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DevOps and Security Glossary Terms

Glossary Terms

SIEM Tools - Definition & Overview

In this article
What are SIEM Tools?
What do SIEM Tools do?
How do SIEM Tools work?
How to decide on what SIEM Tools to use?
What are SIEM Tools?
What do SIEM Tools do?
How do SIEM Tools work?
How to decide on what SIEM Tools to use?


Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) tools are incredibly useful and necessary for securing business and IT systems of all sizes. They help IT teams detect threats by providing alerts, preventing potential security breaches, and providing valuable data aggregating and logging capabilities.

Below is everything you need to know on how SIEM tools work, why they're important, and what they do.

What are SIEM Tools?

Before we jump into the various tools and benefits, let’s start with the basics: what is SIEM?

SIEM stands for Security Information and Event Management and has, since 2005, been a valuable part of IT security and data analysis. SIEM combines two cybersecurity methodologies, Security Information Management (SIM) and Security Event Management (SEM), in order to maximize IT teams’ capabilities to log data, automatically monitor systems, and centralize their log data from various sources, including applications, endpoints, and systems.

SIEM tools are typically external software solutions that aggregate and analyze log data with the hopes of improving security and security response for IT teams. SIEM does this by centralizing everything into one location. As businesses expand, so too do their needs for protection on the various endpoints and sources connected to their network. SIEM tools overlook all of these disparate aspects of a company, including all the data and log information, into one location, enabling organizations to respond to security events more quickly and efficiently.

What do SIEM Tools do?

So what exactly do SIEM tools do? And what kind of range do they have in their efficacy?

  • Log management: Log management systems aggregate and store log files from various endpoints and systems into a single, centralized location. LMS allows for IT security analysts to readily and easily view and correlate all of their log data from their disparate systems.

  • Security log and event management: SEM tools are very similar to log management systems. They are geared for IT security analysts, not administrators, and allow analysts to easily and readily aggregate log files from multiple sources and systems.

  • Security event correlation: Security event correlation tools sift through huge volumes of event logs in order to detect and identify correlations between events that could indicate security threats.

  • Security information management: SIM tools collect, monitor, and analyze data from computer event logs. They also provide automated features and real-time alerts that trigger when a system might be compromised. These tools quicken response times, provide automated reports, and help to reduce false positives.

Help achieve compliance: Especially for organizations in health, finance, or education, meeting and maintaining the conditions required in order to operate your business is a necessity. SIEM tools help you meet the demands, rules, and regulations so you conduct business freely and safely.

How do SIEM Tools work?

As we went over, SIEM tools bring together all of the key features of log management, SEM features, and SIM features into one centralized location. They’re able to provide state-of-the-art incident reporting and enterprise security outcomes through the following capabilities:

  • Aggregate, analyze, and store log files and system events into comprehensible formats. SIEM tools should not only store log data over long periods of time, allowing for teams to correlate data for security optimization, but they also format said log files and data into models and reports that are easy to share and comprehend.

  • Gives “big picture” of security and cyber threats that are not readily available from looking just at raw log data. As organizations expand, endpoints diversify, and sources proliferate, SIEM tools will become a necessary step in understanding security threats on a macro-system level.

  • Analyzes security alerts from all manner of applications and hardware across a network. Again, with organizations expanding, it’s hard for IT security analysts to manually trigger remediation steps or monitor all security threats; SIEM tools help automate those processes and analyze data on a singular-to-central level.

How to decide on what SIEM Tools to use?

With so many different solutions out there, it might be hard to assess what SIEM tools to use. Some of the most important things to consider when deciding on a solution include the following:

  • Will it improve log aggregation and analysis?

  • Will it help with compliance?

  • Will it help with past and present cyber security threats?

  • Automated or fast response times?

  • Will it provide forensics analysis that dates back weeks, months, and years?

  • Does it provide real-time monitoring capabilities and security alerts?

  • Will it make it easier for your IT security analysts to test your network and IT infrastructure?

  • Does it help you maintain the efficacy of your endpoint security strategy?

SIEM tools help connect all of your IT security tools, sources, applications, and endpoints into one, comprehensive platform, and the most advanced SIEM tools should include all the capabilities discussed in this article.

SIEM tools were once all an IT organization needed to monitor, analyze, and protect their infrastructure. Because more and more IT organizations are adopting a cloud-based approach to monitoring and security, security-analytics tools, like Sumo Logic, are becoming more popular to meet security needs.

Sumo Logic offers lower costs, shorter deployment times, and a more sophisticated, modern approach to enterprise security and data analysis. Try Sumo Logic today.

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