Why Log Management Is Important

Log monitoring works very much like a sentry. In the past, military forts would have watchtowers on their walls where sentries or guards would be posted to watch the surroundings. It was their responsibility to alert those inside if they saw any suspicious activity so the inhabitants of the ports would be able to prepare themselves in the event of an attack.

With log monitoring, it is somewhat similar. The logging system will keep track of events in the system, activities in the network and various actions taken by the user.

The information your logging system produces goes by many names: event logs, log files, audit trails and audit records. The work of the log monitoring system is to monitor log files and ensure everything is working just fine.

Almost all software generates logs. From internet browsers to operating systems to firewalls to point-of-sale (POS) software. Some of them may have the capability to log but won’t do it by default making it important to always ensure logs are turned on in whatever system you’re working with. Also, while systems have their own logging tools built in, not all of them have log management tools built in as well. That is why it is important to know the capabilities of your system and even install third-party solutions for log management if you have to.

Daily Review Necessary

Daily Review Necessary

It’s important to review your logs constantly because they will show you any suspicious activity happening in your system. You should look through your logs on a daily basis to find any suspicious activity that takes place in your system.

Logs are important for security purposes because they are the first indicators that something is wrong. When you review them regularly, you give yourself the opportunity to nip attacks in the bud.

The thing about logs, however, is that a lot of log files are generated by even the simplest system on a daily basis. When you have a large enterprise system, the number of log files can be staggering. It would not be practical to go through them and look for anomalous events manually. The best way to handle the issue is to have a real-time log monitoring system that alerts you every time something unexpected is detected.

Filter Out What You Don’t Need

Filter Out What You Don't Need

Of course, systems and networks are different across the board and so not all the log files generated by your system will be useful to you. Therefore, you need to be able to filter out what you don’t need so you only remain with what is important to you. It can be a bit of an art form since you should constantly modify the settings to go with the kind of environment your system is going through at the moment.

Most log monitoring solutions come with some templates for alerts so that you have somewhere to get started. It’s not the ultimate solution, but at least you get a starting point from where you can perform optimization. You should take your time to optimize these alerting functions early on so that you don’t go through a hard time later on. There are various events for which you might want alerts, depending on the kind of system you are running:

  • Unauthorized logins
  • Changes to passwords
  • New logins
  • Login failures
  • The detection of malware
  • Attacks by malware
  • Denial of service attacks
  • Scans on open and closed ports as well as your firewalls
  • Changes to file names
  • Errors associated with network devices
  • Exported data
  • Changes to the integrity of files
  • Shared access events
  • The stopping of running processes or the starting of new processes
  • Audits on files
  • The installation of new services
  • Disconnected events
  • Modification of registry values
  • New user accounts

These are only some of the many things you may want an alert on. It all depends on the kind of system you are running.

Manage Logs More Effectively

Manage Logs More Effectively

Meanwhile, there are some steps you can take to manage your logs more effectively, no matter what kind of system you are running:

  • Figure out how you want to generate your logs and when
  • Store your logs somewhere secure to protect them from hackers and also to ensure well-meaning people do not mistakenly alter them
  • Have a trusted employee review the logs on a daily basis
  • Have a team to watch out for suspicious alerts by your log monitoring tool
  • Have protocols in place to govern the generation of alerts; get this right the first time as appropriate for your unique circumstances so that you don’t have issues later on
  • Have your logs stored for at least a year from the time of generation; at any given time, have the past three months of logs immediately accessible
  • Always look for ways to smoothen the collection, storage and analysis of logs

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One Comment

  1. As you know I follow every new blog post from you, but this one was that really inspiring, that I could do nothing else, just comment and let you know about this. Simpli EPIC.

    Regards

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