I was talking to an analyst firm the other day. They told me that a lot of organizations purchase a security information and event management (SIEM) solution and then “place it on the shelf.”
“Why would they do that?” I asked. I spent the majority of my career in hardware — enterprise hardware, cloud hardware, and just recently made the jump to security software, hence my question.
“Because SIEMs are hard to use. A SIEM purchase is just a checked compliance box,” they said.
For some organizations, it seems it is easier to use a log manager than a SIEM.
But a modern SIEM should and will make an analyst’s job easier.
You might ask yourself, why would I need a SIEM if I have a log manager?
Let’s be honest — we know cyber criminals do not want to be caught. Once they infiltrate your system, they can cover their tracks by turning off or altering the logs that captured their activity.
And although log managers do serve a purpose in your organization and do help to improve operational efficiency, SIEMs are a key tool in proactive security practices.
It is important to start with the fact that a SIEM does not replace your other security tools. You still need those other security tools, like your anti-malware software or firewalls — many of which feed key data into a SIEM.
Appropriately named, security information and event management software collects data from your environment and all your security tools. A SIEM then uses a combination of real-time correlation, anomaly detection, machine learning and user behavior analytics to find both known and unknown threats.
Modern SIEMs also use advanced correlation to connect the dots between the information being fed from the various tools to understand related threat activities. When a combination of advanced analytics and real-time correlation are pre-built into your SIEM, they can be applied out-of-the-box to network, asset, user, and application activity so that you can go well beyond just known threats to also identify anomalous activities that can indicate unknown threats.
Webinar: The Fundamentals of SIEM
That sounds complicated, log managers are way easier to use
The reality is that cybersecurity threats are becoming more advanced and more persistent. Security analysts are suffering from alert fatigue from sifting through countless alerts. A SIEM that provides fewer, high-fidelity alerts can help combat this.
But on the flip side, if you are being slowed down by a hard-to-use SIEM in this current state of cyber outlaw, well then that’s not a good situation to be in either now, is it?
Software should be easy to use out of the box.
If it takes you six months to implement a product, you are using the wrong product.
If you must take — or worse, pay for — learning courses to become an expert on using a SIEM, you are using the wrong product.
If you are losing employees because your current SIEM is too hard to use, you are using the wrong product.
What’s a SOC analyst to do?
If you are looking to modernize your SOC with a fancy new SIEM but your pre-conceived notions are keeping you from making the jump into the SIEM world, as Yoda says, “You must unlearn what you have learned.”
Join me and my partner in crime, Amber Borgersen, as we kick off 2023 with our new webinar series — Don’t let SIEM myths stand in your way of modernizing your SOC. Sign up for each webinar at the links below:
Program Director, Product Marketing, IBM Security
Jackie Lehmann is a contributor for SecurityIntelligence.