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A Comparison Guide > Microsoft Sentinel Vs. Splunk > Security

6 Min. Read

When it comes to security information and event management (SIEM), Microsoft Sentinel and Splunk are two major players in the IT security game.

Although the two network SIEM solutions are similar, they do have some minor differences in terms of cost, analytics, cyber intelligence, and other offered features.

Continue reading to find out which SIEM, Microsoft Sentinel, or Splunk, best fits the needs of your enterprise security.

What is Microsoft Sentinel?

Microsoft Sentinel is Microsoft’s security information event management solution. It’s a modern approach to SIEM, entirely cloud-native and powered by AI and automation to help optimize security operations.

Microsoft Sentinel | Data Connectors
Microsoft Sentinel | Data Connectors

This sophisticated platform offers security orchestration, automation, and response technology (SOAR). Time-saving artificial intelligence assists with the coordination, execution, and automation of tasks between tools and users.

Microsoft Sentinel was formerly known as Azure Sentinel, but the software’s intention to provide an all-encompassing business solution for security threats has not changed much. New security features are constantly being added.

A Comparison Guide Microsoft Sentin...
A Comparison Guide Microsoft Sentinel Vs Splunk

Sentinel’s purpose is to detect, investigate and resolve cyber security threats as well as alert your network management team of any threats.

Advanced machine learning, including user and entity behavioral analytics (UEBA), data collection, and threat mitigation is part of Microsoft Sentinel’s attractiveness to cyber professionals.

What Is Splunk Enterprise Security?

Splunk enterprise security is a SIEM application that features analytics, as well as automation, investigation and response, and orchestration across all platforms.

Splunk Enterprise Security is self-managed, which means you deploy it on-premises or in the cloud, so you still have the maintenance and storage overhead, it’s an Infrastructure as a Service and not a Platform or Software as a Service (cloud native).

Splunk does offer SOAR capabilities but at a price. IT solutions and DevOps can be added in as you develop and fortify your data and security, but in the long run, this makes Splunk an expensive SIEM solution.

What Is Splunk Security Cloud?

Splunk Security Cloud is a Security as a Service (SECaaS) offering. Splunk Security Cloud Platform provides Splunk Enterprise, a popular big data management solution, as a managed service (SaaS). At the time of this writing, it is provided in Amazon AWS and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) only.

Splunk Cloud brings together best-in-class security operations solutions that help you to get maximum value from your data.

With Splunk Security Cloud, security teams can secure and manage multi-cloud deployments while remaining agile to adapt to ever-evolving threats.

The Splunk Security Cloud includes features such as:

  • Advanced Security Analytics includes machine learning-powered analytics to detect and deliver key insights into multi-cloud environments.
  • Automated Security Operations drive faster time to detection, investigation, and response.
  • Threat Intelligence that automatically collects, prioritizes, and integrates all sources of intelligence driving faster detections.
  • Open Ecosystem helps correlate data across all security tools, regardless of the vendor to increase visibility and detect threats faster.

Splunk Security Cloud is based on Splunk Enterprise but has several important differences as noted above compared to self-managed Splunk Enterprise.

The Benefits of Microsoft Sentinel

Sentinel is a Microsoft product with an excellent reputation that precedes it, from when the product was still named Azure Sentinel.

Like Microsoft Azure, Sentinel is a powerful SIEM boosted by SOAR and AI capabilities. The company’s vast intelligence about cyber threats gives it preeminence in the area of cybersecurity.

Microsoft Sentinel | Incidents
Microsoft Sentinel | Incidents

Sentinel is a great choice for any security teams that “want it all” when it comes to critical security information and event management.

If you are already a Microsoft Azure customer or user, then you will enjoy the ease of set-up, as well as the full integration with all other Microsoft products.

Sentinel also seamlessly integrates with third-party applications, other hardware and virtual appliances, and network services. This allows IT, and security teams, to gather data across your entire network environment.

The SOAR and AI aspect of Sentinel also offers an omniscient view of all of your enterprise’s activity and offers data reports to help you keep track of malefic incidents.

Microsoft Sentinel also has integration with Azure DevOps and GitHub. This capability is great for any company that wants to automate their content management in Sentinel to build, test, and deploy with continuous integration/continuous development (CI/CD).

An economical aspect of Sentinel is that you only pay per gigabyte of the data that you use, making budgeting for your enterprise security more predictable.

And once you understand how much data you are ingesting into Microsoft Sentinel, you can set a Commitment Tier that allows Microsoft to give you a higher discount on the amount of data that you are ingesting. You can use Commitment Tiers to help reduce your costs.

The Benefits of Splunk

Splunk enterprise security is run by a smaller corporate entity than Microsoft Azure. As a result, its technical support and customer support services tend to be handled faster.

Splunk’s technology may not be as advanced as Microsoft’s Sentinel, but the platform is user-friendly with powerful data ingestion, data collection, and record keeping. It separates the signal from the noise and focuses on the most critical events with risk-based alerting.

Splunk Risk Events
Splunk Risk Events [ Image Credit Splunk Security Cloud ]
It’s a good choice for a smaller company that does not want to be overwhelmed by too many features and that wants to deploy critical security systems as fast as possible.

Splunk security cloud services best suit an IT security team that likes to cherry-pick from a variety of different integrations. This makes it flexible, adaptable, and able to fit the changing requirements of a growing organization without the maintenance overhead that comes like in Splunk enterprise security as self-managed.

Microsoft Sentinel Vs Splunk Summary

So, what are the different markets in which Splunk and Microsoft Sentinel compete against each other?

Here is a summary of the differences between Microsoft Sentinel and Splunk.

SIEM Deployment

Both the Microsoft Sentinel and Splunk SIEM platforms are easily set up, but Sentinel is especially simple if you were an Azure user.

The biggest difference is that Sentinel is a complete ready-to-go package, but Splunk may require add-ons from third parties that could complicate your setup.

Splunk also has more limitations than Sentinel when it comes to data storage, often necessitating a third-party app to manage backup and archival information.

User Friendliness

Microsoft SOAR’s inbuilt AI makes Sentinel easy to configure; however, it does have more of a learning curve than Splunk. You must learn Kusto Query language (KQL) to master Microsoft Sentinel.

Sentinel works well for enterprises with a large security team with an in-house security operations center (SOC), as its sophisticated AI-run cloud keeps all employees on the same page and in real-time.

Splunk has a user-friendly dashboard but the deployment could be halted by the need to add apps to the initial setup.

Splunk’s general analytics are comparable to Microsoft Sentinel, but content-packaged integrations may need to be purchased through a third party.

Pricing Model

Is Microsoft Sentinel expensive?

Microsoft Sentinal might be cheaper, as you are paying as you go based on Giga-byte usage and ingestion. Microsoft Sentinel offers a flexible and predictable pricing model.​ There are two ways to pay for the Microsoft Sentinel service: Commitment Tiers and Pay-As-You-Go.​

The cost for Microsoft Sentinel depends on the pricing tier you select.​ This might make it an expensive proposition for large organizations that need to mitigate threats over a large network of data sources.

Sentinel especially works if you know how many gigabytes a month your network uses to access systems using cloud technology.

Check how to optimize your Microsoft Sentinel costs further with Basic Logs and the Archive Tier.

If you wanted to try Sentinel before you deploy it, there is an option for a free 31-day trial with a limit of up to 10GB per day of log data analyzed, and up to 90 days of log data retention for free.

For more details about Microsoft Sentinel’s pricing plans, please check the official pricing page.

According to the Total Economic Impact of Microsoft Sentinel study by Forrester Consulting, Microsoft Sentinel is 48% less expensive in licensing and infrastructure costs than traditional SIEMs.

Is Splunk expensive?

Splunk enterprise security does not have quite the same built-in orchestration as Sentinel, and this definitely affects its pricing structure. Additional resources might need to be added to automate tasks, query language, and block threats.

Splunk is a product that may have unknown costs, once deployed, whereas the costs incurred with Sentinel are more predictable, as everything is covered in one price package.

Like Microsoft Sentinel, Splunk also offers a free trial, ranging from 14 days to 60, depending on the product and size of your organization.

For more details about Splunk’s pricing plans, please check the official pricing page.

Magic Quadrant™ for SIEM

As of June 2022, Microsoft was named a Leader in the 2022 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Security Information and Event Management.

Microsoft is a Leader in this Magic Quadrant. Its SIEM product, Microsoft Sentinel, is delivered only as SaaS via Microsoft’s Azure data centers.

Splunk is a Leader in this Magic Quadrant as well. Its SIEM is Enterprise Security (Splunk ES) and is an add-on to the Splunk Enterprise solution. It is important to note that Gartner does not assess or view the core Splunk Enterprise solution as a SIEM.

Magic Quadrant for Security Information and Event Management
Magic Quadrant for Security Information and Event Management

To learn more on why Microsoft and Splunk are recognized in the Leader quadrant, read the full Gartner® 2022 Magic Quadrant™ for Security Information and Event Management report.

Conclusion

A comparison of Microsoft Sentinel and Splunk reveals that Sentinel is less expensive and has more included capabilities, whereas Splunk provides SOAR at additional costs.

Although both Microsoft Sentinel and Splunk deploy security intelligence across multiple cloud providers, Sentinel’s more sophisticated artificial intelligence provides swifter and more accurate security analytics, and large-capacity incident management and log management.

If you prefer a more personal touch regarding customer support, then the Splunk cloud might be a better choice for your business.

Both SIEM platforms are powerful and capable of protecting your organization. In terms of reliability, reputation, cost, and efficiency, it is probably best for the professional security information team to reap the benefits of using an all-in-one platform offered by Microsoft Sentinel.

I hope you found this comparison guide helpful.

> Learn more about the top best practices for deploying Microsoft Sentinel in your organization.

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Thank you for reading my blog.

If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment.

-Charbel Nemnom-

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Author
Charbel Nemnom
Charbel Nemnom is a Senior Cloud Architect, Swiss Certified ICT Security Expert, Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP), and Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT). He has over 20 years of broad IT experience serving on and guiding technical teams to optimize the performance of mission-critical enterprise systems with extensive practical knowledge of complex systems build, network design, business continuity, and cloud security.

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