Is This Thing On? How to Make Sure Your SIEM is Working Correctly

In my two decades of expertise in Cybersecurity, I have observed a significant rise in the implementation of Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) systems. From managed SIEM solutions to standalone software and Managed Detection and Response (MDR) services, a growing number of organizations are embracing this technology. I've also noticed a common challenge among these companies to effectively utilize the technology, leading to concerns among C-level executives about the return on investment. Given that SIEM often incurs significant monthly or annual fees, it is the responsibility of the organization’s security leaders to ensure the technology is delivering the desired outcomes.

So, how can you ensure the effective functioning of your SIEM, thereby enhancing your confidence in security while realizing the full potential of your investment?

Here are a few ways to determine if your SIEM is working:

  1. Review alerts and notifications: One of the primary functions of a SIEM is to alert you to potential security threats. If you're not receiving alerts or notifications, or if you're receiving too many false positives, it may be a sign that your SIEM is not tuned properly.  Track this over time.
  2. Check for coverage: A SIEM is only as good as its source data.  Networks and applications and end user compute change over time, so make sure you keep your SIEM log sources up to date with those changes.  An easy way to find out gaps in coverage is to conduct pen testing or purple teaming. (see #5 below)
  3. Evaluate response times: A SIEM should be able to quickly detect and alert you to potential threats. If you're noticing delays in response times, it could be a sign that your SIEM is not working as efficiently as it should be.
  4. Monitor performance: It's important to regularly monitor the performance of your SIEM to ensure it's operating at peak efficiency. This might include monitoring resource usage, data collection, and alerting capabilities.
  5. Conduct testing: Consistent evaluation and testing play a crucial role in guaranteeing the efficient operation of your SIEM. At NetWorks Group, we assess our clients' detection speed and response efficacy through comprehensive Full Scope Penetration Tests. This provides valuable insight into the effectiveness of their security posture from an attacker's perspective. Additionally, our Purple Teaming methodology takes a collaborative approach to identify any vulnerabilities, refine detection capabilities, and enhance the expertise of the in-house team as they gain a deeper understanding of attack scenarios. For more on Purple Teams, click here.

By frequently monitoring, assessing, and testing your SIEM, you can guarantee its ability to safeguard your operations against potential security risks. Furthermore, it helps to demonstrate the return on investment and provide a clear answer to C-level executives.

If you have questions or want further information on how we can help you get more out of your SIEM, please reach out. NetWorks Group has been helping customers secure their environments for over 25 years. 


Published By: Scot Armstrong, Account Manager, NetWorks Group

Publish Date: February 2, 2023

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