What is SIEM (security information and event management)?

SIEM (security information and event management) solutions collect logs, detect threats, and help ensure security compliance.

Learning Objectives

After reading this article you will be able to:

  • What is SIEM
  • What are the main components of SIEM security
  • How does SIEM technology work

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What is SIEM?

A security information and event management (SIEM) system combines security information management (SIM) and security event management (SEM) into one comprehensive security solution to detect threats and ensure compliance. To break it down further, a SIM collects, analyzes, and manages log and event data from host systems or applications, and a SEM focuses on monitoring and analyzing real-time security events.

How does SIEM technology work?

SIEM technology works by collecting data (or logs), such as login credentials, files accessed, or websites visited from the organization’s host systems and applications, then putting all the logs together and checking to see if there are any odd patterns or signs of a security incident. Increasingly, SIEMs are leveraging AI as automated analysts that groups and prioritize incidents.

If a security incident is detected, the SIEM system will send an alert to the security team. The security team will use the SIEM system’s tools to investigate further.

What are the main components of a SIEM security?

There are multiple components in a cloud-based SIEM security system. The main parts are:

  1. Cloud storage, data collection and ingestion: This is where data about the digital environment is collected, normalized into a consistent format for analysis, and stored, including login attempts, file changes, and network traffic.
  2. Analytics and detection: The analytics engines looks at the normalized data, pairs it with user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA) to identify suspicious patterns.
  3. Dashboards, alerts, and reports: In a cloud-based SIEM system, dashboards show what the analytics engine has detected. Security teams receive alerts and notifications if something suspicious is detected. SIEMs can also prevent false positive alerts. For example, if a user is resetting their password repeatedly, a SIEM can identify and distinguish that from an attack. In other words, a SIEM separates distractions from the incidents that most need attention.
  4. Incident response: Incident response tools are designed to respond to incidents and ensure regulatory compliance.

How can organizations benefit from SIEM integration?

Organizations benefit from integrating SIEM into their existing systems and tools by:

  1. Improving security posture through catching threats early and receiving real-time, immediate alerts when something unusual is detected.
  2. Enforcing proactive risk management by identifying vulnerabilities and prioritizing threats.
  3. Meeting regulatory requirements (like the GDPR and HIPAA) and keeping detailed audit trails.
  4. Centralizing visibility of suspicious incidents in a single dashboard, including potential for trend analysis and faster incident resolution.

How does Cloudflare integrate with SIEM systems?

Cloudflare’s Network Analytics Logs integrates with SIEM dashboards, allowing maximum visibility into L3/4 traffic and DDoS attacks. And with Cloudflare’s Log Push service, users can configure the automatic export of Zero Trust logs to third party storage destinations or SIEM tools, helping maintain a seamless and comprehensive threat detection system, and making it easier to demonstrate compliance to regulators.