Last updated on August 30th, 2021 at 06:50 pm
Security information and event management (SIEM) is an essential part of many organisations’ data security programmes today. SIEM solutions were traditionally deployed on-premises, but with a growing number of vendors now offering their products via the cloud, many organisations are considering whether they would benefit from migrating. In many instances, the answer is an emphatic yes. This article will look at some of the main benefits of cloud-based SIEM and whether a move to the cloud is right for your business.
SIEM: A centralised approach to cybersecurity
SIEM uses data aggregation and data normalisation to provide an integrated view of all security events taking place across an IT environment through a single platform. As a result, security teams can detect threats in real time and security analysts no longer need to waste time manually searching all the notifications generated by different threat hunting and monitoring components.
SIEM solutions help provide customised cybersecurity protection based on predetermined rules, event correlations and machine learning. They also store past log data, making it easy to search for historical information and generate compliance reporting. In short, they play a pivotal role in modern cybersecurity solutions.
Key advantages of cloud-based SIEM solutions
As the volume and variety of cloud-based SIEM solutions continues to grow, so do the potential benefits of migrating. Below are five of the top reasons to do so:
- They offer numerous cost and time savings
Switching to cloud SIEM, like any cloud-based solution, can lead to numerous time and cost savings over on-premises alternatives. Businesses can eliminate the need to outlay large upfront infrastructure costs, as well as expenses for things like server storage space and their associated energy consumption. Furthermore, many of the costs for things like ongoing maintenance and updates become the responsibility of the provider, which removes even more items from an organisation’s bottom line. In most cases, all of this is replaced with a single fee that can be rolled into ongoing budgets, making pricing both predictable and transparent.
- They deliver an improved user experience
Cloud SIEM solutions tend to be more user friendly and efficient. Interfaces can be accessed through dedicated web portals so multiple users can access them at the same time, while their scalability means there are fewer limitations on the volume of reports that can be created or the size of individual data queries. Historical data can be stored and easily accessed via the cloud too, removing the need for cold storage restores of short time frames of data.
Furthermore, cloud SIEM solutions come with service level agreements (SLAs) that guarantee uptime, helping to minimise business disruption or security risks as a result of unplanned outages. Conversely, on-premises solutions rely on in-house teams to maintain, which can be costly and time consuming when issues occur.
- They are extremely quick to deploy
As you might imagine, deployment of cloud SIEM solutions is extremely fast. There’s no long lead times, shipping delays or installation issues meaning businesses can start to realise the benefits it offers almost immediately. On the other hand, in Gartner’s analysis for 10 Questions to Answer Before Adopting SaaS SIEM, they discovered that around 40 percent of on-premises SIEM deployments take over 90 days to complete, with most of that time wasted on shipping, fulfilment and initial set up processes.
- They can significantly improve detection capabilities
Another major advantage of utilising the power of the cloud is significantly improved detection capabilities through processing intensive technologies such as user and entity behaviour analytics (UEBA). Poorly scaled on-premises SIEMs often struggle to benefit from modern detection solutions, and require additional hardware (read: more cost!) in order to meet performance requirements.
- They are more flexible
Cloud-based SIEM solutions aren’t constrained by physical hardware like on-premises solutions are. As a result, they can be easily scaled up or down whenever needed, at minimal expense. Furthermore, they allow security professionals to collaborate and communicate using web-based interfaces, helping to ensure your entire environment remains protected, regardless of where security team members are physically located at any given time.
Why cloud-based SIEM may not be right for you…yet
While the advantages above are hard to argue with, on-premises solutions do still have a few tricks up their sleeves. The biggest ace they have to play is the control they offer customers over their data, particularly those in heavily regulated sectors, or those with air-gapped networks such as the military. Furthermore, on-premises SIEM solutions allow organisations to operate a more ‘walled garden’ approach which, while usually detrimental to productivity, can provide greater peace of mind in scenarios where data is particularly sensitive.
As the volume and variety of cloud-based SIEM solutions continues to grow, it’s getting harder to ignore the benefits they offer. While there will always be scenarios where on-premises solutions continue to reign supreme, the vast majority of organisations who migrate can quickly realise numerous advantages ranging from cost savings and improved user experience to enhanced data security. So, perhaps it’s time you looked to the cloud.
Samantha has been happily entrenched in the cybersecurity industry for over 20 years. During this time she has helped hundreds of organizations of all shapes, sizes, and geographies recover and learn from cyberattacks, defined strategy for pioneering security products and technologies, and is a regular speaker at security conferences around the world. She authors articles and blogs for various security publications, has a strong passion for mentoring, and often volunteers at community events, including BSides, The Diana Initiative, and Blue Team Village (DEFCON).