Keeping track of network activity, account usage, and commercial transactions is an important part of maintaining strong cybersecurity. With comprehensive tracking and, equally importantly, maintaining logs, network administrators can detect problems and threats as they happen and where. From there, they can take decisive action to minimize or even stop cyberattacks and other unauthorized usage before they can cause real problems for your business.
As the number of threats to networks and data centers increase, so too does the need to step up efforts to monitor and respond to these threats. There exist any number of paths that cybercriminals can take to infiltrate or exploit your business networks. To combat this, it’s important to be able to monitor activity across a wide range of devices and networks, and then be able to respond quickly and decisively.
That’s where security information and event management (SIEM) comes into play.
What is SIEM?
SIEM brings together security information management (SIM) and security event management (SEM) into one collaborative security management system in which data from multiple sources are gathered together and examined using rules-based or statistical protocols, or even more sophisticated user behavior analytics and machine learning, to detect and react to suspicious activity in a more efficient manner.
Have you ever gone on vacation and discovered that your credit card or bank card has been blocked?
Banks and other financial institutions were among the first adopters of SIEM in their efforts to remain compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). If a credit card owned by an individual in Texas suddenly started showing purchases made in the streets of Belgium, that would raise a flag in the security information management part of the SIEM system and trigger a swift response in the security event management part by suspending that card’s use until it could determine whether or not the use is valid.
As SIEM has become more sophisticated over time, overall security has improved and customer inconvenience has lessened–promoting a greater confidence in the businesses utilizing an effective SIEM system.
How SIEM can benefit your business
Smart businesses have in place numerous tools to prevent unauthorized network activity ranging from password protection protocols to robust firewalls. Some businesses–and even devices–do have rudimentary logging functions that can detect suspicious activity and generate user warnings or even block certain types of access.
Is that enough?
A SIEM system adds more layers of detection and can detect correlating events across numerous hosts or devices, analyze them, and determine what kind of attack occurred and whether or not it was successful.
What should happen when unauthorized use or blatant cyber attacks occur? By employing rules-based protocols or machine learning analytics, a SIEM system can take a flagged activity and put a stop to it before damage can become too severe.
Your incidence response will not only stop attacks while in progress, but also examine the information logs and track the intrusion back to its source whether it be a piece of malware on a desktop device or a hacker half a world away. A robust SIEM setup will also be able to determine what hosts or devices were affected by the attack, and contain any such hosts and devices that may have been compromised.
Many businesses have compliance requirements such as PCS DSS or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) which need to be followed or risk severe financial penalties and loss of customer confidence.
SIEM tools often have built-in support for most compliance needs–one of the more useful tools being the ability to compile data from a wide range of operating systems, applications and devices. The comprehensive security logs save time and resources when it comes to reporting and can usually accommodate multiple compliance requirements.
Good for your business, good for you
SIEM tools allow businesses to get a wider view of their network and IT security throughout the entire operation. With enhanced, smart cyber attack monitoring and activity logs, combined with effective response management, your business is better protected in a world in which new cyber threats appear every day and from ever more sources.
It pays to protect your business and your customers. SIEM tools allow for a comprehensive, streamlined solution to network security, and allows you to concentrate on building your business.