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April 6, 2023 By Colin Fallwell

Implementing a log management program: What is best to start with?

Log management best practices

Everything you need to know about creating a log management program

Businesses create, collect and have access to more data than ever before. Some of this log data, the record of events that occur in your digital spaces, can help DevOps and security teams assess the performance and reliability of their systems, evaluate weaknesses and troubleshoot any issues that may be occurring.

However, because these log events are ongoing — multiple times a day, hour, or even minute across multiple platforms — there is an overwhelming amount of data to sift through. As a result, it can be difficult and time-consuming to analyze all the data to find actionable insights. That is where log management comes in.

Log management refers to a company’s approach to handling its log data. This includes systems and processes for collecting, organizing, analyzing and monitoring logs. If your company doesn’t currently have a log management system, or it just doesn’t work well, don’t worry. There are log management best practices and tools that can help simplify that process and amplify the benefits.

What is the best log management tool?

The best log management tool is the one that fits your needs. Whether creating an entirely new log management system or simply revising your current practices, the best tools should help you manage log data effectively and efficiently. In particular, you should look for the following features:

  • Cloud-native architecture provides the scale and elasticity to meet the growing demands of your business.

  • Tool consolidation combines multiple tools and programs in one solution, bringing log management for observability and cybersecurity into a single source of truth.

  • Integrated, full-stack capabilities should include aggregating data from multi-cloud infrastructure, eliminating silos and improving security and troubleshooting.

  • Out-of-the-box auditing and compliance helps you meet regulatory and compliance requirements for log management such as NIST, PCI, SOC 2, ISO, COBIT, HIPAA, GDPR, FedRAMP and more.

  • Tiered data and credit licensing for cost-effective, data-tiered pricing to help you stay on budget.

  • Machine learning analytics enables teams to find insights into all data types, including structured, semi-structured or unstructured data.

What are the best practices for log management?

Every team, organization and sector will have myriad log management and log archiving best practices. You’ll want to remember these select ones as you start.

  1. Establish structured logging: While the best log management tools can help you sort through even unstructured data, try to implement structured logging to optimize your log management. Instead of writing log events in plain text, consider writing them in a format such as JSON or XML. These formats are easier to sort and analyze. Structured logs can help your team find insights more quickly. Even though tools can make it easier to query unstructured data with features like pre-parsing, structured logging is still a best practice.

  2. Create meaningful log messages: It is helpful for log messages to include information about what triggered the log and any context around the event. This can include timestamps, user request identifiers and unique identifiers.

  3. Don’t log sensitive or non-essential information: You might think that logging more information is always a good idea, but this is not true regarding sensitive or non-critical information. Just like log messages should include clear contextual information, there is no need to muddy the waters by including too much information. The point of the data is to help you find actionable insights as effectively as possible. Reducing non-essential and sensitive information can help you do just that. Plus, it can improve your security and help you comply with privacy laws.

  4. Establish real-time monitoring and alerts: Keeping an eye on your logs in real-time can help you identify and solve problems as they arise. This decreases downtime and outages while ensuring that security risks are dealt with as quickly as possible. Log management tools that aggregate your files into one place can enable teams to save valuable time and resources regarding monitoring.

  5. Start with a cloud-native platform: When starting your log management journey, you might have questions about which platform to use. Cloud-native platforms are resilient and adaptable, meeting cloud-based SaaS organizations’ unique needs and pain points. With advantages like quick speeds and built-in security measures, leveraging a cloud-native platform for log management is more efficient and effective.

Sumo Logic: log management and analysis to help ensure applications are reliable and secure

In today’s world of log management, two essential characteristics of business applications are reliability and security. With our log management and log analytics platform, you can:

  • Manage log event data

  • Simplify security and compliance with centralized log management

  • Improve application performance and reliability

  • Efficiently troubleshoot and conduct root cause analysis to reduce MTTR

  • Integrate cloud log management with one click

  • Eliminate data silos

  • Determine key business insights

Learn how Sumo Logic helps you centrally collect and analyze data to quickly troubleshoot performance issues, investigate security threats and improve business operations in this short intro video:

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Colin Fallwell

Colin Fallwell

Field CTO

More posts by Colin Fallwell.

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