Each and every day, the IT infrastructure of your organisation produces massive amounts of data. Sifting through that data yourself is time-consuming and difficult. A Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) platform will collect, normalise, and analyse your data to give alerts on relevant security threats and breaches.

A SIEM aims to improve cyber security visibility, facilitate security reporting, and reduce mean time to detect (MTTD) and mean time to respond (MTTR) in your organisation. While the benefits of a SIEM are invaluable, they were traditionally only used by large or publicly listed companies because of the associated costs. These days, however, by onboarding a SIEM platform through a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) like CT, even small and medium companies can enjoy the greater confidence and intelligence a SIEM provides.

What is a SIEM?

A Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) platform is a powerful technology that combines Security Incident and Event Management with Security Information Management. A SIEM offers a single source for cyber security analysts to track activities across the IT infrastructure. 

The strongest suit of a SIEM is its ability to offer real-time tracking, log analysis, threat detection, and incident response in one platform. All these elements combine to provide greater insight into the activities and events in your IT environment, meaning a SIEM is a must-have for enterprises that take cyber security seriously.

How do SIEMs work?

The SIEM platform constantly collects, aggregates and processes data generated by the technology infrastructure of the organisation. This data will be gathered from various devices, systems, and applications in your network.

From this data, the platform uses threat intelligence and advanced analytics to provide two primary outcomes for security teams: reports and alerts. The detailed reports cover relevant security events and incidents, including user authentication attempts, changes to user details, threat events, and attack events. 

Alerts, meanwhile, are for more dangerous events that are likely to suggest a cyber threat, in accordance with predefined rules. With its advanced event management capabilities, a SIEM should increase efficiency and reduce time wasted by false positive alerts. 

Newer SIEM solutions can also incorporate additional advanced capabilities. The CT SIEM platform, for example, leverages machine learning, behavioural analysis, data science techniques and threat intelligence to provide more comprehensive reports and intelligent alerts.

Why do you need a SIEM?

A SIEM makes it easier for you to stay on top of your cyber security needs in the modern age, where the IT infrastructure of your organisation produces massive amounts of data each day. Aggregating and processing this data while keeping an eye on the security alerts is inefficient, if not impossible.

With its potent and easy-to-view dashboard, a SIEM platform aggregates log data from all sources in real-time and allows cyber security professionals to analyse this data within context and mitigate incidents.

A SIEM also makes it easier to deliver reports to boards or relevant stakeholders to prove you’re compliant. As these reports are already embedded in the solution, you no longer need to spend time gathering and interpreting vast amounts of data yourself. 

Why Managed SIEM?

There are many reasons to consider a Managed SIEM. The alternative option is to attempt to build one yourself, but this is not actually feasible for many organisations that lack cyber security expertise. Other considerations include:

  • Cost efficiency

Finding and maintaining experienced SIEM and SOC Security Analysts is difficult and expensive. Typically, only organisations that have the budget for developing a large, specialised team can afford an in-house SIEM. Onboarding an MSSP to leverage their SIEM platform for your IT environment, however, can cost a fraction of what you would spend internally.

  • Exclusively dedicated professionals

Deploying a fully managed SIEM means the team consists of security analysts that oversee your system around the clock and calendar. This is their one and only dedicated job, and not an additional task for an already overworked engineer. If you create it yourself, chances are you’ll need to pass off additional, ad hoc IT or cyber security work to your engineers. An MSSP like CT will also have a team of engineers with specific SIEM expertise.

  • Difficult to set up

While a SIEM offers powerful visibility, it’s a complex tool that often requires expertise to implement and maintain. To be effective, a SIEM needs to be constantly updated and customised because external threats and internal environments are constantly changing. It requires experienced security engineering and analysts to tune the SIEM to minimise false positive alerts and maximise the efficient detection of real breaches or malicious behaviour. Non-IT organisations can build SIEMs of their own, but it will take much longer than outsourcing to a professional MSSP.

  • Greater threat intelligence and context

MSSPs that manage a SIEM platform can often draw more intelligence out of it than an inhouse team. MSSPs maintain vast depth and breadth of experience, letting them understand critical industry-specific context. Inhouse teams, on the other hand, often only know how your specific organisation works.  

The challenge of planning and expectations around people and processes and the odds of achieving even the minimal capabilities of a SIEM solution can be difficult. Security analysts must know what to look for in all the data. Utilising a SIEM makes it easier to correlate the data, but understanding what type of alerts and suspicious activities to look for is a specialised craft. 

Why CT?

We use our Next Gen Integrated Stack to offer a managed service across email, endpoints, servers, cloud workloads, and networks, overlayed with CT’s managed detection and response services. The ultimate aim is to drive improvements in mean time to detect (MTTD) and mean time to respond (MTTR), while minimising the risks and impacts of threat actors.

We use a multifunctional Security Operations Centre (SOC) and Network Operations Centre (NOC) that leverages our Next Generation SIEM platform which is uniquely integrated with our IT operations platform to provide a holistic and integrated solution to deliver services. Our SIEM brings together visibility, correlation, automated response, and remediation in a single, scalable solution to deliver:

  • Real-time operational context for rapid security analytics
  • Out-of-the-box compliance reports
  • User entity behaviour analysis
  • Performance and availability monitoring
  • Real-time configuration change monitoring
  • Rich customisable dashboards

For maximum protection, our SIEM platform should be deployed in conjunction with our EDR solution.