Netizen: What is Security Information and Event Monitoring (SIEM)?

Ever wonder how your organization can immediately upgrade its security infrastructure? What about all the traffic and logs generated from devices and users on the network? Security Information and Event Monitoring (SIEM) combines security information management (SIM) and security event management (SEM) into one tool that provides insights into an organization’s traffic and user behavior. Plainly stated, SIEM helps businesses of all sizes recognize underlying vulnerabilities and security threats before they materialize into critical issues.

SIEM tools got their start in the financial industry, with many of the world’s most significant players identifying a need for enriched network traffic reports to show if there was any unusual activity present. This, coupled with rule changes to PCI-DSS, ushered in the adoption of SIEM tools in many large corporations. Other industries quickly caught on to the benefits of SIEM tools, with many sighting the single point of view functionality as one of the greatest strengths of SIEM products.

How does a SIEM tool work?

At the base level, a SIEM tool functions on a set of rules or parameters to establish a correlation between network traffic and event logs. This correlation evolves into a well-monitored and established pattern of behavior that can be viewed over a set period. Most SIEM tools gather logs from user data, cloud environments, applications, firewalls, networks, and other assets deployed in the management environment. This information is stored and analyzed 24/7 to allow security personnel uninterrupted access to the logs for monitoring. Once a baseline has been established, the initial rules then detect any anomalies or irregular traffic and flag them for further review by the security team. A perfect example of these rules in the real world is password lockouts. If a user tries to log in to their account and fails 3-5 times in a 6-minute window, that is considered relatively normal traffic. However, if the system picks up 100+ failed login attempts in a 5-minute window, an alert would be generated notifying the security team of an attempted compromise.

What are the capabilities of a SIEM tool?

SIEM tools are outfitted with a litany of features and capabilities that make these products genuinely robust. At the heart of it all is the log management functionality. This allows the tool to collect and store log files from multiple hosts and sources in one centralized location. Keeping all of this information also streamlines the review process. With much of the legwork from compiling reports from numerous sources, the single view aspect of SIEM tools cuts IT review times drastically. Equal to log collection, security event correlation is at the top of SIEM capabilities. This backbone of the tool allows users to draw conclusions between what may look like regular network traffic to most and see more profound indications of malicious activity like foreign traffic or data exfiltration.

Another helpful capability most SIEM tools come packed with is threat intelligence feeds. Many developers will preload their products with these intelligence feeds and even allow third-party integrations from companies like MITRE to bolster the threat visibility. Enhanced visibility also plays a role in the most valuable capability for C-level executives. Every bell and whistle a SIEM tool provides is fantastic at reducing the likelihood of a security breach, but the reporting capabilities elevate a tool to higher levels. Many IT decision-makers don’t have backgrounds or formal training in information technology. It is paramount that your SIEM tool provides intelligent reports that are digestible by a CISO with 10+ years of experience in cybersecurity and an accountant with no experience in IT alike.

What else are SIEM tools used for?

As outside threat actors increasingly target small, medium, and large-sized businesses, firms everywhere have turned to SIEM tools to help increase the visibility of traffic and events on their networks. One of the leading catalysts of SIEM tool integration into most businesses is regulatory. Compliance standards like PCI-DSS, HIPAA, and CMMC 2.0 require organizations to store and monitor logs and traffic reports from the daily user and network activity. Companies looking to pursue or stay compliant with these frameworks will have to adhere to strict SIEM guidelines and ensure their tools are correctly configured.

SIEM tools have also gained traction due to insider threats increasing, with malicious organizations offering lucrative bribes to employees willing to send classified or sensitive information. With a properly deployed SIEM tool, IT teams can monitor “usual” traffic and immediately detect when an employee is downloading a large number of files or sending them to an unknown source and disrupt the activity before it becomes an issue.

Information security professionals everywhere have also noted the increase in IoT devices as a leading factor for SIEM tool investments. As more “smart” devices are added to the network, the number of potential attack vectors also rises. Monitoring these devices for any suspicious activity or alarming vulnerabilities is crucial to an organization’s cybersecurity posture.


Overall, SIEM tools are an excellent defense mechanism companies can look to deploy into their environment. The added visibility these products provide, coupled with the insights they generate, are helpful for any firm looking to increase its cybersecurity stance.

How Can Netizen Help?

Netizen ensures that security gets built-in and not bolted-on. Providing advanced solutions to protect critical IT infrastructure such as the popular “CISO-as-a-Service” wherein companies can leverage the expertise of executive-level cybersecurity professionals without having to bear the cost of employing them full time. 

We also offer compliance support, vulnerability assessments, penetration testing, and more security-related services for businesses of any size and type. 

Additionally, Netizen offers an automated and affordable assessment tool that continuously scans systems, websites, applications, and networks to uncover issues. Vulnerability data is then securely analyzed and presented through an easy-to-interpret dashboard to yield actionable risk and compliance information for audiences ranging from IT professionals to executive managers.

Netizen is an ISO 27001:2013 (Information Security Management), ISO 9001:2015, and CMMI V 2.0 Level 3 certified company. We are a proud Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor for hiring and retention of military veterans. 

Questions or concerns? Feel free to reach out to us any time –

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