Understanding Splunk ES and Its Role in Cybersecurity

By |Published On: March 7th, 2023|Tags: |

With the ever-evolving threat environment, it’s more important than ever to understand how Splunk cyber security capabilities can help protect enterprise data. Having a deep understanding of how Splunk ES (Enterprise Security) can monitor and protect data will not only boost security confidence but also increase productivity within an organization. 

Whether you’re just starting out with Splunk ES or looking for ways to increase its effectiveness, this blog post will give you valuable insight into how its features can help protect against today’s cyber threats.

Here are some of the topics covered:

  • An overview of the Splunk ES key components. 
  • How Splunk ES integrates with other systems for better security.
  • The role of correlation searches and analytics in detecting potential threats. 
  • An explanation of the different data sources that Splunk ES can monitor.
  • Understanding the best practices for using Splunk ES to monitor cybersecurity threats.

“Having a deep understanding of how Splunk can help monitor and protect data will not only boost confidence but also increase productivity within an organization,” says Kelsey Clark, Director of Splunk and Security Marketing at Hurricane Labs. “Fortunately, the Hurricane Labs team has the breadth and depth of Splunk-focused experience to help our customers experience great success with leveraging our capabilities across their Splunk for security use case.”  

With this information in mind, teams will have a better understanding of how they can utilize Splunk technology. With Splunk ES, teams can gain an unprecedented level of visibility into what’s happening within their networks and take proactive steps toward prevention. So don’t delay – start exploring what Splunk ES has to offer today.

What is Splunk ES? 

Splunk ES is an innovative solution to modern security management, giving powerful insights into your organization’s overall cybersecurity. It gives security teams a comprehensive overview of the risks and threats your business faces – so you can protect it on a massive scale.

The robust alerting and investigation capabilities that come along with Splunk enable teams to quickly identify and respond to any threats, while customizable dashboards and reports allow stakeholders to easily track and analyze trends in their data.

It’s worth noting that Splunk ES is especially powerful with the help of a Splunk-powered Managed Security Provider such as Hurricane Labs. Either through your own Splunk professionals or with our Splunk experts, you can integrate Splunk with a SOC platform and create custom alerts, searches, and workflows tailored to fit the individual needs of your team. Splunk empowers teams with the real-time actionable insight needed for a comprehensive security program.   

In short: Splunk ES gives you the tools to take comprehensive control over your Splunk cyber security operations.

Need help with your Splunk ES use case?

Let’s connect to discuss your requirements and find out how the Hurricane Labs experts can help.

Splunk Enterprise Security Key Components

You can deploy Splunk Enterprise Security (ES) both on Splunk Enterprise and Splunk Cloud, which enables advanced SIEM use cases. Either of these solutions allow you to collect, analyze, and correlate massive amounts of network and machine data in real time. When you manage ES through a web browser, Splunk provides security teams relevant, actionable intelligence to effectively respond to threats and manage security processes.

Key Components

Each of the following components handles segments or roles of data handling or processing activities.

Processing Components: 

  • Splunk Forwarder – Forwarders ingest data. There are two types of Splunk Forwarders: 1. The Splunk Universal Forwarder, and 2. The Splunk Heavy Forwarder. The Universal Forwarder inputs data, performs preprocessing on the data, and then forwards the data to the indexer. 
  • Splunk Indexer – Used for data parsing and indexing. The indexers receive and store the data being forwarded from the forwarders. They also search the data in response to search head requests. Indexers make it easier to perform search operations.
  • Search Head – Graphical user interface (GUI) where users can search, analyze, or report data based on key words. Ultimately, this component performs the search management function. The search head consolidates the results from the indexers and serves them to users. 
Splunk Component Flowchart

To find out more about how the data flows through Splunk Enterprise, check out the data pipeline information in Splunk docs.

Leveraging Splunk Cyber Security Capabilities for Advanced Security Operations

Splunk ES is the go-to option for cyber security experts. This powerful app provides an effective, robust means of defense against threats from email, web browsing, social media accounts, and other sources by monitoring incoming traffic for malicious activity or indicators of compromise (IOCs). With its integrated SOC capabilities and easily customizable settings to keep up with dynamic needs, Splunk ES offers complete visibility into your network environment so that potential risks or bad actors can be swiftly identified. 

Splunk offers the following advantages for your SOC: 

  • Real-time insight into the status of your security, 
  • Single dashboard with centralized insights, 
  • Provides actionable insight for threat analysis and incident investigation, and
  • Reduces false positives and other false alarms across your security infrastructure.

“With Splunk ES we are able to keep up with the ever-changing threat landscape and ensure our customers’ data is secure,” says CISO at Enterprise Financial company and valued customer of Hurricane Labs. “The combination of sophisticated analytics tools with built-in monitoring and visualization capabilities makes it an ideal choice for any security team looking for comprehensive protection.”

Additionally, security analysts are able to use collected data to build out SIEM use cases and intelligence profiles on detected threats for decisive action when necessary. Interested in how to build effective security use cases? Check out our recent blog post to better understand how you can build SIEM use cases that are best for your business.

How does Splunk ES integrate with other systems for enhanced security?

Integrating is the process of bringing together and connecting the component subsystems into one system. Fortunately, Splunk is integration friendly. Splunk ES integrates with existing SIEM tools – such as network firewalls and multi-factor authentication tools (MFA) – and leverages machine learning algorithms to identify suspicious activity in your network traffic. Additionally, Splunk apps can be leveraged to further functionality across the platform and with no limitations. 

You can use Splunk ES to monitor user behavior, detect anomalies, track threats across multiple systems, and respond quickly in the event of an attack. However, it’s good to note that custom integrations may be necessary to fully connect your systems and navigate complex environments. That’s where Hurricane Labs comes in

If you need assistance full integrating Splunk Enterprise Security into your environment – and even managing it – our experts have what it takes to help you succeed.

What are correlation searches and advanced analytics that help security teams detect and defend against modern threats?

Data collection helps you capture all relevant events from across your IT infrastructure and store them in a centralized location for easy access. With event analysis and correlation rules you can detect suspicious activity by analyzing events from multiple sources in real time. Dashboards and reports provide visibility into your security posture in an easy-to-understand format that allows you to identify potential risks quickly.

A correlation search is a type of scheduled search that lets you detect suspicious patterns in your data. You can configure a correlation search to generate a notable event when search results meet specific conditions. 

Splunk Docs provides a great overview of how you can plan the use case for the correlation search. As indicated in the tutorial, you “create a correlation search to address a security use case or problem that you want to solve. If you want to know when vulnerability scanners scan your network, or a high number of devices are infected with the same strain of malware, you can create a correlation search to detect that behavior and alert you. Correlation searches allow you to search across one or more types of data and identify patterns that could indicate suspicious or malicious activity in your environment.”

Along with correlation searches, Splunk ES enables security teams to defend against threats with advanced security analytics and intelligence that provide focused detection and specific alerts to shorten triage times. 

What are the different data sources that can be indexed and analyzed by Splunk Enterprise Security?

Splunk can support any data type. Organizations are able to leverage different apps and add-ons that best suit business needs. 

Hurricane Labs has identified eight data types that are important for SOC engineers and managers to be aware of for a comprehensive SIEM implementation. You can download The Big 8 PDF here

If you’re looking for a more in-depth view of data source planning, check out the Splunk docs article about data source planning for Splunk Enterprise Security.

Splunk ES Best Practices for Monitoring Modern Threats

When you’re leveraging Splunk ES as your SIEM solution, the main number one best practice is: whatever you’re going to do, make sure you do it with a plan.

This is where having specific SIEM use cases in mind come in handy. This is because you want to build alerts around those use cases. In addition, have an idea of how your data will be used as it’s only as good as the data you put into it.

More best practices to come! Stay tuned for our upcoming blog post that does a deep dive into Splunk Enterprise Security monitoring best practices.

In Summary 

To sum up, Splunk’s cyber security solutions are a powerful tool for any organization looking for better visibility into their security posture. With Splunk ES as the core of an organization’s SOC, it provides comprehensive security coverage for organizations in all industry verticals. Specifically, Splunk offers a complete picture of an organization’s security posture enabling Splunk cyber security teams to act quickly in the event of an attack attempt. 

If you need help achieving these goals with your current or new Splunk ES deployment don’t hesitate to reach out. Hurricane Labs’ Splunk experts are here to support your success through our years of experience managing Splunk cyber security use cases at scale with high reliability services and protection. 

Share with your network!
Get monthly updates from Hurricane Labs
* indicates required

About Hurricane Labs

Hurricane Labs is a dynamic Managed Services Provider that unlocks the potential of Splunk and security for diverse enterprises across the United States. With a dedicated, Splunk-focused team and an emphasis on humanity and collaboration, we provide the skills, resources, and results to help make our customers’ lives easier.

For more information, visit www.hurricanelabs.com and follow us on Twitter @hurricanelabs.