What is SIEM?

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At the most basic level, all SIEM solutions perform some level of data aggregation, consolidation and sorting functions in order to identify threats and adhere to data compliance requirements. While some solutions vary in capability, most offer the same core set of functionality:

Log Management

SIEM ingests event data from a wide range of sources across an organization’s entire IT infrastructure, including on-premises and cloud environments. Event log data from users, endpoints, applications, data sources, cloud workloads, and networks—as well data from security hardware and software such as firewalls or antivirus software—is collected, correlated and analyzed in real-time.

Some SIEM solutions also integrate with third-party threat intelligence feeds in order to correlate their internal security data against previously recognized threat signatures and profiles. Integration with real-time threat feeds enable teams to block or detect new types of attack signatures.

Event Correlation and Analytics

Event correlation is an essential part of any SIEM solution. Utilizing advanced analytics to identify and understand intricate data patterns, event correlation provides insights to quickly locate and mitigate potential threats to business security. SIEM solutions significantly improve mean time to detect (MTTD) and mean time to resond (MTTR) for IT security teams by offloading the manual workflows associated with the in-depth analysis of security events.

Incident Monitoring and Security Alerts

SIEM consolidates its analysis into a single, central dashboard where security teams monitor activity, triage alerts, identify threats and initiate response or remediation. Most SIEM dashboards also include real-time data visualizations that help security analysts spot spikes or trends in suspicious activity. Using customizable, predefined correlation rules, administrators can be alerted immediately and take appropriate actions to mitigate threats before they materialize into more significant security issues.

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Compliance Management and Reporting

SIEM solutions are a popular choice for organizations subject to different forms of regulatory compliance. Due to the automated data collection and analysis that it provides, SIEM is a valuable tool for gathering and verifying compliance data across the entire business infrastructure. SIEM solutions can generate real-time compliance reports for PCI-DSS, GDPR, HIPPA, SOX, and other compliance standards, reducing the burden of security management and detecting potential violations early so they can be addressed. Many of the SIEM solutions come with pre-built, out-of-the-box add-ons that can generate automated reports designed to meet compliance requirements.