What Is Next-Gen SIEM (Security Information and Event Management)? 

Kasey Cross - February 9, 2024

Understanding Next-Gen SIEM

Initially designed to offer network visibility and identify traffic for the detection of malicious activity, security information and event management (SIEM) has undergone a significant evolution since its introduction. In response to digital advancements like cloud computing, big data, and remote work models, SIEM has evolved, extending visibility beyond traditional perimeters. This article takes a closer look at the current landscape of next-generation SIEM, shedding light on its advanced capabilities in addressing the challenges that most security teams face today.

What is the difference between traditional SIEM and next-gen SIEM?

Traditional SIEM solutions primarily focus on collecting and indexing log outputs from various applications and systems within an organization’s network. They enable security analysts to search and retrieve specific log details, facilitating tasks such as auditing compliance event reporting or conducting forensic deep dives. Traditional SIEM solutions also excel at correlating logs from diverse sources, providing valuable insights during investigations based on unique identifiers like IP addresses.

However, legacy SIEM solutions often generate high volumes of alerts that can be challenging to navigate, requiring a deep level of expertise to apply accurate filters and refine searches. Due to the expert skills required and labor-intensive processes of combing through alerts to identify real threats, meaningful events can easily be overlooked. This often results in prolonged investigations that can span weeks, leaving the company susceptible to successful data breaches.

As organizations have increasingly embraced digital transformation and migrated to cloud environments, the limitations of traditional SIEM solutions have become more apparent. The demand for advanced capabilities has fueled the evolution of next-gen SIEM solutions, which are designed to overcome the shortcomings of their predecessors by introducing a host of advanced features, such as:

Comprehensive visibility

It’s more important than ever to gain a comprehensive view of your entire institution. Next-gen SIEM goes beyond traditional log-centric approaches by ingesting raw streaming data — including flows, logs, and identity information — with the ability to handle millions of enrichments. Correlating events across all systems and networks improves visibility into potential cyber threats. This comprehensive visibility is crucial for ensuring the effectiveness of the organization’s security controls and, in turn, lowering the overall risk profile.

Proactive threat detection

Next-gen SIEM solutions excel at detecting threats across various environments, including cloud, on-premises, and hybrid infrastructures. They can identify both known and unknown threats in real time and apply advanced analytics techniques, such as AI, machine learning, and behavior profiling. This contextual approach ensures relevance, preventing alert fatigue and empowering security teams to efficiently focus on high-risk investigations. By swiftly responding to potential security incidents, organizations can trim their mean time to identify (MTTI), significantly boosting their cyber resilience against threats.

Continuous compliance

Next-Gen SIEM systems provide comprehensive reporting for regulatory compliance mandates such as HIPAA, NIST, GDPR, and PCI. They leverage data analytics capabilities over historical and long-term time frames, helping organizations maintain continuous compliance and meet stringent regulatory requirements.

Automatic containment and elimination

Today’s advanced SIEM solutions embed some security orchestration automation and response (SOAR) capabilities to automate remediation activities in real time. Additionally, next-gen SIEM solutions offer security teams guidance on how to contain a threat and navigate the incident response process, effectively accelerating an organization’s response to emerging threats.

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Where did SIEM come from?

The concept of SIEM was first created in the late ‘90s as network and security teams looked for ways to consolidate the event log information from their various devices in a central location. As such, the inception of the centralized logging function within SIEM can be traced back to its roots as security information management (SIM). However, as technology progressed, the mere aggregation of data proved insufficient. Security operations center (SOC) analysts sought to enhance their capabilities by applying logic to the data, identifying patterns of known malicious activity in real time rather than relying solely on post-mortem analysis. This evolution led to the emergence of security event management (SEM).

What’s SEM in today’s SIEM?

Primary function: Security event management

Primary goal: Security surveillance and prioritized response

SEM plays a pivotal role in the contemporary SIEM landscape, with the primary function of conducting thorough security surveillance and executing a prioritized response to potential threats. SEM has transformed the analysis of data by incorporating advanced techniques such as matching lists, network traffic mapping, and the correlation of various events and alerts. Instead of focusing solely on individual events, SEM now identifies sequences of activities. Furthermore, SEM introduces essential features for effective investigations, including case management and response workflows. This entails grouping related alerts into a cohesive “case,” assigning cases to specific users or teams, and meticulously tracking the progress and information until the investigation reaches a conclusive outcome.

What’s SIM in today’s SIEM?

Primary function: Log management

Primary goal: Build a central repository; meet compliance requirements

Within today’s SIEM framework, SIM functions as log management, overseeing the systematic collection and centralized storage of log files for subsequent analysis. This establishes a centralized repository for all event logs generated within an environment. Following data collection, various actions can be performed on the data. The core focus of SIM lies in data retention and reporting. Many enterprises use the SIM capabilities within their SIEM solutions to demonstrate compliance with data protection laws, such as GDPR, HIPAA, PCI-DSS, and SOX.

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Where does next-gen SIEM fit in cybersecurity?

A next-gen SIEM solution is integral to an organization’s overall security strategy, serving as the central hub for security teams to gain deep visibility into all systems and effectively address a broad spectrum of threats. In contrast to traditional solutions, next-gen SIEM solutions are designed as cloud-native software as a service (SaaS) platforms, providing more elastic scaling and functionality across decentralized, hybrid, and multi-cloud environments.

One key strength of a next-gen SIEM solution is its ability to ingest diverse streaming telemetry, providing security teams with a holistic and real-time view of potential risks and vulnerabilities. This adaptability, coupled with integrated threat intelligence, empowers organizations to proactively identify and mitigate security threats. By meeting the demands of modern infrastructures, the latest evolution in SIEM solutions significantly improves their capability to detect, prevent, and remediate a wide range of potential threats.

10 critical next-gen SIEM capabilities

There are ten critical capabilities modern SIEM solutions should include to help organizations elevate their security operations:

  • Comprehensive data collection and management

For complete observability, a next-gen SIEM solution ensures that every data source is accessible, providing a basis for in-depth analysis and correlation across borderless infrastructure. Modern SIEM solutions seamlessly ingest data from diverse sources — such as security solutions, applications, endpoints, and network packet information — to gain a holistic view of the environment.

Next-gen SIEM solutions must also seamlessly integrate with public and private cloud platforms, including AWS, Microsoft Azure, and GCP, extending their reach for efficient data gathering and advanced threat analytics across multiple clouds. This is crucial for identifying threats across an organization’s extended environment, ensuring a streamlined and robust defense against emerging threats.

  • Big data architecture

The SIEM solution is the source of truth for the SOC, so scalability is paramount. The SIEM solution must scale effortlessly to ingest numerous data sources and support big data analytics without hesitation or strain. It plays a pivotal role and should be highly responsive to support security analysts with triaging and investigating while continuously monitoring and analyzing large data volumes. It should also perform a search query across multiple datasets simultaneously. This capability, known as federated search, empowers real-time retrieval of information from various siloed data sources through a single search, significantly increasing the efficiency and agility of cybersecurity operations.

  • Deployment and architecture

Legacy SIEM solutions were burdened with inherent complexities in both setup and ongoing management. Next-gen SIEM solutions overcome these challenges. Equipped with extensive built-in connectors, they ensure seamless data ingestion from existing products, simplifying the deployment process. This translates to an organization experiencing swift time-to-value — a critical advantage for those seeking immediate security enhancements.

Notably, modern SIEM solutions have a cloud-based architecture. This strategic shift to cloud SIEM solutions not only reduces deployment complexities but delivers cost savings in operations and management overhead, marking a significant leap forward in cybersecurity efficiency.

  • Enrichment of user and asset context

Data enrichment transforms raw data into meaningful insights by adding contextual information to security event data. By enriching security events with contextual details from user directories, asset inventory tools, geolocation tools, and third-party threat intelligence databases, SIEM solutions elevate their ability to decipher and respond to potential security risks. A robust next-gen SIEM solution should include real-time, accurate, and comprehensive threat intelligence data on a global scale that’s regularly correlated with high volumes (think trillions) of events every day. This streamlines analysis by revealing pertinent details such as known attack tools or patterns as well as the adversary responsible.

  • Identity threat protection

Identity threat detection and protection capabilities play a pivotal role in a next-gen SIEM solution by providing visibility for identity-based attacks and anomalies. Next-gen SIEM solutions should automatically classify identities into human, service, and privileged accounts across hybrid identity stores, comparing live traffic against behavior baselines and rules to detect lateral movement and anomalous traffic in real time. This proactive approach advances the overall threat detection capabilities of a next-gen SIEM solution, empowering security teams to identify suspicious activity and respond promptly to mitigate potential threats.

  • Automated tracking of lateral movement

Automated detection of lateral movement capabilities is integral to a SIEM solution, enabling the system to identify and track the lateral progression of a threat actor within an organization’s environment. A next-gen SIEM solution provides a set of unified analytics that can be chained together, often referred to as model chaining, which finds early warning of risky behavior like lateral movement. This automation accelerates the detection of malicious activities, enhancing an organization’s resilience by minimizing the time between threat identification and remediation.

  • Improved security information model

Next-gen SIEM excels at identifying all elements of an attack from various sources and automatically compiling them in a dashboard with a visual timeline. This attack timeline provides details on the operational events underlying a security incident in chronological order. Unlike older SIEM solutions where analysts had to manually piece together the timeline, the single-pane-of-glass details provided by modern SIEM solutions enable analysts to focus on what matters most.

Modern SIEM solutions have also bid farewell to the notoriously complex query languages of legacy systems. Instead, they offer robust support for simple and intuitive query languages, which expedites the triage process and empowers tier-1 analysts to effectively handle more complex investigations.

  • Incident prioritization

Comprehensive data sources combined with advanced analytics models are pivotal for providing critical context to determine the priority of an attack. This alleviates much of the manual effort required by security teams to conduct investigations and confirm the validity of an attack campaign.

With next-gen SIEM providing clear priorities on incident risk, security teams can work more efficiently and understand the right next step rather than waiting to execute all actions at once. For example, prioritized details on the infected systems ensure security analysts can pinpoint these systems to isolate them from the network and impede lateral movement or malware spread. This ensures organizations can swiftly take measures for a targeted response to preserve business continuity.

  • Automated threat remediation

In the face of successful cyberattacks, organizations require advanced remediation capabilities, prompting the evolution of next-gen SIEM solutions to incorporate automated incident response features. These sophisticated systems adeptly compile details about an event and employ dynamic playbooks to orchestrate precise, automated actions for remediating incidents.

Next-gen SIEM solutions also seamlessly integrate into a team’s security processes by automating workflows with integrated systems like IT service management (ITSM), which streamlines the overall incident response process for enhanced cybersecurity resilience.

  • Live dashboards and reporting

Next-gen SIEM solutions significantly improve support for compliance use cases, facilitating fast and efficient audits. With customizable dashboards and centralized compliance auditing and reporting, modern SIEM solutions provide built-in reporting for common mandates and standards like SOX, NIST, GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI. This robust compliance support ensures seamless internal audits and compliance with external audit and certification requirements.

Next-gen SIEM with CrowdStrike

At CrowdStrike, we provide the world’s leading AI-native platform for next-gen SIEM that empowers organizations to rapidly shut down threats with real-time detections, blazing-fast search, and
cost-effective data retention. Our next-gen SIEM and log management products include:

CrowdStrike Falcon® Next-Gen SIEM
Detect, investigate, and hunt down threats faster than you thought possible at petabyte scale with our next-gen SIEM solution.

CrowdStrike Falcon® Search Retention
Conveniently and cost-effectively store CrowdStrike Falcon® platform data while benefiting from blazing-fast search, real-time alerting, and an extensive set of dashboards.


Kasey Cross is a Director of Product Marketing at CrowdStrike, where she is helping pioneer the AI-native SOC with next-gen SIEM. She has over 10 years of experience in marketing positions at cybersecurity companies including Palo Alto Networks, Imperva, and SonicWALL. She was also the CEO of Menlo Logic and led the company through its successful acquisition by Cavium Networks. She graduated from Duke University.