Using SIEM correctly ensures that it produces fewer false alarms and is a more helpful tool for security teams. This will require trial and error but is well worth the effort to prevent threats from sneaking into your network unnoticed.
Prioritize Data Sources
While it’s tempting to think of a SIEM as a Swiss army knife that can do anything, it’s important to remember that the system is only as good as the data it ingests. This is why it’s critical to understand what is SIEM and prioritize all the sources of threat data that the platform will consume. This will help the security team avoid being flooded with platform alerts and ensure that only critical events receive attention. For example, the platform gets many login attempts quickly. In that case, it should be considered a high-priority event indicating a possible brute-force attack.
Also, take the time to understand the security processes and policies that an SIEM solution will support. This will help to ensure that the security solution is a good fit for the organization and doesn’t introduce additional risks. Conducting a pilot run before deploying an SIEM across the entire infrastructure is also a good idea. This will allow the company to test the technology on a smaller subset of systems, provide proof of concept, and demonstrate potential return on investment.
Conduct a Pilot Run
The quickest way to ensure that your SIEM solution is effective and working as intended is by testing it. Much like a painter doesn’t throw every color on the canvas, to begin with, you should start by running your SIEM system on a small subset of technology and policies that are representative of the rest of your network. This pilot phase is crucial because you’ll learn a lot from it about the effectiveness of your SIEM solution. For example, you’ll discover whether your system can parse critical fields such as usernames, passwords, or IP addresses and correlate those data points with threat intelligence. You’ll also identify any gaps in your security policies or other compliance controls that should be plugged.
During the pilot stage, you should also work to refine your SIEM correlation rules to produce fewer false positive alerts. Cyber threats constantly evolve, so adjusting your SIEM settings regularly is crucial.
Getting the most value out of SIEM requires a comprehensive understanding of its scope and capabilities. It is critical to fully understand how the solution relates to your specific security use cases, such as ensuring HIPAA compliance, detecting privileged access abuse, and identifying insider threats.
It is also essential to optimize the data that your SIEM solution ingests so it doesn’t collect too much noise and can focus on detecting relevant events. This can be achieved by determining which data to eat, segmenting the network, and using predefined correlation rules.
Establishing and automating workflows for promptly responding to alerts is crucial. This will help you to identify and respond to cyber threats in real-time, mitigating risks and minimizing damage. It will also improve your business’s overall security posture by reducing response times and improving the accuracy of alerts. Finally, reviewing and regularly fine-tuning your correlation rules and thresholds is recommended to ensure they are relevant and practical.
A security team needs a SIEM to filter the noise and alert them to the real threats. A good SIEM will issue a threat alert when an event occurs, delivering critical details like IP addresses and authentication statuses without overwhelming you with false positives or failing to detect an actual threat altogether.
The best way to optimize your SIEM alerts is to fine-tune the correlation rules that dictate when a specific behavior should trigger a warning. These rules should be reviewed and refined regularly as the threat landscape evolves.
It’s also important to remember that a security solution can only perform its functions properly if it is fed sufficient data. A comprehensive SIEM platform that collects centralized log data from all your systems, networks, and digital assets gives you the visibility to mitigate risk outside your traditional network perimeter. This is especially critical in light of the increased remote work and the proliferation of SaaS applications that bypass traditional firewalls. To gain this visibility, your security team must have access to the complete set of data being ingested by your SIEM solution.
An SIEM must be continually fine-tuned and configured to effectively weed out false positives while also ensuring that no blindspot remains that lets through an actual threat. This is a full-time job for most security teams.
A vital component of this process is identifying and prioritizing sources of data. A company that fails to do this may find its SIEM solution produces more white noise than real threat data. To maximize visibility and eliminate white noise, consider integrating systems that deliver telemetry into one place. This will allow the system to correlate more events and provide security teams complete visibility into network risk regardless of where digital assets and services are accessed.
Another way to reduce noise is to automate responses for specific alerts; rather than allowing your security team to spend hours chasing false positives, set up alerts that automatically take action, like blocking an IP address or deactivating a user account. This can free up valuable security resources and move from reactive to proactive monitoring.