Why Your SIEM Deployment Is Taking Forever

9/25/19 7:30 AM  |  by RedLegg Blog

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In an age where digital security is of paramount importance, nothing could be more critical for a growing business than to have relevant cybersecurity measures in place and actively enforced. As part of this initiative, many organizations leverage their SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) as a practical solution to identifying today's all-too-common enterprise security threats.

SIEM solutions provide organizations with the necessary data for enhancing their security operations intelligence. They achieve this by combining a robust asset management platform with advanced real-time network monitoring and threat response mechanisms.

However, SIEM technologies and automation take time to develop accurately, and there are several phases required for successful deployments.

SIEM Deployment Phases

All SIEM deployments will need to go through gradual phases of planning and execution until systems are entirely in place. Looking at SIEM deployments at a very high level, these phases will include…

  • Discovery and Planning - Prior to deploying new systems and processes to support your SIEM deployment, business objectives need to be identified, while tasks and use cases are prioritized. This effort includes taking stock of all current assets to be monitored as well as investing in the right software and equipment to sustain SIEM capacity and growth. 
  • Implementation Stage - The implementation stage of SIEM deployment begins with not only deploying the hardware/software solution, but also thorough testing of all assumptions made during discovery and planning stages. This includes verifying that the critical assets required for discovered use cases are successfully implemented. .
  • Controlled Deployment - Once the initial implementation stage is complete, the next phase is the "gradual" rollout of the rest of your SIEM deployment. During this phase, all SIEM processes, procedures, and operations are put in place over time to secure seamless integrations while ensuring optimal configurations.
  • Continuous Improvement Phase - Once the SIEM deployment is complete, the work is far from over. The continuous improvement phase is a never-ending process of regularly monitoring and fine-tuning your SIEM deployment while adapting to new security policies and procedures that materialize over time. 

With multiple planning stages and development phases required to manage a successful SIEM deployment, enterprises shouldn't expect their large-scale security initiatives to happen overnight. However, many times, organizations go down the path of SIEM integrations only to find their progress stalled or abandoned, causing a significant impact on return on investment.

SIEM Deployment Issues

SIEM deployments can take businesses several months or even years to deploy properly. However, for some organizations, completing a SIEM deployment can seem like a never-ending task that quickly drains internal resources and negatively impacts the bottom line.

Often, delays or shortcomings in a SIEM deployment can be traced back to three fundamental inefficiencies - people, planning, and processes.

Lack of Adequate Staffing

Many times, before investing in a SIEM, companies may underestimate the amount of time and effort it takes to keep a SIEM solution running efficiently.

The reality is, while SIEM technology automates many of the processes surrounding security event monitoring and response, it still requires trained individuals to configure and optimize it. Depending on the size of the organization, SIEM deployments can require anywhere from four to eight full-time security analysts in order to run efficiently. Learn more about the advantages of co-managed SIEM here.

However, when you consider the worldwide staffing shortage of experienced security analysts, many companies are not adequately equipped to sustain their SIEM deployments long-term.

Another issue many companies face when deploying SIEM is in-house skillsets and regular training required to keep security processes and automations running efficiently. SIEM tuning can be a very technical process that may require teams of IT professionals with highly-specific skillsets to manage correctly.

In addition, SIEM technology often requires 24x7 monitoring and maintenance to sustain it, it's no surprise why some departments quickly experience burnout when deploying and managing these solutions long-term.

Lack of Adequate Planning

There is no doubt that the integration of a SIEM solution can dramatically improve an organization's ability to automate many of their security processes. However, to get the most benefit from SIEM, careful planning and coordination are required.

A significant mistake that many organizations make when deploying their SIEM solution is not completing a comprehensive security assessment ahead of time. Often this leads to fundamental flaws in the prioritization and configuration of crucial SIEM components. 

Preliminary security assessments help to diagnose and address essential aspects of business security while providing clear roadmaps for successful SIEM integration. This includes identifying the right products, applications, and security controls necessary to meet strict business compliance and continuity standards. Clearly defined implementation strategies help keep IT teams on task when deploying SIEM, while always keeping in mind the overarching business goals.

These strategies help companies avoid the common pitfall of SIEM integrations, namely, spending too much time on the collection of data rather than developing systems and processes to make that data actionable.

Inefficient Operational Processes

The critical thing to remember about SIEM deployments is that regardless of the size of your organization, there is no such thing as a "set it and forget it" approach.

Every organization experiences both small- and large-scale changes at some point, and these changes can cause a ripple effect across the entire business infrastructure. Since SIEM plays such a critical role in the performance and stability of compliance and security initiatives, it requires constant optimization to ensure it's running at full efficiency. This includes the fine-tuning of data collection and aggregation automations, established use cases, triggers, and risk mitigation processes.

Once deployed, SIEM tools need to be regularly monitored and require trained staff members to respond to triggered events and potential data breaches as they occur. However, these processes need to be documented and enforced, as a lack of ownership can lead to security alerts going unnoticed and potential security threats unchecked. Having the appropriate level of accountability within the organization ensures SIEM platforms maintain their efficiency over time will remaining adaptable to changing business conditions.

Another critical reason why process ownership is so vital in SIEM deployments has to do with business continuity initiatives in the event of a data breach or catastrophic event. During SIEM implementation, it's essential to have a rehearsed and well-documented disaster recovery plan or Incident Response Plan with assigned teams to get mission-critical systems back up and running as soon as possible.

Used in conjunction with SIEM real-time analysis and reporting, disaster recovery plans can pinpoint critical steps needed to reinforce the integrity of systems and ensure all levels of business continuity are maintained.  

Make Your Integration Sustainable

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) represents a progressive step forward for enterprise security as a whole. SIEM provides an advanced solution for real-time system monitoring, threat analysis, and hardened network protection while automating countless amounts of business processes along the way.

However, to maximize the benefits of these solutions, it's essential to avoid these common pitfalls of SIEM deployment and ensure you're adequately prepared to make your integration sustainable.

Whether you’re experiencing issues with people, processes, or technology – or all of the above – a co-managed SIEM service provider can help you get back on track.

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Or dive deeper into pretty much everything you need to know about co-managed SIEM, how to maximize your MSS experience, or how co-managed SIEM can lead to better security operations.

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