IT terminology includes numerous acronyms and initialisms, many of them specific to IT security. Among them: SIEM ─ security information and event management, a highly effective solution for proactively combating cyber threats that’s now available from ClearScale.

Before delving into ClearScale’s Advanced AWS SIEM System, which integrates cloud-based SIEM, security orchestration, automation and response (SOAR), and cloud security posture management (CSPM), it’s important first to explain what SIEM is and the advantages of integrating it with other IT security options.

What is SIEM?

SIEM refers to security solutions that help organizations detect potential security threats and vulnerabilities before they disrupt business operations. They represent the evolution of legacy security tools, combining the functionality of:

  • Log management, which focuses on collecting and storing log messages and audit trails
  • Security information management (SIM), which provides long-term storage as well as analysis and reporting of log data
  • Security event manager (SEM), which offers real-time monitoring, correlation of events, notifications, and console views
  • Security event correlation (SEC), which sifts through massive quantities of event logs to discover correlations and connections between events that could indicate a security issue

SIEM solutions collect and aggregate security-event data from firewalls, network appliances, intrusion detection systems, and other tools to generate event-related data. This information is correlated between devices to identify potentially anomalous activity. From there, an alert is issued so appropriate actions can be taken.

These solutions also include data retention and report automation features. This enables organizations to collect data, safeguard its storage, and automate the creation of regulatory compliance reports for PCI-DSS, GDPR, HIPAA, SOX, and other standards. This reduces the burden of security management and aids in detecting potential violations early so they can be addressed.

Traditional vs Cloud-based SIEM

Traditional SIEM usually refers to legacy SIEM solutions. They were a big deal when they first came out in the nineties, enabling security operations centers to understand when and where security threats were happening. However, these systems ─ usually limited to on-premises deployments ─ are complex and labor-intensive.

Legitimate behaviors and activities are often mistaken as correlated attacks. They generate unnecessary alerts that take up IT staff time for investigations. Expert data analysis is often required to filter out the large number of false positives to discover the real security threats. The large number of alerts also makes it more likely that real alerts could be overlooked or not responded to quickly.

Legacy SIEM vendors often lack the ability to integrate with other tools in the market. Customers must use what’s included in the SIEM solution or spend more on custom development and professional services. In addition, traditional SIEM solutions come with high costs for licensing, implementation, and renewal. Training expenses also are required to help ensure employees can properly maintain the solution.

Next-generation, cloud-based SIEM systems overcome many of the deficiencies of traditional SIEM. Cloud deployment saves time, since there’s no need for shipping, receiving, installing, and configuring appliances.

Infrastructure costs are reduced since there’s no need for real estate space, energy costs, storage, and servers. Instead of time spent on maintenance, monitoring SIEM health, and troubleshooting, an IT team can focus on higher-value tasks.

Among the biggest benefits are those generated by features such as advanced user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA) powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). IT security teams are provided with target alerts that incorporate contextualization, sorting through behaviors, and unique temporary privileges to make sure the alerts meet correlation rule standards.

Cloud-based SIEM is also considered better at dealing with large volumes of data. When integrated with SOAR, a cloud-based SIEM solution can track millions of events with ease.

What is SOAR?

SOAR is a stack of compatible software programs that enables an organization to collect data about security threats. And they can then respond to security events without human interaction. SOAR goes beyond SIEM by speeding up remediation and only escalating threats when human intervention is required.

A SOAR solution works by gathering security alert data from multiple sources, such as threat intelligence feeds on the latest attack signatures and phishing emails. It places the information in a single location where you can research and assess it.

SOAR solutions include multiple playbooks in response to specific threats. You can automate each step in a playbook or set them for one-click execution directly from within the platform. This includes interaction with third-party products for comprehensive integration. By automating and orchestrating time-consuming, manual tasks, IT security teams can accelerate their response times and better use their specialized skills.

What is CSPM?

CSPM solutions offer organizations visibility, protection, and remediation as part of an overarching cloud security strategy. They identify and remediate threats in cloud environments ─ multi-cloud, hybrid, and containerized cloud environments. And they employ automation to handle security risks as quickly as possible. They also offer security risk assessment, incident response, and DevOps integration.

In addition, CSPM solutions provide the necessary cloud visibility to detect and prevent configuration errors – a leading cause of breaches. Automation helps identify threats and handle them as quickly as possible.

Better Together

Combining cloud-based SIEM and SOAR solutions makes for a more powerful, effective security solution. SIEM detects potential security incidents in cloud environments and triggers the alerts. SOAR responds to the alerts, triages the data, and takes remediation steps, as necessary.

However, both SIEM and SOAR solutions typically rely on siloed, sometimes proprietary security products. This can lead to alerts based on incomplete or poorly correlated information, often causing unnecessary disruption to systems and users. Integrating CSPM provides IT administrators with a single view of all activity across the company’s cloud assets. This approach makes it easier to identify and remediate incorrectly configured assets and other potential vulnerabilities in the cloud environment.

The ClearScale SIEM Solution

ClearScale offers a centralized AWS-specific SIEM service. It combines the benefits of cloud-based SIEM, SOAR, and CSPM, to create a powerful, all-in-one security solution.

A one-stop-shop for all security monitoring and incident response needs, it empowers security analysts and security operations teams with the visibility, automation, and insights needed to quickly detect anomalies and uncover advanced threats in real time. It can also help customers pass security audits.

The solution is built on AWS Security Hub, a cloud security posture management service that performs security best practice checks, aggregates alerts, and enables automated remediation. It also uses Amazon OpenSearch, an open-source, distributed search and analytics suite that makes it easy to perform interactive log analytics, real-time application monitoring, website search, and more.

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The Benefits

Among its benefits, this solution can:

  • Reduce risk with automated checks based on a collection of IT security controls curated by experts. Simplify regulatory compliance management with built-in mapping capabilities for common frameworks like CIS, PCI DSS, and more
  • Eliminate manual work related to enriching, remediating, and sending insights to ticketing systems through AWS Security Hub’s integration with Amazon EventBridge
  • Automatically enrich findings, remediate them, or send them to ticketing systems through AWS Security Hub’s integration with Amazon EventBridge
  • Simplify the attestation process with pre-set compliance reporting templates. Ensure secure data logging for the latest compliance mandates, like SOC2, HIPAA, and PCI DSS
  • Utilize UltraWarm Amazon OpenSearch nodes, Amazon S3, and a sophisticated caching solution to improve performance and increase cost-effectiveness

You can deploy ClearScale’s SIEM service in AWS cloud environments tailored for small- and medium-sized businesses, as well as in larger AWS cloud environments for enterprises. In addition, ClearScale can integrate AWS Security Hub, SOAR, and additional AWS services with customers’ Splunk SIEM systems to provide out-of-the-box visibility for centrally monitoring customers’ AWS infrastructure and applications through Splunk.

For more information about how ClearScale can build a centralized, custom AWS-based SIEM system for your organization ─ or to schedule a meeting ─ just click here.

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