How a centralized log collection tool can help your SIEM solutions

IT security should be one of the main focus points of all enterprises. In today’s world, when digital transformation is taking place at an unprecedented pace, securing online data is vital for all kinds of businesses. This is why most companies are utilizing SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) solutions that help them identify threats before they can do any harm.

Even though SIEM tools are perfect for event correlation and analytics, it is not part of their core functionality to manage log collection, filtering, distribution, and formatting. They may be missing those additional log collection and enrichment features, such as being able to collect from other types of log and data sources, being able to parse, or convert log formats. This is where a centralized log collection solution enters the picture and fills in the gaps between SIEM and the numerous heterogenous data sources.

In this article, we are going to elaborate on some major issues with depending solely on a SIEM solution to manage all aspects of IT security. We will also show how you can reduce your security costs and increase your SOC team’s efficiency with a centralized log collection tool, like NXLog.

What are the drawbacks of SIEM tools?

  1. They are expensive.

  2. Integration can be difficult.

  3. Without log filtering, they can generate a higher amount of false-positives.

  4. They are not the only tools that need your logs.

Let’s explore these issues one by one.

1. SIEM tools can be expensive

Buying, building, and operating a SIEM solution can be expensive. As most SIEM licenses are based on EPS (events per second) count, checking and analyzing all logs throughout the entire enterprise can become quite costly.

Moreover, other SIEM companies are charging based on the required feature set, which means that the more versatility you need, the higher the cost. You would think that IT security is worth the investment but we have discovered that with this mindset, IT teams will end up using a highly complex and expensive infrastructure that they do not take full advantage of.

2. SIEMs can be hard to integrate with

Enterprises need access to logs from numerous event sources, such as applications, operating systems, and devices as part of their day-to-day operations, which do not share a unified log format and structure. A SIEM suite is not able to work with all types of logs in a consistent manner. As a result, IT teams can easily become overwhelmed by the complexities of log collection and parsing in order to make them processable for the SIEM suite. Consequently, this procedure places an additional burden on your security team, instead of saving time and resources that could be allocated to other projects.

3. Without filtering, they may generate false-positives

There is a common practice with enterprises trying to push as many logs as possible through their log analysis system in the hope of generating more accurate statistics. However, this elevates the amount of data noise that these solutions need to filter out. This may result in a higher false-positive rate, which can disrupt your analytics, or even worse, the possibility of crucial logs being overlooked.

4. SIEMs are not the only tools that need your logs

SIEM solutions are not the only consumers of event logs. For instance, anti-virus applications also rely heavily on logs, which they forward to your endpoint security applications. But this is only one example of the many applications your SOC team can use in parallel with each other to ensure the security of your online data. Making your SIEM tool the hub of all your log traffic can hinder the seamless functionality of other IT and security applications.

The solution for these IT challenges - a centralized log collection tool

As we have mentioned before, SIEM applications were designed for event correlation and analytics, but not for ensuring the collection, filtering, and distribution of logs. This calls for a dedicated solution, a centralized log collection tool, that patches all of these gaping holes around the SIEM tool and enables organizations to deliver the right logs, to the right place, in the right structure.

A centralized log collection solution sits between log sources and destinations and delivers the required amount of log messages in the right format. With the help of such a log collection suite, organizations can reduce data size and cut SIEM licensing costs, filter out the inconvenient noise for high-precision statistics, and distribute the logs all across their deployed security applications simultaneously, ensuring the unrestricted flow of processes.

How does NXLog help enterprises fine-tune their SIEM procedures?

Administrators can configure NXLog to send only the necessary logs to your SIEM suite, thus helping cut IT security costs related to log data storage and log event consumption rates. NXLog can also forward log data to other destinations such as log management suites or endpoint security applications.

As a universal log converter, NXLog can collect unstructured and structured logs from heterogenous endpoints including servers, client devices, applications, and virtual machines from all segments of your infrastructure, and convert them into a structured format for processing in your SIEM tool.

NXLog takes the pressure off of your IT security team when it comes to log management. Your administrators can configure it to securely transfer logs over the network via data transport encryption. They can also reduce the noise arriving at the SIEM by leveraging other NXLog features, like being able to remove duplicate logs, truncate long log messages, or filter out certain logs. Learn more in the Reduce data size and cut SIEM licensing costs white paper. With these methods and knowledge, you can make sure that your security analytics remain on point all the time.

Furthermore, NXLog can be configured to distribute your logs to the correct destination in any log format an endpoint application might require. It can handle many communication streams simultaneously, so you don’t have to worry about blocking processes.

Last but not least, such a centralized log collection suite has numerous integrations available, including Rapid7 Insight IDR, RSA NetWitness, Splunk, FireEye Threat Analytics Platform, IBM QRadar SIEM, McAfee ESM, Securonix, Graylog, the Elasticsearch/Kibana stack, and many more.

Conclusion

All things considered, SIEM tools are great for detection and prevention in case of malicious activity, though in order to take advantage of their full potential, you need to complement them with a centralized log collection tool, like NXLog. Our log collection suite is able to compensate for the inherent lack of functionality of SIEM systems and provides additional, holistic benefits for your IT infrastructure.

Download our SIEM eBook

Read more in our eBook related to SIEM and log collection or download the NXLog Enterprise Edition trial.

NXLog Ltd. develops multi-platform log collection tools that support many different log sources, formats, transports, and integrations. The tools help administrators collect, parse, and forward logs so they can more easily respond to security issues, investigate operational problems, and analyze event data. NXLog distributes the free and open source NXLog Community Edition and offers additional features and support with the NXLog Enterprise Edition.

This document is provided for informational purposes only and is subject to change without notice.

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