A SIEM solution has become an integral part of an organisation’s security arsenal. But organisations often overlook the system’s capabilities, owing to a belief that SIEM functionalities are too complex and the architecture inscrutable. Regrettably, they neglect to meet the requirements of their organisation with the features of the product.
For instance, an organisation that deals with the credit card information of customers needs to comply with the PCI-DSS requirement. A SIEM solution can help generate audit-ready reports, meaning that the organisation doesn’t require a separate solution to meet IT regulatory compliance.
Though any vendor will walk you through the features of a SIEM product, it’s always recommended to get hands-on experience with the solution before choosing it.
Challenges in evaluating a SIEM solution
Evaluating a SIEM solution is a tricky process when considering the different capabilities that each solution will offer. Further, every organisation’s security posture is unique, and it doesn’t make sense to follow a predefined checklist for evaluation.
For an enterprise to identify a SIEM system that fits their requirement, it’s essential to ascertain gaps in its current security setup and evaluate the security posture of its branches across different locations, if applicable. Of course, there are basic capabilities that every SIEM solution should be equipped with.
Features to look for in a SIEM solution
Here are the top seven features of a SIEM solution:
1. Network security monitoring
One of the key features to look for in a SIEM solution is its network security monitoring capabilities. Enterprises often have a wide range of devices such as workstations, routers, firewalls, etc. A SIEM solution should be able to monitor the different network devices, identify vulnerabilities that could lead to a potential attack or data breach, and keep the administrator informed of threats in real time. Further, the solution should be integrated with threat feeds to stop known threat sources from interacting with the network.
2. User and entity behaviour analytics
In large organisations, it would be impossible for the administrator to keep tabs on all users manually. A SIEM solution must be able to learn user behaviour and derive a baseline. Whenever there is a deviation from the baseline, the administrator should immediately be alerted. Further, if the solution can assign a risk score to the users based on their activities, administrators will have an easier time identifying a compromised account or malicious insider.
3. Data loss prevention
Enterprises handle huge amounts of data. This can include a wide range of sensitive files such as personal information of customers, credit card details, price sensitive information, etc. If this information is not securely stored, it can lead to data leakage, ransom demands, and impact the reputation of the organisation. Identifying unauthorized access to an organisation’s data, and alerting its administrators, is a critical feature of a SIEM solution.
4. Cloud security
According to ManageEngine’s Digital Readiness Survey, eight out of 10 IT professionals report that the pandemic has led to an increase in cloud usage. Though the lift and shift approach to cloud adoption makes migration easier and seamless, due to the differences in on-premises and cloud architectures, there can be massive repercussions to security.
That’s why it’s advisable to have a SIEM solution that can monitor cloud activities and identify potential threats. It should also be able to monitor and provide insights on the usage of shadow and banned applications.
5. Directory auditing
Monitoring directory activities plays a vital role to avoid any unauthorized access to critical resources. Active directory monitoring must be an essential part of a SIEM solution to ensure that permissions are configured in line with the internal policies of the organisation and industry regulations.
6. Threat intelligence
Threat intelligence helps identify malicious IPs, URLs, email addresses, domains, etc., thus providing a better security context and reducing the mean time to detect any threats.
7. End-to-end incident management
Security incidents are inevitable no matter how optimized an organisation’s network security system is. However, a SIEM solution needs to be able to automate incident response, reducing the impact of security threats. Administrators should also be alerted of incidents as and when they occur. A SIEM solution must be able to correlate individual events, identify patterns, detect potential attacks, and respond to them.
SIEM solutions can enhance the overall security posture of an organisation, but it is important to match the solution’s capabilities with the security needs of the organisation. Further, it is important to understand the core capabilities of the solution to detect and defend against cyberattacks efficiently.