Best SIEM Tools and Software, Part 2 – Advanced Features

In part one of this two-part series, we traced the evolution of SIEM tools from their inception to the advanced systems we see today. In this second piece, we delve deeper into the advanced features of Next-Gen SIEM tools to help guide you in making an informed decision on the right SIEM solution for your organization’s unique security landscape.

Advanced Features of the Best SIEM Tools

As attackers continue to expand and refine their techniques, SIEM tools have responded with cutting-edge capabilities that go beyond basic log aggregation and correlation, transforming into intelligent security platforms that leverage AI, automation, and deep behavioral analysis to proactively hunt threats, automate responses, and improve incident investigation efficiency.

The list below highlights the most advanced SIEM features on the market today, along with sets of questions to help you evaluate your potential vendors.

5 Ways to Improve Threat Detection Investigation and Response TDIR (TDIR) with a Next Gen SIEM tool

 

Advanced SIEM Feature #1: Unified Visibility

Unified visibility is an absolute necessity for organizations seeking proactive threat detection, effective response, and a holistic understanding of their security posture. Next-Gen SIEMs can ingest and analyze data from diverse sources, including networks, endpoints, applications, and cloud environments, creating a single, cohesive picture of security posture. This holistic view empowers analysts to efficiently investigate complex threats once detected, prioritize effectively, and respond swiftly.

Key questions to ask prospective vendors:

  • What IT, security, and non-security data sources can your SIEM integrate with? 
  • How seamlessly does your SIEM ingest and normalize data from diverse sources? 
  • Can your SIEM identify and link hidden connections and complex attack patterns spanning multiple sources to support threat-hunting capabilities?
  • Can your SIEM build it for you in less than a week to limit gaps in visibility?

Advanced SIEM Feature #2: Flexible Deployment

Whether you prefer the control of an on-premises solution, the scalability of cloud-hosted, or the ease of SaaS, leading SIEMs cater to your needs. But flexibility goes beyond location. Centralized management for large enterprises offers consolidated visibility, while decentralized deployments empower distributed teams. Data lake integration further broadens possibilities, allowing you to leverage existing and best of breed storage infrastructures. This flexibility isn’t just a convenience, it’s a strategic advantage. It empowers you to choose the deployment model that best aligns with your infrastructure, budget, and security posture—ensuring your SIEM seamlessly integrates with your unique environment, not the other way around.

Key questions to ask prospective vendors:

  • What deployment models do you offer? Is your architecture flexible to allow for on-premise, cloud, or hybrid deployments? 
  • Does your solution work in any environment, including air-gapped environments?
  • Do you offer centralized or decentralized management options? 
  • Does your SIEM integrate with existing data lakes? What are the supported data lake technologies? 
  • How does your SIEM support compliance and data residency requirements with different deployment options?

Advanced SIEM Feature #3: Simplified Data Ingestion

In the age of big data, SIEMs struggle with data overload, often becoming clogged with complex parsing and normalization processes. This delays threat detection and hinders investigation efficiency. Simplified data ingestion, an advanced SIEM feature, tackles this head-on by offering pre-built connectors, automatic data normalization, and flexible ingestion options.

Key questions to ask prospective vendors:

  • Can your SIEM work with a data lake of our choosing? 
  • Can your SIEM ingest data from any source without the need for third-party services, data distribution tools, or parsing software?
  • What pre-built connectors do you offer for common data sources like firewalls, endpoints, and cloud platforms? Can you handle custom integrations easily?
  • How does your SIEM handle data normalization, enrichment and transformation during ingestion? Can I define custom parsing rules or leverage automatic formats?

Advanced SIEM Feature #4: Advanced Analytics

Advanced analytics transform SIEMs into proactive security platforms, empowering organizations to stay ahead of the curve and confidently navigate the ever-evolving threat landscape. This power comes from features like machine learning, behavioral analytics, and model chaining. Even people without data science experience can leverage pre-built ML models, intuitive model editing tools, and guided workflows.

Key questions to ask prospective vendors:

  • Are your analytics “black box” or transparent?
  • What types of machine learning models does your SIEM offer? How are models trained and maintained? 
  • Can I customize and refine existing models without needing data science expertise?  Can I create or import my own models?
  • How do analytics enrich threat detection and incident investigation? 
  • How does your SIEM translate analytics findings into actionable insights for security teams? 
  • How does your SIEM comply with data privacy regulations when using advanced analytics? 
  • Does your platform support link chain analysis to automatically correlate events across different data sources for deeper insights?

Read KuppingerCole’s Leadership Compass Report on Intelligent SIEM tools and learn how critical capabilities for selecting the best SIEM software

 

Advanced SIEM Feature #5: Risk Prioritization

Risk prioritization empowers SIEMs to be more than just data aggregators; they become intelligent security platforms. By guiding analysts towards the most critical threats, they streamline incident response, optimize resource allocation, and ultimately minimize the impact of security breaches.

Key questions to ask prospective vendors:

  • What methods does your SIEM use for risk scoring? Can I customize the risk scoring factors, create risk groups, and assign different weights based on my needs?
  • Does your SIEM have a dynamic risk engine that normalizes scores for any user, entity, application, or group of assets,
  • Can I map risk to multiple frameworks and customize them for our own risk tolerance?
  • How does your SIEM incorporate context into risk scoring?
  • How does the SIEM’s risk prioritization translate into actionable insights for security teams?
  • How does your SIEM ensure alignment with industry best practices and compliance requirements for risk prioritization?

Advanced SIEM Feature #6: Secure AI

Native, secure AI capabilities are becoming a fundamental design principle that is rapidly being woven into a SIEM platform’s DNA. From rigorous model development and testing to continuous monitoring for vulnerabilities, it ensures AI tools haven’t become attack vectors themselves. In addition, it must offer the ability to learn from and glean insights from enterprise data, not just public sources, as well as the capacity to suggest new detection models and response playbooks and recommend improvements to existing ones to improve the efficacy of the platform overall. Finally, while advances in artificial intelligence are evolving rapidly, we are still at the forefront of the benefits they can bring to enhancing security posture and improving the operational efficiency of the SOC. 

Key questions to ask prospective vendors:

  • Is it secure and does it prevent your data from becoming part of the public domain?
  • Is it able to provide insights into enterprise data or just public sources? 
  • What are their plans to get additional benefits from AI besides natural language queries?
  • Do you offer native AI that learns from and can search your own enterprise data and not just public sources like Chat-GPT?

Advanced SIEM Feature #7: Seamless Interoperability

Seamless interoperability is an essential feature in SIEM solutions, enabling organizations to break down information barriers and orchestrate a unified security posture. A key aspect is the ability to ingest data from all sources as one. This means having bi-directional API-driven integrations with diverse data sources like firewalls, endpoints, cloud platforms, and security tools, and being able to transform the data into a unified stream for analysis. This empowers analysts to identify hidden connections across the entire IT ecosystem, uncovering sophisticated attack campaigns that might evade individual tools.

An effective SIEM can trigger predefined actions upon detecting an incident, automatically isolating compromised endpoints, blocking malicious traffic, or initiating remediation workflows in an ITSM. This streamlines response times, minimizes damage and empowers teams to react swiftly and decisively.

Key questions to ask prospective vendors:

  • Is it secure and does it prevent your data from becoming part of the public domain?
  • Does your SIEM offer pre-built, bi-directional API-driven integrations with a wide range of data sources (firewalls, endpoints, cloud platforms, security tools)? Can you handle custom integrations seamlessly through robust APIs and open standards?
  • Does your SIEM offer out-of-the-box integrations with popular ITSM and SOAR platforms for automated response actions? Can we customize and define automated response workflows tailored to specific threats and situations?
  • How does your SIEM architecture support continued integration with new and emerging security tools and technologies?

Advanced SIEM Feature #8: Case Management and Orchestration

Case management in SIEM centralizes investigations, while orchestration automates repetitive containment and remediation tasks like kicking off scans, prompting for MFA, quarantining a device, or initiating a workflow in an ITSM by opening a ticket automatically. They enable a security team to track incidents, gather evidence, collaborate across teams, and automate workflows—all within a single platform. This empowers faster response, reduced burden, and ultimately, a more resilient security posture.

Key questions to ask prospective vendors:

  • What pre-built automation workflows are available for common incident response actions? Can we create and customize our own automated workflows based on specific needs?
  • How does your SIEM handle orchestration across diverse platforms and environments?
  • Does your SIEM integrate seamlessly with other security tools and platforms for comprehensive response? How does it support scalability and future integration with new security technologies?
  • How is your platform updated with evolving threat intelligence and best practices for orchestration?

Advanced SIEM Feature #9: Response and Playbook Automation

As cyber threats increase in volume and sophistication, speed and precision are paramount in incident response. By investing in advanced response and playbook automation, SIEMs transform from passive data aggregators into active security partners. Response automation empowers organizations to respond faster, reduces human error, scales efficiently, and standardizes response. Moreover, a good SIEM should offer pre-built playbooks for common threats, customizable playbook creation, integration with other security tools, and reporting and analytics.

Key questions to ask prospective vendors:

  • Do you offer pre-built playbooks for common incident types, and can they be easily customized or expanded? Can we create our own custom playbooks using a user-friendly interface without requiring extensive coding expertise?
  • How does your platform handle complex decision-making within playbooks, including branching and conditional logic based on context?
  • Does your SIEM seamlessly integrate with our existing security tools (for example, EDR, firewall) to trigger and execute automated actions within playbooks?
  • What level of control do we have over the actions taken by automated playbooks, and can we easily modify or override them if needed?
  • Can we gain insights into which playbooks are most effective and identify areas for improvement based on real-world data?

 

First Gen (Legacy)
Second Gen (Traditional)
Third Gen (Next-Gen)
Gurucul (Visionary)
Unified Visibility
Flexible Deployment
Simplified Data Ingestion
Advanced Analytics
Risk Prioritization
Secure AI
Seamless Interoperability
Case Management & Orchestration
Response & Playbook Automation

SIEM features and how to select the right SIEM solution

SIEM Augmentation

Many organizations that need and want the capabilities of a Next-Gen SIEM aren’t able to rip out a current SIEM and replace it with a new solution all at once, perhaps due to various financial, contractual, or internal reasons. But legacy SIEMs have shortcomings, especially in the areas of data ingestion and storage, reliability and scale, bolted-on UEBA, and lack of SOAR capabilities. For these organizations, SIEM augmentation is an option to relieve critical pressure points in the legacy SIEM.

Augmentation can provide critical capabilities through strategic integration and complementary tool adoption. It can be thought of as a high-fidelity threat detection overlay that immediately expands the capabilities of the SOC and minimizes the operational complexity produced by the legacy SIEM. While similar to the idea of “bolting on” the capabilities as seen in Second Generation SIEM solutions, augmentation offers much tighter integration and usability by overlaying a Next-Gen SIEM that has an open and modular architecture. The legacy SIEM continues to provide log management and compliance, and the Next-Gen SIEM fulfills the more complex needs, especially around improving threat detection, investigation and response (TDIR). In this way, there is a path to full migration to Next-Gen SIEM at a pace the organization is comfortable with.

Augmenting legacy SIEM with more advanced security capabilities provides real-time visibility into network activities, helps detect anomalies or malicious behaviors that may be missed by traditional methods, and automates response actions. This leads to faster and more effective incident mitigation and also enables improved scalability to handle growing data volumes and diverse network environments.

Best SIEM tool for SIEM Augmentation or SIEM replacement

Conclusion

SIEMs have evolved from simple log aggregators to powerful security hubs. The latest generation, Next-Gen SIEMs, offer advanced features like AI-driven threat detection, automated response, and investigation tools. They provide unified visibility across diverse data sources, flexible deployment options, and seamless interoperability with other security tools. By automating repetitive tasks and prioritizing risks, Next-Gen SIEMs empower faster, more efficient incident response, ultimately leading to a more resilient security posture.

Before embarking on the Next-Gen SIEM journey, organizations must conduct a critical self-assessment. Analyzing their specific infrastructure, security needs, and risk tolerance is crucial. With this understanding, they can then carefully evaluate potential SIEM tools. This evaluation should focus on key capabilities like data ingestion from diverse sources, advanced analytics for threat detection, and robust risk prioritization to streamline response. Seamless integration with existing security tools is also essential. By aligning the chosen Next-Gen SIEM with their unique needs, organizations can achieve a proactive security posture, effectively combat evolving threats, and ultimately build a more resilient environment.

Gurucul, the Most Visionary Next-Gen SIEM

A cloud-native dynamic security analytics platform designed for radical clarity, Gurucul’s Next-Gen SIEM offers a unified platform for proactive threat detection, investigation, and response. In its latest Magic Quadrant for Security Information and Event Management, Gartner noted that Gurucul has the most visionary platform in the SIEM market.

Gartner 2022 SIEM Magic Quadrant learn why Gurucl was named a Leader