Importance of Logs and Log Management for IT Security
IT Security is the name of the game and no matter how big or small the size of your organization, you will always invest enough on securing certain aspects of your IT network. In many organizations, it starts with monitoring your network for vulnerabilities that may enter the network to access potentially sensitive information in the form of security attacks.
For example, you may have firewalls as your first line of defense, followed by vulnerability management, intrusion and prevention systems, managing your network configurations and so on.
These are crucial because:
The very purpose of IT security is to be proactive and the above measures make it more difficult for someone who attempts to compromise the network. This might just not be enough and you need to able to detect the actual breaches as they are being attempted. This is where log data really help.
To expose an attack or identify the damage caused, you need to analyze the log events on your network in real-time. By collecting and analyzing logs, you can understand what transpires within your network. Each log file contains many pieces of information that can be invaluable, especially if you know how to read them and analyze them. With proper analysis of this actionable data you can identify intrusion attempts, mis-configured equipment, and many more. Also for managing compliance, especially for PCI DSS – you need to retain logs and review them.
Monitoring and Analyzing Event Logs
When you know what is normal on your network, you can easily spot what is abnormal by monitoring the logon activity. It is very critical to analyze the event to understand the root cause and to make log analysis & log management more efficient, you need to collect and consolidate log data across the IT environment, and correlate events from multiple devices in real-time.
Apart from monitoring the activities across your web server, firewalls and other network devices, it becomes very crucial to monitor your workstation logs. For example, a workstation log can give you some key information like when a USB was connected, by whom and whether he belongs to the group that is authorized, etc. Log file analysis is best done with a SIEM software, when it comes to reading all of the events and being able to analyze and correlate activity across the various components of IT.