Things always come in waves, and we seem to be coming out of the latest wave of “security information and event management (SIEM) is dead” messaging, which has been prevalent over the years.

There is no doubt that some SIEMs are dead, but it’s not because the need is dead. It’s because those particular solutions are, usually due to lack of investment, vision and customer focus. Other vendors say that SIEM is dead because their solutions lack many of the fundamental capabilities required to detect threats from machine data. These vendors often hide the fact that they actually need the curated and enriched data from the SIEM to be successful.

But SIEM has absolutely evolved over the years, and this is reflected very clearly in the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant (MQ). I’ve been involved in the QRadar SIEM MQ submissions for more than seven years, initially at Q1 Labs and now with IBM, and I’ve seen how these changes have aligned with QRadar’s capabilities and IBM Security’s vision. More importantly, I’ve seen how the technology has adapted to address our changing customer and market needs for SIEM systems.

Download the 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant for SIEM

Three Phases of SIEM Evolution

At a high level, SIEM has evolved in three phases, from a simple tool designed to help organizations achieve and maintain compliance to a complex threat detection system that empowers security operations center (SOC) analysts to respond to incidents quickly and more effectively.

Phase One: Get Me Compliant

This still drives a lot of budget — but increasingly less so — for an SIEM. Five to eight years ago, it was all about being compliant with Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards, the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act of 2002, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and other regulations. There was much less focus on real security use cases. In fact, a lot of SIEMs were bought without a real plan or strategy to address security use cases. This has come back to haunt many SIEM implementations.

Phase Two: We Are Getting Attacked — I Need to Detect!

Around three to four years ago, a pivot occurred that now seems blindingly obvious. Organizations wanted to see real security use cases and understand how their investment could detect real threats.

QRadar started out over a decade ago as a network behavior anomaly detection engine, and we kept all of those capabilities in the platform as we turned it into an SIEM, so threat detection was always in our DNA. In recent years, we’ve added more threat detection capabilities with built-in threat intelligence, enhanced historical and real-time analytics capabilities, user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA) and, most recently, cognitive capabilities with Watson integration.

Using IBM QRadar Advisor with Watson, Sogeti SOC analysts were 50 percent faster in analyzing information, enabling them to prioritize and respond to threats in minutes versus hours or days.

Phase Three: The SOC Platform

Organizations are looking at how they take that core threat detection technology and operationalize it by building out coherent, consistent and robust security operations on a security analytics and orchestration platform, so we added the market-leading capabilities of the IBM Resilient Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR) Platform. Importantly, it must support:

  • An ecosystem, since no one vendor can solve this whole problem;
  • Automation and built-in security intelligence, since cybercriminals automate everything and use tools with ready-to-go capabilities; and
  • Innovation, since defenders can’t be held back by legacy and closed systems while their adversaries rapidly innovate.

Our customers prefer these capabilities be delivered by a trusted partner who can provide best practice guidance on how to implement and mature their operations to maximize their probability of success now and in the future.

Preparing for the Fourth Phase: The Three C’s

This is roughly where we are today. However, we think some of the most significant evolution is still to come because there are still challenges that will drive substantial changes. Organizations around the world struggle to acquire and retain skilled resources. The attacks keep coming with increasing veracity and intensity, driving the need for an on-demand environment in which time to insights and value is measured in hours and days, and organizations have an increasingly low tolerance for risk.

So what will this fourth phase be? Our bet is on the three C’s, which consists of:

  • Cloud — providing services on-demand that can scale easily and quickly as needs demand;
  • Collaboration — sharing intelligence, analytics and best practices to alleviate skill gaps; and
  • Cognition — implementing automation to assist in making better, faster decisions in the face of ever-growing data and knowledge gaps.

We believe only the three C’s can make a significant impact on security operations outcomes. QRadar, the modern SIEM, will absolutely be at the center of it — and we will take our customers on that journey with us.

Download the 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant for SIEM

More from Intelligence & Analytics

RansomExx Upgrades to Rust

IBM Security X-Force Threat Researchers have discovered a new variant of the RansomExx ransomware that has been rewritten in the Rust programming language, joining a growing trend of ransomware developers switching to the language. Malware written in Rust often benefits from lower AV detection rates (compared to those written in more common languages) and this may have been the primary reason to use the language. For example, the sample analyzed in this report was not detected as malicious in the…

Moving at the Speed of Business — Challenging Our Assumptions About Cybersecurity

The traditional narrative for cybersecurity has been about limited visibility and operational constraints — not business opportunities. These conversations are grounded in various assumptions, such as limited budgets, scarce resources, skills being at a premium, the attack surface growing, and increased complexity. For years, conventional thinking has been that cybersecurity costs a lot, takes a long time, and is more of a cost center than an enabler of growth. In our upcoming paper, Prosper in the Cyber Economy, published by…

Overcoming Distrust in Information Sharing: What More is There to Do?

As cyber threats increase in frequency and intensity worldwide, it has never been more crucial for governments and private organizations to work together to identify, analyze and combat attacks. Yet while the federal government has strongly supported this model of private-public information sharing, the reality is less than impressive. Many companies feel that intel sharing is too one-sided, as businesses share as much threat intel as governments want but receive very little in return. The question is, have government entities…

Tackling Today’s Attacks and Preparing for Tomorrow’s Threats: A Leader in 2022 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for SIEM

Get the latest on IBM Security QRadar SIEM, recognized as a Leader in the 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant. As I talk to security leaders across the globe, four main themes teams constantly struggle to keep up with are: The ever-evolving and increasing threat landscape Access to and retaining skilled security analysts Learning and managing increasingly complex IT environments and subsequent security tooling The ability to act on the insights from their security tools including security information and event management software…