Log Management: A compliance hoop to jump through or a business enabler?

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Many organisations from local authorities to financial services companies or stock market listed businesses are implementing or have deployed logging solutions.

A significant percentage of these deployments have been driven by a need to tick a regulatory compliance requirement box. However, log management should not be treated as a hindrance to business or just another hoop to jump through to comply.

In the current fight against cyber crime, automated log analysis provides the foundation of modern day security. The events captured in logs or extracted from IT systems provide ‘CCTV’ footage of what is happening across the organisation, and if properly monitored, can alert an enterprise to a cyber threat and risk before it’s too late.

Whether it is malware, malicious system users, or contractors, a trail of digital footprints is left behind that, if properly analysed,will alert an enterprise to cyber threats and risks before it is too late. But to spot a potential attack, the logs have to be examined.

The world’s two largest reported data breaches resulted in the theft of over 200 million credit card transaction records over 18 month periods.

During the many months in which the cybercriminals were stealing the records no one noticed that breaches were occurring. There was no analysis of the various logs that would have shown the telltale signs that something was amiss.

The automated analysis of logs with a log management platform that collects user activity, security, and system health logs is vital in the fight against cybercrime. Logs from the various devices and systems that surround and host critical data or applications need to be collected, whether in a structured or unstructured format, and centralised for analysis. The analysis entails alerting for threatening conditions found.

As organisations increasingly open up their systems to customers and partners, there is greater opportunity for somebody somewhere to do something they shouldn’t – whether malicious or not.

Log management should be viewed as a business enabler, providing organisations with the reassurance that they can continue to streamline operations and openly collaborate with customers and partners, safe in the knowledge that unauthorised activity will be rapidly detected and mitigated.

Logs continuously paint a picture of what is happening across the network. Businesses need to see that picture to both protect and enable their businesses.

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