From its base in California, Splunk has grown into one of the most widely used log management solutions on the market. Whether you’re searching, monitoring, or analysing machine data, the platform’s focus on high level log analysis and security incident and event management (SIEM) has made it a go-to choice for businesses across the globe.

But this doesn’t mean that it’s entirely faultless. In fact, many would argue that there are alternatives out there that could prove to be a better fit, particularly following the changes to the log management landscape in the past decade. You can now find faster, more optimised, and more cost-effective options than an overpriced behemoth like Splunk.

Let’s look at some of these Splunk alternatives, highlighting their pros and cons – and why you would consider making the switch.

 

Elastic Security

Elasticsearch is the open-source technology that underpins the majority of SIEM products – including Splunk. In 2020, Elastic launched their own SIEM product, called “Elastic Security”. Don’t be fooled by this new kid on the block, building on their Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana (also known as the ELK stack) product, they built an enterprise-level SIEM product. Elastic is investing heavily into the market, including their recent acquisitions. Their acquisition of Endgame in 2019 means that they bundle in a leading XDR product into the solution and their acquisitions of build.security and Cmd indicate new features are to come. It’s even been recognised in the 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant as an effective SIEM tool.

As the ELK stack is a well-established technology, there are plenty of options for integrating log sources. Performance and scalability are second to none, but the out-of-the-box rules and anomaly detection with machine learning make it a very capable product.

 

Sumo Logic

Marketed as a cloud-based competitor to Splunk, which garnered it a fair amount of attention, Sumo Logic is a SaaS platform that claims to support multiple terabytes of ingested data per day. It uses agents to collect and transfer data from host systems, letting you track your systems alongside your log data.

In a similar way to Splunk, it can also be customised through add-ons to boost functionality. With dashboards, predictive analytics, threat intelligence, and the ability to integrate with existing tools such as Google Cloud, AWS, and Microsoft Azure, it can be a worthy addition to your cyber portfolio.

 

LogDNA

According to the creators of LogDNA, their intention was to create a tool that solved the challenges present in other options on the market. As a free software, you can use LogDNA to collect and monitor log data, using the clear interface, charts, team controls and exclusion rules to ensure that it’s easier to spot significant security events – and react to them in a time efficient manner. Plus, you can spot trends and identify insights through graphs and dashboards.

With a solid foundation, from using an optimised Elasticsearch, you get a wealth of information and can collect or send logs via a host of apps and platforms, from AWS and Syslog to Heroku.

 

LogRhythm

Part of the LogRhythm XDR stack, the LogRhythm NextGen SIEM Platform is a combination of three tools – AnalytiX, DetectX, and RespondX. Regarded as more of a ‘beginner-friendly’ tool than some other options, the highly customisable interface is packed with simple wizards and analytics provisions that can help trigger alarms and flag issues before they cause harm.

While there is seen to be a slight lack in cross-platform support, if you’re looking to automate your log management then you may be tempted by LogRhythm.

 

So, should I make the switch?

In today’s world, organisations have access to solutions that are faster, cheaper, and more effective than ever before – but that doesn’t always mean that finding the right solution is easy. Or that every solution is considered equal.

Splunk wears many hats; both as a log management system and a data analytics platform, as well as operating as a SIEM solution. This richness of features naturally comes at a cost. What you want to do is ensure that these features are what you need.

Compare integration, deployment, services, support, and specific product capabilities before making the leap to a Splunk alternative – or to choosing Splunk itself. Unfortunately, a misstep can prove costly, and potentially leave you with a feature-dense tool that still isn’t ticking your boxes but is instead draining your bank balance.

 

Why we use Elastic Security

While there are a multitude of tools on the market, we use Elastic Security as our fundamental SIEM platform because we don’t think that the technology itself is entirely what differentiates an effective security system from an ineffective one. Fundamentally, SIEM tools are tools, what’s important in crafting anything that works well is that the tool is in the hands.

Setting up an effective security process is similar to building a chair: you need a skilled craftsperson to work separate things and combine them in such a way that the end result is not only usable, but so comfortable that you don’t even question its construction. For us, Elastic Security ticks all the boxes of a tool that helps us make systems that you can rely on to do what they need to do, whenever you need them.

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