It always seems like the clichéd image of a security expert is them sitting in a dark room with upwards of four to six bright monitors displaying different complex tasks. Regardless of how many monitors they use, we know security teams are using just as many, if not more, complex tools. According to analyst firm EMA’s Security Megatrend Report, 75% of respondents use more than six consoles to do their jobs. While the stereotypical cybersecurity expert at work may seem thrilling, the reality is that having so many tools to monitor can be overwhelming and virtually impossible.
Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solutions provide security staff relief and insights with a centralized analysis of security data pulled from a variety of systems. Read on to learn about the large variety of information a SIEM can consolidate, becoming your organization’s primary security monitoring tool.
Universally, SIEMs monitor standard datasources, which include operating systems like Windows and Linux, routers and switches, firewalls, databases, and servers. SIEMs monitor these assets not only for unusual behavior, but can also ensure that planned activities, like addition or deletion of users or data, occurred without incident. Having all of these sources monitored in one place also allows for event correlation. Event correlation shows how a single event can be related to other logged events, assisting in forensic analysis and providing an audit trail. This can provide powerful insights about your environment. For example, if a user engages in unusual behavior on your server, you can bring up all activity from that user, capturing security events more quickly and seeing if there is a pattern on other devices, warranting suspicion.
While standard datasources are critical to monitor, each organization brings unique sources to the table that also need monitoring, like a homegrown database or third-party applications. Connecting things like a CRM streamlines your environment even further, reducing the number of consoles your security team has to look at.
This is particularly important for things like financial applications, in which capturing events real-time can be especially crucial. For example, if a credentialed user was created, performed several actions, and was then deleted, this suspicious behavior can mean that both confidential data and money could be at risk. Without a SIEM monitoring events and sending an alert in real time, this activity may not be spotted until it’s too late to do anything about it. Additionally, if an unauthorized user attempts or is able to download confidential data, a SIEM can immediately disable that user’s access, preventing any further risk while the event is investigated. Types of action taken depend on the event and can be configured to suit the needs of each organization.
Most importantly, enabling application security can bring further insight into event relationships. The more a SIEM monitors, the easier it is to find correlating events, providing a new angle from which to view your security picture. For example, integrating an antivirus solution can allow you to not only get alerts about thwarted breaches, it can also allow you to isolate where the infection attempt originated, providing further insight.
Expanding the SIEM Network
A SIEM is only as good as the data streams it can assess. As mentioned above, while there are typical sources that most environments have, many organizations have needs outside of the normal scope. Simply put, a SIEM can’t generate alerts for an application it isn’t monitoring. Instead, a data source not filtered by a SIEM will require special attention, increasing not only your security team’s workload, but also the likelihood of suspicious activity slipping through the cracks. The more sources you connect, the more insights you can gain.
Powertech Event Manager provides a holistic view of your entire environment. It not only provides out-of-the-box-templates for easy implementation for standard datasources, it can also be used with in-house applications, third party software or connected devices, providing a full audit trail and real-time monitoring for non-mainstream applications that still provide access to your critical systems. Our experts will be readily available to work with your security team to develop a plan for connecting any necessary data streams and provide ongoing support.
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