SIEM tools are crucial components in any data security strategy. They centralize all security events, logs, and alerts into a single place, aggregate data, analyze it, and attempt to identify abnormal behaviors or potential threats. A SIEM tool provides the bird's view to help identify those unusual and often hard-to-see threats.
In this post, we will be reviewing the best SIEM tools. Those leaders and innovators in the SIEM market keep improving and redefining the rules of SIEM.
Here’s our list of the Best SIEM Tools:
- SolarWinds Security Event Manager – FREE TRIAL A SIEM virtual appliance for monitoring and managing network security. It provides log management, advanced analytics, and more. Get a fully functional 30-day free trial.
- ManageEngine Log360 – FREE TRIAL This on-premises system includes Active Directory management as well as a full SIEM. Runs on Windows Server. Start a 30-day free trial.
- Heimdal Threat Hunting and Action Center – ACCESS DEMO A cloud-based SIEM that depends on local Heimdal cybersecurity tools and feeds into an automated response system and also provides a vulnerability manager. Access a free demo.
- Datadog Security Monitoring A Cloud-based monitoring solution with advanced log management. It integrates with +400 built-in tools and services.
- LogRhythm NextGen A leader SIEM platform with advanced AI-based security analytics for threat detection and response.
- IBM QRadar A SIEM platform with a powerful log and traffic flow collection, management, and analytics system.
- McAfee Enterprise Security Manager A popular SIEM for its actionable intelligence, analytics, and threat intelligence.
- Splunk Enterprise Security An analytics-based SIEM and log management solution for machine-generated data.
- AlienVault USM by AT&T Cybersecurity A next-gen SIEM that unifies various capabilities.
- ExaBeam Security Management Platform SaaS-based SIEM platform built with powerful analytics to detect and respond to threats.
- RSA NetWitness Platform Modern SIEM solution with a strong focus on threat detection and response.
What is SIEM?
Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) is a general term that covers a wide range of different IT security solutions and practices. In general, SIEM combines the following: Log and Event Management Systems, Security Event Correlation and Normalization, and Analytics.
Other elements found in a SIEM system:
SIEM vs SEM vs SIM
SIEM products and services combine the capabilities of two cybersecurity areas: Security Information Management (SIM) and Security Event Management (SEM).
Although these three concepts (SIEM, SEM, and SIM) are generally used interchangeably, they are not the same. SEM and SIM are both information collection systems that use different methods. SIEM is simply the combination of both.
- SIM: The practice of collecting log data into a central repository and processing it, with correlation and aggregation. SIM collects log data from devices like firewalls, Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS), AntiVirus (AV), routers, switches, proxies, etc.
- SEM: Collects similar data as SIM but looks closer for events (a single log, list of logs, or a record). It centralizes events and provides real-time threat analysis. Examples are suspicious account logins, privilege abuse, and super-user events.
- SIEM? A broader umbrella term (SIM + SEM = SIEM), covering SIM and SEM security tools, practices, and resources.
Security systems, such as IDS, IPS, or firewalls provide specialized capabilities that address and target specific threats. For example, an IDS can provide logs limited to the amount and types of attacks, or OS service logs may only provide information on user sessions and configuration changes.
SIEM tools integrate security systems like these, to provide a “bird’s view” of a security incident using real-time monitoring and logs analysis. SIEMs are vital in any cybersecurity strategy because they help detect threats with more efficiency and faster response.
How Does a SIEM Works?
SIEM is not only a specific piece of technology but also a set of practices and principles. To make a SIEM plan work, data must be generated and collected from network devices, databases, endpoints, or security devices. These devices feed their event log and contextual data into a SIEM system which runs critical processes on the data, such as aggregation, correlation, graphics, analysis, etc. Finally, the system outputs results into reports or alerts and in some cases, uses automation for faster response.
- Step 1: Data Collection
SIEM tools usually use a client-side agent installed on security appliances, network devices, domain controllers, firewalls, AVs. The client collects log data and reports back to a central server.
- Step 2: Data Normalization and Aggregation
The central station (server) ensures that all data reads the same across all the records. It uses various processes to reduce data redundancy, improve its integrity, and provides a summarized format. A SIEM server combines the data collected from various sources into a summary for data analysis.
- Step 3. Data Analysis
The SIEM server uses a statistical model to analyze all received log data and detect threats and anomalies. Modern SIEM tools use more advanced techniques including automation capabilities and behavioral analytics.
- Step 4. Alerting
The SIEM tools provide detailed dashboards and alerting systems to ensure security managers are always informed. Alerts may contain anything from critical real-time event information to simple notifications.
SIEM Tools: What to Look For?
Although SIEM tools could vary in terms of scalability, supportability, price, and extra features, they should at least provide a set of essential capabilities and features.
- Log collection and management A SIEM system should be capable of gathering log data to be used for either historical/trend prediction or real-time analysis. Tools that provide a way to manage logs are optimal.
- Data aggregation A SIEM tool should be capable of aggregating and normalizing data. These processes help create a context within a large network by turning data into a standard format.
- Data analysis utilities Take all aggregated data and provide analytics, such as behavioral, diagnostics, predictive, or forensics. Data analysis will help detect threats and vulnerabilities.
- Alerting and notification system Identified threats are classified and alerted based on their severity level.
Additionally, look for more advanced but vital features such as:
- Threat detection and response Identify and manage present threats and provide response capabilities.
- Threat intelligence Use threat intelligence to help identify more sophisticated and difficult-to-spot threats.
- Compliance Reporting Generate reports for data protection compliance and standards.
- Fine-tuning alert and automation conditions Threat response can be automated to improve mitigation time.
Should you go for an on-premises or a cloud-based SIEM?
SIEMs can be expensive and challenging to deploy. Additionally, they often require one or two personnel members for maintenance and monitoring. This is why SIEMs are often more popular among enterprises than in SMBs. However, SIEMs are now becoming more popular across all types and sizes of businesses, this is especially because now, SIEMs can be outsourced to a managed service provider.
The best SIEM tools
SolarWinds Security Event Manager (SEM), formerly known as Log & Event Manager, is a SIEM virtual appliance used for monitoring and managing network security. It provides all the core functionalities expected from a SIEM system, including log management, analytics, and real-time monitoring and reporting.
- Advanced alerting and reporting
- Real-time incident response
- Cyber-threat intelligence framework
- Out-of-the-box audits and compliance reports
- Advanced File Integrity Monitoring (FIM) system
- Correlate AV and IDS/IPS event logs with FIM
SolarWinds SEM can collect log data from Windows security logs, Windows system and application logs, authentication logs, app-specific logs, and Syslog-enabled devices. It provides access to these logs for troubleshooting, forensics, management, and most importantly for real-time analytics.
- Enterprise-focused SIEM with a wide range of integrations
- Simple log filtering, no need to learn a custom query language
- Dozens of templates allow administrators to start using SEM with little setup or customization
- Historical analysis tool helps find anomalous behavior and outliers on the network
- SEM Is an advanced SIEM product built for professionals, requires time to fully learn the platform
ManageEngine Log360 is an on-premises package for Windows Server that collects log messages from your local network and is also able to watch over Active Directory implementations on your site and in the cloud.
- Log processing
- Orchestrated responses
- Live activity metrics
The ManageEngine security methodology deploys user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA) to establish a standard pattern of activity for each user account and endpoint. If behavior deviates from this standard. That user or device is flagged for deeper activity tracking. The UEBA strategy saves time and lightens the processor load from this package.
- Great dashboard visualizations, ideal for NOCs and MSPs
- Can integrate multiple threat data steams into the platform
- Offers robust searching of logs for live and historical event analysis
- Provides monitoring cross-platform for Windows, Linux, and Unix systems
- Can monitor configuration changes, preventing privilege escalation
- ManageEngine offers a suite of advanced services and features can time to explore and test out
Licensing: The price for Log360 is assembled from many different factors, so you need to request a quote to get the price for your implementation.
Download: Get a 30-day free trial of ManageEngine Log360.
Heimdal Threat Hunting and Action Center provides a SIEM and an automated response service that adds onto Heimdal products designed to run on-site. The cloud-based system performs threat detection on data uploaded by those local Heimdal cybersecurity tools.
- Creates a hybrid security system
- Works on data provided by Heimdal tools
- Links to automated responses
- Includes vulnerability scanning
The SIEM requires three different Heimdal tools to be operating on a protected site. One of these must be the Next-Generation Anti-Virus, which runs on Windows, macOS, and Linux and incorporates a mobile device management system for Android and iOS devices. The other tool tools can be selected from Network Security, Email Security, Patching & Asset Management, or Endpoint Security.
- Adds a global company-wide perspective to on-device tools
- Automatically shuts down threats by sending instructions to local tools
- Scans devices for vulnerabilities and warns all endpoints if one is attacked
- Looks for insider threats, intrusion, file changes, and data theft
- No free trial
Licensing: Heimdal doesn’t publish a price list
Demo: Access a demo of the Heimdal Threat Hunting and Action Center service
4. Datadog Security Monitoring
Datadog is a cloud-based monitoring service for applications, servers, databases, tools, and services. It can collect metrics, traces, logs, and live events. It uses its SaaS-based data analytics platform to analyze collected data and detect anomalies.
- Real-time security monitoring
- Centralized management for logs, metrics, and traces
- Integration with +400 built-in tools and services
- Advanced alert and notification system
Datadog uses lightweight agents to collect and aggregate all this data (from more than 400 different technologies) into a central server, and present data in a dashboard. The Datadog server provides a security monitoring module that analyzes all logs and live-event data and alerts if it detects abnormal activity.
- Supports live log collection as well as long-term archival options for SIEM solutions
- Can monitor both internally and externally giving network admins a holistic view of network performance and accessibility
- Allows businesses to scale their monitoring efforts reliably through flexible pricing options
- Would like to see a longer trial period for testing
Licensing: Datadog offers a wide range of plans to suit your needs. For example, for Log Management, the price starts at $ 0.10/ingested or scanned GB /month. For more pricing information, check Datadog’s website.
Get a free trial of Datadog for 14 days.
5. LogRhythm NextGen
LogRhythm is a cyber-security intelligence company that has positioned itself as one of the leaders in SIEM, log management, network and endpoint monitoring, forensics, and security analytics software. LogRhythm NextGen is their SIEM platform that provides advanced AI-based security analytics for threat detection and response.
- Log management
- Security Operations Maturity Model (SOMM) to measure your current security posture
- Open Collector technology for cloud data sources
- Pre-built compliance modules
- Integration of threat intelligence
The platform collects, normalizes, and aggregates log data from different devices. It used the data to provide real-time monitoring and intelligent incident response. LogRhythm is popular because it integrates security analytics with User Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA), Network Traffic Analysis (NTA), and Security Orchestration Automation and Response (SOAR), all in a single central place.
- Uses simple wizards to setup log collection and other security tasks, making it a more beginner-friendly tool
- Sleek interface, highly customizable, and visually appealing
- Leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning for behavior analysis
- Would like to see a trial option
- Cross-platform support would be a welcomed feature
Licensing: LogRhythm offers three plans: Software Solution, True Unlimited Data Plan, and High-Performance Appliance.
Request LogRhythm NextGen’s custom free demo.
6. IBM QRadar
IBM QRadar is a powerful SIEM platform that, for a long time, has managed to secure a top position in the SIEM tools market. The tool provides all basic SIEM functionalities including log management, data collection, aggregation, and analytics.
- Stores network data in real-time
- User interface with graphs, reports, and alerts
- Data parsing and normalization
- Integrate with QRadar Risk Manager, QRadar Vulnerability Manager, and QRadar Incident Forensics
The IBM QRadar collects logs and traffic flows and uses QRadar Log Manager for all log management functions. It processes, aggregates, and stores all this data into the QRadar platform. The platform then provides real-time visibility so you can detect, prioritize and alert threats.
- Uses artificial intelligence to provide risk assessments
- Can judge the impact on a network based on simulated attacks
- Has a simple but effective interface
- Only available for Linux
- Lacks integrations into other SOAR and SIEM platforms
Licensing: Contact for pricing information.
Register for a 14-day free trial of IBM QRadar.
7. McAfee Enterprise Security Manager
McAfee Enterprise Security Manager (ESM) is a well-known SIEM solution, popular for its actionable intelligence and advanced analytics. As a SIEM, McAfee SEM can collect logs from a wide range of sources, correlate all event logs (including real-time and records), and provide real-time analysis and threat response.
- McAfee Advanced Correlation Engine
- McAfee Application Data Monitor
- McAfee Enterprise Log Manager
- McAfee Enterprise Log Search
- McAfee Enterprise Security Manager
- McAfee Global Threat Intelligence (GTI) for ESM
The McAfee ESM provides a correlation engine to aggregate, normalize and analyze all collected event logs and alert when there is a threat. The dashboard shows all activity in real-time and provides actionable intelligence to remediate and respond to threats. The system uses its Advanced Threat Intelligence to identify threats faster and with more precision.
- Uses a powerful correlation engine to help find and eliminate threats faster
- Integrates well into Active Directory environments
- Built with large networks in mind
- Must contact sales for a quote
- Is fairly resource-intensive
Licensing: Contact McAfee for a price quote.
Trial: McAfee offers a free trial for ESM.
8. Splunk Enterprise Security
Splunk is a leading developer of web-based software for searching, monitoring, and analyzing machine-generated data. It provides outstanding security via its SIEM, AIOPs, ML, Application and log management, and IT compliance software.
- Automatic data collection
- Data correlation using predefined rules
- Detection and analysis of advanced threats
- Alerts, reports, and dashboard systems
- Workflow-based content for assisted decision-making
Splunk Enterprise Security (ES) is a full analytics-driven SIEM solution. It uses behavior analytics, actionable intelligence, and automation to monitor and protect enterprises from modern threats. Splunk ES can be deployed on the cloud, SaaS, on-premises, or (hybrid) through a combination of all.
- Can utilize behavior analysis to detect threats that aren’t discovered through logs
- Excellent user interface, highly visual with easy customization options
- Easy prioritization of events
- Offers features to create operational and business intelligence from your data
- Available for Linux and Windows
- Better suited for large enterprises
Licensing: Contact Spunk for pricing information.
9. AlienVault USM by AT&T Cybersecurity
AT&T CyberSecurit’s AlienVault Unified Security Management (USM) platform was built out of the necessity to overcome certain limitations of current SIEM systems. Gartner recognized AlienVault in 2016 as the only “Visionary” vendor attempting to change the way threat detection and incident response were done.
- AlienVault Labs and Open Threat Exchange Threat Intelligence
- Advanced Threat Detection (NIDS and HIDS) systems
- Data collection, normalization, and correlation
- Alarms and actionable intelligence
AlienVault USM, at its core, is a SIEM system but evolved into a USM, and focused on providing centralized threat management, detection, and response. The platform is composed of five integrated or “unified” capabilities including Asset Discovery, Vulnerability Assessment, Threat Detection, Behavioral Analysis, and Security Intelligence.
- Available for Mac and Windows
- Can scan log files as well as provide vulnerability assessment reports based on device and applications scanned on the network
- User powered portal allows customers to share their threat data to improve the system
- Uses artificial intelligence to aid administrators in hunting down threats
- Would like to see a longer trial period for testing
- Would like to see more integration options into other security systems
Licensing: AlienVault USM is available in three different editions, Essentials ($1075/month), Standard ($1695/month), and Premium ($2595/month).
Download AlienVault USM free trial for 14 days.
10. ExaBeam Security Management Platform
The ExaBeam Security Management Platform is a SaaS-based SIEM solution built with powerful analytics to detect abnormal users and threats. It also comes with automation capabilities to improve detection and response time.
- Comprehensive log management
- Integration with User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA)
- Incident Responder SOAR module
- Analytics with correlation rules and attack signatures
- Automated detection via ML
The ExaBeam Security Management Platform provides more than 350 integrations for different data sources. It collects data from inbound sources and correlates all necessary security events and logs from the sources. The platform can also integrate outbound systems to automate incident response, such as alerts or reports.
- Supports incidents response workflows, playbooks, and automation
- Offers usefully query features for filtering large datasets
- Can be used for compliance reporting and internal audits for HIPAA, PCI DSS, etc.
- Lacks live network monitoring capabilities
- Wasn’t initially designed as a SIEM tool
Licensing and Pricing: Get a quote.
Register for a free demo.
11. RSA NetWitness Platform
The RSA NetWitness Platform is an innovative SIEM solution with a strong focus on threat detection and response. It is armed with security orchestration and automation to improve the precision of threat detection and response time.
- Highly customizable dashboard
- Network/endpoint detection and response
- Threat investigation with live queries and filters
- Logs management
- Automated and guided remediation
- Out-of-the-box reports
The RSA NetWitness Platform can ingest a wide variety of data from logs, events, to packets from different sources. Then, it aggregates and correlates this data to create metadata that can be used to search through and query. The platform also uses UEBA to compare the contextualized data to threat intelligence and correlation rules to identify suspicious behaviors.
- Highly flexible cloud-based solution
- Simple yet informative interface
- Built with enterprise networks in mind
- Leverages large intelligence networks to identify and prevent new threats
- No free trial
- Must contact for pricing
Licensing and Pricing? Contact sales.
Request an RSA NetWitness Platform demo.