A guide to compare SIEM, SOAR, and XDR for SMES and SMBS from a complexity and cost perspective

When it comes to effective and efficient incident management for your business enterprise, you do not want to leave any stone unturned to keep your valuable information assets safe. This article gives you insight into the best solution for your enterprise- SIEM, SOAR, or XDR when dealing with incident management.

Organizations are continuously generating massive amounts of data that they have to deal with. The problem of dealing with this massive amount of data is humongous as there is a continuous flow of data generated from applications, operating systems, servers, and networks. Continuous flow of data in form of logs and alerts make it challenging for SOC (Security Operations Center) teams to efficiently manage the data coming from various logs coming from varied sources. Efficient management of data is paramount for effective and timely identification of events, incidents, and problems as it aims to prevent cyber-attacks and implement an efficient security mechanism that calls for minimum human interference. SIEM, SOAR, and XDR are often used when dealing with incident and event management. They play different yet overlapping roles in detecting, preventing, and continuously monitoring threats facing organizations and help in effective incident response and preventing an intrusion attempt to barge into your enterprise network.


An event is a deviation from the normal behavior of a given application, information system, or process. If not managed properly, an event has the potential to become an incident which is a change or deviation that has the potential to impact the organization negatively. It is therefore important to deal with the security incident in order to prevent any adverse impact on a business. Security incident and event management play the following roles:

  • Efficiently addressing the incident and faster escalation before it becomes a problem.
  • Building customer and client trust in the security capabilities of the organization in protecting their information assets.
  • Prioritizes ongoing incident management activities by aligning them to address the most significant or high severity/priority incident.


SIEM, SOAR, or XDR often encompass logic and threat intelligence together to analyze log files to detect, analyse, and respond to an intrusion attempt. However, the investment in one or the other solutions must be vetted against the following challenges of SIEM, SOAR, or XDR implementation:

  • SOC teams may miss the findings if logs are not managed adequately.
  • There could be many false positives if the incident management tool is not configured appropriately.
  • In either case, there is a risk of missing the context completely during log analysis.
  • Implementing a SIEM solution may not solve all your problems as there is a lot of manual work required.
  • The big issue is the cost of a SOC, especially the people element, as you may need to work 24x7, i.e., having 4-5 teams, each having 2-3 people available in rotating shifts for you. Hence, on a lower end, an enterprise may need 8 to 15 employees only for handling incidents.

SIEM (Security Information & Event Management) enables rapid and real-time threat monitoring and incident response by collecting, correlating, and analyzing log data from various devices connected to the enterprise's networked environment. ArcSight, IBM QRadar, Splunk, are some of the key SIEM solutions available today.

SOAR (Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response), on the other hand, has the capabilities to mitigate the security risks by implementing automated response systems for the effective management of events. SOAR consolidates data from various enterprise resources to initiate security response functions without human assistance by leveraging security automation.

XDR (Extended Detection and Response), on the other hand, is more end-point centric, can access API data directly, is capable of targeting stealth cybersecurity threats. An XDR is a SaaS-based solution that uses AI (Artificial Intelligence) and can integrate multiple security products into a cohesive security solution by unifying all licensed components for security threat detection and incident response capabilities.



SIEM helps in the detection of any breach of sensitive data or malfunction of technology that might have an adverse impact on the enterprise/ business by efficiently managing logs. SIEM successfully alerts the event/ incident management team/ personnel of the potential as well as present threats so that they can stay updated. However, SIEM in today's time is slowly becoming less relevant and has the following limitations:

  • SIEM generally fails to detect any sort of unfamiliar threats. It has the capabilities to detect cybersecurity threats but limited or no capabilities to respond to them.
  • Unable to cope up with the ever-accelerating growth rate of incoming security alerts.
  • High false-positive rate

SIEM solutions come with a hefty expense ranging from $25000 to $100000, which might not be a viable option for SMEs or SMBs having a limited security budget. An efficient SIEM solution has to be configured over a period of time and may take 2-3 years to build the logic around collecting and correlating the data and to develop the use cases that addresses the unique enterprise needs. Hence, the associated cost has to be calculated in relation to the findings. Cost is one factor that enterprises may have to consider, but the following questions remain unanswered:

  • How efficient is the implemented solution?
  • How to get ROI (Return On Investment) or ROSI (Return On Security Investment)?


SOAR helps to certify and scrutinize threats as well as reform them or at least assist the security operation center to look into the threats. SOAR seems to provide a complete package for threat management that performs- threat and vulnerability management, incident response, and security operations automation. However,

  • SOAR increases the efficiency of the analysts' work but cannot completely replace them.
  • For a favorable use of SOAR, an organization needs experienced resources in the IT security team who understands the functionalities of it.
  • SOAR is less flexible, and it is much harder to create a generic SOAR solution for unique enterprise needs by customization.

From a price standpoint, the SOAR solution comes at a quite reasonable cost if compared with the SIEM.


XDR serves the function of both SIEM and SOAR. It not only detects security threats but also responds to service/ technology failure. XDR serves a greater potential to provide a substantial threat detection and response system.

In a nutshell, an XDR is comparatively less complex if compared to the other solutions, provides a single, integrated and automated platform giving you complete visibility of your enterprise IT environment

  • XDR reduces manual efforts, provides more insightful analysis of the incident, and augments incident management teams' capabilities to quickly streamlines workflows for further investigations.
  • It helps enterprises to make logical connections with the imminent threat, intelligence sources
  • It helps provide the data within a single pane of view that has enhanced dashboarding capabilities, is visual, and provides an attack-centric timeline view that can answer the following questions:
    • How did the system or the user get compromised?
    • Where was the vulnerable spot of entry into the network?
    • What is the threat origin (threat source)?
    • Who all are the other users or systems facing the same threat

Most importantly, the integration of XDR with the SIEM and SOAR enables security analysts to orchestrate XDR insight with the broader security ecosystem and stronger cybersecurity posture of the enterprise.

It is viable for SMEs, which can focus less on having the expertise to operate XDR solutions. XDR comes with the following limitations:

  • High dependency on Artificial Intelligence- Machine Learning (AI-ML) and automation make XDR difficult to manage.
  • Need of experienced manpower for effective configuration and usage.

It is comparatively less expensive and thus can be a brilliant choice for enterprises looking for less complexity and having to spend less for a good solution.


People, process, and technology are an integral part of any business/enterprise and must be used in tandem in protecting the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of its valuable information assets. It is equally important for organizations to protect themselves from any service or technical failure that can compromise their security posture. Deciding and investing in a technology suitable solution will only cover half the way, and rest must be carefully balanced by training 'people' and improving security 'processes.' An enterprise must continue to explore new ways to ensure a robust cybersecurity posture and leverage the right tools like SIEM, SOAR, and XDR.


  1. Thu Fam. (July 28,2020). SIEM, SOC, SOAR & XDR Defined. Blumira. https://www.blumira.com/siem-soc-soar-xdr-defined/
  2. (August 09,2020). SIEM, SOAR, and XDR- Industry Trends Regarding Data and DevNet. The Security Blogger. https://www.thesecurityblogger.com/siem-soar-and-xdr-industry-trends-regarding-data-and-devnet/
  3. Ben Canner (March 4, 2021) SIEM, SOAR, and XDR: What Does Your Business Need? Solutions Review. https://solutionsreview.com/security-information-event-management/siem-soar-and-xdr-what-does-your-business-need/
  4. Eric Parizo (March 3,2021) What's So Great About XDR? Dark Reading. https://www.darkreading.com/omdia/whats-so-great-about-xdr/a/d-id/1340560
  5. What is XDR Security, and Why do I need It? Mandiant. https://www.fireeye.com/mandiant/automated-defense/xdr-faq.html
  6. SOAR (Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response). LogRhythm. https://logrhythm.com/solutions/security/security-automation-and-orchestration/
  7. What is Extended Detection and Response? McAfee. https://logrhythm.com/solutions/security/security-automation-and-orchestration

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Guy gründete Cubic Consulting mit seiner umfangreichen Erfahrung, die er durch seine weltweite Arbeit für Unternehmen wie Sony Corp sammeln konnte.

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