Armorblox is now part of Cisco

Articles & Thought Leadership | 9 min read

Everything You Need to Know About SIEM


Lauryn Cash
Lauryn Cash

What is SIEM? Discover how integrating SIEM solutions can help you identify and stop cyberattacks before they can impact your organization.

what is siem

By 2025, the cost of cybercrime is expected to reach $6 trillion worldwide — more than most global economies. As industries continue to digitize their operations, organizations find themselves open to cyberthreats from around the world. From generic phishing scams to targeted ransomware attacks, cyberattacks not only cost your business money but damage your reputation too.

Cybercriminals are constantly developing new methods of attack, while many IT teams are stretched thin trying to manage the entire IT infrastructure of their organization. In addition, with the increased number of remote workers using less secure personal networks, enterprise security monitoring is a constant balance between limited time and resources. In fact, a study found that cybersecurity teams have to resolve an average of 4,000 security alerts per week.

However, advanced software solutions like SIEM can streamline your cybersecurity operations by automatically detecting and analyzing potential threats in real-time. But what is SIEM? This blog will go over how SIEM technology works and the benefits of enhancing your email security with a SIEM.

What Is SIEM and How Does It Work?

Short for security information event management, SIEM blends security information management (SIM) and security event management (SEM), helping organizations detect potential security vulnerabilities before they occur. SIEM consolidates data from applications and network hardware, providing your business with real-time security alert analysis.

SIEM software captures log and event data and brings it all together into a single platform, providing next-generation security detection, analytics, and incident response. From there, SIEM can categorize the data into types of events to identify potential threats. By automating the detection and analysis process, SIEM improves cybersecurity efficiency and reduces response time for alerts.

As the cybersecurity landscape increases in complexity, SIEM tools play an essential role in your data security. By aggregating and analyzing data from multiple sources, SIEM can identify patterns and catch suspicious activity or potential threats before they even happen. But how does SIEM work? Here are some of the main features of SIEM.

Log Management

SIEM starts by collecting event data from multiple sources across your organization’s network. This information includes log data from users, applications, digital assets, and networks, which are captured, sorted, and analyzed in real-time. Next, SIEM creates a centralized location for your network’s event log data so your IT team can review and prioritize security incidents.

SIEM can also integrate with third-party sources like threat intelligence feeds, which provide a continuous stream of intel on existing and potential cybersecurity threats. For example, these feeds can include open-source intelligence about ransomware attacks and malicious websites so your SIEM can accurately detect potential threats.

Incident Monitoring and Alerts

By centralizing all aspects of your IT infrastructure, including on-premises and cloud-based data storage, SIEM provides you with a holistic view of your IT environment. This enables SIEM to monitor all users, devices, and applications in your network and classify abnormal behavior.

When SIEM software detects a threat facing your network, it generates a security alert according to predefined rules. For example, if someone tries to log into an account from an unrecognized IP address, it can be flagged as an attempted attack. In addition, you can easily customize rules for how the software correlates events to suit your organization's unique needs.

Event Analytics

SIEM uses powerful data analytics to identify and understand enormous amounts of data. SIEM tools also categorize the data into event types, like successful and failed logins, malware activity, and other suspicious activity. From there, the software generates security alerts according to a set of predefined rules.

Event analytics provide your IT department with valuable insights so they can find and address possible threats to your business that would otherwise go undetected. SIEM can even recreate the timeline of a cyberattack, connecting data from across your network so you can discover the source of the attack and its impact on your business.

What’s the Difference Between SOAR and SIEM? Find out here.

Benefits of Integrating Email Security Into Your SIEM Infrastructure

SIEM is a great tool when it integrates events and log data from all the infrastructure in an organization. Ingesting email alerts into SIEM provides security operations with the ability to look at threat propagation in its entirety. Most of the threats span multiple assets within the infrastructure. For example, a ransomware attack can originate in an endpoint but move laterally across different users via email. Looking at alerts generated by endpoint, email, network, cloud, etc., provides a comprehensive view into a specific attack.

Here are four ways that SIEM supports your email security needs.

Reduced Event Response Time

Because SIEM can analyze data from your network and global intelligence sources, it can rapidly discover emerging cybersecurity threats before they cause damage to your organization. As a result, your IT team can quickly resolve these issues by catching potential threats early, reducing mean time to detect (MTTD) and mean time to respond (MTTR).

Real-Time Security Visibility

SIEM provides your business with real-time visibility into your security posture. This enables you to be proactive and spot threats on the horizon instead of playing catch-up when security events happen.

Advanced Threat Detection

It’s not enough to respond to a security event faster than you did before. Today, the most successful cybersecurity strategies involve a proactive approach to threat detection. Rather than simply addressing issues as they pop up, SIEM can help you hunt down threats in your cybersecurity landscape. This includes targeted phishing attacks, data exfiltration, and insider threats.

Compliance Auditing and Reporting

Almost every business needs to comply with some form of industrial or government regulations, like PCI DSS and HIPAA. SIEM’s consolidated dashboard records events and monitors privileged user access across your organization while automatically documenting who accessed, read, or copied data when fulfilling standard compliance requirements.

SIEM Use Cases: How to Automate Responses to Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks cause about 90 percent of data breaches. Although phishing attacks have been around for decades, they are constantly becoming more sophisticated and targeted. Below are three use cases for automating phishing attack responses with SIEM.

Automation of Responses

Cybercriminals can exploit security vulnerabilities within days or even hours, so a quick response is crucial to mitigating damage. By defining triggers such as password guessing and network or application reconnaissance, a SIEM platform can automatically take action against suspicious behavior to stop an attack at its earliest stage.

Reduction in Dwell Time

Dwell time measures how long a threat or breach remains in your organization’s systems before resolution. SIEM can connect individual events and identify patterns, even checking against external intelligence feeds to detect possible threats sooner. This enables you to eliminate and prevent threats, improving dwell time quickly.

Proactive End-User Warnings

In addition to analyzing and categorizing events, SIEM can prioritize potential threats according to the risks facing your organization. For example, if you have been struggling with phishing attacks, a SIEM platform can move those security alerts to the top of the list so your IT team can address them first.

Enhance Security: Boost Splunk, Microsoft Sentinel Deployments With Natural Language Understanding (NLU)-Powered Detections

SIEM requires log and event data across the entire infrastructure to help security operations professionals detect, investigate, and respond to threats. Some of the sophisticated threats weaponize content and context delivered to end-users.

New architecture that leverages natural language understanding (NLU) can detect threats that slip through legacy cybersecurity tools. Ingesting these threat alerts into a SIEM infrastructure helps organizations get deeper visibility into threat propagation. In addition, NLU powered detections can stop lateral movement, detect multi-stage and multi-modal threats and prevent sophisticated attacks.

Armorblox connects to popular SIEM and SOAR tools like Microsoft Sentinel, Splunk, and Palo Alto Networks XOAR.

To learn more about how Armorblox can bring email threat intelligence to your SIEM or SOAR infrastructure, schedule a demo today.

Take Security Operations Product Tour

Experience the Armorblox Difference

Get a Demo