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Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)

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Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)

Introduction

A SIEM system is one of the indicators that a company well laid cyber security policies. In most cases, cybercrimes are hard to tell from a surface look level. Majority of security programs tend to operate on small scale hence addressing minor threats hence missing to capture bigger cybercrimes. Due to these cases involving cyber security, SIEM aroused as a solution to these attacks (Vielberth and Pernul, 2018). According to a survey carried out recently, only a few companies are benefitting from this program despite SIEM Being a $2 billion industry.

Understanding SIEM

 The acronym SIEM stands for security information and event management. This is a section within computer security that entails a combination of security event management (SEM) and security information management (SIM) by software services and products. Amrit Williams and mark Nicollet of Gartner came up with the word Security information and event management and its initials SIEM The acronyms SIM, SEM and SIEM can interchangeably be used although they have different rudimental focal point of products:

  1. Log management: concentrates on assembling and safe keeping of audit trails and log messages.
  2. Security information management (SIM): it deals with storage of log data for a long period of time. It also aids in log data reporting and analysis of the data.
  3. Security event manager (SEM): it helps in monitoring of events, correlation, notifying users and also consoling views.
  4. Security as a service (SECaaS): the services include the following; anti-virus, intrusion detection, authentication, penetration testing, anti-malware, security event management and many more.
  5. Managed security service provider (MSSP): the services managed tend to revolve around security, disaster recovery, bandwidth and connectivity, virtualization and monitoring network.

Security information and event management mostly comes as a software solution whose main function is to collect and analyze all the activities carried out within an organization’s IT infrastructure. SIEM collects these data from many resources and that includes: servers, network devices, domain controllers and many more (Vielberth and Pernul, 2018).

Mostly the products in this section tend to a mixture of the above functions hence a convergence of the functions. This makes various sellers to appraise their terminologies and also provide a variety of functions in the essence improving SIEM in general. A combination of these functions like log management and SEM will result to more information for SIEM to look at. For easy identification of cyber threats or attacks, organizations use SIEM tools. There are various tools to be used and they include:

  1. Datadog security monitoring. This is a complete system since it assembles data after monitoring events hence it works on both monitoring data and log information. The system has a specialized module where it holds security features. Records of information  collected by the service with the aid of an agent are uploaded on the datadog server after which all the notifications are analyzed by the security monitoring module
  2. Solar winds security event manager. This is one of the best tools in the market. It contains all features and properties one would like his SIEM system to have. It is easy for the user to identify any anomalous behavior within his system. The key features of this tool include: live anomaly detection, system alerts, automated log searches for any breach and historical analysis.
  3. Splunk enterprise security. It’s considered to be a popular SIEM management solution currently. It stands out from the rest because it has included analytics in its SIEM. It helps in monitoring a system’s network and data hence capable of detecting potential threats and anomalies. The key features of splunk include: historical analysis, real-time network monitoring and asset investigator.
  1. ManageEngine Eventlog Analyzer. Its focal point is on log management. It collects syslog messages and event logs after which it organizes this information into files and storing well in a manner that will ensure easy retrieval. The key features of this tool are; log analysis, gathers syslog messages and windows event logs, alert mechanisms and live intrusion detection.

Other tools include: OSSEC, LogRhythm NextGen SIEM Platform, AT&T Cybersecurity AlienVault Unified Security Management, IBM QRadar SIEM, RSA NetWitness Platform, McAfee Enterprise security Manager and many more.

How SIEM Works

The purpose of SIEM software is to collect logs of data, identify incidents and groups them and finally carries out an analysis. The analysis is to determine availability of security related events and if there is to send alerts. The first step is known as data aggregation carried out by log management. In this step, data is assembled from different sources within an entity’s technological infrastructure. These sources include: anti-virus filters, host systems, networks, firewalls, servers, applications and databases. The purpose of collecting these logs of data is to ensure that monitored data is consolidated and also prevent not getting important events.

The second step is correlation of the data aggregated. This is a function of the security event management section of the whole SIEM solution (Safarzadeh, Gharaee & Panahi, 2019). This technology ensures that events are looked at to come up with meaningful data. Common features are located among the data collected and scenes linked together. The technology equips the system with the ability to perform correlation using various techniques and also integrate various sources.

After correlation of data, the software carries out an analysis of the incidents occurring. The main objective of this analysis is to come up with reports of events and incidents related to security. Such occurrences include; malware activities, failed and successful logins, viruses and other unpleasant activities. If the analysis detects any of the above events, it sends an alert to show a potential security threat issue or there is an unwanted activity running against set rules. Based on specified criteria, the software is capable of searching across loads of data on various nodes.  This helps one the stress of aggregating loads of data and searching through them.

Importance of SIEM to Small and Medium-Sized Organizations

SIEM is increasingly becoming a key security component in modern companies and organizations (Podzins & Romanovs, 2019). Over the recent years, it has become critical as entities tend carry out upscales and updates to IT infrastructure that is becoming more complex. SIEM software is mainly used by public companies and big enterprises because they consider regulations compliance as a major factor in technology usage. This may also be due to high cost of putting the system in place. Small and medium sized companies often find it difficult to install the system but opt to outsource SIEM as a software service from vendors who are capable of providing the service. Despite all these challenges that small and medium sized companies tend to undergo in relation to acquiring SIEM Solutions, it is advisable they use the system because of the following reasons;

  • Streamline compliance reports– small and medium sized companies can benefit from this if they employ SIEM software. This can be done through a centralized logging solution whereby enterprise’s compliance reporting attempts are streamlined. Thorough a single server, log data can be received from various hosts which will be used to generate a single report that entails all the critical security events logged. This helps an organization to save resources and time when reporting its security compliance requirements more so in cases where a single compliance initiative is subject. On top of that, SIEM tools can help these small organizations because most of the major compliance efforts in built support. Usage of these tools ensures that requirements set by standards like Sarbanes-Oxley act, accountability act, health insurance portability and accountability, the payment card industry data security standard and many more are complied with.
  • Detect the undetected. SIEM systems can detect incidents that can otherwise be difficult to detect hence need to be employed by small and medium sized entities (Podzins & Romanovs, 2019). Most of the hosts don’t poses the ability to carry out forensic analysis of log entries and come up with anomalous activities despite the fact that majority of them being able to  come up with audit logs after observation of events. SIEM tools increases the ability of detecting by correlation of live events. By doing this, a SIEM system is able to see threats from various hosts an coming up with a chain of events to tell the nature  of attack and also if it succeeded. Majority of the products poses the capability of stopping an ongoing attack by alerting other security controls of the organization like firewalls and instructing them to block the ongoing attack.
  • Improve efficiency of incidents handling activities. This is another reason why small and medium sized organizations need SIEM tools. They increase efficiency when handling incidents and this save them resources and time for those responsible in handling cases. This will eventually result to a reduction of the damage extent occurring as a result of security breach. Efficiency is further improved by viewing various security log data from various hosts using a single interface. SIEM tools enables those handling incidents to quickly detect the route an attack is taking within the enterprise and also identify hosts attacked hence providing mechanism that will stop the ongoing attack  and contain attacked hosts automatically.

Elastic SIEM infrastructure.

Elastic SIEM is an advanced security system whose main supplier is Elastic Stack Products (Mulyadi, Annam, Promya, & Charnsripinyo, 2020). The team behind elastic SIEM is known as Elastic NV and it’s known for log file management products. Elastic SIEM proves to be a leader in the field. One of the key sources of SIEM methodology is log messages although log management is a section of a complete SIEM strategy. Elastic NV was previously known as Elasticsearch BV. Those responsible for this development created more products like beats, kibana, elasticsearch, logstash and elastic Endpoint Security. These tools can be combined with other tools by third parties and used effectively. Elastic SIEM has features that are easy and flexible to use since users make decisions on the information source to use as input when detecting activities and monitoring the system.

The elastic infrastructure relies on the above named SIEM components. The whole process of functioning starts from Elastic Endpoint Security which acts as an agent and platform responsible for detection, prevention and response to any security attack (Mulyadi, Annam, Promya, & Charnsripinyo, 2020).. After receiving this information, it sends it directly to Elasticsearch as an alert. Beats are shippers of open source data hence act as agents on security systems. They send data and other security events to Elastic search. The Elasticsearch is a search, real-time, distributed storage engine. It also acts as an analyzer. Indexing bundles of partially structured data like metrics and logs is a function that Elasticsearch has excelled in.

Kibana system is responsible for provision of data representation tools. It also has the ability to carry out live network monitoring with the help of reporting standards of Cisco systems whereby the source is Netflow. Kibana provides a platform to carry out visualization and analytics. It is used to view, search and access the stored data in Elasticsearch indices. Through this simplified data, one is able to carry out advanced analysis of the data and then finally visualize it in tables, charts and even maps.

Elastic SIEM is helpful in many ways that include; threat intelligence, access rights supervision, user monitoring and detection of any anomalous activity with your security system. SIEM services need implementation of the whole Elastic stack. Elastic SIEM comes as added kibana screens. A network screen, overview screen and details of events and conversations from various hosts within a security system accompany the SIEM dashboard.

 Information about events is displayed on the overview screen in form of a table. Each entry in this screen shows a suspicious event and one can get more details by expanding a line representing the occurrence. Graphs of host activity and maps of networks can also be shown on the overview screen.

Conclusion

In conclusion, more organizations are switching to modern security systems for their IT infrastructure and one of the trending software in place is SIEM. The security information and event management software system is easy to use and has many benefits to big enterprises as well as small and medium-sized. It helps in detection and prevention of cyber-attacks, streamlining compliance reports and also improves efficiency in handling of incidents hence it advised to employ the system as much as it seems to be costly. The SIEM tools that help in implementation include; splunk, Solar winds security event manager, datadog security monitoring, ManageEngine Eventlog Analyzer and many more. Lastly, Elastic SIEM is an upgraded security system supplied by elastic stack. It is helpful in threat intelligence, detection of anomalous activities and supervision of access rights (Mulyadi, Annam, Promya, & Charnsripinyo, 2020).

References

Vielberth, M., & Pernul, G. (2018). A security information and event management pattern.

Mulyadi, F., Annam, L. A., Promya, R., & Charnsripinyo, C. (2020, October). Implementing Dockerized Elastic Stack for Security Information and Event Management. In 2020-5th International Conference on Information Technology (InCIT) (pp. 243-248). IEEE.

Podzins, O., & Romanovs, A. (2019, April). Why SIEM is irreplaceable in a secure IT environment?. In 2019 Open Conference of Electrical, Electronic and Information Sciences (eStream) (pp. 1-5). IEEE. Safarzadeh, M., Gharaee, H., & Panahi, A. H. (2019, November). A Novel and Comprehensive Evaluation Methodology for SIEM. In International Conference on Information Security Practice and Experience (pp. 476

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