Most managed services providers (MSPs) would agree: network security is one of the main concerns voiced by customers today. With high-profile security breaches constantly making headlines, many businesses rightfully consider their network security a top IT management priority. A compromised security system can lead to millions in losses, both from leaked financial intel and decreased customer trust.
IT security is a high-risk enterprise, and it’s your job as an MSP to offer the most comprehensive security management program available. Security information and event management (SIEM) is a common approach to IT security management that has recently emerged as the gold standard for network security. Every MSP should know what SIEM is, why it’s so important, and how to explain to your customers the many benefits of SIEM as a service.
What is SIEM as a service?
Before we dive into strategies for SIEM managed services, we must establish the necessary background information on SIEM itself. What is SIEM? And how does SIEM differ from data log management?
SIEM is a multipurpose security management protocol that has become a widely accepted standard among ITIL suites. The central aspect of any SIEM operation is data log management. SIEM service keeps track of security data logs using historical and real-time correlation software. With constant log analysis as well as historical log documentation, you can flag security issues as they occur in addition to troubleshooting historical threats.
Data log management allows you to detect anomalies in your user activity that might indicate a security threat. When unusual activity occurs in your network, your data log will document the evidence of what happened, as well as when and where. Because all your network activity is collected in your data log, it’s the one of most effective places to detect sneaky insider threats that may have been able to bypass your firewalls and anti-malware tools.
Data log management isn’t the only aspect of SIEM, however. SIEM solutions are comprehensive security management suites that should also provide a centralized control panel to automate and simplify your data log management. Even though different MSPs may use a variety of SIEM software tools, all SIEM operations have the same aim: to manage network security from a unified, centralized dashboard.
Automation is a major component of SIEM tools. SIEM software works to automatically identify trends and provides reports that can give you a major edge in troubleshooting. When SIEM software automatically correlates your log data, it can become much easier to connect the dots in your data log and use your network activity trends to identify anomalies. With automated data analysis tools, SIEM works to expand the functions of log management and make log management a more user-friendly process.
Usability is another aspect that makes SIEM architecture unique from other log management software. SIEM provides an intuitive, user-friendly interface with centralized dashboards to manage your security logs. Your SIEM dashboard can employ engaging visuals, color-coded graphics, and tables for clear insight into log metrics. SIEM software can also allow you to search for specific data points, which saves you hours spent manually sifting through mountains of data.
Alerts and alarms are another standard feature of SIEM that help to further simplify your network protection. SIEM allows you to establish thresholds for suspicious activity and alerts you when data anomalies exceed these preset thresholds. Alerts are yet another way in which SIEM helps to bridge the gap between log management software and a well-rounded security management infrastructure. With a comprehensive alert system, MSPs can respond to security issues as soon as they occur.
The benefits of SIEM as a service
So far, we’ve discussed what SIEM can do, and how MSPs can use a SIEM suite. But most MSPs reading this page are probably asking a more practical question: how can I convince my customers they will benefit from SIEM as a service?
There are plenty of effective ways you can convey the importance of SIEM as a service to your clients. The main benefits of SIEM as a service include:
- Usability. As an MSP, your focus should always be your customer’s bottom line. SIEM as a service means your customer’s security needs are clearly laid out for you on a single SIEM dashboard. Because SIEM tools are designed for usability, your SIEM interface also communicates in plain language that helps your customers stay in the loop. With a well-rounded IT security suite and a user-friendly interface, you can easily send legible reports and updates to your customers. In this way, SIEM as a service can help bridge the gap between your customer and your technical MSP operations. When you implement a SIEM toolkit, your customers can rest assured that even their most granular security bases are covered.
- Real-time metrics. Another major advantage of SIEM is its real-time correlation features. With so many tasks and projects to juggle, automated data log analysis can help you better prevent privileged threats from wreaking havoc on your customers’ systems. Rapid analysis of log metrics combined with alerts and high usability means that SIEM can help nip security compromise in the bud, catching threats before they take a toll on your customer’s business. Instant alerts alongside historical log analysis mean you can minimize downtime, improve user experience, and run an all-around more reliable IT system.
- Profit potential. Smooth network functionality can pay financial dividends, too. It’s no secret that a major security breach can cost a fortune if an attacker gains access to your financial data. But even seemingly harmless application slowdowns can add up to major profit losses. A network glitch can easily turn away potential customers, damaging a brand’s reputation.
At first, SIEM as a service may seem too expensive for business owners who aren’t used to IT security management services. MSPs should be able to clearly articulate why the SIEM as a service price is worth the investment The potential cost of SIEM as a service can end up much lower than the cost of a security breach or slow application functionality.
Some business owners may understand the financial benefits of SIEM, but they would rather try to manage a SIEM toolkit themselves than pay additional MSP fees. In this case, MSPs should make sure potential customers are aware that it requires specialized training to diagnose and troubleshoot IT security issues, even with an intuitive user interface. The reliable flat fee for an MSP is potentially much lower than the cost of mismanagement from a nonprofessional.
- Audit compliance. In addition to healthy financial rewards, business owners considering SIEM as a service should understand the important role SIEM can play in industry audits. Many businesses must submit IT security data in order to comply with their security audit standards. Organizations like HIPAA in the medical field, SOX or GLBA for financial services, and many more have the power to make or break accreditation for a business. SIEM technology offers preconfigured audit-ready templates for reporting. SIEM as a service makes compliance even easier since it allows businesses to delegate data audits to a trusted IT partner.
How to make your SIEM as a service stand out
Most business owners want to improve their protection against security issues, but they don’t have a clear understanding of how to do it on their own. With SIEM as a service, MSPs offer comprehensive security protection that can make all the difference for businesses.