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Faced with an important business decision? Do you have the data you need to make it? Odds are, you probably don’t. Or, if the data is captured somewhere, can you count on it being in one place and easily accessible?
This is a common issue, easily solved by proper log management. This practice is vital for data-driven businesses, helping you maintain security, troubleshoot operations more quickly and enhance user experience. Good log management tracks useful data streams, and having an intentional log management process keeps that data organized, consolidated and easily accessible to key decision-makers.
Log management refers to the processes and tools used to collect, store and manage log data while compiling and monitoring computer-generated events or logs. These logs are time-stamped records of various activities happening throughout an IT infrastructure.
Aggregating these logs, DevSecOps teams can easily see patterns and trends with network crashes or security breaches. They can then develop an event logging policy that states what to record, how long to archive logs and where to store them for future reference. This structure helps keep the data sorted and easy to reference when sudden, unexpected complications arise within a software stack.
The importance of logging and monitoring cannot be overstated for data-driven operations, particularly those in SaaS or similar industries. Some benefits of proper log management include:
Better root cause analysis—When something goes wrong, you need to easily pinpoint why, where, when and how to fix it. Keeping track of log information makes this process easy and quick.
More insights into business performance—In business, success is important, but arguably more important is identifying why success is happening. The more data you monitor, the more information you can correlate to fluctuating successes and failures.
Simplifying regulatory compliance—Keeping meticulous and accurate records is vital if your organization has to abide by regulations such as PCI-DSS, HIPAA, COBIT or GDPR. It also leaves less opportunity for errors that can be particularly costly when dealing with regulations.
More secure operations—In a world where there is more data than ever before, there is also more than ever for hackers and other bad actors to steal. As the methods for cyber attacks evolve and improve, knowing what’s happening in your software at any given moment is crucial—not just for preventing attacks but knowing how to respond when they happen.
By recording and analyzing logs, an organization can more easily improve performance, investigate problems and keep data safe from an increasingly hostile digital environment. These, among other reasons, cement log management and analysis as a lynchpin to excellent data-driven organization practices. This becomes especially apparent when we examine two vital parts of software management: business operations and cybersecurity.
Log management is extremely useful for both optimized reliability and increased cybersecurity.
A clear understanding of events in a technology stack makes it easier to improve the system, investigate unexpected errors, and keep business-critical applications running reliably. For example, if a crash occurs in your operating system, logs give the DevOps team something to look back on—a trail that can help them troubleshoot the root cause of the problem.
For measurable insight into reliability, and a way to reduce engineer burnout, DevOps teams will track Service Level Indicators (SLIs) and manage budgets with Service Level Objectives (SLOs), which are key to having visibility into application reliability. This helps teams understand the end-user experience and create a feedback mechanism between the technical teams and the business to ensure innovation doesn’t happen at the expense of a reliable digital experience.
Logs you might track for operational purposes include:
File requests and transfers
As discussed above, the purpose of logging and monitoring in security is not just to stop cyber attacks but to have enough information to recover if they succeed. Unfortunately, enterprises cannot always prevent hackers from breaking through their security defenses, but if they can figure out where things went wrong, preventing future attacks becomes easier. Real-time log management can catch the warning signs of an attack, and in the event of a breach, it helps in the recovery process. Some data points that give SecOps team deeper insights include:
Alerts from security controls
Authentication successes and failures
Changes in user privileges
Session activities, including files & applications used
Installing or deleting software
Through continuous log collection and monitoring, you help keep your data and your customers safe in an increasingly threatening digital environment. A company that can trustworthily manage personal data is far more likely to have repeat users and higher customer satisfaction. Log management makes providing reliable, consistent and secure performance easier, whatever your industry. Sumo Logic SaaS analytics platform addresses everything we’ve discussed above and more—on a single platform.
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