What is Microsoft Sentinel?

Back to basics: What is Microsoft Sentinel? Should I choose Sentinel or Splunk?

What is Microsoft Sentinel?
What is Microsoft Sentinel?

Microsoft Sentinel is a cloud-native security information and event management (SIEM) system. It is designed to help organizations collect, analyze, and investigate security data from various sources in real-time.

Using Sentinel, security teams can centralize and aggregate data from various sources such as cloud services, endpoints, servers, applications, and network devices. Sentinel can then apply artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to analyze this data and detect potential security threats.

Sentinel provides a range of features for security operations centers (SOCs) and security professionals, including:

  1. Threat detection: Sentinel uses AI and ML to analyze security data and detect potential threats in real-time.
  2. Incident response: Sentinel provides built-in playbooks to help security teams automate incident response and streamline investigations.
  3. Integration with other security tools: Sentinel integrates with other Microsoft security tools, as well as third-party tools, to provide a unified view of an organization's security posture.
  4. Compliance: Sentinel helps organizations meet regulatory and compliance requirements by providing built-in reports and dashboards.

Overall, Microsoft Sentinel provides organizations with a comprehensive security solution that can help them proactively identify and respond to security threats, ultimately improving their security posture.


Microsoft Azure Sentinel was actually initially launched with that name in February 2019 as a cloud-native SIEM and security analytics service that was built on Azure. It was designed to help security teams collect, analyze, and investigate security data from various sources.

In April 2020, Microsoft announced that Azure Sentinel was becoming part of the broader Microsoft Defender brand, and that it would be known as "Microsoft Defender for Cloud" going forward. This was part of a broader rebranding effort to unify Microsoft's security products under a single brand. However, Microsoft later reversed this decision and decided to keep the Azure Sentinel name.

So, to summarize, the name "Azure Sentinel" has been in use since February 2019 and it remains the current name of the product as of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021.

Sentinel vs Splunk

It's difficult to say definitively whether Microsoft Sentinel is better than Splunk, as both products have their own strengths and weaknesses and are designed to meet different needs.

Splunk is a well-established SIEM tool with a wide range of capabilities and integrations. It is known for its powerful search and analytics capabilities, which allow it to collect and analyze large volumes of data from diverse sources. Splunk is also highly customizable, which makes it a good fit for organizations with specific requirements.

Microsoft Sentinel, on the other hand, is a cloud-native SIEM that is built on top of the Azure cloud platform. It is designed to integrate seamlessly with other Microsoft security products, such as Microsoft Defender, and uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to detect and respond to security threats in real-time. Additionally, Sentinel provides pre-built connectors for many common data sources and offers a simple pricing model that is based on data usage.

Ultimately, the best choice between these two products will depend on your organization's specific needs and preferences. If you're already invested in the Microsoft ecosystem and are looking for a cloud-native SIEM with good out-of-the-box integrations, Microsoft Sentinel may be a good fit. If you need a highly customizable SIEM with powerful analytics capabilities, Splunk may be a better choice. It's important to evaluate your organization's needs and carefully compare the features and costs of both products before making a decision.