10 Signs You're Asking Too Much from Your SIEM

March 18, 2024
Vectra AI
10 Signs You're Asking Too Much from Your SIEM

Are you relying on your SIEM to deliver cost-effective threat detection, signal clarity, and customized use-case rules and responses, even as threat surfaces multiply in the cloud and scores of encrypted, hybrid cloud attacks target your system every day? 

Don’t. It’s not working. But you already knew that.

Like all tools, SIEM is most valuable when it’s used correctly and in the right context. In today’s complex, hybrid threat environment, it’s important to recognize where your SIEM excels–and where it doesn’t. In short, asking your SIEM to perform beyond its capabilities is unwise and prevents you from realizing the advantages, outcomes, and ROI you need from your SIEM investment. 

The Rise of “SIEM Angst”

There has been an over-reliance on SIEM because SOC teams know it lacks coverage and visibility, but don't realize there are tools better suited to solving their pain points in threat detection and response. Chances are, you’re more than a little familiar with the stress that comes from such security ambiguity. We call this over-reliance on SIEM in the AI-driven, hybrid threat environment as, “SIEM angst.” Below are 10 ways in which SOC teams are asking too much from their SIEM and as a result, are experiencing SIEM angst on a daily basis. 

1.    Relying exclusively on your SIEM to detect, investigate, and respond to attacks. 

SIEM is rules-based, however advanced attacks often bypass the rules. This one factor alone creates a cascade of expensive, labor-intensive, and ultimately talent-and morale-destroying grunt work to identify new attacks and write new specific rules to address them.

2.    Expecting your SIEM investment to generate a positive ROI. 

With SIEM use-case development costs soaring (pun intended), the time-to-value ratio of your SIEM is deteriorating. For example, on average, Splunk costs $6000 per use case, and QRadar's average use case cost is about $12,500. The average yearly use-case maintenance costs are about $2,500 per year, with total costs running into hundreds of thousands. In other words, the chances of seeing your SIEM investment delivering a positive ROI are Slim and none... and Slim just left town.

3.    SIEM use-case volume is out of control. 

The rise in the number of advanced cyberattacks drives up case development and maintenance costs.

4.    SOC level-1 workload is exploding (or already has). 

Related to #3, your over-reliance on your SIEM also means you’re much too dependent on analyst-based (i.e., human-based) threat detection for true-positive, benign-positive, and false-positive categorizations. That’s costly and a misuse of your team’s talent. 

5.    Relying on SIEM to streamline your team’s efforts to fine-tune detection rules and triage alerts

Related to #4, as your attack surface expands, so does the volume of data you need to index, enrich, and analyze. This means more manual hours creating and implementing use cases and rules, which complicates the process. 

6.    Thinking SIEM will help with your skilled personnel shortage. 

Having your team engaged in labor-intensive processes like manually coding use cases or analyzing thousands of alerts daily diminishes the effectiveness of your SIEM and demoralizes your SOC team. As a consequence, you’re constantly (re)hiring and training security teams.

7.    Expecting signal clarity from your SIEM

In most cases, your SIEM generates a lot of signal noise. Why? Because it's simply not built to provide accurate, integrated signals across your hybrid attack surfaces; it's built to collect data. A SIEM can generate hundreds of alerts per day, and can only recognize signals or behavior patterns through pre-existing use-case rules. It can’t detect new or unknown attack TTPs or zero-day exploits. Between discerning false alarms and writing new rules, using only SIEM means an ongoing, manual battle for your team.

8.    Relying on your SIEM to quickly spot signs of attacker behavior within your environment

As cloud footprints grow exponentially, attackers only need one single opening to infiltrate environments and create a means for persistence. Hybrid attackers are fast and agile, so for the SIEM to keep pace, your engineers would need to manually create rules and correlations that predict an attacker's every move—and have a rule for it. Sounds impossible? That's because it is.

9.    Hoping your SIEM can deliver easy and quick custom detections for post-exploitation coverage

SIEM does a great job at log aggregation but attempting to configure custom detections within the SIEM for post-exploitation coverage doesn’t yield favorable results and yep, adds cost. 

10.  Relying on siloed technologies in your SIEM to communicate and enhance your coverage. 

SOC teams are fighting an uphill battle against an expanding volume of threats as well as managing signals and alerts from numerous siloed tools that don’t talk to each other. That’s a formula for disaster. The growing spiral of more work, more complexity, risk, and wasted effort for your SOC team means less security for your organization.

Move from SIEM to Signal with Vectra AI 

There’s a smarter way to get the most out of your SIEM and your SOC team regarding effectiveness, cost, and talent optimization. The Vectra AI Platform dramatically increases your SIEM performance with analytics-led detection instead of the manual, analysis-led approach, which costs time, money, and lost opportunity for your team. Vectra AI increases coverage, prioritizes threats, and provides focused investigation using AI-driven behavioral models and machine learning that expands detection coverage. 

Vectra AI also combines log telemetry from the cloud, threat intelligence, and other sources with high-fidelity metadata available from collected packets to pinpoint affected assets. Unlike SIEM-based solutions, it moves across environments with the attack, feeding analysts actionable security intelligence based on real-time cloud and network behaviors. These capabilities make Vectra AI perfectly suited to achieve many of the same use cases (plus a significant number of new ones) previously envisioned for the SIEM, with greater efficacy and at lower costs. 

For more information on getting the most out of your SIEM, check out our SIEM and SOAR optimization methods and we’ll show you how we protect your infrastructure and streamline detection and response.