Plan your migration to Microsoft Sentinel

Security operations center (SOC) teams use centralized security information and event management (SIEM) and security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) solutions to protect their increasingly decentralized digital estate. While legacy SIEMs can maintain good coverage of on-premises assets, on-premises architectures may have insufficient coverage for cloud assets, such as in Azure, Microsoft 365, AWS, or Google Cloud Platform (GCP). In contrast, Microsoft Sentinel can ingest data from both on-premises and cloud assets, ensuring coverage over the entire estate.

This article discusses the reasons for migrating from a legacy SIEM, and describes how to plan out the different phases of your migration.

Migration steps

In this guide, you learn how to migrate your legacy SIEM to Microsoft Sentinel. Follow your migration process through this series of articles, in which you'll learn how to navigate different steps in the process.


For a guided migration process, join the Microsoft Sentinel Migration and Modernization Program. The program allows you to simplify and accelerate the migration, including best practice guidance, resources, and expert help at every stage. To learn more, reach out to your account team.

Step Article
Plan your migration You are here
Track migration with a workbook Track your Microsoft Sentinel migration with a workbook
Migrate from ArcSight Migrate detection rules
Migrate SOAR automation
Export historical data
Migrate from Splunk Migrate detection rules
Migrate SOAR automation
Export historical data
Migrate from QRadar Migrate detection rules
Migrate SOAR automation
Export historical data
Ingest historical data Select a target Azure platform to host the exported historical data
Select a data ingestion tool
Ingest historical data into your target platform
Convert dashboards to workbooks Convert dashboards to Azure Workbooks
Update SOC processes Update SOC processes

What is Microsoft Sentinel?

Microsoft Sentinel is a scalable, cloud-native, security information and event management (SIEM) and security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) solution. Microsoft Sentinel delivers intelligent security analytics and threat intelligence across the enterprise. Microsoft Sentinel provides a single solution for attack detection, threat visibility, proactive hunting, and threat response. Learn more about Microsoft Sentinel.

Why migrate from a legacy SIEM?

SOC teams face a set of challenges when managing a legacy SIEM:

  • Slow response to threats. Legacy SIEMs use correlation rules, which are difficult to maintain and ineffective for identifying emerging threats. In addition, SOC analysts are faced with large amounts of false positives, many alerts from many different security components, and increasingly high volumes of logs. Analyzing this data slows down SOC teams in their efforts to respond to critical threats in the environment.
  • Scaling challenges. As data ingestion rates grow, SOC teams are challenged with scaling their SIEM. Instead of focusing on protecting the organization, SOC teams must invest in infrastructure setup and maintenance, and are bound by storage or query limits.
  • Manual analysis and response. SOC teams need highly skilled analysts to manually process large amounts of alerts. SOC teams are overworked and new analysts are hard to find.
  • Complex and inefficient management. SOC teams typically oversee orchestration and infrastructure, manage connections between the SIEM and various data sources, and perform updates and patches. These tasks are often at the expense of critical triage and analysis.

A cloud-native SIEM addresses these challenges. Microsoft Sentinel collects data automatically and at scale, detects unknown threats, investigates threats with artificial intelligence, and responds to incidents rapidly with built-in automation.

Plan your migration

During the planning phase, you identify your existing SIEM components, your existing SOC processes, and you design and plan new use cases. Thorough planning allows you to maintain protection for both your cloud-based assets—Microsoft Azure, AWS, or GCP—and your SaaS solutions, such as Microsoft Office 365.

This diagram describes the high-level phases that a typical migration includes. Each phase includes clear goals, key activities, and specified outcomes and deliverables.

The phases in this diagram are a guideline for how to complete a typical migration procedure. An actual migration may not include some phases or may include more phases. Rather than reviewing the full set of phases, the articles in this guide review specific tasks and steps that are especially important to a Microsoft Sentinel migration.

Diagram of the Microsoft Sentinel migration phases.


Review these key considerations for each phase.

Phase Consideration
Discover Identify use cases and migration priorities as part of this phase.
Design Define a detailed design and architecture for your Microsoft Sentinel implementation. You'll use this information to get approval from the relevant stakeholders before you start the implementation phase.
Implement As you implement Microsoft Sentinel components according to the design phase, and before you convert your entire infrastructure, consider whether you can use Microsoft Sentinel out-of-the-box content instead of migrating all components. You can begin using Microsoft Sentinel gradually, starting with a minimum viable product (MVP) for several use cases. As you add more use cases, you can use this Microsoft Sentinel instance as a user acceptance testing (UAT) environment to validate the use cases.
Operationalize You migrate your content and SOC processes to ensure that the existing analyst experience isn't disrupted.

Identify your migration priorities

Use these questions to pin down your migration priorities:

  • What are the most critical infrastructure components, systems, apps, and data in your business?
  • Who are your stakeholders in the migration? SIEM migration is likely to touch many areas of your business.
  • What drives your priorities? For example, greatest business risk, compliance requirements, business priorities, and so on.
  • What is your migration scale and timeline? What factors affect your dates and deadlines. Are you migrating an entire legacy system?
  • Do you have the skills you need? Is your security staff trained and ready for the migration?
  • Are there any specific blockers in your organization? Do any issues affect migration planning and scheduling? For example, issues such as staffing and training requirements, license dates, hard stops, specific business needs, and so on.

Before you begin migration, identify key use cases, detection rules, data, and automation in your current SIEM. Approach your migration as a gradual process. Be intentional and thoughtful about what you migrate first, what you deprioritize, and what doesn’t actually need to be migrated. Your team might have an overwhelming number of detections and use cases running in your current SIEM. Before beginning migration, decide which ones are actively useful to your business.

Identify use cases

When planning the discover phase, use the following guidance to identify your use cases.

  • Identify and analyze your current use cases by threat, operating system, product, and so on.
  • What’s the scope? Do you want to migrate all use cases, or use some prioritization criteria?
  • Identify which security assets are most critical to your migration.
  • What use cases are effective? A good starting place is to look at which detections have produced results within the last year (false positive versus positive rate).
  • What are the business priorities that affect use case migration? What are the biggest risks to your business? What type of issues put your business most at risk?
  • Prioritize by use case characteristics.
    • Consider setting lower and higher priorities. We recommend that you focus on detections that would enforce 90 percent true positive on alert feeds. Use cases that cause a high false positive rate might be a lower priority for your business.
    • Select use cases that justify rule migration in terms of business priority and efficacy:
      • Review rules that haven’t triggered any alerts in the last 6 to 12 months.
      • Eliminate low-level threats or alerts you routinely ignore.
  • Prepare a validation process. Define test scenarios and build a test script.
  • Can you apply a methodology to prioritize use cases? You can follow a methodology such as MoSCoW to prioritize a leaner set of use cases for migration.

Next steps

In this article, you learned how to plan and prepare for your migration.