Is Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) replaceable? The answer to this question is not going to be a simple yes or no. The closest scientific study that approximates an answer to this question is a survey that reveals enterprises’ love-hate relationship with SIEM. Only 21.6 percent of respondents in the said survey say that they are fully satisfied with the SIEM systems they are using, and 31.9 percent say they are getting over 80 percent of the value they expect from it.
It would be inaccurate to say SIEM is replaceable because many—more than a majority based on the survey cited above—are convinced that they are getting something from it. However, it would not be completely true to say that SIEM is indispensable, because many also think that they do not get significant value out of it.
Organizations that are looking for a similar or possibly better security solution can consider SIEM alternatives, especially those that have the following features.
Integrated threat intelligence platform (TIP)
TIP is an important cybersecurity technology designed for the collection, aggregation, and organization of threat intelligence from various sources and in different formats. It enables accurate and efficient threat identification, which results in better investigation and response outcomes. TIP plays an important role in making security operations more efficient and simpler to run.
Preferably, TIP has to be cloud-based to ensure continuous and bidirectional security information movement. This means that it does not only gather threat intelligence; it also serves as a security data source for various users. The threat intelligence platforms of leading security providers usually evolve with inputs from internal research, commercial feeds, open source feeds, and threat information shared by customers. They also build up reputability by being threat intelligence sources to enterprise customers, government agencies, and MSSP partners.
Cloud-native data lake
Threat intelligence requires generous storage and efficiently retrievable data. Massive amounts of data need to be stored as they are collected from various sources including endpoints, apps, users, as well as cloud sources. Simple data warehousing and cloud databases will not cut it. It is advisable to have a cloud-native data lake that can handle a wide range of data types and formats and remain highly available and rapidly accessible even with long-term data.
A cloud-based data lake is typically elastic and microservice-based. This means that as data volume increases, data handling remains efficient because new data is added in nodes that connect to clusters. This ensures that search and data retrieval performance is not affected regardless of how huge the data volume is. Forensic analysis and threat hunting performance does not decelerate because of the vastness of the compiled data.
Data centralization, normalization, and enrichment
Effective SIEM entails the correlation of security alerts and events. This is usually done automatically with the help of artificial intelligence. The problem with conventional SIEM is that it is difficult to develop meaningful machine learning or AI to handle correlation because of the variety of data collected.
To address this challenge, it is important to forcibly centralize, then normalize and enrich data. These steps are essential to reduce data complexity and make raw, disjointed, and unorganized data readily usable in AI models.
Comprehensive security data gathering
Open XDR is touted as one of the excellent alternatives to SIEM because of its emphasis on comprehensive data collection and open architecture. It is an evolution of XDR (Extended Detection and Response), which Gartner defined as “a unified security incident detection and response platform that automatically collects and correlates data from multiple proprietary security components.”
Open XDR offers the advantage of covering not only proprietary security components but all existing security components. This is important because security information and security event management at present cannot be limited to proprietary components. Attack surfaces continue to expand unpredictably, so it makes perfect sense to use a system whose coverage proactively grows with the changes in the threat landscape.
Another attribute related to Open XDR that is also vital in a SIEM alternative is open architecture. Having an open architecture is necessary to be able to add detection, correlation, intelligence, and other capabilities depending on what an organization requires at the moment.
It is a given that almost all organizations use security solutions from different vendors. They already have existing security components before they decide to adopt SIEM or a SIEM alternative. It is counterintuitive to ditch existing solutions, which are likely not cheap or obtained for free, to make use of a new platform. Not only is this a costly waste, but it is also totally unnecessary.
Open architecture means that the seamless integration of security solutions is possible. It also supports the swapping and upgrading of components. There is no need to drop anything if they can be useful in the security information and event management process being implemented. New functions may be added if they are not currently available.
Unified security operations
Various security operation tools work better when they are operated under a unified platform. A good SIEM alternative can unify user entity and behavior analytics (UEBA), endpoint detection and response (EDR), security orchestration, automation and response (SOAR), network detection and response (NDR), and other cybersecurity tools. Multiple security operations can be undertaken in the same platform and centralize the data generated in the process to produce reports and analyses more rapidly.
The core idea of conducting SIEM is to combine security information management (SIM) and security event management (SEM). Thus, information handling and response, ideally, should be undertaken within the same platform. It is not sensible to invest in a security platform that supposedly unifies security operations only to conduct some processes using separate applications.
There are viable alternatives to SIEM. One example of this is Open XDR, which offers a number of advantages compared to conventional SIEM, especially for those who prefer not to tackle the complexities of building a bespoke SIEM platform with plugins and tools that address specific needs in their organizations. For enterprises that are looking for other options, it would help to remember the features, functions, or attributes described above.