How to Strengthen Your SIEM Capabilities by Leveraging Log Management

It’s certainly clear that IT teams that utilize a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solution are better positioned to protect the digital assets of their companies. SIEM aggregates vital data from multiple sources and provides alerts that enable IT to detect, prevent, isolate and mitigate security threats.

But given today’s cybercriminal environment, where new threats constantly emerge and hackers strive to impress their cohorts, additional analysis is required. IT teams can’t sit back and assume all the information they need will magically appear at their fingertips when they check their SIEM console.

One of the tools that provides additional valuable analysis into security incidents is log management. While SIEM vendors typically incorporate log management into their solutions, there may be some short-comings:

  • Valuable information could be missed because SIEM systems sometimes restrict the level of log detail that’s collected; this makes it challenging to conduct deep analysis and quickly search log events.
  • SIEM solutions often use lightweight agent software to check for login attempts by hackers; if hackers gain access to the system, they may be able to shut down the agent altogether.
  • The technology is not perfect; SIEM solutions sometimes generate false-positives due to all the noise created by network infrastructures.
  • Extensive customization is required to function properly in analyzing logs; out-of-the-box settings rarely generate the necessary log detail.

In comparison, by capturing all types of log and event data, log management solutions provide more granular search capabilities and actionable remediation steps. You can also set up a separate alarm in the log manager to alert you if the SIEM agent is shut down by a hacker and stops sending information.

SIEM and Log Management: Complementary Partners

SIEM solutions typically focus on generating alerts pertaining to security issues. But without recommended next steps on how to mitigate the issues, the IT team cannot be effective. More widespread visibility is needed to act on the information that SIEM provides.

By pairing up SIEM and log management, you get the best of both worlds:

  • Centralized collection of log information from multiple systems.
  • Alerts that indicate potential threats
  • The ability to drill down for further log analysis

With these combined capabilities, you can efficiently confirm if threats are legitimate and collect more details to streamline mitigation efforts. Because log management tools collect, process, analyze and visualize data pertaining to suspected threats, IT can delve into the details on how and when devices were used.

IT can also view attempted and successful logins. This level of log analysis can reveal the nature of threats—ranging from where an attacker targeted the network to the breach method used by an attacker.

Although logs can help IT identify security weaknesses, the massive amount of logs generated produce too much information to review it all manually. Log management doesn’t provide real-time insights on security, but when SIEM and log management are combined, you can feed all the information into the SIEM system for monitoring. You can also conduct an in-depth historical analysis of the logs to determine ways to strengthen your overall security posture.

 Combining Log Management and SIEM Benefits Security Investigations

SIEM and log management systems can be integrated to automatically unify log data across entire networks. That means the IT team won’t have to hunt down information manually and can find hidden insights more quickly to improve their threat protection capabilities.

Here are some of the major security investigation benefits you gain by combining the two technologies:

  • Receive real-time alerts about security events across the network infrastructure.
  • Prevent security breaches by detecting potential issues before they impact the infrastructure.
  • Begin threat investigations with complete data.
  • Gain the ability to conduct deep analysis to discover threat origins and paths.
  • Improve investigation efficiency with the ability to process billions of log events.
  • Leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence to improve anomaly detection.

With these capabilities, IT teams can expand their understanding of what events are normal vs. abnormal. And as they gain access to informed remediation tactics and respond quickly to anomalous behaviors, they can better determine how to fortify the network infrastructure against future threats.

Log Management Analysis: More Efficient Than You Think

The operating systems on every network device record log activities that contain information about the health of the operating system. You can collect common log types—such as Syslog, Microsoft events and W3C/IIS—to identify potential threat incidents. When a system isn’t running the way it’s supposed to or is hit with cyber threat, the logs hold information that helps IT determine what went wrong and how to fix it.

The task of log management is often overlooked by IT teams and takes a back seat to SIEM. Some think that log management takes too much time. But with the right tool, analysis can be conducted fairly efficiently. In addition to enhancing your ability to boost your security posture, log management helps you comply with regulations and solve network performance issues.

Logs also help track when end users do something that inadvertently can put your entire network at risks—such as someone using a USB stick to transfer confidential files or an employee who attempts to commit fraud or engage in illegal activity.

Given that logs generate a ton of data, there’s way too much information for IT to review it all manually. But a log and event management tool takes the complexity of analysis out by automating the entire process and simultaneously importing information from multiple logs. The leading tools scan mountains of log data in real time to help troubleshoot and track forensic security breach information. IT can then quickly analyze the logs to detect unauthorized activity and identify security threats.

IT can also track and report on commonly audited event types—such as permission changes to files, folders , and objects. This helps perform security audits and comply with regulations like HIPAA, SOX, FISMA, PCI, MiFID and Basel II—by providing analysis to help IT get you ready for regulatory submissions. Archived raw log data can be converted into intelligence that business unit managers, as well as security and compliance officers, can easily interpret.

Maximum Protection, Minimized Risk

The primary mission of SIEM is to alert IT to potential threats, but the technology can be ineffective without remediation suggestions or intrusive notifications. When paired with the right log management tool, IT can overcome this challenge and better understand where and how threats begin, the path threats have taken, what systems have been impacted, and how to mitigate the situation.

Log management provides an assist in this mission by delivering search capabilities that provide the exact combination of data necessary to examine threats. IT also gains access to relevant views of log data so that key data can be aggregated from multiple sources and then easily analyzed. This helps uncover the extent and breadth of security issues. IT can then delve deeper into search results to explore additional data and find the right answers for remediation.

The combination of log management and SIEM also relieve burdens for IT as the integrated technologies enable real-time security analysis. By implementing both solutions, IT provides the business with maximum protection for digital assets and minimizes the risk of cybersecurity threats.

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