The Value of Central Logging

Author: Time: 29.12.2023

Each system logs data for diagnostic purposes – both deviations and security incidents of applications. Logging is usually a quiet process without disturbing the user, since usually each person wants to focus on the daily productivity not on the nuances of the operation of IT systems. However, there are situations where system logs are valuable for diagnosing abnormalities, detecting data leaks and attacks, and gathering evidence. If logs are collected only in operational systems, they might not be accessible in case of security incidents. 

Centralized logging is the process of collecting logs from networks, servers, and applications into a single location for analysis and storage. Such logs provide administrators with a consolidated view of all activity across the network, making it easier to identify and troubleshoot issues. Such central logging systems are used in security information and event management (SIEM) with a purpose of identifying and removing threats before they affect productivity. 

Central protected logs provide an audit trail of system activities, events, and changes across network. 

They can help troubleshoot system functionality issues, performance problems, or security incidents. System logs are used to determine when changes were made to the system and who made them. Logs are often necessary for regulatory requirements and serve as evidence to prove intent in a data loss incident. 

Primend Shield

If the system being logged on has come under attack and the system has already been taken over by cybercriminals, it is no longer possible to use the system's own logs for diagnostics. In addition, it is necessary to immediately isolate the system in order to limit the spread of the threat. Central logging provides valuable information for diagnosing and preventing an attack on other systems. 

Protection of trade secrets 

  • Trade secret protection is a multifaceted process in which the information to be protected must meet at least the following requirements. 
  • Information is not generally known or readily available to persons who normally deal with such kind of information 
  • Information has commercial value due to its secrecy 
  • The information holder has taken the necessary measures to keep the information confidential 

In addition to the above, it must also be proven that the employee has gained access to the trade secret and has used the access. 

Such a need for proof often arises several months after the use of access, usually after the former employee starts working for a competitor. Operational systems keep the log for a very short time, only for fault diagnostics, and it is no longer possible to find evidence when the need for proof arises. The central log is optimized for long-term storage and analytical queries to find evidence. 

Operational Tool for Specialist 

Each server, network device, and application logs in its own format. If an IT specialist has to log in to the systems manually and read different formats, the process is slow and it is difficult to find the right log entries. The central SIEM system brings together the logs of different systems in the same format. In this way, an IT specialist can analyze logs from all systems under management in one place using the same query logic. It is also possible to find connections between incidents, such as a general attack on the organization's servers. The report based on the unified log provides a complete picture of the security situation. 

Summary. Benefits of central log collection: 

  • Complete view across the computer network 
  • Proof of activities over a long period of time 
  • Identifying and solving problems faster 
  • Converting different log formats to a standard format 
  • Finding connections between different events 
  • Saving specialist time when troubleshooting a case 
  • Comprehensive report on the functioning of the whole system 

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