Everything in your enterprise’s IT environment—your servers, firewalls, IT equipment, etc.—generate logs about their activities and the events they encounter. They store these logs, which can total in the terabytes, on local and remote servers. Trying to find all these logs by hand goes beyond the exhausting and the painful—it might be actively impossible to handle the overwhelming amount of IT information. That’s where a log management solution comes in.
Log management handles what you need to log, how you log it, and how long those logs stick around; the generation, transmission, storage, indexing, and disposal of your enterprise’s log data. You can think of log management as two different functions rolled into one solution: the logging and the managing. One collects the disparate information, and the other helps you figure out what to do with it.
But what should you look for in a log management solution?
The Centralization of Logs
The centralization of log data in a log management solution is an old standard—so much so you might be forgiven for taking it for granted. But it is a vital component to any log management solution. Hackers can and will destroy logs, knock out disable monitoring mechanisms, and hide in unmonitored corners of your network to escape detection. A centralized log management system will prevent them from hiding this way, as it keeps logs out of hackers’ hands and collects data from across the network.
An ideal solution should collect data over encrypted channels via multiple tools.
A log solution should increase your ability to monitor all events across your enterprise at once, improving your IT security teams’ security detection efficiency and increasing activity awareness. The combined effect should be an improved response time to malicious cybersecurity events.
A good solution’s storage capabilities should include preservation, compression, encryption, and archival functions in order to ensure the records’ safety and easy retrieval if needed. Global enterprises should also consider the global storage location of their logs, not only to see if it matches their enterprise’s needs but also to deal with differing international data laws.
Enterprises have regulations to deal with. Whether they’re governmental or industrial, almost all of which require compliance via activity and event data logging. Having a centralized logging system via log management improves the efficiency of these compliance efforts. However, what exactly your enterprise will need to log and for how long will be different for every enterprise. Datalog solutions should be capable of flexibility and adapting to enterprise-specific audit controls.
Indexing and query capabilities are a must for any log solution. A good solution should ideally provide multiple query options for optimizing log searches with unique filters and classification labels.
Log Management of SIEM?
Log management is simply collecting and consolidating event information from across the enterprise. It’s simple, but it can’t actually extract meaningful security information automatically. The sheer volume and velocity of the logs coming in, and the time it takes to verify the logs’ accuracy, makes log management for cybersecurity as much an imposition as a boon.
SIEM by contract can provide aggregation, correlation, alerts, and reporting via automated security systems. SIEM allows IT teams to know the number of events that occurred automatically and connect the dots between those events to determine if a security event occurred. It gives real-time awareness, vulnerability management, forensic analysis, and customizable dashboards.
Log management might be the right solution for a smaller enterprise that can review all the logs for security events. Larger enterprises should look at SIEM instead.
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