When discussing cybersecurity, people often talk about the importance of network monitoring. There is a good reason for this fact, as network monitoring is one of the surest ways to detect and deal with an intruder. However, many people have no idea as to what that actually means or how it is done.
Most of the common network monitoring programs require some degree of technical expertise, as the user must be able to interpret the raw data displayed. At this point, you might be wondering if there is a simpler way to go about things, and the answer is SIEM software.
What Does “SIEM” Mean?
This term is an acronym for “Security Information and Event Management.” As the name implies, it is meant to be a complete security monitoring interface. In most cases, this software is used for network security, but it can be used for in-house security as well.
SIEM software collects log and event data from all the various systems and programs on the computer. It collects and interprets this data at the same time so that the user doesn’t necessarily need to understand the data in its raw form. It also provides real-time network monitoring and alerts, helping network administrators to respond more quickly to a breach.
SIEM Software Options
This type of software comes in many different forms, even though all of them are intended to serve the same purpose. All of them will collect and store log information. This is good because that data would otherwise be overwritten as new logs are saved. Any good SIEM program will also provide for analysis of these log files so that you don’t have to go digging through them manually.
All significant events are logged by a computer, and the SIEM program should also keep track of these. Long-term storage and analysis should also be provided, and (most importantly) real-time monitoring of security events with automatic notifications. Some SIEM programs will also include things like:
- Disaster recovery
- Virtualization services
- Anti-malware protection
- Automatic intrusion detection
- Penetration testing
- Constant monitoring of all system settings
Why Use SIEM?
We have already mentioned the biggest reason to use this software. Most of the simple network monitoring programs are just too hard for the average person to interpret. Take Wireshark, for instance. It displays network traffic in its raw form, as packets of information floating through cyberspace. A person has to understand the filenames and know what they mean, otherwise, they just get a jumble of meaningless titles. SIEM software greatly reduces the need for expert monitoring.
SIEM software also provides for a quicker response in the event of a security breach. There is simply no way to make any computer system 100% intrusion-proof. You can make things very difficult, but there is always a chance that someone will outsmart your preventative measures. Quick detection allows for quick action, which serves as the second line of defense. Even if the intruder cannot be prevented from achieving their goal, it may be possible to identify them for later prosecution.
For companies, there are financial reasons to use SIEM software as well. Since this kind of software does not usually require an expert, that means fewer techs that you have to hire. Of course, we might also mention the expensive damage that can be done by a single high-profile breach.
If you go with a more feature-rich SIEM program, you may get a lot of other benefits as well. Those with built-in penetration testing systems can save you even more money on technicians. Those with anti-malware capability can save you the trouble and expense of buying stand-alone antivirus software. However, in the end, it’s all about making the network and all its components safer.
Some Examples Of SIEM Software
Here are a few of the more common programs on the market:
As you might guess from the name, this one is a little more graphical and attractive than the rest. Apart from its pleasant appearance, it is very easy to use. This is probably why it has become one of the more popular SIEM options. It provides a wide range of options and is probably the best choice for a beginner.
Arcsight is one of the more respected brands in this area. It collects a wide range of data from the entire operating system, then uses that to provide automatic alerts for security personnel. It can also be configured to respond automatically to certain forms of suspicious activity. This is a great option because it allows you to reduce the response time even more.
For instance, a large number of failed login attempts in a short period will usually indicate that someone is attempting to crack a password. With Arcsight, you can configure the program so that it will automatically lock that account after a certain number of failed attempts. Of course, there will always be a certain number of false positives, so bear that in mind as well.
This is a simple and effective tool that doesn’t try to pile on too many features at once. It does the intended job and does it well, which we can see by looking at all the positive reviews. There is, however, one distinctive feature of this software. It uses AI to analyze and investigate all suspicious activity, and this AI is not limited to known threats.
It’s also nice that IBM QRadar can collect log/event data from cloud applications, something that not all SIEM programs can do. Overall, the only downside we can see here is the potential for outside manipulation of the AI.
SIEM software is not a complicated thing, as it is intended to serve one simple purpose: Keep the network safer through constant monitoring. There are many ways to do it, but you should always keep the primary goal in mind. If you would like to read more about fascinating subjects like this, feel free to fill out the contact form.