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SANS And RSA Say SMBs Use SIEM For Security, Not Just Compliance

According to new reports from SANS and RSA, after years of SMB investment in security information and event management (SIEM) tools as a means of confirming regulatory compliance, businesses are now buying forensic and event management tools in order to use them.
According to new reports from SANS and RSA, after years of SMB investment in security information and event management (SIEM) tools as a means of confirming regulatory compliance, businesses are now buying forensic and event management tools in order to use them.Regulatory compliance, which prodded many small and midsized businesses to invest in SIEM as means of ensuring adherence to compliance rules, now plays second fiddle to businesses' actual use of the tools.

That finding, detailed in a new study from security training and certification company SANS, doesn't downplay the importance of compliance for businesses using SIEM monitoring and logging tools. 40% of the companies studied still see SIEM as important to hitting compliance-mandated security targets and requirements.

But more than half of the study's respondents said that for their companies, SIEM tools were more useful for

"Forensics analysis and correlation"

"Detecting/preventing unauthorized access and insider abuse"

Security firm RSA offered similar, and in some ways more dramatic, findings, with 89% of respondents to its SIEM survey reporting that the "primary use for their SIEM tools is for security operations functions while 54 percent cited compliance."

The RSA study also noted that 66% of respondents found real-time monitoring an important factor when selecting SIEM vendors, but fully three-quarters said that real-time monitoring is essential.

Both of the studies are, I think, good news, reminders that small and midsized businesses are every bit as committed to aggressive, proactive pursuit of security itself, not just security compliance for regulation's sake. Which of course makes sense: neither the initial investment nor the learning curve for SIEM tools is small.

Of course the studies also mean that SIEM vendors will be putting more effort into marketing to the SMB universe, too.

And to that end, one note that's note quite a caveat: The Sans study was sponsored by RSA, which is itself a SIEM vendor.

The complete SANS study, SANS Log Management Survey: Mid-Sized Businesses Respond is here.

The complete RSA study, Security Information and Event Management: Expectations for Mid-sized Organizations, is here.

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