How to Secure Your Business Endpoints with Microsoft Sentinel

If your company uses Microsoft’s software, you may be familiar with Azure security solutions such as Microsoft Defender. Today, we’d like to explore another powerful Microsoft solution, Sentinel, which combines security information and event management (SIEM) and security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) technology for a best-of-breed security experience. Sentinel uses AI (Artificial Intelligence) to provide a single solution for attack detection, threat visibility, and response – saving businesses time and money through the power of big data. Continue reading to discover some standout features of Sentinel, as well as our top recommendations for deploying Sentinel in Azure.

Here’s What Your Business Needs to Know About Microsoft Sentinel:

What Is Microsoft Sentinel and How Does it Secure Your Business?

In essence, Sentinel is a cloud-based log centralization solution. Until Sentinel, Microsoft relied on Azure Security Center, a SIEM solution that’s now called Microsoft Defender for Cloud, for detection, investigation, and response to email, collaboration, identity, device, and cloud app threats. A SIEM is meant to collect and log data for a business, alert that business to threats, and possibly recommend remediation steps. Microsoft realized customers needed a SIEM solution that stood apart from and integrated with Security Center, so they created Azure Sentinel, a combined SIEM and SOAR solution. Sentinel works as depicted in the chart below: it collects data from all possible sources and intelligently sorts and presents it in one location.

azure-sentinel-and-other-services blog image

Sentinel not only aggregates an immense amount of data quickly, but also detects previously uncovered threats and minimizes false positives using analytics and threat intelligence from Microsoft. The solution investigates threats with AI, hunts suspicious activities at scale, and responds to incidents rapidly with built-in orchestration and automation of common tasks. To understand how Sentinel is a valuable addition to Defender, an understanding of the difference between SIEM and SOAR solutions is important:

  • SIEM stands for Security and Information Event Management. It references an area of computer security where software products and services combine to provide an analysis of security alerts generated by applications and network hardware.

  • SOAR stands for Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response. A SOAR solution would offer the same analysis and threat detection as a SIEM, but because of its machine learning capabilities, it’s able to weed through and respond to threats more efficiently than a traditional SIEM.  

So, if you’re already using Microsoft Defender (previously Azure Security Center), Sentinel’s AI capabilities could make a significant difference in the cost and effectiveness of your overall cybersecurity strategy. Sentinel functions much like any other SIEM on the market, but because it’s built-in to Azure, it’ll have better integration across your Microsoft ecosystem. And though it's built into Microsoft's platform, Sentinel is not just for Microsoft events. Sentinel aggregates data about events from other services, like firewalls, routers, and switches, as well as working in tandem with other SaaS (cloud based) products, such as Amazon Web Services, Sophos endpoint protection, Citrix, and many more. This means Sentinel can act as a "single pane of glass" through which you can see and manage all security events related to your business. 

Sentinel Can Save Your Business Time and Money

When Microsoft was developing Sentinel, they received feedback from customers that were spending more time on deployment and maintenance of SIEM solutions than on actual threat detection and mitigation. Sentinel functions as an SOC across the enterprise, meaning teams will be able to focus on detection and response while Sentinel’s automation tackles the more tedious tasks. The chart below, taken from Microsoft’s blog, gives an example of how Sentinel’s AI can analyze immense amounts of data quickly and present only the notable events.

sentinel alert noise reduction example blog image
And this is just one time-saving feature of many. Sentinel provides a holistic view of a company’s data and can then automatically respond with a sequence of procedures (called a “Playbook”) that can be run in response to a security alert. Machine learning speeds this process, as response procedures are typically performed by an employee when using a traditional SIEM. Sentinel’s AI also offers companies earlier threat detection, shorter resolution times, and a reduction in the volume of security incidents when compared to a traditional SIEM solution. In fact, Microsoft states, “As a cloud-native SIEM, Microsoft Sentinel is 48 percent less expensive and 67 percent faster to deploy than legacy on-premises SIEMs.” 

Time is money, but money is also money, and an in-house SIEM will usually have both software and labor costs. Meanwhile, Azure Sentinel is a cost-effective add-on solution with predictable billing and flexible commitments. There are two ways Sentinel is billed: Commitment Tiers and Pay-As-You-Go. You’ll want to assess your data prior to deployment to decide which payment system is right for your business, but either option will likely save you money when compared to other SIEM solutions. 

Sentinel is Easy to Deploy

If you’re already a Microsoft client using Azure, the deployment of Azure Sentinel should only take your IT team a few clicks. Microsoft made the deployment process incredibly quick and straightforward compared to the deployment processes of its competitors. If you think you’re ready to deploy Azure Sentinel, there are a few boxes you’ll need to check off first.

  • Determine budget and timeline
  • Nominate a leader for the deployment
  • Make sure you have a Log Analytics workspace
  • Determine data sources and data size requirements 
  • Make sure you have the necessary Azure license, tenant, subscription, and permissions 

Once deployed, Sentinel requires some expertise and monitoring—an outsourced SOC or MSP can help with monitoring, and often businesses already have these in place if they have a traditional SIEM. If needed, iCorps has the expertise to assist with the deployment and monitoring of Sentinel. Sentinel is only available to Azure clients, but it’s one of the first and best cloud-based combination SIEM and SOAR solutions on the market today. If you’re interested in a migration to Azure, iCorps can help with that, too. Whether you’re ready to deploy Sentinel or just beginning the hunt for a service provider for your cybersecurity needs, the experts at iCorps would love to connect with you. Reach out to iCorps today for a free quote!  

Contact for a Free Consultation