How to Improve Your Enterprise’s Under-Optimized SIEM Solution

How to Improve Your Enterprise's Under-Optimized SIEM Solution

An optimized SIEM solution can serve as the linchpin of your entire cybersecurity platform; it can provide the threat intelligence and detection necessary to stand against modern digital threats. An under-optimized SIEM solution, on the other hand, can hinder your cybersecurity and allow hackers free reign in your network.

Therefore, your enterprise needs to improve its under-optimized SIEM solution. But how can you do this? Perhaps more importantly, why should you invest in your SIEM?

Why Your Under-Optimized SIEM Poses a Threat

SIEM possess a mixed reputation in the cybersecurity marketplace. Enterprises perceive SIEM as complex and expensive. As a result, they often become trapped in a self-fulfilling prophecy; they don’t invest the time and resources necessary to facilitate their under-optimized SIEM. Thus it can’t keep up with threat actors or malware, making it seem like more of an unnecessary expense.

Yet leaving your enterprise with an under-optimized SIEM solution puts your enterprise in a particularly precarious position. No preventative perimeter measure can protect your IT environment against all cyber attacks. Eventually, a threat actor will break through your protection efforts. Without adequate network visibility and threat detections, threats could dwell in dark digital spaces or move laterally unchallenged. Only an optimized SIEM solution can solve these issues.  

So your enterprise must improve your under-optimized SIEM solution. Here’s how.   

Give Your Network a Makeover

If you think of cybersecurity as your IT immune system against viruses, then your network serves as a metaphorical body. Thus, the healthier your body, the less likely you’ll have to deal with a virus in the first place.

In terms of your IT environment, this translates to working with different management systems to make sure your network stays up-to-date. This includes vulnerability management, patch management, and application management—all can close potential attack vectors.

Under-optimized SIEM doesn’t just depend on its own functionality. It also depends on the proper functioning of your IT environment. Every neglected patch or open vulnerability detracts from your overall cybersecurity efforts.

Improve Your Threat Hunting

Threat hunting puts physical boots on the digital ground. Rather than passively waiting for a threat indicator, your threat hunting team proactively searches for threat indicators throughout your IT environment. It is absolutely vital to reducing hacker dwell time and improving remediation efforts.

Obviously, an under-optimized SIEM solution could severely curtail your threat hunting team’s effectiveness. Threat hunters still need alerts to direct their major investigations. However, with threat hunting, you no longer need solely rely on your SIEM to detect and remediate threats. You can take advantage of your human intelligence as well.

Yet on the subject of alerts, your threat hunting operates in a symbiotic relationship with your SIEM. While you can use threat hunting to optimize your SIEM, optimized SIEM improves the effectiveness of your threat hunters.

Therefore, you must also…

Fix Your Correlation and Log Collection Rules

SIEM relies on its correlation rules and its log collection rules to function optimally. No statement sums up the most common pitfall in modern SIEM more than this. You must absolutely take it to heart.  

Your correlation rules determine what your solution considers security events, how it uncovers those security events, and what thresholds trigger a security alert. Poor correlation rules result in exhausting alert fatigue; this can bury your security team in fruitless investigations and conceal legitimate threats in garbage.

Conversely, strong correlation rules can help streamline your alerts, help better identify real events, and direct prompt investigation and remediation.  

In addition, your log collection rules determine how and from where you draw security data. Generally, under-optimized SIEM draws security data from too many or not enough network areas. It gives the solution the wrong kinds of information, which makes it impossible to distinguish security events from normal activity.

Meanwhile, optimized SIEM draws security event data from only key network areas; this enables threat hunters to better determine the legitimacy of generated security alerts.

It should be obvious what to do.

Implement Contextualization

Contextualization enables your enterprise to better determine the context of its security alerts. It can provide your team with relevant supplemental information associated with the security alert; this includes users involved, their enterprise departments, the location of their activity geographically and on the network, and the time of their suspicious activity.

With contextualization, you can severely reduce the number of false positives by correlating the alerts with real-world activity.

Legacy SIEM solutions, which are under-optimized at the best of times by default, don’t offer contextualization. If you still don’t have contextualization, you may want to consider upgrading your SIEM solution.  

If you want to learn more about how to best optimize your SIEM solution, you should read our 2019 Buyer’s Guide. In it, we compile a list of the most prominent cybersecurity vendors in the digital marketplace. We outline their key security capabilities and provide a proprietary Bottom Line for each. The Guide is available for free below.

   

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