Home Blog QRadar vs. Splunk: Which SIEM Platform Should You Choose?

QRadar vs. Splunk: Which SIEM Platform Should You Choose?

January 18, 2022
Internet network security concept with woman using QRadar vs Splunk

With cybercrime on the rise, SIEM platforms like QRadar and Splunk are growing increasingly popular. Many organizations now find themselves in a daily struggle to keep intruders at bay, and it requires a highly skilled workforce to do so. Within that team of cybersecurity specialists, it’s imperative that everyone knows how to use the best technology available to keep their network secure.

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) platforms are a critical part of the defense systems used by IT security professionals around the world to safeguard their company's network and valuable digital assets. SIEM platforms can be either cloud-based or installed on-premises, providing a means through which IT staff can collect, monitor, and analyze network security events. Depending on the SIEM and how it's configured, this can comprise anything from basic network traffic monitoring to advanced real-time threat detection, AI-integrations, and forensic investigation tools.1

There's an array of SIEM platforms available today that incorporate a diverse selection of tools and accommodate businesses of any size and within any industry. As two of the most popular of these tools, many experts in the cybersecurity industry debate between using QRadar vs. Splunk. While both products have powerful monitoring and analysis tools that would benefit most business types, it's important to understand their differences before deciding which one is best for you.2

What is Splunk?

Californian-based software company Splunk Inc. designed and developed the Splunk analysis system in 2004, and it’s been a leading tool in the SIEM industry for over a decade. Available as both an Enterprise and Cloud solution for businesses of any size, IT experts often cite Splunk as one of the top tools for cybersecurity event monitoring.

Although not technically a SIEM by design, Splunk is a powerful log management and analysis platform that provides highly scalable real-time indexing and intuitive data visualization. This has made it a popular choice for cybersecurity professionals who use its extensive suite of tools to collect and process massive amounts of network data.3

Key Features:

The following key features provide Splunk with its industry-leading SIEM credentials:

  • Data Streaming

Splunk can collect both security and non-security data from multiple sources across various business environments. Its impressive data streaming capabilities let you collect and process a high volume of network information in mere milliseconds.4

  • Highly Scalable

Using universal forwarding protocols combined with HTTP Event Collectors, Splunk can analyze massive datasets from tens of thousands of remote sources. To meet the ever-growing demand for Big Data processing, Splunk can scale on-demand at an unprecedented level.5

  • Enhanced GUI

Splunk's enhanced Graphical User Interface (GUI) with integrated dashboards is one of its most attractive features, helping you to quickly and easily visualize data in real-time.3

  • Advanced Technology

Splunk uses artificial intelligence (AI) with machine learning capabilities to provide forecasting, event clustering, and predictive analytics.6

What is QRadar?

QRadar is an enterprise-level SIEM product developed by technology giant IBM. It can be deployed as both a stand-alone or cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) system, which provides the core tools required for security monitoring and threat detection. Besides the standard suite of applications, QRadar also includes specific processors for advanced monitoring, like Layer 4 network flows and deep packet application traffic inspection.7

Compatible with both Windows and Linux, IBM has released several third-party applications that optimize QRadar’s functionality, such as QRadar Advisor and Security X-Force.

Key Features

The following key features provide QRadar with its impressive SIEM capabilities:

  • Enterprise-level SIEM Tools

QRadar includes several enterprise-level monitoring and analysis tools, including security intelligence, vulnerability management, incident forensics, and network insights.8

  • IBM QRadar User Behavior Analytics (UBA)

This free UBA module is included in the QRadar package, helping organizations to identify and mitigate insider threats. The UBA uses QRadar data and metrics about traffic and network behavior to build risk profiles and formulate user identities.9

  • Compliance Support

IBM QRadar supports most major compliance reporting initiatives, including the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).10

  • QRadar Advisor with IBM Watson Integration

When used in conjunction with IBM's powerful 'Watson' AI engine, QRadar Advisor app provides users with a highly accurate and automated threat detection and response system. The app uses IBM Cognitive Artificial Intelligence to assist users with incident and risk analysis, triage and response, and enables security operations teams to accomplish more with greater accuracy. As a result, it helps reduce the time spent investigating incidents from days and weeks down to minutes or hours.11

QRadar vs. Splunk

When considering which SIEM engine to use between QRadar vs. Splunk, your first considerations should be the size of your company and the existing hardware that you use (if any). For example, if you’re working in a larger company that uses IBM hardware, then QRadar could be the better choice for you. If you’re starting from more a foundational level and are unsure where to begin, Splunk would be the safest bet as it remains the most popular and widely-used platform.12

In addition to working well with its hardware, QRadar comes with the backing and support of IBM, one of the longest-running tech companies in the world. This provides an additional layer of security and resources from which you can draw, which is ideal for companies trying to manage all of their cybersecurity on their own. However, the user interface provided by Splunk is vastly superior to QRadar and supports a wider range of third-party integrations.13

As for the costs of QRadar vs. Splunk, Splunk usually comes out to be the more expensive of the two because it’s billed by the amount of data used daily. QRadar, by comparison, has a relatively cheap monthly cost for its cloud solution and a one-time payment for an on-premises system.12

Add More SIEM Platform Experience to Your Resume

Cybersecurity professionals have found that SIEM solutions are the best way to keep an eagle eye on network activity and ensure no unauthorized users gain access to a system. As they continue to grow in popularity and evolve over time, employers will expect security specialists to be familiar with the different SIEM platforms, and perhaps even advise them on where you fall in the QRadar vs. Splunk debate.

Unfortunately, simply taking a cybersecurity bootcamp or crash course won’t give you enough of the background knowledge and skills that today’s job market demands. With the Katz School of Science and Health now offering an Online Master's in Cybersecurity, you can kickstart your cybersecurity career from home and be ready for a lucrative and prosperous career in as few as 20 months. Set up a time to talk with an Admissions Advisor to learn more and get started.

  1. Retrieved on November 22, 2021, from logrhythm.com/what-is-siem/
  2. Retrieved on November 22, 2021, from knowledgenile.com/blogs/splunk-vs-qradar/
  3. Retrieved on November 22, 2021, from comodo.com/is-splunk-a-siem.php
  4. Retrieved on November 22, 2021, from splunk.com/en_us/software/stream-processing.html
  5. Retrieved on November 22, 2021, from splunk.com/en_us/platform/scalable-index.html
  6. Retrieved on November 22, 2021, from splunk.com/en_us/platform/platform-operations-overview.html
  7. Retrieved on November 22, 2021, from techtarget.com/searchsecurity/feature/IBM-Security-QRadar-SIEM-product-overview
  8. Retrieved on November 22, 2021, from ibm.com/products/qradar-siem
  9. Retrieved on November 22, 2021, from ibm.com/docs/en/qradar-common?topic=app-qradar-user-behavior-analytics
  10. Retrieved on November 22, 2021, from techtarget.com/searchsecurity/feature/IBM-Security-QRadar-SIEM-product-overview
  11. Retrieved on November 22, 2021, from ibm.com/docs/en/qradar-common?topic=apps-qradar-advisor-watson-app
  12. Retrieved on November 22, 2021, from esecurityplanet.com/networks/ibm-qradar-vs-splunk/
  13. Retrieved on November 22, 2021, from eweek.com/security/splunk-vs-ibm-qradar-siem-head-to-head/