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Aug 31, 2022

Owning a SIEM vs the Managed SIEM vs MDR/XDR

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) software is a cybersecurity tool that collects information about different events across your entire IT infrastructure. It will collect data from everywhere and give a single timeline to enable a security analyst to view everything from a central interface. Analysts can use this information to identify Indicators of Compromise (IoC) to detect and prevent breaches.

The Primary Reasons for a SIEM:

  • SIEMs bring all the information collected across your infrastructure to a single place and correlates events to detect suspicious patterns and activity.
  • Depending on your industry and regulations, having a SIEM solution will help you stay compliant with international standards.
  • With SIEM in place, analysts can examine root cause data to understand the pattern that was followed by the attackers to help prevent future attacks.

These reasons make it essential to have a SIEM solution in place. Unfortunately, for many small and midsize organizations, setting up a SIEM can be a complicated and expensive undertaking. And while the best SIEM tools come with powerful automation, they still require a dedicated team of security professionals to monitor and manage 24/7/365.

With these factors in mind, organizations can choose to setup and monitor an on-premise SIEM tool themselves or they can contract with a third-party for MDR/XDR (Managed Detection and Response/Extended Detection and Response) or Managed SIEM services.

Do-It-Yourself: You can buy the software and license to run it. However, you will need to have an infrastructure (either on-premise or on the cloud), with servers to deploy the SIEM solution. You will also need a team to monitor the SIEM, the right skills to create rules and the expertise to deal with the incidents.

MDR/XDR Solution: The second option you have is the now popular MDR solution, sometimes also called XDR depending on the data the solution ingests. This solution is managed by a third party and typically has their own proprietary technology. If you are looking to meet a compliance requirement, MDR and XDR solutions have a SIEM provision that will often times meet such log retention requirements SIEM’s solve. Because MDR/XDR solutions are more security than compliance centric, these solutions often times offer additional security layers such as an IDS that can offer the customer more layers to their security posture.

Managed SIEM Service: The third option you have is Managed SIEM Services. Managed SIEM means you contact a third-party vendor to handle and manage the SIEM. The third parties are typically experts at one solution and in this scenario, you are purchasing the service hours and license cost needed to deploy and manage the SIEM deployment. This solution can often times be more costly than an MDR/XDR solution, and not offer as in depth threat detection technology as most MDR and XDR vendors provide.

Why an MDR/XDR Provider?

Organizations choose Managed SIEM for their corporate security needs to deploy faster, reduce setup and training costs, and leverage the expertise of cybersecurity specialists. 

You will need someone to monitor 24/7. The solution will give you alerts, but you need to monitor them and take necessary actions. Thus, you need to have the infrastructure and a team with the expertise to deploy and set up SIEM, create rules, and monitor it 24/7, or else you are not using SIEM effectively and/or getting your money’s worth from the solution.

The Benefits of Using Managed Security Services such as MDR/XDR:

Reduced SIEM Deployment Costs - If an organization chooses to deploy a SIEM tool on-premise, it must purchase the IT infrastructure needed to support the deployment. For small or midsized businesses, purchasing additional IT assets to support SIEM can be expensive. With MDR/XDR, organizations simply pay a monthly subscription fee.

Streamlined Daily Security Operations – MDR/XDR providers offer the core services of SIEM, such as security monitoring and incident response. But they can also take over the tasks that your in-house SecOps team would normally do such as delivering monthly security reports, managing compliance, maintaining the rule configurations and asset inventory functions.

Rapid Deployment – MDR/XDR providers have existing infrastructure in place to facilitate rapid deployment. Instead of customizing your own SIEM deployment, partnering with an MDR/XDR provider that has developed the know-how to deploy security solutions quickly and efficiently will start protecting your IT infrastructure immediately.

Access to Expertise - Leading MDR/XDR providers maintain a skilled staff of cybersecurity experts that analyze enterprise network traffic, security logs, investigate incidents and provide threat detection and response services. MDR/XDR is a cost-effective alternative to recruiting, hiring, training, and managing your own team of cybersecurity experts.

Access to Technology - Managed SOCaaS providers such as MDR/XDR solutions use industry-leading tools to offer the best standard of security for their customers for a subscription fee.

In Summary:

In comparing Managed Security Services vs SIEM and determining which is best for your organization, it’s crucial to take stock of your existing architecture, any gaps you need to address and potential issues on the horizon. 

Does your organization’s current security program address all legal and regulatory requirements? Does it do so efficiently? Or would it benefit from additional advisory and oversight? Regardless of which cybersecurity journey you are on, we are happy to consult with you to determine what is best for your organization.