Why does log collection matter to enterprise cybersecurity? How can you properly manage your log collection to optimize your SIEM cybersecurity? What practices should you avoid in your log collection, and why does it all matter?
For many enterprises, SIEM seems an intricate and complex cybersecurity solution. In fact, many enterprises fail to replace their legacy solutions because they feel trepidation in selecting SIEM. From their perspective, SIEM requires far more maintenance and specialized expertise than many enterprises feel they can provide.
However, at the heart of every SIEM solution is a fairly simple capability: log collection. Let’s explore log collection in detail.
Why Does Log Collection Matter?
In the earliest days of enterprise networks, you only needed to worry about a few endpoints and a handful of databases. Making sure everything remained secure and optimal proved remarkably straightforward. Usually, you could remain sure of what data you possessed and where you stored it.
Of course, we don’t want to look at the past with rose-colored glasses. The recent innovations with remote workforces, cloud adoption, and data storage certainly improved enterprises’ communications and flexibility. Additionally, all of these innovations provide for easier means of collaboration and increased overall bottom lines.
However, all of these benefits come with potential challenges. Namely, as your enterprise embraces these improvements, you face a problem with network scaling. This problem especially becomes relevant with cloud adoption—as your enterprise uses remote databases, keeping track of your data proves difficult.
Moreover, as your network scales, you need to take further steps to maintain the same level of visibility over all of your digital assets. Monitoring all of your cloud applications and databases can overwhelm your IT security team all on its own.
Without proper visibility, hackers can far more easily penetrate your digital perimeter, set up dwelling threats, or steal unguarded data. Thankfully, this is where log collection steps in.
How Log Collection Can Help
Put simply, log collection (also called log management) refers to the collection and storage of log files from operating systems. In fact, it can also collect information from applications and multiple hosts and draw them into a single centralized location.
No one can overstate the importance of centralization in both cybersecurity and SIEM in particular. The decentralized nature of modern networks makes it difficult to properly compare the log information and to examine them simultaneously. Centralizing them allows your IT security team to correlate potential security events and discover security incidents more easily.
Furthermore, log collection allows your IT team to perform other tasks not directly related to cybersecurity. For example, this capability allows your team to compile compliance reports necessary for industry mandates. Also, log collection allows your team to see how applications and databases interact with one another. Your team can detect integration issues and potential areas of possible optimization.
Additionally, calling on log collection in your SIEM increases your visibility on your disparate network. By deploying this capability, you can get an intelligence feed into your own network and its assets. You can observe who has access to what digital databases and how they interact with them, allowing for stronger security decisions.
What Practices Should Your Embrace For Optimal Performance?
When deploying log collection for SIEM and cybersecurity, remember this: don’t try to deploy it all at once. In fact, trying to deploy this capability across the entire network in one go proves the downfall for many enterprises.
Here’s why: your IT security team does need to interact with your SIEM solution for it to perform optimally. If you bombard them with too much information, they will struggle to make sense of all of it. In fact, you could drown out the vital cybersecurity data you need to discover a dwelling threat.
Instead, you need to deploy it selectively at first and then slowly expanding its range. By selectively deploying the log management, you can increase visibility on your most sensitive data.
Additionally, you can allow your IT team to adjust to the unique demands of your SIEM solution and make adjustments; in turn, this allows them to understand how it collects data and processes it for proper utilization.
Critically, your log collection capability must pair with normalization and contextualization capabilities. Normalization follows the same principle as centralization; it unites disparate logs in multiple formats and mediums in a single readable format. This allows for easy consumption and security analysis.
Meanwhile, contextualization ensures the log data’s security events are presented within the framework of normal business processes. This helps cuts down on investigation times by helping IT team identify false positives early in the process.
Why You Need This Capability in Your SIEM
Cybersecurity is a field marked by change. Once, prevention and deflection defined its goals and main processes. While those remain vital to a healthy digital perimeter, prevention no longer forms the core of cybersecurity.
Unfortunately, no perimeter can prevent 100% of all cyber attacks. Eventually, hackers can penetrate your enterprise network, although a strong perimeter can deter many of them. When this happens, your enterprise needs the right threat intelligence and detection capabilities to mitigate their attacks.
Log collection aims to supplement with your threat detection; detection can’t function without full visibility and without security correlation. Moreover, log collection can supplement your behavioral monitoring, which can help detect insider threats or subverted credentials. Your enterprise needs to prioritize this key capability when it makes cybersecurity decisions.
Thankfully, you can get started with our 2019 SIEM Buyer’s Guide! We dive into the top vendors in the field plus their log collection and other capabilities. Also, we provide a Bottom Line assessment for each vendor.
If you want to learn even more, you can also check out our SIEM Vendor Map. Here, we chart the top SIEM providers according to their emphasis on Log Management compared to threat detection and compliance. Together, your enterprise can better determine its use case and pick the right solution for it.
You need log collection. It may not be the most glamorous or flashy capability, but it provides a cybersecurity foundation unlike any other.
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