How to spot a modern SIEM imposter

Staying ahead of the cybersecurity curve can feel like running a marathon entirely uphill, but finding the ideal security information and event management (SIEM) can help alleviate the strain and drastically level the playing field for organizations.

Legacy SIEM platforms were designed to deploy on-premises, not in the cloud. This old-school approach means they have limited scalability and can’t adapt to the modern cloud-first business landscape. By contrast, the security data platforms that have emerged in recent years tap into cloud technology. These solutions adapt to meet the changing demands of today’s security operations and offer cloud-native software as a service (SaaS) models to provide greater flexibility.

Unfortunately for CISOs, however, several legacy SIEMs like to pose as modern solutions in the market. These tips will help you determine which SIEMs are the real deal.

A SaaS deployment model

Typically deployed on-premises, legacy SIEMs are behind the curve regarding scalability. The hardware components also require significant administrative overhead. Smarter security solutions, meanwhile, are delivered through SaaS models, which take advantage of the elasticity of the cloud to provide on-demand compute, memory, and storage resources. 

Cloud-based architecture lets organizations collect and retain more data, conduct more frequent searches, and achieve greater visibility into their attack surface. Many legacy SIEMs were built to deploy on-prem but now offer “cloud” solutions. But beware! If you can still deploy the solution on-prem, you’re likely dealing with a legacy platform masquerading as a more modern solution.

Built for SIEM-dependence

Legacy SIEMs often have a modular architecture and require add-on components for specific functionalities, resulting in a disjointed workflow for analysts. Smarter SIEMs, conversely, have a complete and open architecture that integrates all functionalities, such as machine learning, data visualization, and data analytics, into a single user interface (UI) – rather than the old brick-by-brick approach. 

This streamlined UI enables analysts to work more efficiently and effectively, with improved collaboration and data correlation. Modern SIEMs prioritize open integration and provide flexible APIs to integrate seamlessly with other solutions. On the other hand, legacy SIEMs limit integrations with outside vendors. Today’s leading-edge platforms let organizations import data from multiple sources and use the latest threat intelligence feeds for enriched context and better detection capabilities. The threat of vendor lock-in is all too real with old systems; don’t let your vendor dictate which tools you can use and protect. 

Lets get technical

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Intelligent parsing and data storage

Legacy SIEMs must parse and index data at ingest time, leading to alert lag and slow searches during data spikes. Modern SIEMs take a different approach, storing data raw for instant searchability and offering the ability to parse data upon query to eliminate delays.

They also leverage single storage systems, compress data to optimize storage space, and provide efficient search performance for recent and historical data. The biggest giveaway of a legacy SIEM is that it indexes data before you get alerts.

Data enrichment and threat intelligence

Next-gen SIEMs offer flexible data enrichment capabilities, allowing organizations to add contextual information to their log data. This enrichment effort allows analysts to make faster and more informed decisions. They also provide integrated threat intelligence platforms, eliminating the need for separate solutions and enabling security operations center (SOC) teams to stay up-to-date with the latest threat indicators.

If your SIEM, by contrast, only offers threat intelligence using the vendor’s data sources, it should be considered a severe red flag. It may expose you if there’s a specific attack vector for your industry you won’t have oversight of. In other words, you’ll be up a creek without a paddle.

Giving analysts the tools they need

Modern security data platforms prioritize enhancing the workflow of SOC analysts by providing a single UI that consolidates all information and tools required to conduct investigations.

This streamlined approach improves collaboration and accelerates incident response. But if your analysts need multiple windows open and cut and paste between them, be sure you’re looking at a legacy SIEM.

Choosing the right security solution

The right SIEM solution is crucial to a world-class cybersecurity strategy. When evaluating potential vendors, you must prioritize scalability, flexibility, and user-friendliness to mitigate risk and protect your organization’s critical assets. It’s essential to tell the difference between a genuinely cloud-first smart SIEM option and a legacy alternative a vendor has dressed up as one.

Devo, for example, is a fully managed cloud-native SaaS system that can handle monumental amounts of data from multicloud and hybrid cloud environments. Its pricing model is also refreshingly simple and includes all kinds of features. It’s also an organic system that integrates seamlessly with other technologies, with its fully extensible API working with any security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) technology you choose. It also ingests data from almost any source in structured or unstructured formats and keeps it raw without changing it. Now, add 400 days of hot searchable data, making it easier for analysts to detect the origins of a threat in their environment.

The platform also parses data at query time instead of on ingestion, meaning your organization can cut out any delays in processing requests. Finally, it’s integrated with the MISP threat intelligence storage platform, meaning your organization won’t need to set anything up or code manually.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive SIEM solution that ticks all the boxes, this Buyer’s Guide compares the top vendors and has all the information you need to spot imposters and make the right decision.

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