By Chester Avey, Cyber Security Specialist, Independent.

Despite continual advancements in security technologies to protect businesses from cyber threats, there remains no silver bullet to completely prevent breaches. And that’s a problem because cybercrime is increasing and becoming costlier. In fact, a recent report announced that the average number of cyber breaches rose by 11 per cent last year. In order to minimize damage and disruption, it is now critical to detect and respond to any potential threats as soon as possible.

However, breach detection is still a real challenge for many businesses. A report from the Ponemon Institute suggests that the average time it takes for a business to become aware of an attack taking place against its system is 191 days.

One of the most effective ways for businesses to improve threat detection and response is security information and event management (SIEM) technology. SIEM helps businesses to identify threats by working alongside other security technologies to collect, process and analyze large volumes of data from them.

If you haven’t yet considered investing in SIEM technology, here are five reasons that it is essential.

  1. The attack surface is growing

As your business grows, so does it’s IT network. This means that there are more potential weaknesses that cybercriminals could use to gain access to systems that could allow you to be breached. With more endpoints than ever and growing use of cloud services, it can be very difficult to ensure that the whole of your environment is secure

Vulnerability assessments can help you to identify potential issues such as unpatched software or insecure configuration of devices, but given that that rate at which new exploits are discovered it can be difficult to ensure that systems and applications are hardened all of the time.

SIEM technology helps to mitigate the risk of exposures by identifying attacks that have been able to exploit known and unknown vulnerabilities.

  1. Preventative security controls are ineffective

Cyber threats are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Traditional defenses that we have relied upon for years, such as antivirus software and firewalls, work by blocking specific signatures of known threats. But skilled hackers are now using AI to help create new forms of ‘polymorphic malware’, which are designed to be able to bypass traditional protection.

SIEM technology can help businesses in the fight against the latest types of threats SIEM captures and then analyses data from across the network, such as system and event logs, and looks for patterns of behavior that could indicate suspicious activity.

  1. Cloud threats are increasing

More businesses than ever are choosing to use cloud-based services– in fact, there is some suggestion that the number of businesses making use of such technologies could be as high as 96 per cent. However, some organizations choose cloud services under the misapprehension that this means that their data will be completely secure.

However, it is never the case that cloud providers take full responsibility for data security. One of the largest providers, Amazon Web Services, has what is known as a Shared Responsibility Model, in which Amazon will ensure its infrastructure is secure, but customers are still responsible for the overall security of the data they upload.

Many of next-gen SIEM technologies can monitor cloud environments, including Office 365 and G Suite, to ensure that data and apps in the cloud are secure.

  1. Responding quickly to attacks is more essential than ever

Minimizing the damage that breaches can cause doesn’t just mean detecting them – you need to respond to them quickly too. The faster that your business can respond to an attack, such as blocking suspicious IP connections and containing and removing malware, the less damage that the attack can potentially cause.

Once again, SIEM technology is essential here, including tools that can help security teams to respond to and better manage any incidents that occur.

  1. Breach detection is important for compliance

Companies are having to become increasingly invested in complying with standards and regulations. Many regulations surrounding data mandate that organizations should take a proactive approach to data breach detection.

For example, one of the most important pieces of legislation to come into effect in recent years is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The GDPR says that businesses have to take appropriate measures to detect and report data breaches leading to the ‘accidental or unlawful destruction, loss, alteration, unauthorized disclosure of, or access to, personal data transmitted, stored or otherwise processed’.

Also mandated by the GDPR is the need for organizations to officially report data breaches to a relevant supervisory authority within 72 hours of discovery

Choosing the SIEM that’s right for your business

With breach detection now increasingly important, SIEM technology is a key way that your business can improve threat visibility.

“SIEM’s ability to detect complex and evolving cyber threats makes it an essential and powerful tool for organizations of all sizes. SIEM systems, however, generate a vast number of alerts that are time-consuming to monitor and require a detailed understanding of threats to deal with them effectively. This poses a significant challenge for already-stretched IT teams with competing priorities, meaning SIEM systems can be unmanageable for all but the largest enterprises.

Increasingly, organizations are waking up to the fact that SIEM cannot deliver the expected benefits without dedicated security experts that fully understand the latest threats, know what anomalous behavior to look out for and how to respond to attacks.”

Simon Monahan, Product Marketing manager, Redscan.

If you need help to better understand the benefits of SIEM and the solution that’s right for you, it could be worth contacting a specialist provider of managed SIEM services. A specialist company will not only help to identify which technology would be best for your business, but it will also provide the support needed to deploy, manage and monitor it 24/7 – particularly useful if your organization lacks in-house security resources.

About the Author

Chester is an independent cybersecurity specialist. He Chester Avey has over a decade of experience in business growth management. He enjoys sharing his knowledge with other like-minded professionals through his writing. Find out what else Chester has been up to on Twitter:

Chester Avey can be reached online at chesteravey@outlook.com & @Chester15611376.