Compliance? SIEM Shows It’s All in the Logs


Compliance and cybersecurity go hand-in-hand. Even if you’re not a security specialist yourself, if you work in IT, odds are you’ll have to support compliance efforts at some point in your career.

When the auditor comes, you need to be prepared to show that you not only took the appropriate steps to safeguard systems and data, but you also need to be able to show that you took the right steps to respond.

To demonstrate all this, you need logs. More importantly, you need a way to manage and analyze security logs without drowning in information overwhelm. You can’t simply stand up a log manager and call it a day—you need a security information and event management (SIEM) tool to help you sift through the mountains of data to find the signal within the noise.

When searching for a tool, follow three important rules:

1. Centralized storage

First, choose a solution that stores logs in a central location. When working with multiple customers, you don’t want to have to switch between systems to view logs and alerts.

Make sure to evaluate the search engine during the trial or demo period. For example, SIEM tools with elastic search capabilities allow you to find information based on keywords and both simple and complex strings. During an audit, you don’t want to waste time hunting around for info—a strong search engine in the SIEM tool can make your life a lot easier. Additionally, if you fall under regulations requiring data breach reporting such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), centralized logs and strong search capabilities can help you quickly determine what happened so you can inform the authorities during the reporting period.

2. Easy analysis

Organizations generate an overwhelming amount of logs from their networks and devices. Each log could contain valuable information on attacks, although many logs are benign. These logs usually come in varied formats, generated by intrusion detection systems, firewalls, routers, or databases. If you want your team to have any hope of forming an accurate picture of a security event, they’ll need a SIEM tool that normalizes the logs, converts logs into an easy-to-understand format, and helps the team analyze information. A strong SIEM tool should provide integrated correlation rules to alert analysts to important events. Additionally, try to find a SIEM tool that lets you fine-tune correlation rules and policies over time.

3. Long-term storage

According to the Ponemon Institute, it can take 197 days to identify a breach. If you have to report a breach, you’ll likely need access to information from months earlier to discover the attack origin and the impact on breach victims. This means your SIEM tool needs to store logs for at least a year (or longer if needed). SolarWinds® Threat Monitor allows you to store logs across your client base for up to a full year without any additional charge.


Logs play a central role in compliance. From the day-to-day job of remaining compliant to handling potential audits, being able to quickly find, analyze, and report on logs is paramount to your compliance efforts.

If you’re in the market for a SIEM tool, try SolarWinds Threat Monitor. Threat Monitor is a cloud-based SIEM platform designed to help you easily collect, correlate, and analyze logs from a central system. Additionally, Threat Monitor is built to offer audit-ready compliance reports to make the compliance process even easier. Try Threat Monitor free for 14 days to learn more.

Guest blog courtesy of SolarWinds MSP. Read more SolarWinds MSP blogs here.