SIEM vs. Log Management
Wondering which security solution is best for your organization? Check out this in-depth look at SIEM vs. log management, and find out which one is right for you.
- SIEM is security software that aggregates log data from multiple sources, enabling businesses to recognize potential security threats and areas of weakness.
- Like SIEM, log management takes data from multiple endpoints and stores it in a centralized location, making it easy for security analysts to access the information and conduct the necessary checks.
- Ultimately, SIEM can offer a more comprehensive approach to security, however, any discussion on what’s best for your business must consider your business's specific needs.
Cybersecurity has never been more important for businesses to take seriously. According to an IBM report, it takes a company around 200 days to identify a security threat and 75 days to contain it. The same report says that the number of data breaches and cyberattacks increased by around 15% in 2021, with the average breach costing about $4.35 million.
Cyberattackers are increasingly becoming more sophisticated at finding the weak points of a business's cyber defenses. However, protective measures are evolving to match the threat level. With security information and event management (SIEM), and log management, businesses can use data analysis to better protect themselves and their customers. So, how can you decide which is the best fit for your business and the pros and cons of each?
What is SIEM?
SIEM is security software that aggregates log data from multiple sources. SIEM enables businesses to recognize potential security threats and areas of weakness before bad actors can exploit your organization.
SIEM offers real-time monitoring and analysis of data logs and pinpoints abnormalities in user behavior. Moreover, SIEM automates and maximizes efficiency in previously manual threat detection and incident response processes.
SIEM has become the cornerstone of many modern security operation centers (SOCs), offering advanced user and entity behavior analytics.
What is Log Management?
Proper log management is when you collect and store data generated by your business's operating system.
Like SIEM, log management takes data from multiple endpoints and stores it in a centralized location. This central location makes it easy for security analysts to access the information and conduct the necessary checks.
Log management systems collect, store, index, and offer reporting and search capabilities. So, you'd be able to quickly and easily search for information to streamline your business's auditing process for legal compliance.
How Does SIEM Log Management Work?
SIEM log management collects log and event data produced by applications, devices, networks, and other systems.
The SIEM log management system organizes this data, analyzes it, and provides a complete security outlook of your business's entire digital operation.
SIEM solutions can either exist on-site or be stored on the cloud in real time, meaning you instantly get a picture of your security's current state. SIEM can also sort threats according to magnitude, which allows you to focus on security priorities and mitigate attacks quickly.
Choosing Between SIEM and Log Management
Both SIEM and log management appear to have many similarities. For example, they both enable the real-time collection of data from multiple endpoints, store this data, and allow you to search operating systems, applications, and more. Users can report on operational and compliance performance on both. In addition, both require dedicated security staff to manage the software and analyze the stored data.
However, there are also some critical differences between SIEM and log management.
SIEM is primarily a security application, whereas log management is mainly for data collection. Even though you can use log management systems for security and compliance purposes, it does not offer the comprehensive security package that SIEM tools provide.
That's because SIEM is a fully automated system, providing real-time threat analysis where log management is not.
SIEM vs. Log Management Features
Using AI, SIEM tools combine event logs with other information about users, threats, and vulnerabilities.
Log management does not provide any analysis of the data it has collected. It is entirely up to the security analyst to determine whether the threat exists and how serious it might be.
In addition, users can use SIEM tools to send alerts whenever a potential security threat is detected. The tool will prioritize these threats in order of importance, making it easier for security professionals to tackle them in order of urgency.
Once SIEM has collected data, it organizes it uniformly, which helps make the data more accessible and consistent, even when it's coming from multiple sources.
Benefits of SIEM vs. Log Management
In general, SIEM's more analytical approach provides a comprehensive security solution, with benefits that include:
- Real-time visibility
- A central management solution across multiple systems
- Fewer false positives
- Reduced mean time to detect (MTTD) and mean time to response (MTTR)
- Uniformity of data
- Easy access and search functions
- Compliance with pre-built modules
The Bottom Line: SIEM vs. Log Management
With log management, data storage issues can arise as there is a heavy influx of data all the time. Furthermore, since log management systems do not convert log data into a unified format, identifying threats can be more challenging.
Additionally, log management systems are not automated, so security professionals still need to monitor logs and minimize security risks. As such, log management still requires a lot of effort compared to SIEM, resulting in additional and ongoing costs.
Ultimately, SIEM can offer a more comprehensive approach to security than log management. However, in any discussion on log management or SIEM, you have to determine your business's individual and specific needs to find the best solution for you.
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