Should your business invest in and deploy an open source SIEM tool?
SIEM constitutes a major part of modern enterprise cybersecurity. Indeed, SIEM solutions offer critical IT environment protections and compliance standard fulfillment. Only through their log management, security analytics and correlation, and reporting templates can enterprises defend themselves against modern cyber attacks.
However, SIEM can also present significant problems for your business’ IT department. Generally, SIEM proves expensive to deploy and maintain; its solutions come with operational costs in both resources and times. Moreover, SIEM requires continual adjustments and evaluations as it deploys to ensure optimal performance. All this can make enterprises forgo deploying a SIEM solution, even though without it they leave themselves more vulnerable.
Yet your business may have a route to obtaining the vital security analytics it needs: open source SIEM.
What is Open Source SIEM?
Open Source SIEM tools literally open their cybersecurity design to the public. This allows IT professionals to modify and share the tools’ code much more freely, offering important customizability and adaptability.
Usually, enterprises can obtain these open source InfoSec tools for free; thus businesses face less of a cost burden in deploying and maintaining it than a full enterprise-level solution. While free SIEM tools can’t provide the comprehensiveness of enterprise-level solutions, open source SIEM does offer solid functionality at an affordable rate. Significantly, these free SIEM tools don’t impose limits on the data it utilizes or retains. This makes it appealing to small-to-medium sized businesses (SMBs).
To help your business find the ideal free security analytics tool, we offer our list of the 10 Best Open Source SIEM Tools.
The 10 Best Open Source SIEM Tools
SIEMonster straddles the line between free SIEM and a paid solution, as it offers both. As with many of the listed solutions, SIEMonster offers a platform combining multiple open source tools As a result, it does offer a centralized interface for controlling these tools, data visualization, and threat intelligence.
Unlike some other open source SIEM solutions, your business can deploy it on the cloud.
2. Apache Metron
One of the newest open source SIEM tools, Apache Metron evolved from Cisco’s Open SOC platform. Much like SIEMonster, it also ties multiple open source solutions together in one centralized platform. Apache Metron can parse and normalize security events into standard JSON language for easy analysis. Additionally, it can provide security alerts, data enrichment, and labeling.
Furthermore, Apache Metron can index and store security events, a major boon to enterprises of all sizes.
3. AlienVault OSSIM
AT&T Cybersecurity offers AlienVault OSSIM, an open source SIEM tool based on their AlienVault USM solution. Similarly to the above entries, AlienVault OSSIM combines multiple open source projects into one package. In addition, AlienVault OSSIM allows for device monitoring and log collection.
It also provides for normalization and event correlation.
Created by Mozilla to automate security incident processing, MozDef offers scalability and resilience; the former quality especially appeals to SMBs. This open source SIEM solution uses a microservice-based architecture; MozDef can provide event correlation and security alerts.
Moreover, it can integrate with multiple third-parties.
Technically, OSSEC is an open-source intrusion detection system rather than a SIEM solution. However, it still offers a host agent for log collection and a central application for processing those logs. Overall, this tool monitors log files and file integrity for potential cyber attacks. It can perform log analysis from multiple networks services and provide your IT team with numerous alerting options.
Wazuh actually evolved from a different open source SIEM solution; namely, OSSEC. Yet Wazuh now stands as its own unique solution. Indeed, it supports agent-based data collection as well as syslog aggregation. Therefore, Wazuh can easily monitor on-premises devices. It has a distinct web UI and comprehensive rulesets for easy IT admin management.
7. Prelude OSS
Prelude OSS offers an open source version of the Prelude SIEM solution. This supports a wide range of log formats and can integrate with other security tools. It also offers event data normalization into a standard language which can help support other cybersecurity tools and solutions. Prelude OSS also benefits from continuous development so it stays up to date with the latest threat intelligence.
Another open source intrusion detection system, Snort works to provide log analysis; it also performs real-time analysis on network traffic to suss out potential dangers. Snort can also display real-time traffic or dump streams of packets to a log file. Moreover, it can use output plugins to determine how and where it stores data in your network.
As a platform, Sagan works almost exclusively with fellow open source SIEM tool Snort; Sagan compliments and supports Snort’s rules. Sagan is designed to be lightweight and can write to Snort Databases. For those interested in working with Snort, this may serve as another essential tool.
10. ELK Stack
This solution also goes by ELK or Elastic Stack. The ELK Stack solution also consists of multiple free SIEM products. For example, using embedded Logstash components, ELK can aggregate logs from nearly any data sources. In addition, it can correlate that log data via a wide array of plugins, although it requires manual security rules. ELK Stack can also visualize the data with another component.
Pitfalls of Open Source SIEM Tools and Solutions
Unfortunately, there are as many drawbacks as benefits when deploying free SIEM tools. Most open source SIEM solutions don’t provide essential capabilities such as full-fledged log management, visualization, automation, or third-party integrations.
Moreover, many free SIEM can’t handle cloud environments; this can put a significant roadblock in front of your digital transformation efforts.
Regardless of your business’ size, you should consider an enterprise-level SIEM solution rather than a free SIEM tool. Having more capabilities and functionality on your side can seriously bolster your cybersecurity efforts.
To learn more, you can always download our 2019 SIEM Buyer’s Guide for details on the top vendors in the field. We compile key capabilities and Bottom Line assessment on each vendor and solution provider; also we provide in-depth market analysis. You can download it below.
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