Managed SIEM Services: What They Are, Benefits, Challenges, and Top Providers

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Did you know that your security team may be spending a third of their day on events that pose no threat to the company? 

As if that wasn’t enough, the team may also take too long (277 days to be exact) to identify and contain a breach in the organization’s security infrastructure. SIEM deployments prove to be useful for many organizations to free themselves from these disaster-enabling factors. 

But the management of SIEM can be overwhelming for internal teams. It may also be the case that you want to run a fully remote company, meaning dealing with SIEM in-house is not in your plans. 

In such scenarios, Managed SIEM is what you need. For companies with internal security teams, managed SIEM can free up the majority of the team’s time for more critical tasks. For fully remote companies, it suits your work ecosystem.

From benefits to challenges, here is all you need to know about managed SIEM services.

Meanwhile if you are in search of SIEM tools, we have a comprehensive list of the best SIEM solutions in the market. 

What is Managed SIEM?

Managed security information and event management (SIEM) is an outsourcing model for security intelligence and response. It involves organizations delegating threat intelligence, analysis, and overall event management to a third-party organization that is specialized in SIEM processes. 

Many businesses like yours may prefer to host the entire security infrastructure within the organization. However, with cyber threats growing and SIEM tools becoming increasingly advanced, you may find it more difficult to prepare for an attack.

SIEM managed services take the responsibilities off your on-premise team. They offer the expertise, infrastructure, and time-saving advantage to ensure that not even a single bad security event can  spell doom for your business. 

Managed SIEM at a glance: 

  • Managed SIEM services are outsourced IT services that take on the security responsibilities of threat intelligence, detection, and analysis.
  • In more contemporary times, managed SIEM providers have gone beyond just security data ingestion, threat analysis, and event documentation. They also offer coverage for incident response, remediation, and reporting workflows.
  • Managed SIEM providers allow you to save time on SIEM setup and management. 
  • All managed SIEM services are not built the same, and choosing the right provider helps you avoid challenges around trust, vendor lock-in and penalties due to non-compliance. 

The important services that managed SIEM providers offer

As mentioned earlier, Managed SIEM solutions take certain security responsibilities away from the on-premise team. 

Of course, the primary role of a SIEM managed service is to ingest data, analyze threats, and raise alerts sent to your internal security team on events to act on. 

Nonetheless, certain vendors also offer managed detection and response (MDR) services. They help with the remediation of security breaches with very minimal contribution from the internal team. 

So, what are the key services that Managed SIEM offers?

1. Intelligence Integration

Intelligence integration is all about threat data ingestion and centralization. Managed SIEM providers generate and manage intelligence feeds by incorporating their SIEM infrastructure into the company’s core IT environment. 

The vendor sifts through real-time logs to contextualize data and quickly aggregate events.

2. Threat Detection

Using real-time, contextualized intelligence feeds, the managed SIEM service pinpoints and manages threats and events faster. 

AI and ML-powered SIEM tools allow your vendor to introduce behavioral analytics into the threat detection process, making triaging and correlation more accurate. 

3. Continuous Monitoring and Maintenance

In the spirit of continuous improvement, the managed SIEM provider also takes on the organization’s responsibility of updating security measures. 

They deploy the right systems that  continuously execute patching, optimize workflows, and scale infrastructural components based on changing security needs. 

4. Incident Response and Remediation

Ordinarily, your organization would need a separate managed detection and response (MDR) vendor to take care of incident remediation. 

A setup like this inadvertently doubles the cost of outsourcing security. However, top managed SIEM vendors also integrate extended detection and response (XDR) services into managed SIEM services. 

You wouldn’t need to handle questions around “managed detection and response vs SIEM” but rather unify both concepts into one service.    

5. Compliance

If you’re bothered about regulatory compliance, it’ll be satisfying to know that managed SIEM providers also pay attention to standards such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, GDPR, SOC2, and NIST standards, among others.

They also engage in comprehensive security documentation and offer customized reports to suit your company’s industry-specific needs. 

Why choose managed SIEM?

Managed SIEM is a great choice for both new and existing businesses on so many grounds. Here are the best reasons why your small business or large enterprise should consider managed SIEM services.

1. Access to highly qualified expertise

Hiring reliable in-house security personnel to take care of SIEM has become harder than ever. A report from ISC2 reveals that the cybersecurity industry currently suffers a personnel shortage of roughly 4 million. This number has increased by 12% year on year and is a subtle indicator of the worrying scarcity of specialized experts.

Managed SIEM services come as a solution to this shortage. They retain a workforce of SIEM professionals versed in cybersecurity challenges. With managed SIEM vendors, your organization also doesn’t have to worry about whether hired personnel have adequate skills to handle advanced security events.

3. 24/7 security monitoring

You may already be aware how hard it is to find experts who are willing to work outside business hours. The risk here, however, is that 76% of attacks happen outside working hours — 49% during weekday nights and 26% on the weekends. Without taking adequate steps to protect the infrastructure during these hours, your infrastructure remains exposed to breaches. 

Thankfully, managed SIEM solutions offer 24/7 monitoring, helping you stay on top of dangerous threats. What’s more, going for SIEM services with additional XDR solutions gives optimal IT infrastructure safety.

4. Reduction in SIEM costs

In-house SIEM deployment forces companies to purchase multiple security software licenses and complimentary hardware devices. 

You also accrue high hourly labor costs and spend on employee training — expenses that can grow too high to manage overtime. Managed SIEM services, on the other hand, give you access to all these essential requirements on a single fee. The best part? This fee remains relatively affordable. 

Managed service vendors typically run multi tenant cloud environments where customers share the same computing resources (although logically separated). This allows them to distribute costs across their customers. 

They also automate SIEM to reduce the strain on their own personnel, keeping labor costs down. This is how they manage to keep subscription fees low and relatively affordable for small, medium, and large-scale businesses. 

5. Reduced deployment time

Deploying advanced, in-house SIEM tools takes an average of 6 months, according to Rapid7. For many organizations, this delay may be due to a lack of structure, misaligned SIEM requirements, or the difficulty in choosing deployment models. A survey from Panther Labs even shows that it can take up to 12 months or longer to receive high-value alerts that can be put to use. 

A managed SIEM service quickens IT maturity. They cut short the waiting time to mere weeks or days thanks to their readily available SIEM infrastructure. You also don't have to worry about the time spent searching for SIEM personnel, as the managed service vendor has experts available on the go. 

6. Simplified compliance

If you’re finding it hard to meet your compliance requirements, managed SIEM providers take off this burden. 

They provide templated and customized reports to help with documentation, and can also carry out comprehensive pre-incident and post-incident audits. 

7. Access to high-level tech

Thanks to specialized experience in the SIEM field, the providers know the best features, tools, and partners to take on threat hunting and remediation

They continuously research the market to improve their enterprise-scale SIEM setup, providing small, medium, and large-scale businesses access to top-level AI/ML-powered solutions for a single fee. 

Managed SIEM pricing

Managed SIEM services can cost between $5000 to $15000 per month on average.

We prefer to use this model for general guidance because most managed SIEM providers use the per month billing model. Some providers break the service down to packages, which is good if you only need particular components of SIEM. But if you want SIEM in totality, the flat monthly model is great because you just pay one amount and get all the services every month. 

Services that should be contained in a fully managed SIEM service

  • Selection and installation of the SIEM solution: The provider will understand the context of your company, then select and install the most suitable SIEM platform
  • Monitoring: The provider will make available experts who monitor the entire IT infrastructure through the SIEM platform, on a 24/7 basis
  • Alerts: They offer continuous real-time alerts
  • Incident management: Analysts are are constantly scrutinizing incidents and activating remediation actions where required
  • SLAs: The Service Level agreements are designed to suite the client’s context and budget
  • Dedicated Account Manager: A dedicated expert who coordinates with the in-house team to ensure smooth service delivery
  • Maintenance: The provider is responsible for all aspects of maintaining the SIEM platform, including configuration and patching.
  • Coverage: Cloud, multi-cloud, and on-premise

Managed SIEM case study — Pratum and TMG

Wondering whether managed SIEM makes a difference? Let’s use the case study of The Members Group (TMG)’s success withSIEM. 

TMG is an organization that runs a card-processing and payment business — one of the many businesses that deal with sensitive personal identifiable information (PII). Advancements in threats and the growth of TMG’s client base rendered its internal security team weak in carrying out both reactive and proactive security monitoring. 

With business goals awaiting fulfillment, and looking at the sensitivity of its operations, TMG knew that restructuring its tech was important to achieve a comprehensive security posture. 

TMG looked towards Pratum’s managed SIEM solutions and collaborated to bring an end to its expensive on-premise SIEM deployment. Using its experience with architecture to deploy fast, the managed SIEM provider created custom log sources for effective threat intelligence and monitoring. The result? 

TMG achieved comprehensive and proactive IT coverage. Working with Pratum allowed the TMG security team to:

  • Parse through over 112 million events per day
  • Generate 9,000 notifications per month
  • Attend to over 50,000 incidents per month

TMG admitted that working with Pratum also saved it from acting on false positives. These were unnecessary alerts that made the team wrongly believe it had key vulnerabilities for hackers to explore. Pratum also helped create a security guideline for TMG’s team to respond to attacks and maintained support for the organization. 

Find the full Pratum case study here.

Managed Security Services vs SIEM 

It’s easy to mistake the terms “managed security service” for “managed SIEM” and vice versa, but there’s a difference. 

Managed SIEM is only a form of managed security service. While managed SIEM primarily covers outsourcing security alerts and event management, managed security services have a broader scope that cover every type of outsourced security operation. This includes managed detection and response (MDR), managed disaster recovery, and managed vulnerability management, to mention a few. 

Some MSSPs take care of one or all of these security processes. This means you can find an MSSP that offers managed SIEM as part of their service range. 

Challenges in Managed SIEM

Though not many, there are challenges around data, alerts, and vendor lock-in that we would like to highlight.

1. High Reliance on Trust

Trust is a big factor in the success of the managed SIEM model. Your organization sends out massive amounts of business-critical and sensitive data to managed services for ingestion and analysis. 

The downside of this is that, regardless of what is agreed with the vendor, you don’t know exactly how data is handled or who has access to the data. Sacrificing control over this key area of security and only having hope that the managed SIEM vendor acts right doesn’t sit well with many organizations. 

2. Alert Proliferation

IIf notifications aren’t fine-tuned, then your company may be left to deal with too many security alerts than it needs to. 

Alert proliferation doesn’t just waste time with false positives but leaves your team open to missing out on critical security events.  

3. Poor Data Portability

Moving logs of security information and configurations from one managed SIEM to another or can be complex. This is also the case with on-premise deployments. 

These complexities are in addition to the risks of vendor lock-in. When the managed service contract gets terminated, the client organizations are often left to decide on their own how they intend to manage and protect data before the new security architecture is set up. 

What awaits managed SIEM in the future?

Managed SIEM is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15% between 2021 and 2030. This growth will be bolstered by the increasing prevalence of AI and ML in perfecting predictive analysis and speeding up innovation against evolving threats. However, there’s more. 

The emergence of quantum computing introduces quantum threats to cybersecurity, as attackers may have faster and more powerful means of breach. It will soon be advisable that alongside AI, businesses will need to apply quantum-safe measures. This will mean going for managed SIEM that utilizes post-quantum cryptography (PQC) and quantum-safe algorithms to identify and neutralize threats.

Choosing the right managed SIEM provider

One of the best ways your business can scale the challenges around managed SIEM is to choose the right vendor.

A reliable managed service vendor goes beyond one you can trust to safely manage data or deploy SIEM quickly. You should choose a SIEM managed security service provider that demonstrates these basic qualities: 

  • A strong reputation, experience, and tested expertise for your specific industry and use case
  • Utilizes an advanced tech stack with AI and ML-powered automation. This ensures increased accuracy and speed
  • Comes with adequate compliance coverage over your industry-specific regulatory standards
  • Provides comprehensive reporting where, alongside sending frequent documentation, your team is also able to monitor security events through real-time dashboards
  • Offers high depth of customization to fit the specific needs of your organization. Don’t be mesmerized by beautiful technology. Instead, always pay attention to your pain points  
  • Open communication channels that are constantly responsive whenever needed. The Service Level Agreements (SLA) should cover this
  • The provider should be able to support seamless integration of their technology with the systems that you currently use. 

Check if they have been recommended significantly within the industry. Is the provider featured in credible top SIEM provider lists or directories? Have they been recognized by any leading industry advisory firms? Are they ranked in any top review platforms?

Such indicators will easily point you to the right provider. If the provider is new in the market, then it's possible that they may not have this level of decoration. In such cases, make the most of their free trial and weigh out the services. New providers can also offer great services as a competitive advantage since they are in a race to put their name out there. The fact that a provider is new does not make them inferior. So, approach your search with an open mind and focus more on the quality of services as well as reliability.

The criteria for qualifying the top SIEM providers in this directory

We understand that the decision to hand over the defense of your systems to a third party is not a light one. The good thing is that most managed SIEM providers also understand that this is a risk companies take, so the best are constantly prioritizing the privacy of the enormous client data that they handle. This priority is demonstrated by compliance to industry and government regulations.

We also understand this, which is precisely why we created this directory for managed SIEM providers.

In this directory, you will find the best Managed SIEM services. These providers have proven themselves in the market, based on the uniqueness of their solutions and the range of clients they service in different industries. Of course this is in addition to our own independent scrutiny.

Not sure which provider is right for you?

If your company is searching for a managed SIEM provider but can't seem to settle on one given the many competing options, IT Companies Network can help with this. 

We understand your predicament because the wrong choice of a provider can expose the infrastructure to damaging risks. A seemingly simple compromise on systems or data can lead to fines in the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions, in addition to the losses the company will incur including loss of reputation. With this in mind, it’s clear why the choice of the right SIEM provider is a critical undertaking. 

Our many years of interactions with providers has given us a grasp of this market and with it., the ability to perform streamlined qualitative and quantitative analysis of your needs to arrive at a suitable provider. Let's discuss your pressing needs around SIEM.

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