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SIEM vs Log Management System

Anna Szentgyorgyi-Siklosi | 6 min read| Updated On - December 18, 2023


People sometimes ask the question, “What’s the difference between SIEM and Log Management?”, usually because they are trying to figure out which data security platform is right for their company.

However, there isn’t a simple answer to this question, as it largely depends on the resources available to them. Both solutions are similar in that they are both designed to aggregate and correlate event data from multiple sources. SIEM solutions tend to be more advanced than a typical Log Management System; however, the functionality of Log Management Systems can vary considerably, and it’s important to note that “more advanced” does not necessarily mean better.

Below is a more detailed explanation of what these technologies are, how they differ, how they can work together, and how they can be extended to improve visibility and control over a complex IT environment.

What is SIEM?

SIEM stands for Security Information and Event Management. It is a type of software used for collecting and analyzing event logs and responding to security events in a timely manner. SIEM combines data from different sources to provide a unified overview of the organization’s security posture. A SIEM solution will typically have the following capabilities;

  • Real-time log aggregation and monitoring
  • Security event correlation
  • Security automation and orchestration
  • Log analysis and compliance reporting
  • Malware detection
  • Network traffic and forensics analysis
  • Vulnerability assessment
  • User and entity behavior analytics

SIEM solutions aggregate data from firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, operating systems, authentication systems, antivirus solutions, and basically anything that generates events logs – whether hardware or software.

What is a Log Management System?

A Log Management System (LMS) is a software platform that collects, monitors, and analyzes log files from multiple sources within an IT environment. LMSs provide insights into suspicious user activity, and other security threats, such as Ransomware attacks. LMSs can deliver real-time alerts to notify IT professionals of any potential security issues and can also be customized to meet the requirements of a wide range of data protection laws, such as GDPR, HIPAA, SOX, CCPA, and more. An LMS will typically have the following capabilities;

  • Centralized log aggregation and correlation
  • Log indexing and searching
  • The use of machine learning models to identify anomalies
  • Monitoring access to, and use of, privileged accounts and sensitive data
  • Automated real-time alerting
  • Log retention and archiving
  • Visualization and reporting

Log Management Systems aggregate data from the application, system, and security logs, and will include factors such as unsuccessful login attempts, failed authentication requests, and password changes. LMSs tend to focus more on user-driven events, as opposed to perimeter-focused events, as generated by firewalls, antivirus solutions, and so on.

SIEMs vs Log Management – Key Differences

While it is true that SIEM and LMSs are not the same, they are still both primarily used to identify and respond to security incidents. The main difference really comes down to functionality. In other words, unlike LMSs, SIEMs will provide a comprehensive overview of pretty much everything that happens on your network, including Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. However, there are numerous proprietary real-time threat detection solutions that can integrate with whatever LMS you have in place, thus extending its functionality. And while the functionality may still be limited compared to a SIEM, the simple fact is, SIEMs are expensive, require highly specialized staff to operate, are time-consuming to set up, are often distracting, and reporting tends to be inflexible and cryptic. Ultimately, many organizations simply do not have the resources to invest in a full-blown SIEM. Using an LMS in combination with other solutions that provide automated, real-time threat detection and response, is often considered to be a simpler and more cost-effective alternative. Not only that, but as increasingly more organizations shift to a remote working environment, perimeter-based security solutions are much less relevant than they once were.

Similarities Between SIEM and Log Management

In some ways, Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) and log management are intertwined concepts in cybersecurity, sharing commonalities that form the foundation of effective information security practices. Both involve the collection and centralized storage of log data generated across an organization’s IT infrastructure. Log management acts as the cornerstone, offering a centralized repository for storing logs. While providing fundamental search and retrieval functionalities, SIEM systems build upon this by incorporating advanced features like correlation and analysis, enabling security analysts to swiftly identify patterns and potential security incidents. Additionally, both SIEM and log management contribute to meeting regulatory compliance requirements, with log management systems serving as a centralized repository for compliance audits and SIEM solutions offering enhanced reporting features.

What are the benefits of using LMS and SIEM solutions together?

The primary benefit of using an LMS and SIEM together is increased visibility into system activity and security threats. An LMS will provide a more intuitive interface and will generate much less noise, making it easier for security teams to quickly identify potential threats and take proactive steps to address them. A SIEM will allow for a more detailed forensic analysis to take place following a security incident. The enhanced visibility and insight provided by the combination of LMS and SIEM solutions will also give organizations a better chance of remaining compliant with the relevant data privacy regulations.

How Lepide Provides Extended Visibility Beyond SIEM or LMS

The Lepide Data Security Platform provides an intuitive dashboard where all system events, including those collected by a SIEM platform, can be easily searched for and summarised. It can also aggregate data from a wide range of external sources, such as Azure AD, Amazon S3, Google Workspace, and more.

The Lepide platform uses sophisticated machine-learning models to detect and respond to suspicious behavior. For example, anytime privileged accounts or sensitive data are accessed or used in a way that is not typical for a given user, a real-time alert will be sent to the relevant personnel, either to their inbox or mobile device.

If you’d like to see how the Lepide Data Security Platform can give you the visibility you need to keep your IT environment secure, schedule a demo with one of our engineers or start your free trial today.

Anna Szentgyorgyi-Siklosi
Anna Szentgyorgyi-Siklosi

Anna is an experienced Customer Success Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the SaaS industry. She is currently working to ensure that Lepide customers achieve the highest level of customer service.

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