Security Information and Events Management (SIEM) tools manage, correlate, and analyze thousands of data and security events. In an environment of increasing vulnerabilities, it is critical to manage the security ecosystem using SIEM, collaborating to avoid intrusion episodes and irregular activities that put the company at risk.
But data is not always insightful. For SIEM tools to deliver real intelligence, it is essential to create rules that identify the value of the data, cross-referencing events for validation to reduce false positives. This is a bit of work, which requires preparation and specialization. Therefore, in many cases, it is taken as complex security monitoring.
In fact, it is. You can collect hundreds of data points, but how do you define the values that qualify as a suspicious activity or an actual security incident? The first step in addressing these challenges is to understand what your business needs are and how a SIEM tool can support those needs.
After all, what do you need a SIEM for?
In general terms, SIEM tools rely on statistical rules and correlations to establish alerts, transforming event logs into the most varied intelligence devices that merit attention from the technical staff. But this is a very general scenario. Each company has different data points, compliance challenges, and security policies - and therefore, peculiar needs regarding the data that is collected. There is no definitive recipe that will serve different cases.
For example, the case of a company that needs to adhere to PCI-DSS compliance is different from a government provider concerned with identifying patterns of targeted attacks and malware. In each case, the policies defined for SIEM management need to incorporate custom controls and define a process with reports that can verify that these rules work in accordance with policy - alerting when something behaves differently from the policy.
This means that the success of collecting strategic information is directly related to the level of understanding of which data is relevant, what resources support the collection process, and what types of analysis and documentation will be indispensable in each case. Predefined security and compliance policies can be an initial help, but the customization process is crucial to setting up the system in an efficient way.
To address the challenges of information management, here are three recommendations for maximizing your SIEM tools:
Define a workflow: Having defined which requirements are to be delivered by the SIEM, also define what data needs to be collected, what policies are applied, how to manage the data, present reports and alerts, as well as define who is responsible for acting on each type of incident.
Learn about features: Understand how the product meets your needs. Regarding security, not only are security events increasing, but also the number of devices, users, and applications are as well. Internally, the demand for management of different and new events demands that the capacity of your SIEM tools be scalable, accounting for the constant growth of data. Another need is for your system to be able to provide information and alerts almost in real-time, serving as the first line to detect misuse or attacks.
Look for help: Thinking strategically, managing security events through an MSSP can be more advantageous, since your company can use the expertise and certifications of a provider, being free to focus on activities directly directed to your business.