Understanding SIEM Technology: How to Add Value to Your Security Intelligence Implementation

Security information and event management (SIEM) technology has been around for more than a decade — and the market is growing by the minute.

So, it may seem strange that so many organizations lack a proper understanding of what a security intelligence and analytics solution can do, what type of data it ingests and where to begin when it comes to implementation.

As the threat environment expands in both diversity and volume, IT skills are becoming increasingly scarce, and point solutions are increasingly flooding the market. As a result, many security leaders are at a loss when it comes to selecting the right SIEM solutions to serve their unique needs.

Clear the Fog Surrounding SIEM Technology

Why all the confusion? For one thing, many companies just throw money at a SIEM platform to solve all their security use cases or as a silver bullet for compliance. These are ill-advised strategies because customers are often left to their own devices to both define and implement the system.

So, how should these companies proceed? The first step is to identify the primary security challenges they are trying to solve and the outcomes they hope to achieve.

To shed light on their SIEM implementation, security leaders need a single pane of glass across the organization’s infrastructure to detect and investigate threats, both internal and external. In both cases, these threats are typically after the enterprise’s critical data, whether they aim to steal or destroy it. Since more and more of this data is being moved off premises, cloud security has become a critical function of security operations.

Threat actors will do anything they can to gain access to the enterprise’s crown jewels — and, when they do, security teams need a rapid and efficient incident-response process that enables analysts to take action quickly and confidently.

Finally, and perhaps most crucially, organizations must be able to prove all of the above to various compliance and regulatory auditors.

How to Optimize Your SIEM Implementation

To clear up the uncertainty surrounding SIEM technology — and to maximize the value of their implementation — security leaders should:

  • Understand the outcomes their SIEM solution can deliver against common use cases;
  • Create a road map for SIEM maturity;
  • Understand how adding different types of data to the SIEM can improve outcomes; and
  • Continuously review their processes and educate staff and stakeholders accordingly.

By following these basic steps, chief information security officers (CISOs) can demonstrate the value of their SIEM implementation in a way that is easily communicable to business leaders and lead the way toward smarter, more prudent investments.

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Chris Meenan

Product Manager for QRadar, IBM Security

Chris Meenan is a Product Manager working on the QRadar Security Intelligence Product within the IBM Security division. He has over 10 years experience in product management and been involved in developing, managing, releasing and selling software products for over 20 years. Chris has a extensive market, domain, and customer knowledge in IT Security, Customer Relationship Management and Telecom OSS solutions. Chris holds a 1st Honours degree in Physics, and has a PhD in Mobile Satellite communications.