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Security information and event management (SIEM) is, at its core, a data aggregator, search and reporting system. SIEM software provides insight into, and a record of, the enterprise IT environment, and is an indispensable tool for detecting and managing threats. SIEM tools have two main functions. First, they provide reports on security-related incidents and events. And second, they send alerts when there’s a potential cybersecurity issue.
SIEM works by combining two technologies: security event management (SEM), which analyzes event and log data in real-time to provide event correlation, threat monitoring and incident response, with security information management (SIM), which collects, analyzes and reports on log data.
That means that SIEMs collect and aggregate log data, then identify and categorize incidents and events, and then analyze them. In this way, they provide real-time analysis of security alerts.
SIEM evolved out of the tradition of log management, as organizations dealt with a growing need for better compliance management. SIEM provides the monitoring and reporting required to comply with newer, strict regulations like HIPAA, PCI DSS, and SOX, to name a few.
The SIEM category also evolved out of a broader enterprise need for better IT security, eventually becoming the foundation of the modern security operations center (SOC). SIEM tools are now an essential part of any SOC, giving organizations complete visibility and control over what’s happening in their network in real-time.