UEBA vs. SIEM: What's the Difference?

Both User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA) and Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) are useful tools for fighting cyberattacks. But they detect and alert security teams about potential threats in different, potentially complementary ways. 

User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA) is a security solution that detects cyber threats by identifying activity that deviates from a regular baseline. Although UEBA can be used for various purposes, the most common applications involve monitoring and detecting unusual traffic patterns, unauthorized data access and movement, and suspicious or fraudulent activity on a computer network or endpoints.

UEBA delivers the insights required to discover and investigate irregular patterns in real-time, allowing security analysts to verify and eliminate threats before they cause more damage. UEBA solutions employ various analytic approaches—such as detailed statistics, pattern matching, and rules that leverage signatures—to search for abnormalities that could point to potentially malicious behavior or activities.

Before UEBA solutions can properly perform behavior analytics for an organization, a comprehensive dataset is required for its machine learning technologies, which are simultaneously robust and integrated.

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) refers to the merger of Security Information Management (SIM) and Security Event Management (SEM) under a single umbrella. Mainly, SIEM solutions allow organizations to improve their security posture by storing, analyzing, and correlating various security information. They can produce warnings or command other security controls.

SIEM solutions are typically comprehensive, providing a high-level overview of all of an organization’s connected devices, platforms, networks, and events. But SIEM solutions can be challenging to optimize and hiring additional personnel to handle the workload is often essential.

Today’s SIEM solutions provide extensive analytics in addition to automated response features. They use purpose-built sensors to collect digital forensics data throughout an organization continuously. In addition, they may leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence to identify unusual patterns of behavior on a network to detect the presence of malware or a security breach.

What’s the Difference Between UEBA and SIEM?

As cybersecurity tools, both UEBA and SIEM have merits and can provide similar protection—they both gather cybersecurity data that may uncover threats.

But while SIEM solutions traditionally provide cybersecurity telemetry in the form of log and event data to security teams for follow-up, UEBA solutions typically provide more proactive alerts based on deviations from established user and network behavior baselines. UEBA solutions may also include real-time security analyis and predictive information, enabling proactive threat prevention.

Similarly, SIEM systems send alerts when they detect suspicious activities. As a result, the number of false positive alerts generated by SIEM solutions may cause cybersecurity teams to overlook actual cyber threats within their environment. In contrast, the risk scoring available in UEBA solutions allows a more nuanced ranking of potential threats.

Additionally, UEBA enables companies to customize security measures to specific risks by assigning rankings to security threats—considerably reducing the number of false positives.

What’s Better: UEBA or SIEM?

Both UEBA and SIEM systems include essential cybersecurity features to significantly benefit an organization’s security and compliance efforts. For an organization with a limited need of cybersecurity telemetry—an analysis of data from endpoints, e.g.—SIEM can be the better solution.

UEBA solutions are complementary to SIEM solutions for organization wishing to discover more about how users interact with sensitive corporate data. In addition, such a combination provides more rapid incident detection and response capabilities, thus boosting an organization’s overall cybersecurity posture.

Businesses large and small contend with a growing number of devices, each adding to attack surfaces. At the same time, most enterprises face a cybersecurity skill gap and resources shortages. Cybersecurity staffing is particularly troublesome for small and mid-sized businesses.

As a human-centric subscription-based 24x7x365 Managed XDR service, CylanceGUARD® provides the expertise and support businesses need. CylanceGUARD combines the comprehensive expertise embodied by BlackBerry Cybersecurity Services with AI-based Endpoint Protection (EPP) through CylancePROTECT®, continuous authentication and analytics through CylancePERSONA, and on-device threat detection and remediation through CylanceOPTICS®. In short, CylanceGUARD provides business with the people and technology needed to protect the enterprise from the modern threat landscape.