Every day, cyber threats facing networks and systems become more sophisticated. We have seen a 7% global increase in cyber-attacks since this time last year, and as these attacks become more evolved, so must our security postures. One of the most powerful moves an organization can make to stay protected is to be proactive. A solution that has risen in popularity for this purpose is called Security Information and Event Management, or SIEM. This is a suite of tools and services that provides a comprehensive and integrated view of information security.
Many large enterprises implement SIEM solutions, however, smaller institutions are hesitant when it comes to investing in these programs, as they can seem intimidating and costly. It is in the best interest of any organization, regardless of size, to examine the benefits of SIEM solutions, lest they risk a potentially catastrophic data breach that could jeopardize their entire business.
Smaller establishments that may be concerned about complexity or overhead cost should first weigh the advantages. Integrating SIEM solutions hardens security processes with support of log aggregation, real-time data analysis, threat detection, and incident management, which many information security professionals find to be indispensable.
The aggregation of logs is incredibly valuable because it allows multiple teams to access the same data on a centralized dashboard. Data is collected from various sources such as servers, firewalls, networks, and endpoints, which is then standardized and consolidated to provide the most value. Without this, team members must manually collect logs from multiple sources, leaving less time to focus on analysis.
Once the SIEM tools are configured for proper log aggregation, information security personnel have the ability to analyze, detect, and respond to potential threats in real-time. The process of pattern detection and correlation across various data sources is simplified. Security event logs are readily available, lending security teams the opportunity to discover incidents that may have previously flown under the radar.
Additionally, SIEM solutions are highly customizable, allowing analysts to configure alerts that best suit their organization’s requirements. The real-time nature of monitoring and alerting allows security teams to respond to potential threats and incidents as quickly as possible. With the ability to detect unusual system behavior and suspicious activity, responders may focus more on mitigation efforts rather than full-blown security breaches. Through machine learning and behavioral analysis, the software continues to pinpoint deviations from usual patterns within the system, thus increasing the overall accuracy and efficiency of the tool. This means the longer a SIEM solution is implemented on a network, the more fine-tuned it becomes to the organization’s needs.
Many small institutions question the time, expense, and resources extended to the integration of programs of this caliber. It begs the question, are SIEM solutions truly necessary for large and small institutions alike? Emphatically, yes. According to the OCC’s CRA regulations, a small financial institution is classified as an organization with less than $1.384 billion in assets. That may be just a fraction of the trillions of dollars in assets maintained by larger banks, but it does not make these smaller entities any less vulnerable to cyber-attacks. In fact, small businesses are three times more likely to be targeted in cyber-attacks, and the implications are heavy.
A successful Denial of Service (DoS) attack can bring down a company's website in a matter of seconds. This can lead to major financial losses, angry customers, and reputation damage which could lead to the demise of the business altogether. When you compare the cost of a SIEM solution to the impact of an actual security breach, the choice becomes clear.
Whether an organization is operating at an enterprise level or classifies as a small institution, SIEM solutions are among the best possible tools to maintain a proactive approach to information security. When you consider the alternative, having full visibility of the environment and the ability to detect and investigate potential threats in real-time is worth every cent.
“Community Reinvestment Act: Revision of Small and Intermediate Small Bank and Savings Association Asset Thresholds.” OCC.Gov, 29 Dec. 2022, www.occ.treas.gov/news-issuances/bulletins/2022/bulletin-2022-28.html#:~:text=For%20calendar%20year%202022%2C%20the,the%20prior%20two%20calendar%20years.
Datadog. “Datadog.” Log Aggregation: What It Is & How It Works, 3 Aug. 2021, www.datadoghq.com/knowledge-center/log-aggregation/#:~:text=Log%20aggregation%20breaks%20down%20organizational,data%20in%20a%20centralized%20platform.
“DDoS Attacks: What Small Businesses Need to Know.” Dot Knowledge – Digital Marketing Training for Small Businesses and Owners, https://dotknowledge.uk/articles/view-article/ddos-attacks-what-small-businesses-need-to-know.
Gartner_Inc. “Definition of Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) - Gartner Information Technology Glossary.” Gartner, www.gartner.com/en/information-technology/glossary/security-information-and-event-management-siem#:~:text=Security%20information%20and%20event%20management%20(SIEM)%20technology%20supports%20threat%20detection,event%20and%20contextual%20data%20sources.
Mascellino, Alessandro. “Global Cyber Attacks Rise by 7% in Q1 2023.” Infosecurity Magazine, 28 Apr. 2023, www.infosecurity-magazine.com/news/global-cyber-attacks-rise-7-q1-2023/#:~:text=Weekly%20cyber%2Dattacks%20have%20increased,of%201248%20attacks%20per%20week.
Segal, Edward. “Small Businesses Are More Frequent Targets of Cyberattacks than Larger Companies: New Report.” Forbes, 12 Oct. 2022, www.forbes.com/sites/edwardsegal/2022/03/30/cyber-criminals/?sh=6fa65f5752ae.