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November 6, 2019 By Sridhar Karnam

Top 10 SIEM best practices

Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to see enterprise IT leaders in a situation that seems like a catch 22. Oftentimes, they are expected to be involved in making data-driven decisions for augmenting productivity and profitability. Paradoxically, they are preoccupied with what they consider as their core responsibilities – applying best practices to safeguard the IT infrastructure and expediting investigations when incidents occur. As practitioners of IT, we must admit that it rings a bell and also chip in with our knowhow.

Top 10 Cloud SIEM best practices

In fact, we must completely reimagine how we manage security if we are to keep pace with the rate of technological innovation. This includes a new level of rigor, adaptive processes and industry and team collaboration. It’s necessary to take full responsibility and be proactive in our approach to security if we want to stay ahead of the attackers.

It’s impossible to achieve this without relying on automated products. Here are the top 10 capabilities that Sumo Logic's Cloud SIEM solution can offer that will tremendously improve the overall security of your business:

1. A unified solution for all DevSecOps

Organizations often divide the ownership of different cloud resources, applications and data in accordance with their structure. This may be severely challenging from a security perspective, as end-to-end visibility and control may be obstructed and compliance can suffer as a result, too. Lack of a centralized security strategy can create serious security gaps, and put critical data and other resources at risk. Cloud SIEM solutions are instrumental in eliminating those challenges by providing full-stack visibility by visualizing logs, metrics and performance data to ensure reliable delivery.

2. Democratization of security

We believe that democratizing security is necessary in today’s threat landscape, given the speed of changes in cyberspace. Maintaining security is everyone’s responsibility and collaboration on security practices should be shared to the maximum extent. With Cloud SIEM solutions, everyone within the organization has the ability to visualize and analyze data and take action, speeding up reaction time. Also, Cloud SIEM gives all the users the ability to raise tickets and get certified for using the platform and managing all use case needs directly.

3. Elasticity of scale

Moving into the cloud means your IT infrastructure is going to grow; that’s why you’ve switched to the cloud in the first place, right? Your organization is growing its data exponentially with every new tool in the architecture. The proliferation of threats also causes data to grow exponentially, so you must maintain the ability to scale as needed, otherwise the whole purpose of migrating to the Cloud is lost. Cloud SIEM solutions supporting multi-tenant public cloud can grow 10x without any notice or prior planning. Our solution will move at the speed of your business and will fully support you during emergencies while fully unlocking your growth potential.

4. A consolidated tool for core operations

Cloud SIEM provides support to all your key departments: IT ops, DevOps and SecOps, Engineering, Customer Success and Product and Data Science Teams. Open APIs ensure all teams can plug in and get data easily. There’s no need to worry about antiquated user limits or complicated restrictions. Our Cloud SIEM solution features real-time alerting and dashboarding to capture all issues, allowing you to make split-second decisions no matter how much data you have.

5. Seamless multi-cloud support

Enterprise adoption and deployments of multi-cloud grew by 50% from 2018 to 2019, reshaping the future of the modern application stack. According to Kalyan Ramanathan, vice president of product marketing for Sumo Logic, “the increased adoption of services to enable and secure a multi-cloud strategy are adding more complexity and noise, which current legacy analytics solutions can’t handle. To address this complexity, companies will need a continuous intelligence strategy that consolidates all of their data into a single pane of glass to close the intelligence gap.” Our Cloud SIEM solution supports both multi-cloud and hybrid architectures seamlessly; not just one or two services, but all of them, with built-in plumbing for log collection and content for real-time analysis.

6. Machine learning leverage

Cloud SIEM solutions adopt machine learning models for outlier detection, anomaly detection, log reduction and time comparisons of states for threat detection at large scale, on unknown and new sources. Sumo Logic can also uncover root causes from thousands of log lines using patented Log Reduce and Log Compare pattern analysis and to detect anomalous behavior with Outlier Detection.

7. Invaluable benchmarking services

We’re talking about those baselines and benchmarking services that only multi-tenant, multi-cloud SIEM can provide. It’s precisely the intelligence that you can use as your goals. The Sumo Logic solution includes the Amazon GuardDuty benchmark app, which will allow you to see your threats in comparison with the global threats gathered from hundreds of Sumo customers. The app provides baselines on what is normal, what is expected and a way to dig deeper into the long tail of rare security events that security analysts would typically miss. With the app, you can benchmark security threats on AWS, prioritize your rare events to investigate, threat hunt your rare security events on AWS and optimize AWS to align with baseline and industry best practices (more on this right here).

    8. Cloud-scale economics

    Not all data is created equal. Some data (e.g., application errors) ages are only valuable for a few days, while other data (e.g., audit data) must be available for much longer. With Cloud SIEM solutions, you can easily classify data for collection, analysis and storage. Our solution features Cloud Flex licensing, which allows you to decide on the retention period of each of your datasets. This means you can optimize costs for your use cases while preventing data from being discarded or kept unnecessarily when redundant. In addition, our model does not charge for users and provides optimal performance at all times as you scale.

      9. Large scale deployment

      Cloud SIEM solutions are much quicker to deploy than traditional SIEM solutions, which often end with failure. Learning to navigate them is also a lot easier, which is a huge benefit for any enterprise. The old SIEM was usually being used by up to two experts who bore a huge responsibility, and companies were fully dependent on them, which created additional risk. With Sumo Logic, anyone within the company can learn to use it and even get certified. Creating tickets and workflows will become much easier, if not fun. Above all, our solution can support massive cloud deployments by providing real-time visibility into operational status, KPIs, usage metrics and compliance violations.

      10. A true ecosystem player

      The next-generation Security Operations Center is all about ecosystem play. The cloud SIEM platform should fully support that with built in apps, APIs, webhooks and deep built-in plumbing so that it fits your architecture and not the other way.

      Sumo Logic’s Cloud SIEM platform is built on the above foundations, ensuring that these best practices are implemented with every customer, no matter their level of security expertise.

      SIEM alerts best practices

      Along with the above cloud SIEM best practices, there are a series of other best practices you should follow. Below are a list of SIEM alerts best practices.

      • Determine the scope - Prior to creating any alerts, you'll want to check your existing set of alerts. This is to prevent redundancy.
      • Compliance - Globally there are various regional and federal laws that your organization may need to be compliant with. Understand which regulations require custom alerting to be created.
      • Clearly define your alerts - As you create SIEM alerts, be descriptive of what they're for. This ensures that you do not create multiple alerts for the same issues. 
      • Always test your alerts - Another SIEM alerts best practice is to always test. Thoroughly testing your SIEM alerts is an absolutely necessity.
      • Audit regularly - As a general SIEM alert best practice, make sure you and your team regularly set an audit schedule. This is to review your alerts and ensure that you have everything you need set up. 

      SIEM implementation best practices

      Below you'll find SIEM implementation best practices for InfoSec and DevOps teams. 

      • Determine requirements - As you're looking to implement a SIEM system, it's important to establish your requirements and needs from the get-go. This means understanding the use cases for your SIEM solution and creating objectives.
      • Always "try before you buy" - Whether it's a free trial or a small-scale pilot, you'll want to test SIEM solutions prior to implementing across your entire technology infrastructure.
      • Create a comprehensive response plan - An incident response plan is a detailed list of who does what during a security breach or other event. While a SIEM can identify threats and events, you'll still need to have a formal plan in place for how to address these situations at all levels.

      SIEM logging and monitoring best practices

      Below you'll find SIEM logging and monitoring best practices. Keep in mind, as you implement your SIEM, you'll want to include our best practices for implementation, alerting, and logging.

      • Be the "tortoise" and not the "hare" - One of the most important SIEM logging and monitoring best practices is to start off slow. Begin by isolating a few different objectives, examine existing protocols, and brainstorm how you can continue logging and monitoring with your new SIEM system. 
      • Adjust your correlation rules - SIEM works by collecting vast amounts of log data, monitoring, analyzing, and correlating whether the data should be flagged as a security alert. Adjusting these correlation rules beyond preconfigured rules is an absolute must for your organization. 
      • Be efficient with security log data collection - When you set your SIEM to log and monitor your data, it's important to determine early-on how much data you want to collect. If you collect too much, you may collect too much "noise", but too little data and you could miss valuable events. 

      Learn more in our ultimate guide to modern SIEM.

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      Sridhar Karnam

      Sridhar Karnam

      Senior Director of Product Marketing

      Sridhar Karnam leads the security product marketing for Sumo Logic. Sri has a decade of experience with SIEM, Security Analytics, Cloud Security, and IT Operations. He has led product management & marketing for SIEM solutions at ArcSight, Arctic Wolf, and at Oracle. He has written hundreds of blogs on SIEM, and has also spoken at many security and IT events.

      More posts by Sridhar Karnam.

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