The Top 5 Enterprise SIEM Myths – Revealed and Debunked!

The Top 5 Enterprise SIEM Myths - Revealed and Debunked!

Enterprises believe SIEM myths to their own peril; believing in them can hamper your cybersecurity in the long term. What are the top 5 enterprise SIEM myths? How can your enterprise instead embrace reality and improve your security analytic capabilities? 

No branch of cybersecurity carries as much stigma as SIEM. Certainly, SIEM’s capabilities and tools don’t appear as straightforward as their cousins endpoint security and IAM. However, enterprises need SIEM capabilities now more than ever with the emphasis on detection in the cybersecurity paradigm.

Thus your enterprise can’t let itself become blinded by inaccuracies. Therefore, we present the top 5 SIEM myths and why they don’t correspond with reality. 

The Top 5 Enterprise SIEM Myths – Debunked! 

Myth #1: My Small Business Doesn’t Need SIEM 

Of all the SIEM myths we cover here, this one proves the most insidious. Small businesses continue to turn a blind eye to their cybersecurity risk. Often, they believe hackers only target large enterprises—the ones that show up in the headlines. Of course, those headlines focusing on the breaches of the most recognizable brands only reinforces this notion.  

Unfortunately, this belief doesn’t pan out in reality. In fact, hackers attack small-to-medium-sized businesses more than they target global enterprises. Anywhere between 58% and 61% of cyber attacks target small businesses. To compound the danger, 60% of data breaches end up causing the attacked SMBs to permanently close six months later.

The obvious solution to this SIEM myth? Deploy SIEM. Your enterprise, large or small, can’t rely on a digital perimeter by itself to stay secure. Really, preventative cybersecurity can’t hope to defend against 100% of all cybersecurity threats. Eventually, hackers will get lucky or attack you in a way you didn’t anticipate. Once hackers do eventually break through the perimeter, your enterprise needs improved threat detection and remediation. 

These capabilities, as well as network visibility, security alerting, and log management, SIEM can provide.

Myth #2: We Can Just Set Our SIEM and Then Leave It Be

Granted, this also applies to all other branches of cybersecurity, not just SIEM. However, decision-makers tend to focus on SIEM when discussing this myth. The hope appears to be that they can set-it-and-forget-it, to invest their resources in other places. In their perfect world, they can just leave their solution alone and let it run optimally. 

This doesn’t work for any cybersecurity solution, much less SIEM. Instead, SIEM functions based on digital rules. These rules dictate how the solution correlates security events across all of the accumulated and normalized log data.

In other words, correlation rules define what constitutes abnormal behavior or activity. From that, your solution then generates security alerts which in turn prompts your IT team to investigate. 

Yet these correlation rules do not come automatically. Your IT security team must write and provide them. Even if the solution utilizes machine learning, your cybersecurity professionals must still set the foundation for its optimal performance. 

Otherwise, your SIEM correlation rules may identify normal behaviors as potential security events, creating false-positive alerts. These can substantially drain resources, time, and willpower in wasted investigations and can obscure more legitimate security alerts.

In addition to making clear correlation rules, your team needs to continually monitor your SIEM solution’s performance. Regardless, never assume you can just leave your solution alone; leave that to the dustbin of history with the other SIEM myths.  

Myth #3: When We Can Deploy SIEM All At Once! 

No. Just no. For your sake, and the sake of your IT security team, please do not give into SIEM myths like this. It only leads to heartache and serious burnout. 

Here’s why: SIEM functions based not just on its correlation rules but on the data you feed it. Feeding your SIEM security-related data results in more accurate alerts but more information can create more alerts and thus more false positives and investigations. 

So the more of your network you incorporate into your SIEM’s purview, the more you have to deal with proportionally. 

However, enterprises keep trying to deploy SIEM all across their networks all at once, with the requisite data influx. The influx of information leaves your IT team scrambling. Instead, you need to judiciously pick the most sensitive areas of your network which require greater visibility.

Deploy your enterprise’s SIEM solution in those areas first and learn how your correlation rules work. You can observe potential issues and unique normalization processes before you expand it to other network areas. 

Of course, you can’t limit your SIEM to only those areas. Don’t rush into deploying SIEM, but choose a fitting solution quickly. Once you feel comfortable with your solution, you can always scale it to the rest of your network.   

Myth #4: SIEM Costs Too Much

One of the most recurrent SIEM myths enterprises cite is cost. The initial upfront costs to a traditional SIEM solution include the licensing costs, implementation costs, and renewal costs. Additionally, your enterprise needs to consider the training costs for your employees to properly maintain the solution.

However, these costs shouldn’t prove extravagant compared to other cybersecurity solutions such as identity management and endpoint security. Usually, the real problems stem from enterprises continuing to sink money into their legacy solutions. Conversely, they may select a new solution but fail to invest the resources, time, or energy to maintaining their SIEM solution in the long term.

In many ways, the perception of overwhelming SIEM costs creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. Enterprises believe SIEM will be too expensive to work with, and therefore become gun shy about investing in it properly.

Therefore, consider deploying SIEM as a major long term investment in your overall cybersecurity and provide it with the time and energy it deserves. Additionally, the training SIEM requires will supplement your IT security team’s strengths in the long term.

Myth #5: SIEM Is Way Too Complex For Our IT Department

Complexity remains one of the most commonly referenced SIEM myths. The proper maintenance and optimal performance of SIEM solutions do carry more than the requisite amount of mystique. Questions abound: 

  • How do you feed the SIEM solution proper correlation rules? 
  • What’s the best procedure to examine its security alerts? 
  • Which investigation procedures fit your IT infrastructure? 

If you fear SIEM’s complexity, then what you need is a next-generation user interface. Of course, this requires you to carefully select a solution which fits your network. Selecting a solution blindly or rashly can create more problems long-term—often via integration issues. You need a solution which not only fits your solution now but will continue to suit it as it scales and changes.    

If you still worry, you can also reach out to a managed security services provider (MSSP). These allow your small business to stay up-to-date with cybersecurity best practices, even on limited resources. At their core, managed security providers conduct oversight and administration on your cybersecurity; also, they can manage your security processes for you like investigation. 

Start Debunking SIEM Myths Today! 

You can get your enterprise into SIEM today by downloading our Buyer’s Guide. We dive into the key capabilities and top vendors in the field! 

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