How Enterprises Can Best Utilize SIEM In Their Networks

How Enterprises Can Best Utilize SIEM In Their Networks

How can enterprises best utilize SIEM in their networks? How can your business improve on your SIEM and cybersecurity to ensure better visibility and effectiveness? 

Often, SIEM remains the neglected branch of the cybersecurity family. Endpoint security benefits from users’ long-time recognition and appreciation of it, given its evolution from antivirus software. Meanwhile, identity management increasingly becomes the Archstone of many cybersecurity solutions; many experts hail it as the new digital perimeter. 

Yet SIEM usually ends up sidelined in these conversations. Frankly, it doesn’t make sense to anyone closely observing the cybersecurity paradigm and the demands faced by modern businesses. Identity management and endpoint security are certainly important, but your enterprise needs to embrace SIEM as well. 

To help convince your business of this fundamental truth, let’s examine how your business can best utilize SIEM. From this, its true power should become evident. 

How Your Business Can Best Utilize SIEM

First, Deploy SIEM on Your Network (Carefully)

You can’t best utilize SIEM if you don’t have it. Moreover, trying to get the most out of cybersecurity requires your business to invest in it wholeheartedly. 

Unfortunately, that means replacing any legacy SIEM solutions still lingering on your networks. This may seem a tremendous ask; after all, your users have become used to your solutions’ interface and business process interactions. However, legacy solutions can’t possibly stand up to modern digital threats; they lack the capabilities and the threat intelligence to recognize and remediate issues they detect. 

That doesn’t mean your enterprise should rush into adopting just any SIEM solution; in fact, take it as a rule that nothing in cybersecurity should be rushed. Rushing only leads to mistakes. Instead, you need to fully understand your enterprise use case—including industry, size, and infrastructure—and select the solution that best fits. 

Additionally, to best utilize SIEM, you can’t rush into deploying it across the whole of your network. SIEM generates a lot of log information, and that can become fairly overwhelming for your IT security team. You could actually end up drowning vital information by sheer volume. 

Instead, focus your SIEM on the most important databases and network areas, at least at first. Get the IT team used to the new solution and how it operates, and allow them to make adjustments to its correlation rules. Then start expanding its reach, but always carefully. 

The results will shock you.

Understand What SIEM Can Do

To best utilize SIEM, your enterprise should understand exactly what it can actually offer your cybersecurity posture. Expecting miracles or a “set-it-and-forget-it” solution sets you up for failure and its long term consequences. 

In short, SIEM offers a centralized collection point for all of the logs generated by your network: applications, endpoints, servers, etc. Moreover, it can process and store these logs, as well as normalize them for analysis. 

This analysis proves essential for cybersecurity; SIEM can use its analysis capabilities to detect security event correlations scattered among the logs. Then, it can send an alert to your IT security team for prompt investigation and possible incident response. 

So SIEM essentially sifts through piles of piles of documents looking for the incriminating letter. Perhaps more accurately, it sifts through piles of documents to find the several letters, each one indicating the full scope of the problem in passing detail.         

Also, SIEM can trigger automatic responses in response to security events, allowing your team more time to investigate and mitigate the threat. This includes blocking activity, triggering vulnerability scans, and performing contextualization—anything to speed the investigation and prevent more damage.  

To Best Utilize SIEM, Automate

One of the key reasons SIEM tends to suffer neglect in cybersecurity discourse is its supposed need for hands-on expertise. While SIEM does require involvement from your IT security team, it shouldn’t require more than any other part of your cybersecurity. 

You can’t simply set and forget cybersecurity. We’ve said that before and we will say it again.

SIEM does need your IT security team’s involvement, both in maintaining its correlation rules (which can reduce false positives) and in investigating its alerts. However, you can best utilize SIEM by automating many of these processes.

For example, Machine Learning allows your solution to develop an understanding of what behaviors and activities constitute baseline and which don’t over time. This minimizes the amount of time needed to adjust its correlation rules. 

As another example, contextualization performs a background check on any possible security event, which can streamline the investigation process.

Finally, you can supplement your SIEM with SOAR technology. SOAR can actually automate several parts of the cybersecurity workflow, including discovery, ticketing, firewall implementation, and querying. 

The more streamlined your SIEM, the more effective it becomes. 

SIEM isn’t Dead. It’s Cloud Bound. 

Cybersecurity professionals can’t help but become dramatic in their pronouncements. That’s no shot against them, incidentally. Cybersecurity proves a dramatic field with high risks—perhaps some dramatization is warranted.

However, we take umbrage at the idea of SIEM’s imminent, or recent, death. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, SIEM’s importance should only grow with the rise in cloud adoption. 

To best utilize SIEM, you need to recognize how important it can be for your enterprise’s secure future. If your business migrated to the cloud or adopted a hybrid infrastructure, you must have noticed the scaling of your network to match. It can become overwhelming to find all of the databases in a cloud environment or deal with a porous perimeter.

But remember, SIEM can help find those databases, help you maintain visibility on your most sensitive data, and unite a disparate network.

Moreover, SIEM can help you maintain your compliance mandates via automated out-of-the-box reports. With cloud access muddying the waters, it can be difficult to fulfill these reports otherwise. Just one more reason to employ SIEM.   

Adaptation doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to limited cybersecurity.

How to Get Started

If you wish to best utilize SIEM, or if you wish to find the solution that fits your enterprise best, make sure you check out our Buyer’s Guide! We dive into the top solution providers in the field and their key capabilities. We also give our Bottom Line for each vendor! 

Ben Canner

Ben Canner is an enterprise technology writer and analyst covering Identity Management, SIEM, Endpoint Protection, and Cybersecurity writ large. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from Clark University in Worcester, MA. He previously worked as a corporate blogger and ghost writer. You can reach him via Twitter and LinkedIn.
Ben Canner