By: Mark Sheldon Villanueva on October 4th, 2021
Pros and Cons of Implementing SIEM
Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) can provide you a lot of value regardless of the size of your business. However, it’s not a perfect solution. Find out the pros and cons of implementing SIEM for your business.
Some of the most high-profile cyberattacks in recent history have one common thread; the breaches went undetected for weeks, months, and even years. In most of these cases, the intrusion wasn't even detected by internal security processes. Rather, the victims found out about it through news reports, law enforcement, and external fraud monitoring.
It's become a common tactic for hackers to lurk in your network for long stretches before making their move. In fact, according to the latest report from FireEye, cybercriminals dwelled an average of 146 days before implementing an attack. So why are these breaches go undetected?
In a study by the Ponemon Institute, it was revealed that 69% of American security practitioners say their approach is reactive and incident-driven. That means most organizations do not take a proactive approach when it comes to preventing and detecting threats.
At ITS, we've helped hundreds of businesses bolster their cybersecurity efforts. From our experience, taking a proactive approach to network security is the key to staying ahead of threats. And one of the best ways to do that is through Security Information and Event Management (SIEM).
In this article, we'll dive into the following topics to help you decide whether SIEM is a solution that fits your needs:
- What is SIEM?
- What are the benefits of SIEM?
- What are the limitations of SIEM?
What is SIEM?
SIEM is the process of collecting logs from across your network, including all assets, then correlating them. Basically, it's gathering all the data your network generates to seek out and flag any suspicious activity.
When done properly, SIEM can help you proactively seek out potential threats to your network. In other words, it's like an alarm system for your network that can let you know when someone has broken in and how they did it.
What are the benefits of SIEM?
There are a lot of advantages to using SIEM regardless of the size of your business. Take a look below at some of the benefits you can earn when it's properly implemented:
Improves Cybersecurity Performance
SIEM can offer you one of the most vital resources you need when it comes to cyberattacks--time. Properly implementing SIEM shortens the time it takes to detect and identify threats, allowing you to react faster. That gives you the opportunity to either minimize the damage or prevent it completely.
It can also help you catch zero-day threats. SIEM can be configured to detect activity related to an attack rather than the attack itself. That enables you to identify threats like zero-day that have a high likelihood of getting through spam filters, firewalls, and antivirus software.
While other traditional defenses can do wonders to secure your network, a SIEM can help you catch malicious activities that slip through the cracks.
Provides Detailed Forensic Analysis
Even the best cybersecurity solutions can fail. If it does, SIEM can help make a forensic investigation go faster. It provides details regarding where and how a breach occurred, helping your IT team create a fix or a patch. In addition, it can also help with the resulting lawsuit or insurance claim by providing in-depth historical logs that forensic investigators can use.
Helps with Regulatory Compliance
All businesses are bound by some sort of regulation, whether it's from the government or some other regulatory body. SIEM not only protects you from attacks it also helps you comply with regulatory requirements.
It continuously collects and reports on your entire network in real-time, arming you with data to satisfy regulators auditing your environment. Audits are inevitable, but with SIEM, you will always be prepared for them.
Offers Wide Range of Uses
SIEM has a wide variety of uses for anything that revolves around data or historical logs. From operations support to troubleshooting issues, SIEM empowers your IT team with the information they need to do their jobs more effectively.
What are the limitations of SIEM?
Despite all the benefits, SIEM is not a perfect solution. Like all cybersecurity measures, It has its limitations, such as the following:
Takes a Long Time to Implement
Depending on the size of the network, SIEM can take 90 days or more to implement. It requires at least that amount of time to successfully integrate with an organization's security controls and the hosts inside its infrastructure.
The implementation process also doesn't stop there as the system needs to be calibrated and configured for a period of time for it to run effectively.
Requires Technical Expertise
You might be tempted to think that simply purchasing a SIEM tool and installing it will have you good and ready. Unfortunately, that's not how it works.
The effectiveness of your SIEM is based entirely on how it's set up, configured, and monitored. While funneling all the data about your network activity might seem valuable, it's pointless without context. In fact, if not set up properly, your SIEM can even hinder your cybersecurity efforts.
Analyzing, configuring, and integrating SIEM reports require technical expertise. That's because you don't just need the data; you need it to make sense. An expert can tell you what information is valuable and how it relates to the rest of your network.
That's one of the reasons why many small businesses that lack a robust IT department choose to leverage SIEM from Managed IT Service Providers (MSP).
Time and expertise cost a lot of money, and SIEM requires both. It's no wonder that implementing it for your business will need a hefty initial investment. A ballpark estimate of SIEM implementation could be in the hundreds of thousands.
What's more, other costs associated with SIEM implementation add up. From personnel who will manage and monitor your SIEM implementation, annual support, and more, and you're likely to end up with a sizable sum.
Thankfully, some MSPs offer SIEM services as a part of a more robust cybersecurity package, allowing smaller companies to take advantage.
Generates Large Amounts of False Positives
SIEM tools rely on the rules you set up to analyze all recorded data. If you fail to configure it properly, it can generate a large number of false positives per day. In fact, 10,000 alerts are pretty common for a misconfigured SIEM.
That amount makes it more difficult for you to identify potential threats from irrelevant logs. Worse, it can even cause you to miss out on important security events.
Ready to implement SIEM?
Whether SIEM is the right solution for your business depends on how much you value your network security. While it does have its drawbacks, the value it can bring your organization outweighs the cons, especially if you can find the right partner to help you.
At ITS, we've helped hundreds of clients secure their network environment. So if you want to know where your cybersecurity efforts currently stand, fill out our form for a free security assessment.