Security Information and Event Management

Security incident and event management (SIEM) is the process of identifying, monitoring, recording and analyzing security events or incidents within a real-time IT environment. It provides a comprehensive and centralized view of the security scenario of an IT infrastructure. Security incident and event management is also known as security information event management.

SIEM is implemented via software, systems, appliances, or some combination of these items. There are, generally speaking, six main attributes of an SIEM system:

– Retention: Storing data for long periods so that decisions can be made off of more complete data sets.

– Dashboards: Used to analyze (and visualize) data in an attempt to recognize patterns or target activity or data that does not fit into a normal pattern.

– Correlation: Sorts data into packets that are meaningful, similar and share common traits. The goal is to turn data into useful information.

– Alerting: When data is gathered or identified that trigger certain responses – such as alerts or potential security problems – SIEM tools can activate certain protocols to alert users, like notifications sent to the dashboard, an automated email or text message.

– Data Aggregation: Data can be gathered from any number of sites once SIEM is introduced, including servers, networks, databases, software and email systems. The aggregator also serves as a consolidating resource before data is sent to be correlated or retained.

– Compliance: Protocols in a SIEM can be established that automatically collect data necessary for compliance with company, organizational or government policies.

Vulnerability scans can be performed from outside or inside the network or the network segment that’s being evaluated. Organizations can run external scans from outside their network perimeter to determine the exposure to attacks of servers and applications that are accessible directly from the internet. Meanwhile, internal vulnerability scans aim to identify flaws that hackers could exploit to move laterally to different systems and servers if they gain access to the local network.

Some industry standards, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS), require organizations to perform both external and internal vulnerability scans quarterly, as well as every time new systems or components are installed, the network topology changes, the firewall rules are modified, or various software products are upgraded.