Properly handling cybersecurity is extremely important for individuals and businesses, alike, but if you are an organization that has to meet external compliance mandates, it could be a major cost for a business that has a tendency be a target for nefarious outside entities. How many times can businesses get hacked before they take network security seriously? The answer is usually one. Prior to their first hack, most small businesses implore a “we’re too small to worry about it” strategy, but after (if there is an after), security is a major priority.

One strategy that enterprise businesses use, that was for quite a while priced out of a small business’ reach, is called security information and event management (SIEM). The tool collects and stores network logs, alert information, event information, and can provide a level of insight to a computing network that not many solutions can, as long as it is utilized by a technician proficient in SIEM. SIEM has a reputation in the cybersecurity pantheon as being expensive and complex, and not really built for the small business. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Today, we’ll take a look at SIEM and how a small business can use it to protect their business.

What is SIEM?
Security information and event management is more of a strategy than it is a product. The approach, which is a combination of a security information management (SIM) and a security event management (SEM) system, aggregates data sets from multiple sources to identify differences that could be detrimental to a business’ IT infrastructure.

Most SIEM systems utilize a statistical correlation engine to establish relationships between actions found in event logs. This makes them effective at identifying anomalies for further inspection, sequestering potentially harmful instances, and ultimately providing IT administrators and technicians useful information they can then use to protect their organization’s network and IT infrastructure, in real-time.

The Cost of SIEM
This much is true: enterprise-grade tools cost more than commercial-grade tools. So when a small business considers using an expensive tool to do the same thing an enterprise uses it for, you’d think the small business is in a little over its head. This was true with SIEM tools for quite a while. Enterprise-level companies began using the SIEM tool as a way to manage new regulations from payment card companies–what came to be known as Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance (or more frequently known as PCI compliance).

As more regulations demanded compliance, the more businesses had to put together intrusion detection systems, reporting systems, and more; and, they realized that they didn’t have access to the log information they needed to properly manage the myriad of security threats. As a result, SIEM vendors, who had previously priced these companies out of the market, created solutions that provided the log management as well as the other services that companies searching for tools to remain in compliance with data security laws needed to properly manage and handle risk.

Small Business Data Management
Data management is a strategy some small businesses simply don’t need, but the more data that an organization produces and receives, the more urgently they should be working to develop a way to use that data for the business’ benefit.

Today, there are all types of new strategies and solutions developed for small business use. Typically, these options are stripped-down from the enterprise-level solutions, not developed deliberately for small business use. This creates a situation where a solution will present a litany of features that don’t necessarily work for the business that is trying to use it, leaving the solution ineffective.

Once it’s evident that your organization could benefit from a data management platform, the first thing you’ll want to do is strategize how it will work for you. Here are a few tips to get started:

  • Set up collection, storage, and management solutions: All data is a representation of an action or process run by your company. From the operational data collected through conducting business, to the marketing data collected through your digital and holistic marketing efforts, you need to be able to store this data properly for management. Setting up a data warehouse is a good start.
  • What data do you need to collect: Once the infrastructure is set up, you have to ascertain which data to collect, what to track, and what data to prioritize for analysis.
  • Protect the PII you collect: Inevitably, some of the data you will collect will be personally identifiable information. Names, addresses, social security numbers, credit card info, and much more cannot be shared, and needs to be protected.
  • Improve your data management: Once you set up a powerful data management system, you will want to keep searching your vertical market for ways to improve. This means learning not only from friends that work in the industry, but from your competitors as well.

Small Business Data Security
Today’s data pirates function similarly to sea pirates. They steal data and try to fence it off later for a solid profit. In order to keep your data assets secure, you’ll need a strategy. Today’s hacker very rarely comes right after your business.

Typically, it attacks the weaker members of your defenses. In this case it is your workers. That’s why it is important to have both an outside defense system (made up of spam blocking, firewall, and antivirus systems), an intrusion detection system, the ability to review how, why, and where these attempts happen, and a training platform that ensures that the people that could let these nefarious entities into your network, are properly trained in how the attacker will try to do that.

Choose SIEM
Since data management is not cost-effective unless you utilize the analyzed data to make your business better, when a small business owner makes that investment, doing whatever is necessary to keep it safe becomes paramount. As mentioned above, SIEM technology is an enterprise-level tool and can go a long way toward leading up any business’ security strategy. You just have to ascertain if the kind of investment in such a high-caliber security tool is right for your business. Even though there are more-affordable SIEM tools today, they may still present an unnecessary expense for a business that is just learning how to use its data.

If you are serious about data management, and all the good that can be accomplished embracing that strategy, considering a SIEM is a logical step to make. To discuss data management, SIEM, warehousing, and new technologies designed to help your business be the best business it can be, call the IT professionals at Reciprocal Technologies today at 317-759-3972.