By Clarissa Seymour

When it comes to your business’ cyber security, it is essential to choose the technology that will best support the specific needs of your organization. But with so many different solutions competing for your budget, it is often difficult to know which tools will offer the greatest return on investment.

One technology that you may use, or be considering, is SIEM. SIEM stands for Security Information and Event Management, and has been around for more than decade.

SIEM helps businesses improve threat visibility by collecting and analyzing data from across the network to identify suspicious activity. This could be anything that might indicate a data breach has occurred or is in the process of occurring.

If you’re unsure as to whether SIEM is the right choice for your business, here are six threat detection benefits to consider.

1. It Detects Compromised Devices

Cybercriminals will commonly seek to target trusted hosts that connect to a business’ network infrastructure. SIEM can help to help to mitigate this risk by baselining the activity of servers and other devices to determine what constitutes ‘typical’ behavior.

Once the SIEM system understands the baseline, it can then use this to recognize deviations. Unusual activity could include spikes in network traffic, deactivation of antivirus software, or a device communicating with an unknown source. When a SIEM system notices suspicious activity, it generates an alert.

2. It Detects Privileged Access Abuse

Privileged access abuse occurs when users with full access to IT systems perform undesirable actions. This is type of abuse occurs because employees are given greater access to systems than they need to perform their jobs or because accounts are compromised by hackers.

A SIEM system can help to identify privileged access abuse by monitoring and reporting on users accessing systems and data that is not within their standard usage profile. This includes the user accounts of former employees and accounts relating to external suppliers and partners.

3. It Detects Data Exfiltration

Data exfiltration is the unauthorized transfer of data outside of an organization; this could be data transferred over the internet, or copied onto a physical device such as a USB stick. Many attackers now use tools such as Remote Access Trojans (RATs) to identify and extract data from an environment.

SIEM can detect data exfiltration in a number of ways. This includes identifying command and control activity, monitoring attempts to install and use file sharing applications, and alerting on the transfer of large volumes of data.

4. It Detects Insider and Outsider Threats

It is important to remember that not all cyber threats originate outside the network. In fact, threats inside the business are a lot more common than you might expect. Staff members leaking sensitive data, or inadvertently failing foul of phishing attacks, are actually quite common

According to a recent report by Verizon, three of the top five causes of security breaches were related to an insider threat. Many of the latest SIEM tools include User Entity and Behaviour Analytics (UEBA) technology to better identify suspicious insider activity, such as logins at unusual hours and attempts to encrypt data.

5. It Facilitates Incident Response

Cyber-attacks are now more damaging and disruptive than ever before. This means it is vital to have the ability not only to detect threats, but also to respond to them as quickly as possible. This has led to many SIEM suppliers improving their SOAR capabilities.

SOAR stands for Security Orchestration Automation and Response, and it is a growing area of cyber security that is being leveraged to aggregate a greater range of threat intelligence and automate defenses actions, such as isolating infected machines from a network and implementing firewall rules to block unknown communications.   

6. It Supports Compliance

Having appropriate controls in place to detect, respond and report breaches is now a requirement of a variety of many regulations and standards around the world. Providing visibility of log data and helping to detect malicious activity, SIEM can help organizations to maintain compliance with a wide range of regulations, including the GDPR and PCI DSS.

Choosing the Right SIEM for Your Business

If you believe that SIEM could be a useful tool to help boost your business’ cyber maturity, but are unsure about whether it’s worth the investment ahead of other tools, it’s worth seeking out the advice of independent cyber security experts.

If the technology is for you, then a managed SIEM service, delivered by a specialist provider of managed security services, could be a highly worthwhile option to help deploy, manage and optimize it as well as ensure that it is and monitored 24/7.

Featured photo credit: Depositphotos