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What is Log Management?

Modern organizations have become extremely tech savvy. The capabilities of computer technologies in modern business are greater than ever. However, the security threats to those technologies are also at an all-time high.

CIOs, CTOs, CISOs, and others working on the company’s cybersecurity features should be prepared to protect their assets with the very best facilities and processes.

Log management is undoubtedly one of the most important features. So we thought we’d put together this little guide to tell you all you need to know about the whats, whys, and hows of log management.

What Is Log Management

Every time someone logs in to your computer systems, that activity is a security event. When they send an email, update software, re-configure firewalls. Event, event, event.

Those events are all tallied and recorded in a log.

The log management processes are focused on the collection and organization of that log data. This may involve indexing data into categories and uses sophisticated information storage to manage and evaluate the data throughout its life cycle.

Log management is ultimately a security control used to allow companies to track and understand all the data transfers and processes that happen on their environment, including those from outside agents. It’s used to support security configuration management (SCM) and file integrity monitoring (FIM) for optimum protection against various threats posed by criminal hackers.

Why Is Log Management Needed?

Failure to establish a strong log management system can allow attackers to hide malicious software and activities within the victim’s machine or software.

Worse still, even when the user knows that their facilities have been compromised, the lack of a log makes it impossible to truly understand the situation. This can mean that you never truly remove all harmful influence and could potentially face irreversible damage.

As such, the presence of a thorough log can help your security in many ways, including:

  • Identify attacks and the presence of malicious activities far sooner.
  • Know that the dangerous items have been successfully removed from your systems.
  • Gain insight into the issues to prevent repeat episodes.
  • Save time and money as a direct result of the log.

Frankly, given the importance of computers and virtual data in today’s market, ignoring the need for effective log management is asking for trouble.

The Five Parameters Of Successful Log Management

To complete the log management process, five clear steps need to be followed:

Step 1 | Collection

The collection of data through encrypted channels, ideally via agent-based collection methods, should be the first step towards creating a reliable and secure event log. Collecting data from all encrypted channels relating to the online activities from within or outside the business will provide the strongest foundations for an accurate log.

Step 2 | Storage

Collecting data counts for very little if you can’t access it when required. Therefore, the reliable storage of those logs and files is essential.

This process should preserve, compress, encrypt, store, and archive the data in an organized manner. How you choose to organize your logs can have lasting impacts on your security infrastructure’s ability to scale, and even your organization’s data compliance policies.

Besides that, the successful storage of data throughout the entirety of its lifespan is the only way to ensure that the right actions can be taken should an issue surface.

Step 3 | Search

Time is money. Moreover, every minute counts when trying to resolve an issue and fight back against the attacker. Therefore, establishing a quick and easy way to filter through the log to find the appropriate details is vital.

Data should be indexed so that it can be found via plaintext, REGEX, and API. Log searches that include filter tabs and classification tags are the most successful. This streamlines the search process with significant results.

A successful search strategy should allow you to view raw logs, conduct broad and detailed searches, and compare multiple queries simultaneously.

Step 4 | Correlation

Few attacks hit one host on a single log. Most will be far broader attacks, which is why correlations play such a key role. Without them, you’d need to manually identify and rectify each instance of damage.

By setting up correlation rules that are tailored to the threats of your online environment, it is possible to automate actions and responses across the whole network… to address security incidents when they do happen in a quick and comprehensive manner.

The best correlation systems additionally focus on integration with vulnerability scans and asset inventories.

Step 5 | Output

Communication and collaboration are central features for all businesses, but this is especially important when dealing with the fallout of cybersecurity threats. The ability to distribute the log to all users via a dashboard, report, or email is pivotal.

This is known as output and relates to the ability to exchange data with security teams and systems. This is the final step that truly allows for successful management across the team.

This is particularly useful for the continued development of your security team and allows for the fastest and most effective progress.

Bring Focus To Your Event Logs

Log management is a fairly broad term, but implementing the strategy successfully is all about focusing. When implemented well, log management protects the business by identifying threats, cleaning your systems, and understanding where security events stemmed from. This can also go a long way to preventing future troubles.

If you’re interested in comprehensive log management solutions and vital tools like security information and event management software (SIEM) to enrich your security posture, then you should talk with us.

At BitLyft, we partner with our clients to provide mature and thorough security solutions that fit how they do business. Set up a short conversation today to learn more.

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About the Author

Jason Miller

Jason Miller

Jason is a Chief Executive Officer of BitLyft Cyber Security. He has spent the last 19 years of his career focusing on network, system administration, and cloud technologies. He is passionate about helping businesses embrace the next generation of technology including cloud adoption and high performance scaling software.
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