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What is SIEM in cybersecurity?

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At a glance

  • A SIEM solution combines security information management (SIM) and security event management (SEM) to provide real-time analysis on security threats.
  • Security teams use SIEM tools to log data and generate reports. SIEM tools are usually sold by or managed by an external vendor.
  • Key components of SIEM include detecting security incidents, conducting real-time security alert analysis and developing methods to prevent future attacks.
  • If you’re eager to learn vital cybersecurity skills, check out online information technology and cybersecurity programs at University of Phoenix.

According to IBM, data breaches — when hackers steal sensitive business, employee or customer information — cost U.S. companies $9.44 million, on average, in 2022. Every firm has multiple vulnerabilities, as malware, stolen login credentials, phishing emails, poorly configured networks, or unsecured cloud systems leave databases open for attacks. 

There are also newer hacking trends like ransomware, which is a type of malware that shuts down a system or encrypts data so a company’s entire operation grinds to a halt. According to Verizon, ransomware attacks have risen by 13% in the past year alone. 

While companies can establish a secure infrastructure and reduce security events with firewalls, multifactor authentication and other tools, they will still likely face problems from an ever-evolving list of cybersecurity threats. Given the prevalent threat of costly security incidents, cybersecurity is a necessary investment in today’s digital business world.

What is SIEM in cybersecurity?

Security information and event management (SIEM) is an essential part of every organization’s cybersecurity strategy. These systems assess possible security issues in real time and help ensure that threats don’t evade detection. 

One strength of these tools is that they can help detect threats so that you can investigate them, prevent them from accessing other areas of your network, and respond quickly if necessary. 

Other cybersecurity tools can help with detection and prevention. But if you obtain a cybersecurity degree, you will likely learn about SIEM systems because they offer more in-depth analysis and data collection than endpoint detection and response (EDR) systems, which only focus on the endpoints of a computer network and don’t offer analysis of the network as a whole. 

Here's a closer look at SIEM and how companies use it to respond to today’s cybersecurity challenges. 

What does SIEM stand for?

SIEM stands for “security information and event management.” These two different areas can also be used separately in a cybersecurity setting. Alone, they are referred to as security information management (SIM) and security event management (SEM). In addition to managing and visualizing security-related information, SIEM can detect suspicious activity (events). It can also log network and system data so an organization can use it for forensic investigations or proof of compliance with data privacy laws. 

What is SIEM in cybersecurity?

SIEM is a threat intelligence methodology executed through custom software platforms that combine security information management and security event management into one unified SIEM solution. They are available as out-of-the-box cybersecurity software or as managed services provided by third-party vendors.

One of many aspects of a complete cybersecurity strategy, a SIEM solution can help detect unusual activity so security teams can gauge the appropriate threat response. It can account for hacking activities that breach the first-line defenses, get in through a back door, or utilize new techniques that a business's original cybersecurity infrastructure may not be prepared to defeat. 

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How does SIEM work?

SIEM solutions log data and organize it into categories to make it useful for threat detection. Unlike other cybersecurity tools, SIEM software pulls all the logged data from various sources and compiles it in one central dashboard. That way, any unusual activity detected can trigger an alert on the central dashboard, allowing the security team to assess the problem and quickly respond accordingly. 

Since any unusual activity can be a sign of a security threat, SIEM solutions use correlation protocols to look for patterns and similar functions across the network and combine activities with similar attributes into a category. This is especially useful for detecting threats and finding anomalies within the system. Plus, a SIEM system retains information for record-keeping to provide evidence of data privacy compliance and to conduct post-attack forensics. 

What are the benefits of SIEM? 

SIEM offers benefits over similar cybersecurity systems. It’s faster, more accurate and farther-reaching than other cybersecurity options. Here’s a closer look at the benefits SIEM solutions offer to companies and organizations. 


SIEM solutions quickly log vast amounts of data, so users get real-time analysis. This efficiency is essential when dealing with breaches and threats. 

Since the data is transmitted to one central dashboard, the security team can have everything at their fingertips. Other cybersecurity tools require users to find data in different places and interpret it independently. Though this is possible for skilled professionals, it can be more time-consuming than using the correlated information available via a SIEM solution. 


SIEM tools cover all aspects of a network. Previous systemwide monitoring tools focused on endpoints. Users could detect threats only when they were already in a position to do damage. The whole-network view available through SIEM can help detect anomalies and unusual activity earlier, allowing for a better response. 

Hackers and malware often seek unused corners of the network, where they can sit undetected. Because SIEM covers these areas, hackers won’t be able to hide their activities. 


SIEM can help with compliance because it collects and formats data for easy inspection. It offers a complete picture of employee activities and security measures throughout the system. 

The information can help with both internal and external audits, which assess compliance practices. This benefit is especially important for fields like healthcare and finance, where organizations are required by law to properly secure and encrypt clients’ personal data. 


SIEM systems normalize data. Security information can come in many formats. For example, activity logs from email servers may be different from the data acquired from mobile device activity. SIEM transmits all this information to a central dashboard and puts it in the same form, making comparisons and correlations easier and allowing for quick assessments of incoming information. 

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Why is SIEM important?

SIEM systems continue to improve, using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to learn a company’s processes so that they can better spot anomalies and threats. The ability to adjust is essential for cybersecurity because the threats are constantly changing. For example, five years ago, ransomware was not a major concern, but it is now at the forefront of cybersecurity efforts. 

To help combat increasing cybersecurity threats, companies need qualified cybersecurity professionals. As noted, security events are a common occurrence and are only projected to increase as we rely more and more on technology. SIEM can make the jobs of security teams easier, but in the end, this is only a tool that’s a part of evolving cybersecurity strategies.

Earn a degree in cybersecurity at University of Phoenix

If you’re interested in joining the fight against malicious hackers, consider earning a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity. SIEM solutions perform at their best when in the hands of security pros. Information security analysts are an example of professionals who help companies combat cyber incidents. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these professionals typically need a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity or a technology field for employment. Management-level cybersecurity professionals may need to pursue a master’s degree to enhance their skills. 

Whether you’re seeking to gain a basic understanding of information technology or cybersecurity, or you’re a working professional looking to expand your skill set, University of Phoenix (UOPX) offers online course collections, bachelor’s degrees and master’s degreesLearn more about undergraduate and graduate online technology degrees from UOPX and start your IT journey today!

  • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology — In this program you’ll learn skills including business process, cybersecurity, information systems, operations and systems analysis.
  • Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity — This online program teaches skills such as security policies, network security, cybersecurity and more.
  • Master of Science in Cybersecurity — This online program explores in depth such skills and topics as cybersecurity, security policies and vulnerability.
  • Certified Ethical Hacker Course Collection — This course collection can help you prepare to sit for the EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification exam. Topics include the phases of ethical hacking, recognizing weaknesses and vulnerabilities of a system, social engineering, IoT threats, risk mitigation and more.
  • Certified Incident Handler Course Collection — This course collection can help you prepare to sit for the EC-Council Certified Incident Handler (ECIH) certification exam. This specialist certification focuses on how to effectively handle security breaches. 
  • Certified Network Defender Course Collection — This course collection can help you prepare to sit for the entry-level EC-Council Certified Network Defender (CND) certification exam. Courses focus on protecting a network from security breaches before they happen.
  • Computer Hacking Forensics Investigator Course Collection — This course collection can help you prepare to sit for the EC-Council Computer Hacking Forensics Investigator (CHFI) certification exam. You’ll learn about the latest technologies, tools and methodologies in digital forensics, including the dark web, IoT, malware, the cloud and data forensics.


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