SIEM has existed for quite some time, but it is not yet well understood. Also, the fact that technology has evolved significantly in recent years doesn’t help shed some light. Today we see where we are, trying to understand the Next Generation SIEM and the managed systems offered as services that make use of the latest generation SIEM (SOCaaS, for example). Let’s see what all this means for companies.
Being a fundamental part of the SOCaaS offered by SOD, it seems appropriate to explain in detail what a Next Generation SIEM is and what its functions are.
A brief history of SIEM
Before examining what a Next Generation SIEM is, it is right to briefly review the history of this technology and its beginning.
The term Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) was coined in 2005 by Mark Nicolett and Amrit T. Williams of Gartner. The word is the merger of Security Event Management (SEM) and Security Information Management (SIM).
Its original definition given by the creators of the term is: a technology that supports the detection of threats and the response to security incidents, through the collection in real time and historical analysis of events from a wide variety of sources of contextual data.
SIEM was born out of the need to address the huge number of alarms issued by intrusion prevention systems (IPS) and intrusion detection systems (IDS) that were overwhelming IT departments. By helping organizations aggregate events and better analyze those within the network, SIEM has helped organizations improve threat detection. It has also led organizations to take a more proactive approach to security. Preventive security technologies are no longer sufficient on their own.
The difficulties of SIEMs in the early years
Eager to improve their cybersecurity situation, many enterprise-wide organizations have rapidly adopted SIEM technology. Over the years, however, inherited problems have emerged from the past:
1. The datasets were inflexible, so some SIEMs were unable to process the required data, which meant their effectiveness was limited
2. They were difficult to maintain and manage, which added complexity and drained staff resources
3. SIEMs produced a high number of false positives, creating even more work for the security teams
4. With the advancement of technology, SIEMs have struggled to keep up with the evolution of threats and therefore the IT risk for companies has grown
The Next Generation SIEM arrives
Many advanced threats are now polymorphic rather than static. That is, they are able to constantly modify their behavior to evade detection. As such, Next Generation SIEM systems must not only process more data, but also become much more capable of recognizing new patterns within them.
Given the difficulties and limitations of inherited SIEM systems, many thought they would disappear over time. But this did not happen, SIEM still remains a key technology used by companies. However, technology has had to evolve.
While SIEM once relied on only a handful of data sources, the “Next Generation” of SIEM systems was developed to process a greater volume and variety of data, as well as correlating it in a timely fashion.
Gartner reported that the SIEM market is continuously growing. One reason for this growth is that Next Gen SIEM systems are now used by midsize organizations, not just large enterprises.
What are the capabilities of Next Gen SIEM?
Next Gen SIEMs, sometimes referred to as analytical SIEMs or SIEM 3.0, have brought new capabilities to organizations and their security teams.
– Allow faster integration into a corporate infrastructure through an open architecture to cover cloud, on-premise and BYOD resources
– Include real-time visualization tools to understand the most important and high-risk activities
– Use scenario and behavior analysis to “photograph” well understood scenarios and highlight significant changes in behavior
– Integrate and use Threat Intelligence information from customized, open source and commercial sources
– Provide a flexible framework that allows for the implementation of a tailored workflow for key organizational use cases
– Measure status against regulatory frameworks (e.g. PCI DSS) for prioritization and risk management
Security Orchestration, Automation and Response
Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR) is a growing security area that Next Gen SIEM vendors are exploiting to contribute and take advantage of the latest features. In its essence, SOAR has two fundamental aspects:
1. It allows to bring more data to a Next Gen SIEM for analysis
SOAR is helping SIEM technology to become smarter and big data oriented, thus enabling security teams to make faster and better informed decisions. Broader intelligence means more reliable threat identification and fewer false positives.
2. Help automate incident response
Another important way SOAR is influencing the evolution of SIEM Next Gen is to help standardize incident analysis and response procedures. The goal is to partially or completely automate response activities in order to reduce the potential harm and inconvenience that breaches can cause. Such response activities could include blocking compromised user accounts and blocking IP addresses on a firewall.
By automating routine actions, SOAR helps security teams become more efficient and frees them up time to focus on threat hunting and patch management.
User Behavior Analysis (UEBA)
Another important feature of Next Generation SIEMs is the use of User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA). UEBA does not track security events or monitor devices, but instead focuses on monitoring and analyzing the behavior of an organization’s users.
UEBA can be extremely useful in helping organizations identify compromised accounts, as well as insider threats. It works using advanced machine learning and behavioral profiling techniques to identify anomalous activity such as account compromise and abuse of privileges. By not using rules-based monitoring, the UEBA is more effective in detecting anomalies over time.
The challenges for a modern SIEM
Despite unquestionable advances in detecting complex cyber threats, SIEM Next Gens can still, if not used and maintained properly, generate a large number of alerts. For organizations without IT resources and dedicated security personnel, researching these alerts to distinguish true network security problems from false positives can be extremely complex and time-consuming.
Even when real threats are identified, knowing how to respond to them can be just as challenging.
Getting the most out of SIEM to help address growing security challenges will also depend on better trained personnel who can use the systems more effectively and validate alarms. For organizations that lack in-house knowledge or skills, it therefore makes sense to work with an external vendor who can cover or augment security capabilities.
A full SOCaaS service, including Next Generation SIEM and UEBA for threat hunting, is the ideal choice. Not only does it save time in terms of validating and checking alarms, but also in economic terms, not having to face installation costs and staff training.
If you are interested in learning more, do not hesitate to contact us, we will answer your questions.
A SIEM solution in IT is one of the essential components of a SOC (Security Operation Center). Its task is to collect information and analyze it in search of anomalies and possible breaches in the system. But the defense process hasn’t always been that simple. What we now call SIEM, Security Information and Event Management, is the union of two different types of cyber security tools.
SIM and SEM: the origins
Before the arrival of a complete SIEM solution in computing, security was heavily focused on perimeter security and did not keep the internal network adequately controlled. The first solutions developed in the 90s were basic and basically dealt with security information management (SIM) or security event management (SEM). They were solutions available as tools that had to be deployed on-site in the data center to be protected. This limited scalability, because adding capacity required the purchase of additional equipment.
These early solutions were also built on proprietary databases that forced customers to use technology from a single vendor. If you wanted to move your data to another system, the process was long and complicated. It should also be noted that archiving was more expensive, so only the most valuable data was collected. Furthermore, although the SIM and SEM solutions contained all the data necessary for the defense, the search and alarm were rudimentary. Additionally, they depended on experienced security analysts to research, understand and interpret what they found in the data.
SIEM origins in computer science
As data became more sensitive and technology more powerful, SIEM systems (SIM + SEM) became capable of ingesting, processing and storing a great deal of data. Next-generation SIEM IT solutions are able to use signature-based alerts to identify threats in collected data. However, only those alerts that have identified indicators of compromise (IOC) of a certain threat can be identified in this way.
To be clear, if the type of attack to which a system is subjected has not been cataloged in a series of IOCs, a first generation SIEM is not able to detect it. The main drawback of those systems was the very limited ability to detect unknown cyber threats.
To give a practical example: it was possible to use a rule like this: “give a warning if a user enters 10 consecutive wrong passwords“. In theory this could be used to detect brute force password attacks. But what if the attacker only tried 9 passwords in a row? Or what if the alarm was given for a very forgetful user?
Next Gen SIEM (NGS)
A next generation SIEM is built on a large data platform that provides unlimited scalability and is hosted in the cloud. A next gen SIEM includes log management, advanced threat detection based on behavior analysis and automatic incident response, all on a single platform.
This eliminates the problems that old on-premises systems were prone to. Not having to install anything and being able to send the necessary data to the cloud quite simply, the computing power of the local machine is not compromised and the SIEM can manage all the data safely.
How a SIEM proceeds in cyber threat analysis
1. Data Collection: An IT SIEM solution collects data from across the organization using agents installed on various devices, including endpoints, servers, network equipment and other security solutions. Next generation SIEM includes support for cloud applications and infrastructure, business applications, identity data and non-technical data feeds.
2. Data enrichment: Enrichment adds further context to events. SIEM will enrich data with identity, resources, geolocation and threat information.
3. Data storage: The data will then be stored in a database so that it can be searched for during investigations. The next generation SIEM exploits open source architectures and big data architectures, exploiting their scalability.
4. Correlation and Analysis: SIEM solutions use several techniques to draw actionable conclusions from SIEM data. These techniques vary greatly.
5. Report: A SIEM, particularly a next generation SIEM, gives you the ability to quickly search for data, allowing you to dig through alerts and search for threat actors and indicators of compromise. The displayed data can be saved or exported. It is also possible to use out-of-the-box reports or create ad hoc reports as needed.
What a SIEM is used for
Threat hunting and investigation
The ability to perform threat hunting on a SIEM is critical to understanding the true patterns of attacks based on access, activity and data breaches. By developing a detailed and contextual view of attacks, security analysts can more easily develop policies, countermeasures and incident response processes to help mitigate and remove the threat.
Response in case of an accident
An effective response to incidents is essential to intervene more quickly and reduce the residence time of the threat. For this, a SIEM provides an incident response playbook with configurable automated actions. A SIEM is able to integrate with third party solutions for security orchestration (SOAR) or individual case management.
Defense against insider threats
The reason why insider threats are such a big problem is because it’s not about entering the perimeter, but about exploiting insider positions. They can be your employees, contractors or business associates. It may be they themselves wanting to exploit their location, or their account may have been hacked.
With all kinds of internal threats, the attacker tries to stay hidden, gathering sensitive data to exploit. This could cause significant damage to the company, its position in the industry and its relationship with consumers or investors. By using a SIEM, you avoid this risk.
Cyber threat detection
Your organization is likely to have at least one sensitive data repository. Cybercriminals thrive on looting this data for financial gain. Many breaches begin with a simple phishing email against an organization’s target. Simply clicking on an attachment can leave malicious code behind. A SIEM will allow you to monitor advanced cyberthreat patterns such as phishing, beaconing and lateral movement.
For many industries, adherence to compliance standards is critical. A SIEM can help by providing reports focused on data compliance requests. Integrated packages covering all major mandates, including PCI DSS, SOX, and ISO 27001, are a standard feature of SIEMs as well.
Next Generation SIEM
A next generation SIEM is not just a cloud hosted system. It also makes use of the implementation of AI and Machine Learning to increase the defense of the IT system.
We will see it in a future article, but it is right to specify that the SOCaaS offered by SOD makes use of the latest generation technology offered by Next Gen. SIEM systems. Contact us to find out more about it and talk to experts who can dispel all your doubts.
Evolving beyond its roots in log file management, today’s security information and event management (SIEM) software vendors are introducing AI, advanced statistical analysis and other analytical methods into their products. . But what is SIEM software and what are its uses?
Acronym for Security Information and Event Management, it is a product that provides cyber security professionals in companies with an overview and a track record of the activities within their IT environment.
The technology used has been around for more than a decade, and has evolved from the practice of managing log files. It combined security event management (SEM), which analyzes log and event data in real time to provide threat monitoring, event correlation and incident response, with security information management (SIM) that collects, analyzes and reports log data.
How does it work?
SIEM collects and aggregates log data generated across the organization’s technological infrastructure, from host systems and applications to network and security devices such as firewalls and virus filters. Then, it identifies and categorizes incidents and events, as well as analyzing them.
The software has two main objectives, which are: to provide reports on incidents and events related to cyber security, such as successful and unsuccessful logins, malware activities and other possible malicious activities, and to send alerts if the analysis shows that an activity ‘goes against established rules, indicating a potential security problem.
According to experts, corporate demand for more security measures has pushed the market to expand in recent years. Today, large organizations look to SIEM as a basis for the creation of a security operations center (SOC).
Analysis and intelligence
One of the main factors underlying the use of SIEM software for security operations is represented by the features offered.
Many products offer threat intelligence feeds in addition to traditional log file data. Some SIEM software also has security analysis capabilities and examines network and user behavior to provide more information on whether or not an action indicates malicious activity.
Generally speaking, SIEM tools provide:
1. Real-time visibility through an organization’s IT security systems
2. Event log management that consolidates data from numerous sources
3. A correlation of collected events from different logs or security sources, using rules that add important information to the raw data
4. Automatic notifications of security events. Most SIEM systems provide dashboards for security issues and other direct notification methods
The SIEM operation process
In practice, the operating process of a SIEM system can be divided into the following steps:
1. Data collection: All sources of network security information (eg servers, operating systems, firewalls, anti-virus software and intrusion prevention systems) are configured to send event log files. Most modern SIEM tools use agents to collect event logs from business systems, which are then processed, filtered, and sent to the system.
2. Policy: A policy profile is created by the administrator. This defines the behavior of business systems, both under normal conditions and during predefined security incidents. We provide predefined rules, alerts, reports and dashboards that can be adjusted and customized to your specific security needs.
3. Data Consolidation and Correlation: These software consolidate, analyze and control log files. The events are then categorized based on the raw data and correlation rules are applied that combine the individual events.
4. Notifications: If an event or set of events triggers a SIEM alarm, the system notifies the security personnel.
It is clear that a SIEM stops at the analysis of threats and subsequent notification. Following these, someone needs to intervene, both by checking the reports and taking measures to mitigate any threat. This can only happen if there is a team of trained technicians behind the software 24/7 to carry out maintenance and intervene when necessary.
While these solutions offer various benefits to businesses of all sizes and shapes, they also have limitations and vulnerabilities that should not be ignored.
A SIEM requires constant 24/7 monitoring of logs and alarms, regular maintenance and configuration, as well as a dedicated security team responsible for managing the software. Most of the work begins after the SIEM implementation. Therefore, organizations cannot rely on these solutions alone to protect critical IT infrastructures.
Even with such a system in place, security professionals must ensure that they have adequate resources, tools, budget and time to be able to exploit the features and ensure complete protection against potential security threats.
From this point of view, the most interesting solution for companies is that of a SOCaaS, which includes SIEM and other suitable tools for a complete management of a company’s cyber security.
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