What are the benefits of cybersecurity? More specifically, what are the benefits of SIEM for enterprises?
Despite its name, cybersecurity does more than just solve digital security concerns. In addition, it helps create more efficient business processes and organizes job functions and roles within your enterprise network; it provides digital clarity and visibility where it proves most essential.
For example, SIEM—one of the most critical branches of cybersecurity—offers far more than enterprises initially believe. Often, enterprises saddle SIEM with an unfair reputation of complexity, high costs, and ineffectualness. Yet these problems, which enterprises can generally solve themselves, pale in comparison to its overwhelming benefits for enterprises.
Dismissing the importance of SIEM, or delegating SIEM to your IT security department, creates more long-term problems for your solution’s optimal performance. On the other hand, embracing and engaging with SIEM as an enterprise result in enjoying the greatest benefits of SIEM.
Here’s what we mean:
The Benefits of SIEM
Obviously, we can’t possibly list all of the benefits SIEM in one article. Such a piece would take several thousand words to even possibly scratch the surface. However, we can list some of the most popular benefits enterprises enjoy and utilize to ensure a secure network and an efficient business.
For context, SIEM solutions at their core combine threat monitoring and remediation with log management. They collect data and compile it for analysis by your IT security team.
Even in its most basic form, IT environment visibility constitutes one of the top benefits of SIEM for enterprises.
Visibility comes as a side effect of SIEM’s log management capabilities. Under normal circumstances, enterprises lose visibility in their network as they scale; the subsequent increase in applications, databases, users, device, and third-parties create “dark places” in your environment.
Unsurprisingly, hackers love to take advantage of these dark places in your network. They can exploit them to bypass your legacy cybersecurity perimeter and threat detection. From these dark places, hackers can establish a foothold in your network for lateral movement attacks, island hopping attacks, and dwelling threats.
Fortunately, SIEM solutions allow your enterprise to turn on the lights, so to speak. SIEM gathers security event information from the entire network, centralizing the data collection in a single-pane-of-glass. By extension, it uncovers and draws information from previously hidden spaces on the network, preventing hackers from concealing their malicious activities from view.
Of course, the data collected from throughout your IT environment can present its own set of challenges. This is where one of the benefits of SIEM contributes: data normalization.
Consider how many individuals components make up your IT environment—every application, login port, databases, and device. Each one generates plaintext data, possibly terabytes of it per month. Collecting all of it presents a challenge in and of itself. However, each one also generates, formats, and sends data in profoundly different ways. Trying to make sense of it all and recognize correlated security events indicative of a breach manually represents a Sisyphean task.
Luckily, SIEM solutions not only collect data; they normalize it. In other words, they reformat the data in whatever format you desire, not only allowing for consistency in your log management but for easy correlation. It benefits both your SIEM threat analysis processes and your human intelligence.
Of course, normalization also helps with compliance mandates.
Compliance does not just benefit large enterprises. Virtually every business, in every industry vertical and of every size, requires the fulfillment of at least some regulatory mandates. The consequences of any enterprise failing to meet compliance mandates include loss of consumer consequences, loss of sales, and the legal costs of resolving lawsuits.
Fortunately, compliance has long been among the benefits of SIEM solutions, even in their earliest forms. While compliance may not take the same precedence in modern next-gen SIEM solutions, compliance remains a critical benefit.
Indeed, SIEM solutions often provide out-of-the-box report templates for most compliance mandates such as HIPAA. Additionally, your SIEM solutions can use the data it collects to help fill those templates, saving your security team time and resources.
Moreover, through its compliance capabilities, SIEM helps enterprises patch their IT environments and helps to regulate third-party access. Both could represent security holes and compliance failures if not properly secured.
Threat Detection and Security Alerting
Of course, one of the key benefits of SIEM in a cybersecurity context is its threat detection and security alerting capabilities.
Firstly, SIEM often connects your enterprise and IT security team to multiple threat intelligence feeds. These keep your enterprise up-to-date with the latest information on cyber attack evolution and the most pressing threats facing businesses similar to yours. With this knowledge, you can more accurately secure your enterprise against the most likely digital threats.
Additionally, after your SIEM solution aggregates and normalizes the data, it can analyze it for potential threats through security event correlation. Strange activity in one part of the network may not indicate a breach, but multiple strange activities certainly might. Further, many SIEM solutions possess threat monitoring, allowing it to detect cyber attacks in real-time.
When your solution detects a correlated security event, it can send your IT security team an alert prompting an investigation. This allows your team to focus their efforts on specific potential problem areas and discern whether your enterprise suffered a breach. From there, they can run your incident response plan and remediate the threat as quickly as possible, reducing the damage you suffer.
Of course, once you compile this data, you need to store it somewhere securely. Among the benefits of SIEM solutions, they can help you store the normalized data, organize it, and easily retrieve it if necessary.
Of course, this helps with compliance—some information may become necessary to fulfill certain mandates. Additionally, SIEM can help you configure your data storage to prevent data breaches; plenty of accidents begin with misconfigured data storage nodes allowing hackers in without resistance.
If you want to learn more about the benefits of SIEM, you can check out our free 2019 Buyer’s Guide. It contains information on the top vendors and their key capabilities, as well as our own Bottom Lines.
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