UEBA & SIEM: How They Differ & Work Together

UEBA & SIEM: How They Differ & Work Together

Are your cybersecurity tools working together effectively? UEBA (User & Entity Behavior Analytics) and SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) are two of the most potent cybersecurity solutions in modern organizations, but they serve very different purposes. UEBA identifies risky behaviors, while SIEM collects and analyzes security data across your network.

In this article, we’ll discuss their unique roles, explain how they differentiate, and show you why combining both in your company can be beneficial.

How Are UEBA & SIEM Different?

The main difference between these two tools is that UEBA specifically focuses on detecting suspicious behavior and potential security threats based on deviations from standard patterns. SIEM collects and analyzes information from different sources to monitor and manage the overall security of an IT system, including logging activities, linking events, and sending real-time alerts.

What Is SIEM?

SIEM is a security tool that collects and analyzes data from different databases within an organization’s IT environment (e.g., network devices, servers, and apps).

It provides real-time monitoring and event correlation, alerts security teams to potential threats, and helps businesses handle compliance management through detailed reports for audit purposes. SIEM systems use a combination of predefined rules, correlation, and patterns to manage security incidents properly.

SIEM focuses on:

  • Threat detection: SIEM systems can quickly detect security breaches by matching abnormal events across different sources to known unusual patterns. This real-time analysis allows security personnel to take immediate action.
  • Centralized log management: SIEM gathers log sources from different critical systems and apps into one centralized platform for more accessible forensic analysis and management. This helps security teams quickly find and address essential issues without switching, but its effectiveness can be limited by its reliance on predefined rules. UEBA’s user behavior analytics adds a layer of protection by monitoring and establishing a baseline between multiple tools.
  • Forensic investigation and reporting: SIEM organizes logs and similar data, making it easier to track the actions of a potential attacker and see how far an incident has spread. It also creates detailed reports that help organizations meet legal requirements and offer helpful information during audits. 
  • Proactive threat hunting: SIEM allows security analysts to look proactively for threats by searching for signs of compromise in the data logs. These proactive measures help businesses detect and respond to sophisticated threats or hidden attacks that might have bypassed conventional security measures.

What Is UEBA?

UEBA uses advanced machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), algorithms, and statistical analyses to detect anomalies in the behavior of users and entities (devices, servers, etc.) within a company’s network.

UEBA establishes a baseline behavior of normal activities specific to the organization and its privileged users. It then continuously monitors and records activity data, applying analytics to recognize patterns that deviate from established norms. When it detects unusual behavior, it can trigger alerts that allow security teams to respond more quickly to potential threats and malicious intent.

UEBA focuses on:

  • Incident prioritization: UEBA assigns risk scores based on how severe the detected behavioral anomaly is. This allows security teams to deal with higher-risk threats first.
  • Data loss prevention: By monitoring user normal behaviors and spotting unusual data movement patterns (or attack patterns), UEBA helps prevent data loss. This is crucial in protecting sensitive information and intellectual property from malicious insider threats and external sources.
  • Entity analytics: UEBA analyzes the activity patterns of entities like computers and applications. It builds baselines of normal behavior to detect deviations that could indicate threats, allowing for tailored threat detection based on the entity type.
  • User monitoring: UEBA continuously monitors user activity across the network to spot unusual behavior patterns, such as logging in at strange times or uncharacteristic access to sensitive data.
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Combining UEBA & SIEM for Better Cybersecurity Defenses

UEBA and SIEM are not just tools; they are the backbone of your cybersecurity strategy, especially when dealing with advanced threats. It’s highly recommended that you combine both to ensure a formidable defense for your company.

Here are some of the most common benefits of combining these two powerful tools:

Incident Prioritization & More Efficient Incident Response

By combining the power of UEBA and SIEM, your security professionals can efficiently sort through accurate alerts, distinguishing real threats from false positives. This streamlined process ensures that high-priority incidents receive immediate attention, reducing the time spent investigating insignificant anomalies. This enhanced efficiency should instill confidence in your cybersecurity strategy.

Furthermore, the combination of UEBA and SIEM supports automated response protocols that can swiftly mitigate cyber threats. This proactive approach provides richer insights into each incident, empowering your team to respond more effectively and confidently to potential threats.

Data Leak Prevention

Regarding data leak prevention, SIEM can detect and alert suspicious events, unauthorized access attempts, or policy violations related to data access levels. However, its effectiveness can be limited by its reliance on predefined rules. This is where UEBA’s user behavior analytics comes in, adding a crucial layer of protection by monitoring and baselining user activities like historical access patterns, data transfers, and email communications.

For instance, if an ordinarily low-profile user suddenly accesses a large volume of sensitive data, UEBA and SIEM systems can collaborate to assess whether this behavior aligns with the user’s typical pattern and security policies. If not, the systems can trigger automated responses such as alerts, session termination, or even more advanced controls to prevent data from being transmitted outside the corporate network logs. This comprehensive protection should reassure you of your data and system integrity.

Better Endpoint Monitoring & Prevention

When malicious activity is detected on an endpoint device, such as unauthorized access attempts or suspicious file transfers, the UEBA system can trigger an alert within the SIEM. This alert uses contextual data from both systems, allowing security staff to investigate and respond to potential threats quickly.

Furthermore, endpoint prevention mechanisms like blocking malicious processes or restricting network access control can be automatically initiated based on risk scores calculated from the combined UEBA and SIEM data.

Automated Insider Threat Detection

When you connect UEBA’s security technology to identify insider risks with SIEM’s view of concerning events like unauthorized access attempts, you get an automated system to catch potential risks and insider threats.

The system can automatically alert security teams when it sees things like a malicious actor installing vast amounts of sensitive data or right before trying to transfer huge file zips to a personal email. Quickly catching suspicious activity this way reduces the need for your team to handle each potential issue manually.

Speed Up Investigations

SIEM’s ability to quickly gather data from across the network environment through its advanced technology provides a broad view of security events, which is essential for initial assessments. When combined with UEBA’s detailed behavioral analytics, security teams can quickly get to the root cause of an incident, something that used to be a common challenge in modern organizations.

Investigations that previously might have taken days can often be completed in hours. Plus, with UEBA’s adaptive deep learning capabilities, the system becomes more efficient at identifying true critical threats over time. It minimizes false alerts that used to take up lots of valuable investigation time.


What is the difference between SIEM SOAR and UEBA?

SIEM, SOAR, and UEBA are all security solutions, but they have distinct capabilities. SIEM focuses on collecting and analyzing security event logs, SOAR automates incident response processes, and UEBA uses advanced analytics to detect insider threats by monitoring user behavior.

What is UEBA in cyber security?

User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA) is a cybersecurity technology that uses advanced analytics to monitor and detect abnormal behavior in users and entities within a network. By analyzing patterns and deviations from normal behavior, UEBA helps organizations identify potential insider threats, enhancing overall security measures.

What is the difference between UEBA and EDR?

User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA) is a cybersecurity solution that analyzes user behavior to detect and prevent insider threats. EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response) focuses on detecting and responding to threats on endpoint devices. UEBA and EDR play different roles in enhancing an organization’s cybersecurity posture.

Is a SIEM a firewall?

SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) is not a firewall. While a firewall is a network security device that filters and controls incoming and outgoing network traffic, SIEM is a technology that collects and analyzes security events and logs from various sources to detect and respond to threats.

Are SIEMs outdated?

No, SIEMs are not outdated. They still play a crucial role in cybersecurity, providing a broad view of security events across the network environment and quickly gathering data for initial assessments. SIEMs, when combined with technologies like UEBA, can enhance their capabilities and provide more advanced threat detection and response.

What is an example of a SIEM?

No, SIEMs are not outdated. They are still widely used in cybersecurity and are crucial in detecting and responding to security events. Some examples of SIEMs include Splunk, IBM QRadar, and LogRhythm.

Can SIEM detect attacks?

Yes, SIEM systems can detect and alert security teams about potential cyberattacks. SIEMs collect and analyze logs and security events from various sources, allowing them to identify suspicious patterns and alert security personnel to take necessary actions.


With cybersecurity attacks becoming more sophisticated, relying on a single security technology tool to respond to incidents quickly and precisely and anticipate threats before they occur is no longer sufficient.

While SIEM is the foundational management platform for monitoring, UEBA adds a layer of sophisticated behavioral analytics to help you pinpoint specific anomalies. Together, they create a defense duo that allows businesses to respond to incidents quickly and precisely and anticipate threats before they strike.

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