Intelligent security analytics

Microsoft Sentinel SIEM: The Ultimate Guide

IT transformation continues to impact the digital world. As information security leaders confront an ever-growing number of vulnerable spots, ever-increasing numbers of alarm signals and data volume growth increases in an exponential manner. As a result, the threat of cybercrime is also growing rapidly, with cyber-attacks on Australian businesses rising sharply by 712% since 2018.

To respond and keep their data safe, IT specialists must find ways to make systems and procedures more economical.

Microsoft Sentinel SIEM is the answer: an intelligent security analytics and threat intelligence solution platform for detecting, monitoring, hunting, and responding to attacks.

What is Microsoft Sentinel?

Previously called Azure Sentinel, Microsoft Sentinel is a next-generation security information and event management (SIEM) solution that combines machine learning (ML), analytics, and a graphical user interface to enable faster detection, tracking, and remediation of threats. 

With its interface, integration, and user experience, Sentinel is tailored for both security analysts looking for a simple way to search and process information, as well as end users who need a way to understand their organisation’s security posture and make informed decisions. 

The Microsoft security solution is also customisable, with a choice of three different subscriptions: Sentinel One, Sentinel Enterprise, and Sentinel Cloud.

Business benefits of Sentinel

If a tool can help you reduce the risk of data breaches, you’ll be able to increase the cyber security of your assets, while also lowering the costs associated with regulatory compliance. When you collaborate with your security team, you can also improve incident handling times and troubleshoot issues more efficiently.

Benefits of implementing Microsoft Sentinel include:

  • Threat detection and remediation is faster and simpler.
  • Improved visibility into the origins of threats will detect and stop threats in their tracks.
  • Intelligent reporting for better incident response will save time and improve outcomes.
  • Security automation through rules and functions allows you to access data faster.
  • Analytics and visualisation tools enable IT administrators to quickly understand and analyse network and security data.
  • Flexible and scalable architecture.
  • Real-time incident management.
  • Optimal security management for remote and hybrid work environments.

The four pillars of Microsoft Sentinel

Microsoft Sentinel is built around four pillars to protect your systems and data from threats: collect, detect, investigate, and respond.

Collect data at cloud scale

With Sentinel, you can collect data from devices, security sensors, and apps at cloud scale. Per-user user profiles can be created to track and manage user activity across the network. Each user profile can be configured with customisable policies, policies, and app permissions. 

Sentinel can also be used for centralised end-user management, with virtual devices appearing as if they are attached to the end user’s machine. These devices are suitable for scenarios such as an end-user testing their apps, or for test environments. 

Sentinel also supports cloud-based security events. This means that, when you configure Sentinel to collect events from security sensors, it will also subscribe to events from cloud services, such as Amazon S3 and Microsoft Azure Storage. This enables Sentinel to detect and investigate threats across your network based on events from these sources.

Detect previously undetected threats

Sentinel uses machine learning algorithms to analyse data and search for potential threats. It searches for potential attacks through a process known as “anomaly detection.” Sentinel then uses a signature-based approach to help identify known cyber-attack signatures and to categorise suspicious activity. 

Sentinel’s threat detection and investigation features enable the cyber security solution to detect and investigate threats across your network. Sentinel can detect threats based on user behaviours, and application or app activity patterns. It can also detect new threats based on the network’s events. 

Sentinel can also be configured to notify users about these threats or incidents. Its investigation features include detecting malicious IP addresses, hostnames, and domains, as well as malicious network traffic, connection attempts, and other activities. 

These features can be used to discover potential malicious threats on the network. Sentinel can be used to identify potential vulnerabilities in applications on your network, and can be configured to scan applications for vulnerabilities to warn you about potential risks.

Investigate threats with AI

Sentinel’s artificial intelligence features include anomaly detection and ML. Anomaly detection determines whether a user or machine behavior is normal or abnormal. This can be used to identify malicious threats or investigate suspicious activities. 

Sentinel can be configured to prioritise certain events to help you respond to incidents. Sentinel’s ML capabilities enable it to identify threats across your network based on past events, and detect new threats based on the network’s events. It will then notify users about these threats. A security analyst can use it to quickly search for information about threats that are currently in transit.

AI is used with the investigations to gain a better understanding of the threat environment. This way, Sentinel can detect emerging threats and anomalies, or to identify normal patterns that become anomalous at a later date. With the ability to detect new threats, the cloud security solution is particularly effective when used in tandem with ML.

Respond to incidents rapidly

Sentinel’s incident response feature helps businesses respond to incidents and investigate malicious activity by up to 50%. This feature can be used to create advanced reports that help with incident investigations. For example, users can create a report that shows all alerts related to a specific event. This report can be used to investigate an incident and to see who was affected by the incident. 

Sentinel’s incident management features include a console that provides centralised security management across your network. It can also be used for centralised user management and policy management. This console offers a rich set of security management tools, including security monitoring, troubleshooting, incident management, and user management. 

Integrate with and secure your enterprise

The Sentinel platform is built on the Microsoft stack and is designed to work seamlessly with Azure Active Directory, Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft Defender, and the Microsoft 365 productivity suite. It also supports a wide range of security products and services, such as data loss prevention, encryption, and authentication services, to ensure that your sensitive data is protected and managed. 

Sentinel can also be configured to work with other third-party security products, such as firewall and intrusion detection systems. This provides a powerful approach to managing security across the entire cloud computing environment.

Store and analyse large amounts of data

Sentinel stores data in Azure Storage, allowing you to analyse it on-demand and take advantage of the scalability offered by the cloud. With a scalable data centre and storage solution, it is possible to store petabytes of data, allowing you to quickly and efficiently search for information in a wide range of formats. 

With its Graph API, Sentinel can be integrated with web applications and custom business applications, allowing you to enrich your data with contextual information. This can be used, for example, to identify users by the application they are using, which can be used to provide more granular access controls to sensitive information.

Get started with Sentinel and improve your security posture

The value of Microsoft Sentinel is in its simplicity. It is flexible, scalable, and easy to use. It also integrates seamlessly with your existing security solutions, and is designed to work with third-party security solutions.

If you want to take your IT security to the next level, talk to the Microsoft specialists at Steadfast Solutions. They will help you implement Microsoft Sentinel into your existing IT environment, optimise the platform to your digital environment, train you and your users on its best practices, and more.