Enterprise log management may seem unsexy, but it is vital to the efficient running of your enterprise systems. The whole idea is to get the most critical events conveyed to your operations team so that they deal with them in time. Without it, you would have a mass of data to look through with no clear order, and that would take you forever.
When building an enterprise log manager (ELM), the basis is the corporate policies. These policies and their controls are designed to prevent certain undesirable activities from occurring. The whole idea with enterprise log management is to translate these policies into a complete system that relates the policy with the control and the data from the applications and systems that is going to be monitored to ensure that the policies are being enforced. You know that the ELM you are dealing with is of high quality when it interfaces seamlessly with your systems.
Use Cases of ELM
A good example of enterprise log management is privileged access monitoring. The log data is collected from different systems, and the operations team receives it in real time, allowing them to note when anything inappropriate occurs and take action against it.
Take, for example, the following example of a possible brute force attack: The domain admin has attempted to login without authentication after an allowed window of change. They attempted the log in several times. A good enterprise log manager will be able to take stock of those events and correlate them, initiating the right processes and escalating the events to the right staff.
The processes that are part of the log management solution, in particular, are very important. A good enterprise log manager is only as good as its processes. That means you need an engineering team and also an operations team.
On the one hand, the engineering team will build the enterprise log manager so that it sends through the correct alerts. On the other, the operations team will receive the alert and take the appropriate action. You will need mature processes to reduce the number of iterations that the operations team has to go through. The events you are interested in and, eventually, tag should be directly related with the corporation’s policies. Generally, there will be events that you don’t care about, events that you are curious about and events that you want to deal with immediately.
In the previous example of the domain admin, it might be a simple case of them forgetting their password. That isn’t something that needs to elicit worry. However, if there are hundreds of attempts in less than a minute, then you know that something is amiss. It is likely a brute force attack taking place. You need to tag that event and figure out which team in the organization should be alerted of the occurrence.
Exposes Glitches in the System
Use cases for ELM don’t stop at security events either. It could be some kind of activity that shows a general problem in the system. You might be getting too many requests for acknowledgement from the system, which shows that there is a glitch in the system.
So, many requests could ultimately clog the system and be the result of a denial of service attack. Your enterprise log manager could flag and tag the event so that action can be taken immediately.
Another use case for an enterprise log manager is a virus in the network. Events induced by the virus will be logged by the tool, which should be able to correlate them and figure that they are part of the same outbreak. The operations team will then be able to target the source of the virus.
When the enterprise log manager can work in this way, using these approaches to various potential issues in the system, many hundreds or even thousands of hours are saved. These are hours that could have been spent poring over millions of logged events and then analyzing them to figure out the root cause of an issue in the system. With an enterprise log manager, each incident that occurs is approached from a reactionary perspective. This makes it possible to deal with issues as they arise, correlating them to the corporation’s policies, various potential attacks and so on.
Ultimately, an enterprise log manager is a valuable time-saving tool that keeps your services running and your clients happy, preventing a critical service shut down that would cost you significant revenues and cause damage to your reputation.
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