What are SIEM and XDR?

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) technology aggregates security data, sends suspicious activity alerts, and provides security information. Advanced Detection and Response (XDR) technology aggregates detection data, initiates automated responses, and sends alerts as needed.

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What is SIEM?

SIEM technology provides security management by combining security information management (SIM) with security event management (SEM) capabilities into a single security management system.

SIEM systems aim to collect security data from several sources, identify suspicious activity and take action. For example, the SIEM system can register additional information about suspicious activity, generate an alert and instruct security controls to stop the progress of the activity.

Basic SIEM systems typically use rules or a statistical correlation machine to establish relationships between different event log entries. Advanced SIEM solutions include security orchestration, automation capabilities, and behavior analysis based on machine learning algorithms.

What is XDR?

XDR technology provides comprehensive threat detection and response. It aims to capture complex and sophisticated threats that other tools have missed by summarizing threat data, initiating appropriate responses and providing analysts with the data needed to properly protect the network.

Many advanced threats evade detection, hiding between signals of an excluded solution and security silos. Because they remain hidden, they can reproduce and spread. Instead of spending time proactively searching for and blocking these threats, security analysts are overwhelmed with signals, trying to sort and investigate with unrelated, narrow points of view on the attack.

XDR breaks security silos by applying a holistic approach to detection and response. XDR technology collects and compares in-depth activity data and discoveries across multiple layers of security, including emails, servers, endpoints, networks, and cloud workloads. It then applies automated analysis to this data to detect threats more quickly.

Azure SIEM with Microsoft Sentinel

Security teams can receive a huge amount of signals. However, trying to sort so many signals can overwhelm the team, leading to alert fatigue. When this happens regularly, the team can ignore many incidents. As a result, critical issues may go unnoticed, exposing the organization to attacks.

Microsoft Sentinel combines SIEM with SOAR to provide automated sorting and response. This helps ensure that teams are not overwhelmed with a huge amount of events. Instead, Sentinel automates repetitive and predictable response, recovery and enrichment, freeing up resources and time for in-depth human investigation and the pursuit of advanced threats.

Threat hunting

Microsoft Sentinel provides a search tool and search queries based on the MITER framework. It allows you to proactively search for threats in multiple data sources before the system even triggers a signal. You can use this ability to identify a search query with high-value information about a potential attack.

Sentinel allows you to bookmark events that you want to return to later or share with others. You can also group events with others to create a more substantial incident to investigate. Additionally, you can use your queries to create custom detection rules that display insights as alerts to incident responders.

Automation rules

Automation rules allow you to centrally manage automation for incident handling. This feature helps you streamline automation at Sentinel and use simple workflows to orchestrate incidents. You can use it to assign incident manuals and automate response actions for several analysis rules. It also allows you to automatically assign, close and mark incidents without using textbooks and controlling the order of actions taken.

Game books

The Sentinel book is a set of response and removal actions that you can perform as a routine. Sentinel manuals are based on Azure Logic Apps workflows. Logic Apps is a cloud service that allows you to automate, organize and schedule workflows and tasks across systems.

You can use textbooks to organize and automate incident response and integrate with external and internal systems to improve functionality. An analysis or automation rule can trigger the automatic launch of a game book in response to certain incidents and alerts. You can also manually start a playbook on demand using the incident page.

Azure XDR with Microsoft Defender

Microsoft Defender XDR provides a cyber security platform that centralizes all Microsoft security offerings, including more than 40 security tools. It offers all the functionality previously offered as Azure Security Center.

Here are the top-level products that include Microsoft Defender XDR:

  • Microsoft 365 Defender (formerly Microsoft Threat Protection)
    • Azure Active Directory (AD)
    • Microsoft Defender for identity
    • Microsoft Defender for endpoints
    • Microsoft Endpoint Manager
    • Microsoft Defender for Office 365
    • Microsoft Defender for the cloud
  • Azure Defender

The tools and features provided by Microsoft Defender XDR support hybrid and cloud infrastructure. It helps to achieve security consistency, regardless of location. Services such as Azure Arc allow you to manage services from anywhere, including Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services (AWS), while being monitored by Microsoft Azure Defender.


In this article, I explained the basics of SIEM and XDR and presented two Microsoft solutions that can help you deploy them in the Azure cloud:

  • Microsoft Sentinel– a managed SIEM platform that allows threat prosecution, automated workflows and security textbooks.
  • Microsoft Defender– a multilateral security platform that includes cloud identity protection components, endpoints, Office-based cloud services, IoT, servers and databases.

I hope this will be useful as you explore the world of Microsoft security solutions in the Azure cloud.

SIEM and XDR on Azure

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