Migrating From Splunk to Azure Sentinel

As networks increasingly grow in complexity and scale, it becomes even more critical for enterprises to have a trustworthy security solution. Azure Sentinel, a Microsoft SIEM security solution, is a leading and incredible tool to safeguard enterprises against security threats. It is supported by AI and offers intelligent cloud security to your entire business against potential breaches. It is the leading choice for companies already on or moving to the cloud. Compared to the traditional SIEM tools, Microsoft’s Azure Sentinel detects and investigates possible security threats in real-time, helping organizations avoid the weight of maintaining and scaling infrastructure. In addition, it responds to threats and breaches and limits the time taken to recognize them. This article explores the benefits and steps of migrating from Splunk to Azure Sentinel.

What Is Azure Sentinel?

Azure Sentinel, also known as Microsoft Sentinel, is a scalable, cloud-native solution that provides security information and event management (SIEM) and security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) and runs in the Azure cloud. It automatically scales and aims to enable holistic security operations by offering collection, detection, investigation, and response capabilities.

Microsoft Azure Sentinel uses built-in AI to create automated playbooks and custom rules to collect data across the organization. It can collect data from any source, like on-premise and cloud systems, covering the multi-cloud and hybrid infrastructure. You can also use Azure Sentinel for security event analysis. Common use cases of Sentinel include:

  • Log data visualization
  • Attack detection and alerting
  • Investigation of threats and security incidents
  • Proactive threat hunting
  • Automated threat response

As such, Azure Sentinel delivers threat intelligence and intelligent security analytics across the enterprise. It provides a bird’s eye view across the organization alleviating the burden of increasing volumes of alerts, sophisticated tasks, and long resolution time frames.

How Does Azure Sentinel Work?

Azure Sentinel works based on a cycle that begins with log management and continues to data validation, schema normalization, detection, and investigation and includes proactive, automated responses to threat alerts. It delivers end-to-end visibility by connecting your security resources to Microsoft Azure Sentinel through Data Connectors. The data collected across different sources like devices, users, infrastructure, and applications, including on-premises and in multiple cloud components, flows into Azure Log Analytics. The log analytics workspace provides unlimited storage to hold data from various sources. How data is collected defines what detections can be run against the data. This collected data is then investigated for possible issues and threats using Workbooks. Build-in workbooks allow you to evaluate the data immediately, while custom and interactive workbooks enable you to view the data as you wish. These Sentinel workbooks help measure, monitor, and control your data as well as create particular queries to design rules known as Analytics.

Analytics rules, or SIEM content, scrutinizes the ingested data for anomalies and correlate alerts into incidents. Azure Sentinel offers built-in machine learning rules and correlation rules to help map your network’s behavior and detect suspicious activities, but it will need tuning within your system to obtain maximum value. Once you have analytics rules, you can monitor incidents and respond to threats rapidly with automatic actions and built-in orchestration using automatic Playbooks that have SOAR capabilities for containment,  enrichment, integration to an ITSM, or any other custom automated incident response. Finally, you can start hunting for potential security threats.

Why Migrate to Azure Sentinel?

According to a data breach study from IBM, 61% of businesses cite cybercrime and data theft as the greatest threat to their reputation. And based on the study, the average cost of these breaches is roughly $6.5M in the United States.

This shows that the traditional Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) setup can’t stand cybercriminals’ masterminds.  They can easily overtake it with their complex and sophisticated attack strategies. The massive volumes of threats can be overwhelming, and teams spend too much effort setting up and maintaining infrastructure. As a result, a large number of threats go unnoticed.

In addition, the cybersecurity sector is currently experiencing a shortage of qualified workers, with 64% of the workers in the industry agreeing that their company is affected by this shortage. Based on reports, the industry needs approximately 3 million skilled professionals. Therefore, most businesses are leveraging Azure Sentinel as an all-in-one solution in the network security sector. It empowers security operations teams and enhances the security position to address today’s challenges of security analytics. Here are other top business reasons to migrate to Azure Sentinel:

Provides Smooth Data Integration

Microsoft Azure Sentinel seamlessly integrates with data sources such as apps, users, servers, and devices on any cloud to collect security data across the organization. Driven by Artificial Intelligence, Azure Sentinel identifies genuine threats to respond immediately. Unlike traditional SIEMs, it unburdens security operations teams from the stress of spending time setting up, maintaining, and scaling infrastructure. It is built on Azure and offers unlimited cloud speed and capacity to match your security demands.

Offers Faster and Smarter Threat Protection

Azure Sentinel leverages scalable machines built with learning algorithms to discern anomalies and forward them to analysts. Once it detects a correlated security incident, it motivates the IT team to investigate by sending an alert. This enables the team to focus their tie and efforts on a specific issue and determine whether it is a possible breach. They can then run the response plan to mitigate the threat as fast as possible, limiting the damage.

Meets the Demands of Both Management and IT Teams

Microsoft Sentinel provides a centralized control platform that brings the management and security team together in a single place. It gives external and internal security teams a wide range of tools to enhance security operations. And with automation supported by AI and ML, the team can easily detect and remedy threats in real time. Additionally, the management team can also access vital data across the organization with the help of the Microsoft Azure Sentinel dashboard. This helps save time instead of collecting reports from various departments and allows more direct opportunities for valuable insights.

Delivers Better Value for Money and Time

Because managers can easily access the status of alerts, events, and cases via a single dashboard, it saves them time to identify any possible malicious activities and data source anomalies. Plus, it offers quick and in-depth analysis with valuable threat management features like cases, notebooks, and hunting as well as configuration features such as analytics, data connections, FAQs and workspace settings. Furthermore, you can automatically scale Azure Sentinel service to suit your enterprise security needs at any given time. This allows you to pay only for the needed resources and reduce usage when needed. And as Microsoft runs the Sentinel solution as a platform-based security service, your IT security team can focus more on threats instead of managing technology.

Steps to Migrate From Splunk to Sentinel

Using Azure Sentinel for cloud technology. Cloud server technology concept.

Here are the primary steps to follow when migrating from Splunk to Azure Sentinel.

1. Migrate Detection Rules

Microsoft Azure Sentinel leverages machine learning analytics to provide actionable and high-fidelity incidents. However, some of your current detections may be redundant in Azure Sentinel. So don’t migrate all your analytics and detection rules blindly. When migrating detection rules to Sentinel, there are things you need to consider as you identify your current detection rules.

  • Select use cases that support rule migration based on efficiency and business priority.
  • Review any detection rules that haven’t triggered any threat alerts in the last 6-12 months and consider whether they’re still useful.
  • Discard low-level alerts or threats that you usually ignore.
  • Confirm whether Azure Sentinel’s built-in analytics rules can address your existing functionality and use cases since some of your current detections may not be required anymore.
  • Check connected data sources and assess your data connection approaches. Review data collection to ensure data breadth and depth across the use cases you want to detect.

Once you migrate your detection rules to Azure Sentinel, test the rule with each relevant use case. If it doesn’t offer the expected results, you can review the KQL query and test it again. When you are satisfied, your rule can be considered successfully migrated. Create a playbook to match your rule action as necessary.

2. Migrate SOAR Automation

Azure Sentinel offers Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR) capabilities with playbooks that run predetermined action sequences to respond and remedy threats and automation rules that automate threat handling and response. Automation rules simplify complicated workflows for your incident management process and enable you to orchestrate your incident handling automation centrally. Automation rules can help you:

  • Perform simple automation tasks like tag or close incidents or change status without necessarily using playbooks.
  • Automate responses for several analytics rules at the same time.
  • Control executed action orders.
  • Run playbooks for use cases that need more complex automation tasks.

Most of the playbooks used with Azure Sentinel are available, but in some cases, you might need to develop playbooks from scratch or through existing templates.

3. Export Historical Data

It is possible to export historical data from Splunk in many ways. The export method you choose depends on your data volume and interactivity level. For instance, exporting just one on-demand search through Splunk Web might be adequate for a low-volume export. But if you plan to set up a higher-volume export, REST and SDK options are more efficient. Use one of the Splunk export approaches to export data from Splunk and use the CVS as the output format.

4. Run Side By Side

Your security operations team uses SIEM and SOAR solutions to safeguard your increasingly decentralized digital space. The best approach is to deploy Azure Sentinel in a side-by-side configuration with your current SIEM. Run the two side-by-side either as a short-term migration phase that leads to an entirely cloud-hosted SIEM or a medium-to-long-term operational approach, depending on your organization’s SIEM needs. For instance, while the recommended model is to run a side-by-side model just long enough to finish a transition to Azure Sentinel, your business may want to maintain the side-by-side configuration for longer such as when you aren’t ready to migrate from your existing SIEM. Companies that use a side-by-side configuration long-term typically use Azure Sentinel to ingest and analyze only their cloud data. This recommended side-by-side configuration approach offers you total value from Azure Sentinel, along with the ability to deploy data sources at the speed that’s right for your company. This method eliminates duplicating costs for ingestion and data storage while you migrate your data sources.

Make the Most Out of Microsoft Azure Sentinel

At Agile IT, we understand that having an efficient security solution is essential in the modern digital world. As such, we have deployed and configured Azure Sentinel for organizations across healthcare, Defense, manufacturing, and finance against frameworks including CMMC,  NIST 800-171, and Zero Trust Architecture. Our team can help you simplify your cybersecurity management through license and vendor consolidation and fully integrated XDR. Be sure to contact us to learn more about what we offer.

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