Understanding SIEM: What it is and how it can help in better security management of your business?

Next story

As businesses face an ever-growing number of cyber threats, you must better equip yourself with the tools to manage and protect your data. SIEM, or security information and event management, is one such tool. SIEM collects and analyzes data from different sources in real-time to identify security-related issues, threats, and compliance violations.

This blog post will take a closer look at what SIEM is, how it works, and the benefits and challenges of using SIEM. It'll also provide tips on choosing the best SIEM solution for your business needs.


What is SIEM?

SIEM stands for Security Information and Event Management. It is a security management tool that helps organizations better protect themselves from cyber threats. SIEM gathers data from multiple sources, such as endpoints, intrusion prevention and detection systems, firewalls, server, and network tap devices to comprehensively view an organization's security posture.


How does SIEM security work?

Primarily, SIEM collects and analyzes log data and presents the meaningful output, which can be used to protect IT ‌systems. SIEM uses correlation rules and logs analysis to identify potential incidents. Correlation rules are sets of conditions that, when met, indicate that there may be a security incident. 

For example, a correlation rule might state that if two users log into the same account from different locations within a short period, this should be flagged as a potential incident. Log analysis is reviewing system logs to look for suspicious activity. Once a possible incident has been identified, SIEM can take action to mitigate it. These actions might include blocking access to specific resources or notifying relevant personnel.  

Furthermore, SIEM also provides better-centralized visibility of an organization's security posture, which can be used in digital forensics and achieving compliance requirements.


The benefits and challenges of SIEM

SIEM can assist organizations in the following way:

1. Better Management and Overview: One of the main advantages of using SIEM is that it gives organizations a much-needed overview of their security posture and excellent management opportunity. Without SIEM, businesses would have to check each device they own manually - this takes up much time and can lead to human error.

2. Threat Detection: SEIM's real-time visibility of security events makes threat detection much easier and faster to identify potential threats. Some security events are time sensitive; if they are not detected and responded to on time, they can lead to a massive security breach. 

3. Incident Response: Another advantage of using SIEM is that it can help businesses automate their incident response. For example, suppose SIEM detects suspicious activity on a particular account. In that case, it can automatically disable that account or alert the relevant team members. This helps reduce response time during an incident, which can be crucial in preventing further damage.

4. Forensic Analysis: Detailed logs from SIEM enables an organization to perform effective and quick digital forensics of security events. Specifically, SIEM is extremely helpful for digital forensics and security management in larger organizations, which generate daily terabytes of log data.

5. Compliance Management: SIEM helps achieve related compliance requirements. Its centralized logging and reporting abilities can help organizations better manage their security posture, which helps comply with industry-specific regulations.

6. Better Risk Management: Risk identification is crucial to improve your organization's cyber security. SIEM helps identify and prioritize security risks, leading to better decision-making and effective resource allocation.


There are, however, some challenges that come with using SIEM. Below are some challenges you should consider while considering SIEM for your business.

1. Complexity: SIEM is complex to manage and requires technical expertise to operate and maintain it professionally. Organizations may need to hire additional resources or invest in training to reap the benefits of SIEM.

2. Integration: SIEM collects and analyzes data from multiple sources, requiring integration with various IT systems. This also increases SIEM complexity and becomes challenging and time-consuming sometimes.

3. False positives: Due to the large amount of data that SIEM processes, there will inevitably be some false positives - instances where SIEM identifies something as suspicious when it's not. While false positives can be annoying, they can usually be filtered out with proper configuration and tuning over time.

4. Cost: SIEM is costly in purchasing, implementation, and maintenance. It's not only about the software and hardware cost; organizations need to train their staff and bear the licensing fee as well.

5. Scalability: The ability of hyperscaling is crucial for organizations nowadays. Increasing data loads of security events and logs require scaling the tech stack, and it also comes with a cost which is why SIEM solution scalability can be difficult for organizations with a limited budget.

6. Threat Intelligence: Integrating relevant threat intelligence into the SIEM can be cumbersome and challenging. Blindly integrating threat intelligence into your SIEM solution can lead to false positives and ultimately end up with more issues than it solves.

Small to mid-sized businesses may face an issue with SIEM: the need for a security team. While SIEM can take actions based on the data it gathers, it cannot fully protect a system from an attack. Usually, a SIEM tool will forward any security alerts to the relevant security team within your organization. However, this becomes unviable for smaller organizations with small security teams. 

Organizations can use an MDR (Managed Detection Response) service to solve this issue. MDR is an affordable third-party service that can be hired to manage the security posture of any organization. MDR service providers have a team of experienced security experts who can deploy SIEM tools for your organization at a reasonable cost so you don't have to deal with SIEM challenges and other deployment issues and can avail the full benefits of SIEM.

Now that some of the positives and negatives of SIEM have been explained let's look at how you can choose the best SIEM tool for your business needs.


Choosing the best SIEM solution

The process of choosing the best SIEM solution for your business can be daunting, but it is essential to take the time to select a tool that meets your specific needs.

Below are a few ingredients that make the best SIEM tools:

1. Access Monitoring: An undoubtedly essential feature, access monitoring allows for the reading of access logs to identify malicious access patterns. This could stretch from databases to servers, local networks, etc.

2. Integrations: Some SIEM tools offer far more integration options than others. Finding the SIEM tool that allows integration with the tools you already use makes sense.

3. Deployability: SIEM tools come with different deployment options. Some may be platforms based on the cloud offered as a service. Others may be in the form of an on-premises solution. It is up to you to decide what fits your organization best.

4. Forensic analysis: Best SIEM tools support the forensic investigation of security events by providing detailed logs and analysis of events.

5. Compliance Support: A good SIEM tool must support compliance management by generating detailed reports and centralized logging and reporting features for security events.

In addition, combining SIEM with MDR (Managed Detection and Response) can lead to more effective and result-oriented cyber security for your organization. MDR service providers have a team of experienced cybersecurity professionals who are experts in using security tools with their technical tweaks. Combining SIEM with MDR helps you to reap all the benefits of SIEM tools at optimum levels.



As businesses increasingly rely on technology to power their operations, they become more vulnerable to cyber attacks. A SIEM tool can help organizations better protect themselves from these threats. The centralized view that SIEM solution offers, log collection, and the ability to detect and react to incoming threats make SIEM cyber security a must-have for any business, regardless of size. Based on the information above, it's easy to see where SIEM can help your business grow while keeping it safe from cyber threats.