One of the most essential cybersecurity areas for any company is security information and event management (SIEM), especially for smaller to medium-sized businesses. There are many different approaches to SIEM, including a variety of useful open source SIEM tools. Companies should understand their SIEM needs and evaluate the best open source and proprietary tools before committing to one.
Best Open Source SIEM Software Tools
As companies build out and implement their cybersecurity architecture, SIEM tools and suites—whether free or paid—offer the benefit of comprehensive management in a simplified interface.
Top considerations for security information and event management include the following:
- Flexible open source SIEM tools, which provide the building blocks for companies en route to a comprehensive SIEM
- Premium managed SIEM solutions from a service provider, which fully protect your company from advanced cyberthreats
For many companies, the best course of action when integrating SIEM tools is to begin with one open source SIEM tool, and then add on other tools or solutions as cybersecurity needs compound.
Top Free and Open Source SIEM Tools
Security information and event management programs are some of the most comprehensive, efficient solutions available for companies that need to meet various cybersecurity needs. SIEM solutions encompass two areas:
- Security information management – The capacity to collect, store, analyze, and act upon critical data pertaining to all system resources, files, and physical or digital assets.
- Security event management – The capacity to predict, prevent, log, analyze, recover from, and generally mitigate and minimize the impact of events such as cyberattacks.
Open source solutions offer these capacities free of charge via individual programs, apps, and other services that anyone can download and implement independently.
SIEM Starter Building Blocks: ELK Stack
One of the most commonly used and best open source SIEM tools is the ELK Stack, available for free public download from service provider Elastic. ELK Stack comprises several individual tools, each of which can function on its own or integrate with others, including the following:
- Elasticsearch – A program that stores and enables powerful searches of time-series data.
- Logstash – A log aggregation and analytical tool that processes data from many sources.
- Beat – A group of individual agents installed on host devices to send data to the stack.
- Kibana – A visualization tool that works alongside Elasticsearch to facilitate analysis.
These services are best utilized as a foundation for a bigger and broader SIEM solution. However, companies evaluating ELK Stack as a free option should note that both Elasticsearch and Kibana will soon require a licensing agreement.
Intrusion Detection-Based SIEM: OSSEC
Open Source Security, more commonly referred to as OSSEC, is a long-implemented suite of tools comprising a host-based intrusion detection system (HIDS) approach to SIEM. It can log and analyze data across a wide range of programs and formats, which allows it to function as a comprehensive SIEM solution, albeit one with a heavier bias toward events rather than information.
Another characteristic of OSSEC is that it can be optimized for intrusions on specific operating systems (OS) and monitor for integrity issues that lead to potential attacks. OSSEC’s OS-specific customizations for common platforms continually prove to be a significant benefit, with configurable management covering Windows, macOS, Linux, and others. Few other open source SIEM tools provide companies with the same functionality.
Comprehensive SIEM: AlienVault OSSIM
Many open source SIEM solutions lack coverage or utility, depending on their focus—this is not the case with the world’s most widely used open source SIEM tool: AT&T’s AlienVault Open Source SIEM (OSSIM). AlienVault OSSIM provides everything a SIEM solution needs, such as:
- Perpetual scanning for assets with immediate discovery, identification, and analysis
- Ongoing threat, vulnerability, and risk analysis coupled with robust intrusion detection
- Continuous behavioral logging and analysis, with flagging for irregular occurrences
- All-encompassing event correlation and threat prevention using machine learning
Certain companies who rely heavily on Windows infrastructure may find elements of OSSIM hard to install and manage. Upgrading to the paid AlienVault Unified Security Management (USM) can help, but many companies can benefit from other providers’ SIEM offerings.
Best Professional Managed SIEM Tools
While open source SIEM tools can offer an excellent foundation for many companies, they also have their limits. By definition, any open source technology is designed for widespread use and, therefore, not tailored to your company’s specific needs. Smooth and successful integration with your other IT platforms may require working with a managed security service provider (MSSP).
However, an MSSP’s managed SIEM tools will likely provide greater value and scalability when compared to freely available, open source options.
RSI Security is an MSSP that offers many scalable, flexible solutions for enterprise companies. Some of RSI Security’s varied services provide dedicated SIEM functionalities. Alternatively, some services can be optimized to cover both your SIEM and other cyberdefense needs, like architecture implementation, patch reporting, and compliance advisory.
Vulnerability and Threat Focused SIEM
One of the most flexible SIEM monitoring tools RSI Security offers is threat and vulnerability management.This service leans more heavily toward the security information management side of SIEM. RSI Security’s suite includes scanning and logging software that monitors outside threats and internal vulnerabilities. Experts leverage forefront cyberthreat intelligence, activity, and scan results to determine a company’s risk profile.
Threat and vulnerability management is relatively passive, reacting to information rather than executing targeted, preventive sweeps. However, it can also include individual methodologies (e.g., penetration testing) to engage proactively with risks rather than merely assessing them. Threat and vulnerability management also works best when applied across all vendors (i.e., third-party risk management).
Incident Management Focused SIEM
Incident management sits opposite threat and vulnerability management as a much more event-focused approach to SIEM. Incident management comprises a six-step process that accounts for, addresses, and facilitates recovery from all cyberattacks:
- Incident identification – As soon as a breach begins, it will be spotted in real-time.
- Incident logging – Upon spotting an event, it’s immediately logged and analyzed.
- Incident diagnosis – Thorough investigation leads to a diagnosis, which details what occurred during the incident and how.
- Mitigation assignment – A plan is developed, assigned, and escalated as needed.
- Resolution and recovery – Once the incident is fully resolved, recovery will begin.
- Customer satisfaction – Any impacted clients are tended to individually.
These steps ensure that, if an incident such as a hack or other attack does happen, your company minimizes its impact and maximizes its recovery response.
Managed Detection and Response SIEM
Finally, RSI Security also offers a SIEM solution that balances both the passive, information-heavy approach of threat and vulnerability management and the active, event-focused approach of incident management: managed detection and response (MDR). MDR has four primary goals:
- Threat Detection – Continuous vulnerability scanning, which enables immediate detection.
- Incident Response – Instantaneous assignment and execution of a response plan.
- Root Cause Analysis – Long-term analysis of attack data, yielding preventive insights.
- Regulatory Compliance – Seamless maintenance of requirements despite incidents.
MDR programs scan all system architecture for threats and treat them like events, triggering an immediate response protocol that addresses threats or risks before they evolve into full-blown attacks.
Professional SIEM and Cybersecurity
Companies looking to build out a SIEM platform should consider both open source SIEM tools and more robust, paid options from quality service providers. The former will help your cybersecurity’s sophistication progress rapidly during early implementation stages and the latter will provide a comprehensive infrastructure capable of handling advanced threats.
Top open source SIEM tools include ELK Stack, OSSEC, and AlienVault OSSIM. Among the best SIEM tools, RSI Security provides three optimal options: threat and vulnerability management, managed detection and response, and incident management.
To start your SIEM journey, contact RSI Security today!