Best SIEM Tools

Best SIEM Tools

The 10 best SIEM tools

This article is aimed to help our readers to choose the best SIEM system. Thus, we deal with the issue of such system, provide readers with our recommendations on how to choose an appropriate solution, which really suits your needs, as well as an overview of some best paid and free SIEM tools on the market today. SIEM solutions are essential and crucial part of log management and complex information security. Below is the list of some best systems, available on the market. Security Information and Event Management provides insight into an enterprise IT environment through such features, as log management and security information management. Every organization benefits from the comprehensive security features, which are provided by advanced SIEM tools. When choosing it, we recommend to check, if a tool provides such features, as compliance reporting, threat detection, historical log analysis, a user-friendly dashboard and sophisticated analytics.

Before reviewing some specific products, a short overview of what a SIEM-system  is required. 

What is security information and event management system (SIEM)?

If you are willing to build an efficient and reliable information security perimeter, you definitely need an advanced SIEM system. They have been in use for more than a decade, are among most efficient tools, which help organizations to protect sensitive data. A SIEM is a key component of enterprise IT security management. It serves as a central event management tool in the Security Operation Center (SOC). The definition of a SIEM system is a combination of software and hardware that allows organizations to monitor their network security. These systems are able to analyze logs from various systems and generate alerts when suspicious activity is detected. SIEM systems are usually part of a company's larger security program and can help detect and combat threats more quickly. SIEM systems can also help monitor compliance with security regulations.
These systems are important tool for network security, but it's important to note that the efficience of their work process depends on the data they process. SIEM systems can only generate alerts if they are properly configured and process the right data (keyword: use case tuning). SIEM systems alone cannot eliminate threats, but they can be an important part of a larger security program, so, they are most effective when combined with other security tools and measures.

What are the limitations of a SIEM system?

A SIEM system can be an effecient tool for improving enterprise security. However, there are also some limitations that should be considered. For one, SIEMs can be expensive and require a high level of IT expertise. For another, SIEMs sometimes gather too much data, which can overload security analysts. Another issue is that SIEMs may sometimes face difficulties when detecting certain types of threats, particularly those that occur at the application level.

Target audience

Of course, not all SIEMs have the same functionality - a system may deal with some  distinguished functions such as log management, security log and event management, security event correlation and security information management. In addition, enterprises tend to implement SIEM products in part, as these tools help them align their security strategy with specific compliance frameworks. However, in most cases, all of these features are included into a package for business use (although there’s no guarantee that all features are equally optimized).
Large enterprises are the primary users of SIEMs because they are the ones, which need an IT oversight most of all. However small and midsize businesses (SMBs) still benefit from their usage. In case with SMBs the best choice may be partnership with a managed service provider (MSP).


Questions to ask yourself when choosing a SIEM system.

Typically, they have some basic features. They collect data from multiple sources (including threat intelligence), interpret that data, send alerts, perform analysis, and provide a historical overview or summary. Of course, when choosing a SIEM security solution, each company has its own criteria for deciding whether a tool's capabilities meet their needs. This depends on factors such as company size, data types, vendor range, specific regulatory framework, budget and, of course, an IT team's usability preferences. Still, there are some basic features, which you need to consider precisely when choosing a SIEM tool: 

Will the tool actually improve your log collection capabilities? 

This is a basic question, because SIEM class software should definitely improve log collection and management. Check if systems and devices are compatible - and it’s always nice to have a dashboard with user-friendly features.

Will the tool enable you to achieve compliance?

Look for a tool that will help you to perform audit and report. Even if you're not concerned about compliance now, you should be, as more and more regulations come into force around the globe. A SIEM tool is a great way to comply with some regulator’s requirements, such as: 

•    data privacy regulations
•    security policies
•    personal data processing policies
•    information security policies

Is the threat response workflow set up so you can manage previous security events?

One of the main benefits of a SIEM tool is that it enables users to get an overview of past events, analyze what happened, and train the system so it can take historical patterns into consideration in it’s ongoing work process. Look for helpful, drill-down analytics.

Does the tool provide the quick, effective, automated responses you need? 

First, it's important that the incident response should be performed fast. In addition, a customer can customize security alerts the way you need it, which makes your life easier. Thus, the probability that an important issue will be neglected is close to zero. Make sure that sending alerts is a priority for the tool vendor. If you ask yourself questions like these when choosing a SIEM tool, you'll have a good chance to make a smart decision. 

Below is the list of some of the best solutions, available on the market. 

Top solutions on the market

SolarWinds Security Event

SolarWinds Security Event Manager provides a number of the log management features: 
•    security event time correlation
•    compliance reporting 
•    advanced analytics.

It’s designed for organizations specifically looking for robust log monitoring and better prioritization and response for incident management. 
You can also use the tool's file integrity analyst to track access and other changes, done to files and folders, which is a nice bonus, indisputably. This platform allows you to customize and improve security of data encryption process, SSO/Smartcard integration and the ability to block IPs, applications and USBs as needed. You also get a fully functional 30-day trial.

Micro Focus ArcSight ESM

ArcSight has an open architecture that offers some outstanding features. This tool can read data from a wider range of sources than many tools do, and its structured data can be used outside of the system as well. In addition, due to Micro Focus acquire of Interset, which is a security analytics software company, behavioral analytics and machine learning related functions also enhanced. 

SolarWinds Threat Monitor

SolarWinds Threat Monitor is a powerful, security-focused SIEM solution that analyzes security log information from a variety of sources and matches anomalies against a continuously updated global threat database. With this tool, you get automated, intelligent responses to security events as well as comprehensive alerts. The tool can be deployed both on-premises and in the cloud, and one year of log archiving storage in addition to indexed log capabilities for easier search and ranging is provided. A free 14 days trial is also available, with the cloud version being a very popular choice for MSPs.

Splunk Enterprise Security

Splunk Enterprise Security is a popular option that has been around for over a decade. This is an enterprise-level option, thus, this is quite an expensive solution. You can get this tool as on-premises software or as a SaaS solution (ideal for AWS users). The dashboard has useful visualizations like graphs and charts. It supports plenty of third-party plugins and integrations.

LogRhythm NextGen SIEM

This is a solid, fast option for managing critical logs on Windows. The tool is relatively easy for experienced IT staff to deploy, and the dashboard helps simplify the workflow. If you have certain compliance standards and know your tasks, you can quickly configure the reports the way you need. This tool has rapidly evolving AI and automation capabilities, which isn’t true for any tool. This platform may be the most appropriate choice for not very large organizations, and there is limited support if you need to expand into cloud environments.

IBM QRadar

Enterprises looking to integrate a variety of protocols across their critical systems will likely find QRadar reliable. In addition, this IBM product has intelligent features that capture a variety of ever-changing threats. It's not necessarily the most intuitive product, as it has a complex architecture to match its capabilities. For example, setting alerts in QRadar can be a bit cumbersome. Of course, IBM products have the higher price tag you would expect, but organizations with extensive log management needs should consider this solid option.

AlienVault Unified Security Management

This is an appropriate option for SMBs looking for an entry-level SIEM product, and can be implemented on both Mac and Windows operated devices. This product doesn’t offer some  features, provided by the leading competitors, although it has added endpoint detection and new response capabilities. It's worth noting that AlienVault was acquired by AT&T in 2018.

Sumo Logic

This is a newer cloud-based platform that is suitable for SMBs both in terms of cost and features. Since the product is quite new, there isn't much of a community base in place, but Sumo Logic claims that the product fills gaps in IT security that other products have overlooked - especially when it comes to cloud deployments. Note that this tool seems to be aimed more at a technical user, so the design features maybe considered by some users not so appealing.

RSA NetWitness Suite

Another solid option for log management and threat analysis. With a maintenance and support contract, you get over two dozen intelligence feeds populated by RSA to add any information you enter into the system. All of this enables robust threat analysis. In fact, with this SIEM tool, you can recreate entire sessions to see exactly what happened during an attack and gain insight into hackers' tactics with automated behavioral analysis it's at the higher end of the price spectrum, so it may be more suitable for enterprises.

McAfee Enterprise Security Manager

This is a familiar option, but be warned that other McAfee products have been abruptly discontinued in the past. In addition, log sharing the product with third-party tools isn’t that easy. However, if you already implement other McAfee products, such as the famous antivirus software, it makes sense to opt for a McAfee SIEM solution to optimize your operations. Anyway, choosing of this solution will give you the basic dashboard management and reporting features you need.


It also may be a good idea to try a solution by a vendor, available for free during the trial term. For instance, you may sign up for a free trial of our SIEM system.


Some free and open source SIEMs


The following list includes some of the free SIEMs, including open source software, limited versions of paid products, and trial versions to help you determine what exactly you need.

Splunk Free
Splunk offers a comprehensive overview in security issues, despite the complexity of the software. The resource visualization and analysis capabilities are especially helpful. However, keep in mind that with the free version, which is very similar to the full license, you can only index up to 500 MB per day. For many companies, that won't be enough. The trial version has other limitations and is therefore not an appropriate long-term solution.

Snort is the software for detecting and preventing unauthorized access (intrusion detection) and can be used in Windows and Linux environments. This intrusion protection system software monitors traffic on the network and enforces the policies you program without frills. However, Snort isn’t a full functionality SIEM. Anyone looking primarily for a data monitoring tool will appreciate its performance, but shouldn’t expect, that it will be a comprehensive system that can handle network protocols and the perfect monitoring system at the same time.

OSSEC is an open-source intrusion detection system that is most popular among users who don’t use Windows systems. The full functionality is available for macOS, Linux, Solaris and BSD. Both serverless and server-agent modes are possible to implement, as well as almost full functionality in the open-source version is available. We like OSSEC's protocol analysis, which can analyze many different sources such as FTP, mail servers, databases and more. Also, OSSEC is optimal for monitoring multiple networks from a single point.
However, the system also has some drawbacks. For Windows, it’s available only in the server agent mode. Users have also reported problems after upgrading because the software subsequently resets itself to factory default policies. Even if you swap out your settings and then reload, this can lead to bad surprises during the update.

OSSIM is one of the most powerful and complete open source tool on the market. It includes just about all of the features described above, including short-term logging and monitoring (SEM) as well as long-term threat analysis, data archiving and analysis, and automated response (SIM).
However, OSSIM is quite inflexible and bulky. System administrators complain of laborious setup, especially in Windows environment, and a huge amount of time is required to spend on customizing the software. Support from OSSIM is also almost unaffordable. If you end up spending a lot of time and money, it's usually worth opting for fee-based SIEM tool options rather from the start.


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