Good security has always been an elusive thing, as no barrier is impregnable. However, it is possible to come very close to the point of impregnability, and that is what we try to achieve. Of course, this requires plenty of feedback and information with which to refine and improve things. That’s where the use of security log monitoring comes into play. It can make that process of investigation much quicker and easier, and it may even help you in dealing with all those cumbersome business regulations.
What Is Security Log Monitoring?
This is just the collection and analysis of various system logs with an emphasis on security matters. This can be done manually or automatically, but most people go with some kind of software program that collects and manages these tools. The better ones are based on AI-driven machine learning, enabling them to work kind of like a virtual secretary. Skout is one example of this type of software, and it is one of the better examples that we have seen.
The monitoring of security logs is an area of computer security that has often been overlooked in the past. This is because many people just don’t know how to make sense of the information contained in those logs, so they prefer to let a program do everything for them. Before the advent of machine learning, these log management programs were not known to be very efficient.
Security Log Monitoring Is Essential For Security
Whether you are speaking about physical or virtual security, there is no doubt that situational awareness is very important. To keep a given area safe, you must maintain a close watch on all the events in that area. Anything out of the ordinary must be investigated, but that can only happen if you maintain good network visibility.
When a hacker intrudes into your system, they will leave certain telltale traces of their presence. As you can probably guess, most of those traces will be found in the logs. This is especially important for criminal matters, as the authorities will need that evidence for later prosecution.
Log management, when combined with a quick-alert system, also has a lot of potential for the prevention of cyber-attacks. Some hacking operations can take hours or days to complete, forcing the attacker to stay connected to your network for quite a while. However, like a rat in the walls, he will leave some little droppings that can be found. If their presence is detected quickly enough, it might be possible to cut off the attack before it begins.
Security Log Monitoring Is Essential For Compliance
Virtually every industry will have certain regulatory bodies that set rules for companies within that industry. Healthcare and finance are two business sectors for whom this fact is particularly true. Chances are, your company follows all the rules, but that’s a lot of people whose compliance you have to ensure! All it takes is one careless or ill-intentioned employee to bring down all sorts of regulatory hammers on you.
All of the regulatory authorities out there have one important thing in common: They aren’t going to take your word for anything. They will want proof of any claims you make, and that will probably come in the form of log files. Without these, they have no information on which to base a judgment. Many states have laws that make companies potentially liable for data breaches, and those things are damaging enough as is!
Some Key Security Events
For some of you, there may be some confusion as to what represents a “Security event” and what does not. To make things a little more clear, here is a list of the most common security events. You should refer to this list when configuring your log management software:
- Malware detection
- Installation or removal of programs
- Changes to the registry
- Firewall port scans
- Password changes
- Failed login attempts
- Suspicious logins in general
- Starting and stopping of crucial background processes
- Data export
- Network device errors
- Any changes to the logs
While these are not the only important security events, we believe them to be the most important. Any of these could be a big red flag that says “fraud” on the front.
Protect Your Logs!
There is one little problem with the idea of storing everything in log files. Some of the smarter cyber-crooks out there will attempt to alter or delete these files in much the same way that a burglar might try to cover their footprints. Thankfully, most systems will require administrator/root credentials in order to alter log files. If possible, you should change your settings and make it so that normal users can’t even look at these files. That will make it way harder for a malicious actor to find and delete the relevant ones.
You can also adjust your settings to track any changes made to your files. When moving files from one place to another, an intruder will most likely have to create a folder. Technically, no one should be creating or deleting folders on your device except you, so that’s a warning sign on which you can quickly act. This kind of thing should also catch any file deletions that the criminal made while attempting to hide their work.
To answer the question posed by the title of this article: security log monitoring is important because it gives you better visibility into your total security situation. Anything that improves your awareness of things is bound to increase your readiness, so don’t neglect to keep a firm hand on those logs. Good file management makes all the difference here, but the services of a reputable IT company can definitely help. If you are interested to know more about this subject and others, feel free to call PCH Technologies at (856) 754-7500.