For nearly two decades security information and event management (SIEM) platforms have promised powerful security. But, SIEMs have faced a long list of challenges during that time. SIEMs are great for collecting and analyzing large volumes of log events and other data, but rarely provide improved detection fidelity or full incident response capabilities. Plus, as some have learned the hard way, SIEMs can come with many hidden maintenance and data storage costs.
As a result, the security industry is experiencing a shift towards a new class of solutions called Extended Detection and Response (XDR). XDR unifies security-relevant telemetry from endpoint, network, cloud, identity, and other business systems to provide complete visibility across the entire IT ecosystem. XDR enables proactive detection of and accelerated response to advanced threats – particularly those that have breached an organization’s endpoint or perimeter defenses.
Yes, SIEM may have a use case for organizations with complex reporting or compliance needs. Organizations that have made significant investments in SIEM may still choose to use it for compliance and auditing purposes — especially in industries such as finance and healthcare, which face significant regulatory scrutiny. But for firms that want to mature their security programs and improve their ability to react and respond to attacks, XDR is a more tailored, effective solution. Organizations should look for the following four signs to determine if it’s time to make a change.
Sign #1: Keeping pace with the changing threat landscape is unsustainable for your current team.
As the threat landscape evolves and the attack surface continuously expands, SIEMs are struggling to keep up. SIEM technology was first introduced in the mid-2000s, when the threat landscape looked very different. Hackers were largely aiming to boost their reputations and to steal and sell personally identifiable information (PII) online. The 2010s saw a shift from simple hacking to the monetization of stolen information and data. Today, ransomware is one of the most common threats to organizations. In fact, 79 percent of organizations have experienced a ransomware attack within the last year1.
SIEM solutions often ingest data without treating security as the primary focus. And, as both the volume and complexity of security alerts from SIEMs increase, they can act as noise generators that create false-positive alerts. Security teams need better threat detection and response efficacy than what SIEM technology can provide, especially as it relates to unknown threats. XDR provides the alternative, with technology that drives efficiency and accuracy, reducing risk and strengthening security.
XDR does this by going beyond the characteristics of a traditional SIEM, offering more effective security, faster workflows, better incident management and improved visibility across the entire IT ecosystem. XDR correlates security-relevant data from your existing endpoint, network, cloud and other business systems to provide a centralized incident detection and response capability with comprehensive monitoring across the entire attack surface.
Sign #2: You’re having a hard time hiring and retaining enough skilled professionals.
Eighty-one percent of organizations agree that security operations have been impacted by the global cybersecurity skills shortage.2 It can be very difficult to hire professionals that specialize in threat analysis, system administration and maintenance, SIEM rule development and security monitoring. And, without a full security team, you'll be more vulnerable to a cyberattack.
Operating a SIEM requires highly specialized workers to not only build out the SIEM, but also generate the correlation rules to maximize its capabilities. Very few security teams have the resources to consume threat data and then create the rules and configure the detections necessary to find threats. SIEMs also often lack context and actionable data, which can leave analysts uncertain how to respond to an alert from their SIEM. When too many repeated alerts occur that are non-actionable, it can cause alert fatigue and teams can experience lost focus and burnout.
XDR automatically correlates, prioritizes, and validates alerts, enabling security teams to work efficiently on the most pressing threats. It also offers built-in security investigation workflows and automated playbooks that help streamline investigations and expedite response actions. XDR enriches data with relevant context to help analysts act quickly and decisively.
Sign #3: Your costs are higher than expected – and growing.
Because its licensing is typically based on data volume, SIEM may actually punish good cybersecurity practices with a financial penalty. As environments and attack surfaces become larger and more complex — and as we capture greater volumes of historical data — that penalty is likely to grow. There are also high implementation costs, ongoing tuning and maintenance required, and additional licensing costs, as well as bolt-on analytics engines that can add complexity and – again – more costs. In other words, if you’re investing more resources and time in your SIEM, it may not necessarily reward you with better ROI.
Many XDR vendors offer more predictable pricing based on coverage that encourages customers to send more data. XDR is cloud-native for more cost-effective – and long term – log retention. In many cases, XDR remove the need for supplemental security products. Overall, XDR reduces implementation and maintenance costs and improves security operations productivity – establishing a more reliable cost baseline for your security operations and adaptability.
Sign #4: You’re investing in additional disparate solutions.
SIEM comes with potential pitfalls around analyzing telemetry. This is because SIEM technology has not historically provided the built-in ability to correlate an organization’s current alert and telemetry data with the known behaviors of threat actors, based on current threat intelligence. Without this built-in threat intelligence, conventional SIEM technology also lacks the built-in security workflows to guide SecOps staff through identification, response, and remediation of active threats.
Organizations can pay to have a threat intelligence feed populate their SIEM, but it is costly, noisy and adds to the list of disparate data sources that make SIEMs complicated. Many organizations also use SOAR to supplement their SIEM, which adds security orchestration, automation and integrations for response. SIEM also requires investment in other tools, such as vulnerability management software and additional security products that help generate high-fidelity alerts. These disconnected systems lack a common platform and can ultimately create a siloed effect that requires manual integration.
In contrast, XDR acts as an interconnected system, with threat intelligence benefiting every angle of the environment — without introducing shared risk or increased costs. XDR can provide more effective detection and response to targeted attacks, and includes native support for behavior analysis, incident response, threat intelligence and automation. This one platform can provide deep visibility into your IT ecosystem without manually stitching data or swiveling between tools. Plus, with an open XDR platform you do not need to rip and replace existing investments since it ingests and correlates data across all sources to prioritize the most critical alerts.
Modernize your security
XDR is the modern solution to today’s ever-evolving threat landscape, providing full incident response capabilities and detection fidelity to outpace the adversary. Secureworks® Taegis™ XDR combines over two decades of human experience to detect and automatically respond to threat actor behavior across your environment as well as reduce operational risk, support the talent gap and maximize current investments. And all this, brought together into a single pane view, is easy for customers to understand. Request a demo of Taegis XDR to see how it can help modernize your security posture.Sources:
1. ESG: The Long Road Ahead to Ransomware Preparedness, March 2022
2. ESG: SOC Modernization and the Role of XDR, June 2022