What should you consider when choosing a SIEM tool.

In part one of this two-part series, we discussed why organizations should adopt a SIEM solution to ensure network security. In this second part, we’ll be demystifying the critical capabilities of SIEM tools and show you what to consider when picking a solution.

Budget plays a crucial role

When purchasing a SIEM solution, budget plays an important role. Some SIEM vendors license their solution based on the volume of log data that is being processed, meaning the product’s price tends to fluctuate. On the other hand, when licensing is based on the number of log sources being added for monitoring—with no limit on the volume of log data being processed—then your spending tends to remain constant. These source-dependent pricing models also help you accommodate your SIEM solution better during network expansions.

Apart from budget constraints, the SIEM solution you choose must provide certain capabilities.

The seven capabilities you must consider while choosing a SIEM solution

  1. Scalability: Whatever the license model, the SIEM solution that you choose must be able to scale both horizontally and vertically. When your organization grows, your SIEM solution should grow too. Find out how many log sources a single instance of the solution can handle and check whether that falls within your network size. Also, make sure to check the SIEM solution’s peak event handling capacity, which should fall within your log generation limits.

Did you know that Log360, our comprehensive SIEM solution, can handle 25,000 logs/second? Check out what else this solution has to offer.

  1. Log data compatibility: Your network probably has a wide range of devices, each with its own log type. You might have a mix of network perimeter devices—such as routers, switches, firewalls, and IDS/IPS—as well as applications, servers, workstations, and even entire cloud environments. The SIEM solution you choose should be able to assimilate log data from all these platforms, right out of the box. It should only take minimal effort to configure log collection and analysis from the devices in your network.

Just saying, Log360 can automatically parse and analyze log data from more than 750 log sources. Furthermore, the solution’s custom log parser can automatically create parser rules for any human-readable log format.

  1. Intuitive and interactive visualization: Analytics is the key feature of every SIEM solution. SIEM solutions are designed to automate the log management process and specifically to extract meaningful information from these logs and present them as actionable insights. So, for basics, look for effective reporting capabilities that help meet your security, auditing, and compliance needs. It should also have an interactive dashboard that presents exactly what you need, including drill-down capabilities.

  2. Effective forensic analysis: Security operations centers (SOCs) are responsible for carrying out rapid and accurate forensic analysis of every detected incident to learn from them, and ultimately prevent new threats and contain ongoing attacks. How quickly you contain an attack depends on how long it takes to discover it. Therefore, ensure that your SIEM solution possesses high-speed and efficient forensic analysis capabilities. Also, building search queries without having to use a query language is a must for any SIEM solution you choose.

  3. Ready-made and tailor-made components: Although all SIEM solutions come with prebundled auditing reports, alert profiles, correlation rules, and compliance report templates, you might find these features difficult to use. There is always a need for customization to fine-tune threshold values of alert profiles, change report elements, and modify criteria for correlation rules so that they fit your network. Ensure that the SIEM solution you choose comes with both an exhaustive set of predefined components as well as the ability to customize them with minimal effort.

  4. Security orchestration: Your SIEM tool should work in harmony with other IT management solutions in your network. Your network might contain solutions that ease your IT operations, such as a monitoring tool that watches the performance and health of devices and servers, or help desk solutions that assist in resolving IT-related queries. The SIEM solution that you choose should be able to effectively get input from and feed data to your other IT management solutions. For instance, your SIEM solution should be able to receive server downtime alerts from your monitoring solution and validate whether these alerts signal a DDoS attack. When your SIEM tool identifies an attack, it should be able to raise this incident as a ticket in your help desk and assign that ticket to a security administrator for effective incident resolution.

  5. Predictive intelligence: Predictive intelligence makes SIEM solutions stand out from other network security solutions. The SIEM solution that you choose should be able to add business context to events occurring on your network, plot user and entity behavior trends, identify variations from typical trends, and provide real-time notifications about deviations. Your SIEM tool must come with rules and algorithms based on machine learning that can identify suspicious behavior in your network.

Gartner’s 2018 Magic Quadrant for SIEM outlines other capabilities a SIEM solution should have. Read the report to see why Log360 was featured.