An Introduction to Cloud-Native SIEM

Learning Objectives

• Understand what SIEM is

• Understand what cloud-native SIEM is

• Understand the differences between cloud-native SIEM and traditional SIEM

• Understand SIEM use cases

Security Incident and Event Management (SIEM) tools have been around since the early 2000s. Yet, SIEM has evolved significantly in recent years. There has also been a pivot toward cloud-native SIEM solutions, which double down on the ease of use, efficiency, and effectiveness of SIEM.

Here’s what cloud-native SIEM means and why it’s so valuable for managing modern security risks.

What Is SIEM?

SIEM refers to any platform or tool that collects metrics, logs, or other data from an IT environment, then analyzes it to reveal security insights.

For example, a SIEM might analyze data about network traffic patterns to reveal abnormal behavior (such as connections from unknown, untrusted hosts) that could be related to an attempted breach. Or, a SIEM could analyze application or server authentication logs to identify attempted brute-force attacks so that the IP address from which the attacks originated could be blocked.

What Is Cloud-Native SIEM?

A cloud-native SIEM provides the same core functionality as a conventional SIEM. However, cloud-native SIEMs go beyond traditional SIEMs in several key ways.

SIEM Architecture and Deployment Model

First, whereas conventional SIEMs operate on-premises, cloud-native SIEMs typically operate in the cloud using a SaaS architecture. That means that businesses don’t need to do anything to set up or manage the SIEM software. Nor do they have to pay for their infrastructure to host the SIEM. Everything is provided to them by a vendor who specializes in SIEM.

As a result, cloud-native SIEM is more accessible and less costly to implement. The in-house expertise businesses require to deploy the SIEM is also lower. Last but not least, they are easier to scale because there is no need to expand on-premises infrastructure to allocate more hosting resources to the SIEM.

Cloud-Native Security Integrations

Cloud-native security presents unique challenges – like ingesting and analyzing new types of data streams, such as Kubernetes audit logs or log data that exists ephemerally inside containers. In addition, cloud-native security tools must be able to correlate complex sets of data from across the multiple resources that compose a cloud-native software stack. Those resources include physical infrastructure, virtual infrastructure, orchestrators, container registries, microservices, etc. All of these are necessary to identify and interpret complex security patterns.

Cloud-native SIEMs are for doing both of these things. They support cloud-native data sources and can understand the complicated interdependencies within cloud-native environments.

Conventional SIEMs rarely offer this type of functionality. They are for parsing more straightforward data sources, like application and operating system logs, and they can’t interpret the complex architectures of cloud-native environments.

Security Automations

Another key differentiator for cloud-native SIEMs is that they often provide automated response features, which conventional SIEMs typically lack.

For example, you can configure a cloud-native SIEM to automatically block offending IP addresses or isolate a container identified as a security risk. With a traditional SIEM, engineers would have to take these steps manually.

Ultimately, this means that cloud-native SIEMs can mitigate risks in real-time while also reducing the burden placed on human engineers.

Who Needs Cloud-Native SIEM?

While cloud-native SIEMs aren’t essential for every business today, they are a superior solution for most use cases.

Suppose your business relies on conventional, monolithic software, and you have the necessary infrastructure and in-house expertise to host your SIEM. In that case, you may not need a cloud-native SIEM.

But if you deploy cloud-native technologies like containers and Kubernetes, or you need the scalability and flexibility of a cloud-based SIEM, a cloud-native SIEM solution is the obvious choice. It’s easier to deploy and provides more relevant and comprehensive security insights, even in the most complex environments.

It’s time to let data charge