In today’s digital market, it’s essential that organizations take measures to protect their data against increasingly advanced cyber threats. Search information and event management (SIEM) solutions are comprehensive security systems that give IT professionals valuable insight into their organization’s network, allowing them to proactively and reactively fight cybersecurity threats.

Choosing the right SIEM

As more organizations make the shift towards cloud-based data, security systems have adapted to be able to collect, monitor and examine off-site data. As a result, enterprises now have the option of implementing on-premises, cloud-based or cloud-native SIEM systems. Read our comprehensive SIEM guide to find out more about each of these security analytics solutions and for help deciding which is the right SIEM solution for you.

What is a SIEM solution?

SIEM is essentially a data aggregator, search and reporting system. It can gather and analyze huge amounts of data from different resources across a large digital environment, allowing organizations to pinpoint security breaches and investigate security alerts across their entire IT network.

How does SIEM work?

SIEM systems use two types of cybersecurity to catch abnormal behaviour and quickly identify potential cyberattacks:

  • Security Event Management (SEM) provides real-time threat monitoring by storing and logging event data in one centralized place and then analyzing this data for irregularities. It generates alerts when a threat arises, allowing IT professionals to evaluate the security risk and act accordingly.
  • Security Information Management (SIM) gathers, examines and reports on log data. The organization’s IT team and SIEM provider will set certain safety parameters. And, if the analytics match this ruleset, the system will generate a security alert.

What are the benefits of SIEM for organizations?

Organizations can enjoy a number of benefits from SIEM, but here are three of the most popular.

Increased efficiency in monitoring real-time and log data

By employing both SIM and SEM, SIEM systems can protect organizations from real-time attacks while simultaneously monitoring log data for any other issues.

Easier security management across large, complex networks

SIEMs provide end-to-end visibility of data collected from a range of cybersecurity assets, including IoT devices, computer applications, firewalls, and antivirus software, making it easier for IT and security professionals to monitor large digital environments. They can also improve reporting processes across widespread businesses by collating event logs from multiple network devices and consolidating them into clear, user-friendly dashboards.

On-premise SIEM vs. cloud-based vs. cloud-native

As organizations move towards cloud infrastructure and off-site SaaS, new SIEM tools are adapting to the cloud era and enabling companies to develop effective ways to collect, monitor and analyze cloud-based security data. As a result, organizations now have the option of implementing SIEM as an on-premise, cloud-based or fully in the cloud (cloud-native SaaS SIEM) solution.

What are the advantages of cloud-based SIEM?

Cloud-based SIEMs offer all the benefits of an on-premise SIEM, combined with convenience, adaptability and enhanced usability. To help you decide whether a cloud or on-premise SIEM is the best fit for your organization, here are the top six advantages of choosing a cloud-based SIEM.

1. Fast deployment – begin operations right away

On-premise SIEM systems collect large amounts of data from everywhere in your network and require in-house configurations on company appliances. Consequently, it can take many weeks and even months before they can be deployed as a fully operational security measure. In fact, according to a SIEM research conducted by Gartner, around 40 percent of SIEM deployments took more than three months to complete, with most of that time spent on shipping, fulfilment and initial setup. A Ponemon Institute study found that 41 percent of SIEM buyers took six months or more to roll out their chosen solution.

By contrast, organizations can begin using cloud-based SIEM solutions right away. There’s no need to wait for the product to be shipped, hardware to be configured or software to be installed – cloud-based SIEM solutions provide immediate access to a fully functioning next-generation security system.

2. An adaptable, scalable security solution that grows with your enterprise

On-premise SIEM solutions may match an organization’s requirements at the time of implementation, but as the enterprise grows and its data needs expand, these older, SQL-based security systems often lack the technologies to grow with it. Cloud-based or cloud-native SIEMs, on the other hand, can be scaled as required, and capacity can be easily increased to cover additional data sources and new applications.

3. A solution to the IT skills shortage

On-premise SIEM solutions are often complex and require a skilled in-house solutions expert to install, configure and monitor. And with the cybersecurity skill gap worsening, hiring and retaining such security analysts can be a challenge for many organizations. Cloud-based SIEM systems may offer a solution to this skills shortage. Not only are these systems easier to implement and maintain, but they also offer organizations the option of outsourcing expertise if needed, rather than eating up in-house resources.

4. Reduced capital expenses and cut costs

The cost of implementing a SIEM system is another major consideration. With on-premise SIEM systems, the upfront costs are greater, placing organizations in larger technical debt from the outset. On-premise SIEMs also require a number of ongoing costs, such as maintenance, staffing and hardware upgrades. Overall, an IDG report found that the average organization was spending $580,000 per year on their SIEM solution.

In contrast, cloud-based SIEM solutions cost 11 percent less on average, with reduced overhead and infrastructure maintenance costs. That’s because cloud-based SIEMs are generally set up on a subscription basis, allowing organizations to pay only for the resources they actively use. Enterprises also have the flexibility to change licensing or scale their cloud-based SIEM as required, without having to purchase or install additional hardware.

5. Minimal maintenance and updates

An on-premise SIEM system will inevitably need a refresh as hardware gets old and software needs updating to keep up with ever-changing cyber threats and increasing data demands. Such updates consume both financial and staffing resources and generally mean some interruption in log collection.

Cloud-based SIEM systems allow enterprises to stay ahead without additional investment or effort. Network and application updates are handled by the vendor, with minimized interruption to log collection. And if an organization needs additional capacity to cope with data growth, this can be easily purchased from the cloud solution provider as well.

6. Cloud-based SIEMs are typically simpler and easier to use

On-premise SIEM solutions vary in complexity, but many older systems deliver a slow and frustrating user experience. And when these traditional tools are maxed on EPS, they become even slower to query and correlate data.

Cloud-based solutions, on the other hand, have been designed for simplicity. Many employ virtualized, user-friendly dashboards that provide intuitive, easy-to-read insights and can be accessed by multiple users at once via a convenient web portal. Cloud-based SIEM solutions are also much more accessible and reliable than on-site alternatives, often coming with service level agreements that ensure data is stored in multiple locations to avoid a single point of failure.

What is Microsoft Azure Sentinel, and what makes it different?

Azure Sentinel is Microsoft’s cloud-native SIEM and SOAR (security orchestration automated response) system. Azure Sentinel has raised the security bar among security analytics systems, representing a new class of cloud-native SIEM. It uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to give organizations unprecedented levels of protection, enabling enterprises to detect and stop threats before they can cause harm.

There are three main reasons that make Azure Sentinel stand out, not only from traditional on-premises SIEM systems but also from other cloud-based systems.

  1. Azure Sentinel offers data capabilities that other threat analytics platforms just can’t touch. With extensive visibility into an organization’s infrastructure, it can access vast amounts of data across even the largest enterprise.
  2. Azure Sentinel continuously monitors this data using advanced, built-in machine learning tools. It leverages next-generation AI and ML algorithms to automatically detect multistage attacks at various stages of the kill-chain. This means Azure Sentinel can identify potential threats that other SIEM systems would find very difficult to catch, offering organizations unparalleled protection in one simple, scalable, and cost-effective security solution. Also, Azure Sentinel will automatically respond to these threats when they occur instead of waiting for a person to respond to the alert.
  3. Office 365 ATP, Azure ATP, Microsoft Defender ATP, Microsoft Cloud App Security, Azure Information Protection) can be ingested into Azure Sentinel at no additional cost. Click here to learn more about Azure Sentinel pricing. You can also check the Azure Pricing Calculator for Azure Sentinel that can automatically select the best deal for you based on your expected consumption.

Find out more

To learn more about cloud-based SIEM solutions and find out how Azure Sentinel can help keep your organization protected, contact Softlanding now.

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