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Why Set-and-Forget SIEM Deployments Often Fail

(Updated April 2022)

There are many ways to optimize and automate your SIEM workflow, but you can’t replace the human element. 

Security information and event monitoring solutions are a cornerstone of modern enterprise security. They gather log data from every corner of your organization and generate comprehensive reports on your security posture. Some can trigger highly automated response playbooks to known threats all on their own. 

However, even an efficient, highly automated SIEM deployment needs human interpretation and input. Workflow optimization tools help qualified analysts interpret alerts faster and more accurately – they can’t do the interpretation on their own. 

Well-trained analysts have an important role to play in addressing high-priority alerts and measuring the outcome of SIEM processes. Simply generating automated log reports is not enough.

 

Human Talent Unlocks the Value of SIEM Technology

This misunderstanding is the culprit behind many SIEM deployment failures. It’s not strictly enterprise IT leaders’ fault, either.  

Why would a SIEM vendor jeopardize a sale by warning its customer they don’t have the talent necessary to operate their technology? It’s much more convenient to simply go through with the installation, get paid, and move on. 

This can lead to surprising and embarrassing results.  

In one case, Castra team members found an installation disk taped to the bottom of a rack-mounted server that had never been turned on.  The CIO truly believed that the company’s SIEM was working correctly but adding no value. 

Many companies lack the human talent necessary to meet the goals of their SIEM implementation projects. Security staff must do more than occasionally review SIEM log reports. Security events and alarms demand an investigation from highly qualified security analysts who can use SIEM log data to construct a realistic narrative and tell enterprise stakeholders what’s really happening.


Read up on other Castra clients' experiences with SIEM deployments.

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Your SIEM Is More Than a Rules Engine

Enterprise security leaders and tech vendors often treat SIEM solutions like simple rules-based alert engines. This doesn’t do justice to the value SIEM solutions can truly provide when monitored by a highly qualified security team. 

It’s true that many SIEM solutions work by triggering alerts based on security policy rules. However, there is no guarantee those rules accurately correspond to today’s threat landscape or even the unique risk profile of the organization in question. 

Cybersecurity is an incredibly dynamic field. As the environment changes, your SIEM’s alert policies must change to keep up.  

Some of these changes happen quickly. New vulnerabilities like Log4shell and Spring4shell may require you to change your security posture in a matter of days.  

Other changes are structural and take place over longer periods of time. A few years ago, software-defined networks were “the future”. Now, SDN capabilities are a central element of enterprise network architecture.  

Having access to dedicated human analyst talent ensures your organization can qualify SIEM performance and adjust its alert parameters to meet changing needs. You can reduce false positives, investigate security incidents, and update policies to reflect current best practices in real-time. 

The most sophisticated SIEM solutions go beyond the rules-based approach to enable behavioral analysis of individual user activity. User entity and behavioral analytics platforms like Exabeam provide insights driven by machine learning algorithms that don’t rely on established rulesets.

 

Leverage Your SIEM Investment with Managed Detection and Response Services

Castra’s managed detection and response services enable enterprises to continuously monitor SIEM log reports, conduct investigations and improve security performance over time. Our team of highly trained security analysts enables enterprises to get the most out of their SIEM platform. We provide clear, actionable insight on how to reduce security risks, lower false positives, and defend against novel threats. 

SIEM deployments are not a set-and-forget process, but Castra's expertise can minimize the cost and usability impact of maintaining your SIEM effectively. Rely on the experience and professionalism of our scalable US-based security operations team and make your security posture as dynamic as the environment it responds to.

Can Castra assist your team with your SIEM deployment? Contact us.