What is SIEM and what are its advantages?

Centralization of relevant information to get a grasp of the overall scenario and to plan a response on the organisational level has been in practice for years. It was pretty natural that Cyber Security also used a similar approach in a world were attacks on systems were increasing with the deeper digital push. SIEM happens to be one such approach.

“Security Information and Event Management” or “SIEM” systems are responsible to collect the security log from various hosts in an organization and keep them stored at a particular location for further analysis. Initially limited in the hands of a few sophisticated and giant corporations, SIEM have found their way into the requirements and budgets of small businesses as well.

The framework comprises of software and hardware, connected with a cloud network-based service, focussed on reporting of incidents regularly, detecting the threats proactively and streamlining the handling of such incidents. SIEM systems help generation of centralized reports of the relevant log data from various hosts. With all the information complying with a similar format and getting reported following a set of similar protocols, the time is saved in aligning them together, as they all come aligned and get reported at the same location.

The collection of data from various hosts helps preparing a centralized logbook, which can be referred at the time of an attack and then help corelate between various events for a quick response needed to tackle the threat. Let it be clear that SIEM are in no way a replacement of already existing firewall and antivirus systems, but they help in collection of the relevant data and responses that can be communicated to firewalls and antivirus systems for quicker response that may halt the attack even when it is in progress.

The overall view that a SIEM setup brings for an organization, is much more valuable and cost efficient that isolated single host security setups can offer. The incident response time is reduced, the reporting of incident is streamlined and the availability of a logbook with various incidents throughout the enterprise helps in preventing the severity of the damage and set in motion a revival based on experience.