An effective cybersecurity system that monitors your organization’s network can detect suspicious activities and provide alerts to help you eliminate threats before sensitive information is destroyed or stolen. Log monitoring is crucial as it can help you discover potential threats that may lead to a security breach. However, you must understand the importance of security logs to implement cybersecurity solutions that eliminate complex threats.
What is security logging?
Every device within your network creates a list of all the actions that occur in your network. These lists of actions are known as logs. Log monitoring involves categorizing these actions and checking the information for abnormalities that may cause issues within the system.
Abnormalities can include potential threats from outside parties, login difficulties, or error codes. Often, personal and remote devices may be connected to a network by authorized users. All this traffic means the logs generated by your network contain massive information that is difficult to manually catalog and interpret.
Also, the information collected in these logs is usually from multiple sources that use different formats to report unrelated events. That’s why security logging and monitoring is performed by monitoring software as part of your company’s cybersecurity plan.
How log monitoring works
Every activity within your network is considered a security event. User activity, firewall updates, and emails are recorded in logs that define your network’s environment. The resulting information logs contain data that can make threats difficult to detect.
Instead, your log monitoring system only focuses on what’s important and weeds out irrelevant information. Although systems across different businesses have varied requirements, there are some types of logs that companies use to detect threats.
A good monitoring system should include the following events in a security log:
- Running processes stopped or new processes started
- New login events from a new device
- Integrity or file name changes
- Errors on network devices
- New service installation
- Denial of service attacks
- New user account
- Unauthorized logins
- Password changes
- Malware detection
- Data exportation
- Firewall scans
While these events could be a routine part of daily tasks, they could also indicate a threat. However, your monitoring system can detect when these events are unusual within your network’s parameters since it is always gaining data about your network’s environment.
Why are system logs important?
Security monitoring is designed to offer relevant data that allows you to identify and understand issues that may become threats to your network. A good security logging and monitoring system can help you:
- Detect potential threats quickly
Log monitoring categorizes all the activities occurring within the system. As the system identifies the activities that are normal, it starts eliminating the information that reveals threats within your company’s network. An effective alert system combined with real-time identification offers you a way to detect potential threats quickly.
- Reconstruct events
When a breach occurs within your business, it’s important to have the ability to determine what occurred and why it happened. If a security event happens, the first action is to check security logs to understand the vulnerabilities in your system. The ability to explain what occurred and the preventive measures you take to prevent it from occurring again helps your business show commitment to your clients.
- Identify application or system issues
Threats aren’t the only challenges facing your network. When problems arise within your network or system, productivity slows and activities aren’t completed. For these issues to be resolved, they must first be identified. An effective logging and monitoring system can help you discover the cause of your system issues quickly and move on to the repair process. Security monitoring can also make alerts allowing system errors to be identified before your workers or clients file a complaint.
- Recover quickly from an event
When events happen, they can disrupt files and cause downtime for your company. Log event files can help you discover what happened and recover important files. Reconstruction of destroyed files can be completed faster by reversing the changes identified in the logs.
- Customize your business
One of the biggest benefits of a good cybersecurity system is the ability to personalize a plan to suit the needs of your business. If your log monitoring system can identify potential threats, it can also alert the right personnel of a problem before issues arise. When you configure your system to notify appointed team members about threats or other problems, the members can apply the solution immediately.
- Provide crucial data for compliance
Compliance is an important requirement for different types of businesses that collect and store sensitive information. An essential part of these requirements includes an annual audit proving compliance with security measures such as monitoring, logging, and management. Your monitoring system can also be used to create logs to simplify the audit process as an added bonus.
Cyberattackers often target companies during off-hours when it’s difficult to detect unusual activities. Your IT team can’t be expected to check your network 24/7. Cisco Meraki Firewalls are quality monitoring systems that send out potential threat alerts that may occur at any time, allowing you to deal with those threats.
- What Is Log Management, and Why Is It Important? By Edson Brajas, February 4, 2020 – Tripwire
- WHY LOG MONITORING IS ESSENTIAL TO YOUR CYBERSECURITY PLAN by Jason Miller, November 18, 2020 – BitLyft
- The Importance of Audit Logs for Security by Audit Trail, February 8, 2021 – LogSentinel
- Why log management is absolutely critical for IT security by Robert Cordray, October 15, 2015 – IT World Canada
- Importance of Logs and Log Management for IT Security by Wanng Wei, October 02, 2013 – The Hacker News