Here, we have a guest blog post from one of our SIEM experts, Linus Wilson:

Many organizations use Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) to collect log and audit data and provide advanced security analysis and reporting. 

The resulting intelligence helps protect business operations and intellectual property, meet compliance obligations and ensure availability of key online services by providing valuable insights into threats and attacks. This in turn enables better detection and faster response to security incidents. 

However, SIEM is not a plug-and-play solution, as many security professionals have experienced, struggling with configuration issues and lacking sufficient skilled staff to manage the solution. Specialist resources are required at each stage, including planning, implementation and operation.

Whether you choose to buy a SIEM product and manage it in-house for your organization, or opt for a managed security service, there are four steps you should take to get the most from your chosen solution. These are:

Plan

  • Identify stakeholders and understand your organization’s needs when evaluating SIEM systems. What do you want to achieve?
  • Is your priority advanced security analysis and threat detection ability, or is compliance and reporting more important for your organization?
  • Identify which log data sources are required to meet the specific goals of your business
  • Is your business ready to handle and work with identified incidents? Think about consulting an experienced SIEM specialist for guidance

Implement

  • Break up the project into manageable phases, controlling and delivering results at each phase before proceeding
  • Make sure your system delivers good results before adding extra elements, for example different log sources to cover compliance requirements
  • The real benefits of a SIEM solution cannot be realized out of the box. To deliver the right results, the solution needs to be built to match the organization’s business objectives 

Monitor and review

  • Assess and reassess your requirements: growing amounts of data, compliance issues and regulations, and evolving threats – together with changes to your network such as new users, devices and platforms that put new demands on your solution
  • Ensure optimum performance of your SIEM solution by fine-tuning, reviewing the scope and removing unnecessary log sources, for example

Drive insight from data

  • Make best use of the output from the SIEM solution to reach your goal, whether it’s improving security or solving compliance issues
  • Swiftly and efficiently deal with security incidents, saving time, money and resources
  • Demonstrate control and effective application of security policies, as well as reducing the number of security events
  • Reduce the cost of reacting to thousands of disparate incidents and focus on managing risk

SIEM is an important piece of any organization’s security strategy but it needs to be managed effectively. Trusting an experienced SIEM specialist with the design, implementation and management of the system, enables the internal team to concentrate on making the most of the insight from the solution.

Finally, SIEM is not a silver bullet for all security challenges. It doesn’t replace the need to address the basics of security management such as well configured firewalls, mature patching policies and processes or strong intrusion prevention systems and management.