Leading financial institutions hedge risk by focusing on these 5 critical SIEM requirements


Digital transformation is expanding the attack surface in financial services. Throughout the pandemic, the accelerated adoption of digital banking, payments, and insurance channels has enabled providers to offer greater levels of service, new financial products, and enhanced journeys to their customers.

However, with growing amounts of data and increasingly complex IT ecosystems, bad actors are finding more creative ways of wreaking havoc. In fact, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned last year that cyberattacks are the number-one threat to the global financial system.

Cyberattacks in financial services can be exceptionally devastating. Even small problems can lead to substantial money lost, customers exposed, and heavy regulatory fines. Some of the recent drivers behind increased cyber attacks in financial services include the following:

  • Remote work is creating additional cybersecurity challenges for FSIs, including unsecured endpoints, outdated controls, weak remote authentication, rushed adoption of cloud services, and more.
  • New financial products and services are being deployed across rapidly changing and increasingly complex ecosystems, which require unique training and maintenance. In fact, 90% of FSIs anticipate using public or private cloud services by 2023.
  • FSIs are becoming more reliant on third parties. The supply chain is powering innovation, but also introducing new vulnerabilities. Thus, attacks are becoming more prevalent (e.g., Log4j, Solargate, etc.).
  • There is a global shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals to take on these emerging challenges. This gap is one of the biggest issues FSIs face, as cited by about a quarter of respondents in a recent ThoughtLab survey

[Related article: 4 ways financial services leaders can stay ahead of the cybersecurity risk curve]

Too much noise, too many tools, too expensive — and lots of regulation

Security operations teams often rely on a myriad of tools to detect, investigate, and respond to evolving threats. However, according to a recent study, a third of FS CISOs plan to accelerate tool and infrastructure consolidation in the coming years. It's a common sentiment across financial services — security teams need fewer tools, which offer better insights, integrations, and efficiency. Many legacy SIEMs also lack the modern features to identify vulnerabilities and thwart complex attacks (only 21% of FSIs use advanced analytics, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning).

If you’re wondering whether you need to replace your current SIEM or augment your existing tools, here are some hints that you might be due for a checkup. 

  • Ingesting/storing data is cost-prohibitive, and you're leaving out vital data and context — especially as you seek to meet regulations like PCI DSS, SOX, GDPR, GLBA, FINRA, PSD2, and other requirements.
  • Investigations are running slow and your team’s queries are taking hours.
  • The current platform is inflexible, making it hard to build custom integrations, dashboards, and workflows.
  • Your SIEM is on-prem only and can’t keep pace with a multi-cloud world.
  • The vendor has a limited user community, which can lead to slower innovation and the inability to meet an ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats.

[Read more about these challenges: Five signs you need to augment your SIEM]

Key considerations in SIEM for the modern SOC

As data volumes increase, the ability to address multiple use cases — security analytics, threat detection and response, APM, cloud monitoring, endpoint detection and response (EDR) — through one platform is critical. This enables faster root cause analysis and articulates a more holistic picture of incidents and events. It also drives better collaboration with stakeholders across IT and lines of business to deliver on joint outcomes. Also, modern day SIEMs must support on-premises, hybrid cloud, and multi-cloud ecosystems to continue to maintain organizational security posture in line with digital and cloud transformation journeys.

Several essential features financial security leaders should look out for in their next SIEM investment include:

  1. Open and integrated security capabilities, enabling users to connect, scale, and explore disparate data types from a single UI. Look for a track record of rapid roadmap advancement, a fast-growing integrations ecosystem, and a flourishing user community
  2. Native protections, including OOTB detections powered by ML models and threat research, to enable teams to envision new ways to further improve their security processes 
  3. Automated threat protection and detection to decrease mean time-to-detect (MTTD), reducing susceptibility to attack and freeing practitioners from mundane tasks to tackle problems that require human intuition and skill 
  4. Flexible data management to allow analysts to search through years of telemetry in a fast and cost-efficient fashion, without needing to manually manage archiving and retrieval; data management must also be in-line with industry regulations (such as PCI DSS
  5. Ability to start small and scale up with flexible, consumption-based pricing, which enables security teams to begin realizing benefits early and often, as new use cases arise

If you are in the market to replace or augment your SIEM, Elastic Security provides these capabilities and more through a single data platform that delivers robust defense across complex hybrid and multi-cloud environments. Enable your analysts to prevent, detect, and respond to attacks on your organization, faster and with more confidence. 

Learn more by downloading the SIEM Buyer’s Guide.