. Many data protection laws say businesses handling personal or sensitive data must not only protect the data against unauthorized access or use, but must be able to prove they do so. A suitable SIEM system can help meet and exceed such regulations by offering real-time detection and reducing the chance that a security breach leads to unauthorized data access.

Many SIEM systems can also detect signs of internal security breaches, for example by rogue employees. This could involve suspicious or outright unauthorized activity by employees, including preliminary steps to set up future attacks or data theft.

CPI Solutions can help you decide if a SIEM system is right for you and, if so, choose the best option. We can also help with set-up and maintenance, so contact us today for more details.

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